Warhammer 40,000 Inquisitor - Martyr official artwork and logo

Warhammer 40,000 Inquisitor - Martyr is an action-RPG that combines the grim darkness of the Warhammer 40k universe with the open-ended nature of the Diablo series. What this means in gameplay terms is that you will explore vast randomly created levels, collect more loot than any cargo ship could possibly carry, mess around with a variety of unique weapons and abilities, and naturally, mow down hordes upon hordes of Chaos servants and their demonic buddies.

Despite releasing onto Early Access only a short while ago, Inquisitor - Martyr already shows great promise. Its obviously unfinished and unpolished, but beneath all of that lies a remarkably enjoyable ARPG. So if you're interested in finding out what the current version of Inquisitor - Marty is all about, and what still needs improvements, allow me to share with you my thoughts after spending quite a few hours with it.

Warhammer 40k: Inquisitor - Martyr screenshot of the fortresses in space

The Imperium sure loves their space-cathedrals

As a big fan of Warhammer 40k I must first talk about the visuals and just how accurate to the source material they truly are. All of the interior sections are depressingly utilitarian, Chaos corruption is widespread so a good portion of the levels are filled with bizarre iconography and equally bizarre puddles of slime, and both our character and their enemies look like they've been chiseled by a life of constant hardships. It might not sound like much, but this sort of visual design gives Inquisitor - Martyr an incredibly immersive atmosphere, to the point that it really feels like you're wondering through a small chunk of the Warhammer 40k universe.

The only problem is that all of this visual flare comes at the expense of performance. If you throw a grenade into a room full of containers and ornamental pillars decorated with countless skulls, you can almost guarantee your FPS is going to dip down into the low 20s and your character enter a Matrix-like slowdown. This is especially noticeable when you're playing in co-op as all of the various spells and effects do equal damage to the FPS as they do to the enemy. For now I'm willing to overlook this as Inquisitor - Martyr has only just entered alpha state, but I hope its a priority fix for the developers as it makes some of the larger levels needlessly frustrating.

Warhammer 40k: Inquisitor - Martyr detailed enviroments

The environments are highly detailed, maybe even a bit too detailed

That little diversion aside, let's dive into the topic most of you are probably interested in: the characters. As of right now Inquisitor - Martyr features only two classes, each of which has 3 different starting archetypes, though a third Psyker class will be coming at some point in the future. The Crusader is your Space Marine equivalent, heavily armored and filled to the brim with heavy weapons, while the Assassin is a nimble, rogue-like class that can dance around the battlefield with rather stunning speed. After playing both of them I opted to go with the Crusader as he made me feel like an unstoppable juggernaut, but both are perfectly viable choices in just about any situation. It really is all about your preference.

Like any other ARPG, Inquisitor - Martyr rewards your progress with experience points that you can spend on stats and talents. The stats are your usual Damage/Tankiness/Resistance affair, though thankfully the addition of powerful perks at certain stat breakpoints mostly prevents the usual problem of players investing every single point into damage. As for the talents, they are fairly hard to come by, but they allow you to specialize your character in just about any direction: melee weapons, ranged weapons, splash damage, resistance, health, etc. Its nothing too complex or interesting, but it does allow you to make your character noticeably different than the rest, so with a bit of polish the whole stat/talent system could turn out to be quite engaging.

Warhammer 40k: Inquisitor - Martyr screenshot of the crafting window

Crafting is pretty much the same, simple but servicable

While I was still learning how to play I accidental put two points into splash damage, a fact I wasn't exactly enthusiastic about considering I only had rifles at that point. Since I was only testing out the Crusader class I opted to continue rather than restart my playthrough, something I ended up being very glad about once I found my now-favorite weapon - the heavy flamer! Not only does that bad boy deal obscene amounts of damage to fleshy targets, but it also feels incredibly satisfying to use. To be perfectly fair, that last part isn't exclusive to the heavy flamer, it applies to just about every weapon in Inquisitor - Martyr's arsenal. Everything from the Thunder Hammer to the Lasrifle, from the Chainsword to the Shotgun, feels and sounds downright awesome! Combine this with each weapon having its own abilities, in addition to your suit and grenades providing extra options, and you've got yourself a combat system that is highly enjoyable despite the occasional bit of clunkiness rearing its ugly head.

As for how exactly the combat works, I'm pretty sure you already know as its basically the same as any other ARPG. There are obviously a couple of unique twists to spice the gameplay up, but if you're ever played Diablo or Path of Exile you'll be able to get comfortable within minutes. And comfortable it is, because even in its current and somewhat buggy state its quite fun to decimate legions of enemies with ridiculously over-the-top weaponry. As for the new additions, the first and most important one for me is the ability to move around with WASD which makes the combat a lot more fluid, and a lot less taxing on my poor hands. You can still play with the standard ARPG control scheme, and I'm pretty sure its the one you're given by default, but the good news is that there is a different choice if you are so inclined.

Warhammer 40k: Inquisitor - Martyr screenshot of the awesome heavy flamer in action

This would be a great twin-stick shooter if you didn't need to do a full-stop to fire

Secondly, its important to note that Inquisitor - Martyr does not use hero-based spells like other ARPGs, but that the spells come from the weapons themselves. Two-handed weapons come with four spells each, while one-handed weapons come with two. While I would like to see more variety among the generic 'shoot at the bad guys' spells, its not a bad system by any stretch. Since you can carry two sets of weapons at any given time, and since you constantly acquire new and better ones, its practically guaranteed that you'll be swapping and changing your abilities with each mission, which goes a long way towards preventing them from becoming overused and boring.

In order to stop every hero from turning into Invoker from Dota 2, by which I mean just constantly changing weapons and spamming out a barrage a spells, Inquisitor - Martyr adds a brief cooldown to your advanced abilities whenever you swap weapons. You're still incentivized to switch things up depending on the situation, but you're not forced to do so in order to stay optimal, so if you have a favorite weapon feel free to use it for as long as you want! This does run the risk of you getting bored of only having 4 spells at your disposal, so its going to be interesting to see how the developers address this problem moving forward.

Warhammer 40k: Inquisitor - Martyr screenshot of the heavy flamer in action

Now that is what I call a flamethrower!

I mentioned earlier how just about every weapon feels satisfying to use, and now... well, its time to talk about the rest. I'm not going to sugarcoat this - most of the melee weapons suck! You would think a giant space-greatsword would be amazing at clearing waves of weak enemies, but almost everyone you face has a gun so you either waste precious resources trying to reach them, or you slowly walk through a colorful hail of gunfire, lasers, and superheated plasma. It also doesn't help that the melee weapons don't seem to have the ridiculous damage necessary in order to counteract their weakness, so even if you get into a perfect position you'll still do the same damage as someone hiding behind cover and pelting the enemy with explosives.

There is one exception to this, and it is the Assassin-exclusive blades. When I first played my Crusader I simply couldn't figure out why I hated the melee weapons so much, but when I finally tried the Assassin things dawned on me very quickly - its the mobility! All of the Assassin's melee weapons have multiple movement spells built into them, all of which also deal heavy damage, so the main flaw of being melee-ranged is basically eradicated. When using these types of weapons fighting in melee is not only devastating, but also an absolute blast to play - just constantly jumping from one enemy to another, leaving only a colorful smear on the floor as you go. I can only hope the rest of the melee weapons will get reworked to include mobility spells in the future, because while I would really love to use the Chainsword and Bolter combo, its simply a deathwish right now.

Warhammer 40k: Inquisitor - Martyr screenshot of a giant chaos space marine

Would you really charge this thing with a knife?

In terms of visuals the level design in Inquisitor - Martyr is pretty damn good. There are a ton of details scattered across the environment, the lighting is really good at emphasizing the bleak and unwelcoming atmosphere, and most importantly of all, there is plenty of destructible scenery to properly showcases the destructive power of your weaponry. Unfortunately, I can't say the same about the level design itself. While there is a decent amount of diversity in terms of terrain and location, almost all of the maps are exactly the same: tiny boxes connected with thin corridors. This works great on the claustrophobic ships as it only helps to enhance the already excellent immersion factor, but on the outdoor maps it just feels video-gamey which has the exact opposite effect. Furthermore, the limited room layouts means that after a while you will know exactly what kind of terrain you're coming up against, and for a game that prides itself on random level generation that should never be the case. This is obviously something that's going to get improved upon as Inquisitor - Martyr inches closer towards release, but its still worth mentioning given how huge the problem truly is.

While the level design might be sorely lacking, I love what the developers have done with the whole dungeon challenge system. These dungeons are not only harder and more rewarding than their standard counterparts, but they also allow you a great degree of customization... at a price! So if you want to create a dungeon full of demons that have a massively increased chance to drop heavy weapons, you can do just that, but in order to compensate for all these boons the enemies will also be given a variety gigantic buffs. Since the entry fee to these dungeons is quite hard to come by they represent a rather intriguing challenge, one that is both brutal and endlessly enticing at the same time. The dungeon challenges, much like everything else in Inquisitor - Martyr, are currently a bit bare bones, but there is enough potential present to shape them into something amazing.

Warhammer 40k: Inquisitor Martyr screenshot of the very corridor-filled maps

I'm getting some terrible flashbacks to Final Fantasy 13 right now

Closing Thoughts

Warhammer 40k: Inquisitor - Maryr is currently in early alpha, and despite most of the gameplay elements already being fun to toy around with its by no means polished, balanced, or feature-complete. So if you're looking to grab a brand new ARPG that you can sink hundreds of hours into, I'm afraid Inquisitor - Martyr is just not there yet. On the other hand, if you're only going to play it for a couple of hours every now and then until it finally releases, then you can consider grabbing it as I really do believe Inquisitor - Martyr has a bright future ahead of it. That said, I would still suggest you wait for that future to arrive as the current price is extremely high for an early alpha game.