Please note: This review follows on from the initial review that, through miscommunication over the code we received, was based of the Early Access build of the game. That review is preserved here, and should be considered a companion piece to this final review.
The huge Warhammer 40,000 universe is one that’s ripe for video game adaptations, and dozens of companies are using the varied licenses in very different ways. From strategy games to first person shooters, the implausibly named Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor – Martyr stands alone as the first action RPG set in this world. As a game, it didn’t leave the most exciting of first impression, as you may have seen from my initial review, but the full release is definitely an improvement over the Early Access version.
You’d hope and expect for there to be an improvement when going from Early Access to final release, but not all of the rough edges have been smoothed away. Inquisitor – Martyr still has a couple of bugs hanging around at launch and my new playthrough was blessed with one such imperfection. Until I closed the game down and started up again, my new character was invincible, their health could not be touched by anything. Now, this isn’t the worst bug in the world, especially given I was re-playing things that I had already been seen, but it is probably worth mentioning because it could taint your experience with the game. Naturally, Neocore are hard at work, delivering regular patches to the game as they work toward a console release in July.
One thing that hasn’t changed is the visual style and the drab aesthetic that’s inherent with the Warhammer 40K universe. It’s full of industrial complexes and gothic architecture, and the many alien worlds of the Caligari Sector you visit will rarely spark your imagination. Through the story, you’re investigating and fighting the influence of the Chaos god Nurgle, but this leads to a kind of generic grossness to the enemies you face and the oozing corruption that can infect the levels. Though it’s true to the lore, it’s still somewhat disappointing that there can’t be more variety.
When actually navigating the levels, there is a chance you will find yourself simply getting around by looking at the mini-map instead of following the main level before you. The same is true of combat in certain settings, as the scenery, effects and colours blend together so it is sometimes easier to just target things based on your radar.
The voice acting and the writing itself is also very true to Warhammer. If you like the over-the-top melodrama of the game universe, then you may well gel with it better, but if you aren’t a fan then it borders on being tacky. The full version didn’t suffer from the same sudden voice dropouts as early access did though, so that was a nice improvement.
For my second play through, I switched classes, going from the Assassin and a melee oriented build to the Psyker for more magic and area of effect attacks. The third, the Crusader, is a fairly generic tank class in bulky Space Marine armour. Your abilities at any given moment depend on the weapons you have equipped, which combine with the skills you unlock in a huge skill tree to help you customise your character’s build to how you want to play. Ideally you can play the game cooperatively, mixing these classes together and how their different roles can compliment each other.
The action RPG gameplay is still easy, but messy. The special attacks look good, but it rarely feels like doing anything other than holding the left mouse button is needed. Higher difficulties offset some of this to a degree, but it is still frustrating to be grinding through things like a chainsaw sword through butter. There are a few standout moments, like when you get in a giant mech, but it still just means you are holding down a button to stomp on enemies instead of shooting or slashing at them with your weapons.
You can carry on after the main story by playing through randomly generated missions, taking on Priority Assignments and Grand Investigations, but no no matter how much content there is, it feels samey and will get stale in the end. The game’s long term appeal will rely heavily on Neocore’s plans for seasons of content to add new environments and more alien races to battle across the Caligari Sector.
Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor – Martyr’s final release feels better than it did in Early Access, through a mixture of added polish by Neocore and likely a dose of Stockholm Syndrome on my part. The dark aesthetic and relatively messy combat will likely turn those who aren’t fans of Warhammer 40,000 away, but if you do like the universe and have people to play with, then the procedural generation and promise of ongoing support means that this is a game you can sink plenty of time into.
Original (Early Access) Score: 6/10
Version tested: PC – Coming to PS4 & Xbox One on 5th July