Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor - Martyr Review

Dan Webb

From the guys and gals who brought you the snappily titled The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing, comes the just as long-windedly monikered Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor – Martyr, the only game that comes to mind that has three different kinds of punctuation in its title! Heck, not even Hannah Montana: The Movie: The Video Game has that beat!

Long titles aside, anyone who played NeocoreGames’ most recent outing, the aforementioned Van Helsing will feel right at home. Its latest ARPG - and yes, it stands for 'action role-playing game, - (but we don’t mean an action-RPG like Dragon Age or Mass Effect, we mean more like Diablo, Path of Exile and the ilk) a top-down, isometric dungeon crawlers, that follows a similar pattern to that of Van Helsing. It’s got looting, lots of dungeons, and loads of stats. Unlike the likes of Diablo and Path of Exile, though – and obviously because it’s a Warhammer game – Martyr sees us heading to space with a sci-fi theme, which is right up my alley. What isn’t right up my alley is being forced to sign-up for a Neocore account upon on booting up the game… not cool, Neocore. Not. Cool.

If you were to ask me the plot of the game’s campaign, however, honestly, as a non-Warhammer fan I genuinely couldn’t tell you. It has something to do with a big ghost ship named the Martyr where various atrocities have taken place.

It's a game that's going to hit home with Warhammer fans, but anyone else will likely be scratching their heads throughout at the lore it throws at you. I coped, but that wall between me and the story means I wasn’t able to enjoy it quite as much. That, and the constant reams of text and the interminable voice acting make this clear what this game is: fan service. And for the fans, there’s the odd pretty amazing cutscene as well.

For us ARPG plebs though, what we have is loot galore, loads of ways to level up your character, some really cool outfits to customise your Inquisitor with and thanks to procedural generation, countless dungeons. The gameplay on offer here is as close to infinite as you can get. That's great and all, but part of Martyr’s issue is its repetition. Many of the missions involve either killing hordes of bad guys, freeing captured people or retrieving data, and after 10-plus hours, that can get very tedious. Sure, each weapon and armour possesses differing abilities, but they’re not that different, truth be told. And yes, there are plenty of weapons, but you tend to just find one you like and stick with it. Same with the classes and the variations of said class.

If you like that grind though, starting new characters, crafting new bits of gear – and getting the resources to do so – adopting to new playstyles, then Martyr could be for you. But for me, seeing the similar variations of the levels, doing the same tasks and fighting against the mechanics of the game made it feel like a bit of a chore.

Speaking of mechanics, Martyr tries to mix it up somewhat, introducing a cover system of sorts into the traditional ARPG genre. The truth is that more often than not due to the horde mentality of a lot of the enemies, you aren’t in cover for long and if anything, the cover just gets in the way. Plus, you can’t get into cover on every surface, which can be a tad frustrating. The fact you can actually shoot through cover sometimes makes you question what even the point of it is at all.

By far the most frustrating aspect are the fighting mechanics themselves. Most traditional ARPGs have a fixed camera, leaving the right thumbstick for aiming and what not. Martyr does not have a fixed camera that is operated by the right stick, meaning your aiming and your movement are all on one-stick… and a game with a lot of guns in it, that is a pain. Then there’s the fact that the target selection system is temperamental at best.

When there’s one target it's great, until it decides to prioritise a piece of destructible cover or a trap instead of the enemy itself. When there are hordes, though, the prioritisation of targets is a pain in the ass. Instead of focusing your ire on the biggest threat – i.e. the horde charging you down – it will more often than not pick out some straggler at the back who’s picking his nose. Whereas with a mouse and keyboard, you can probably do what you actually want, with a controller it’s no so easy.

The assassin class is pretty badass.

From a content perspective, Martyr is chock-full of things to do, so if you don’t mind that grind, there’s enough to keep you busy – that’s aside from the procedurally generated dungeons! There’s local co-op too, of course, online co-op, a PVP mode, Priority Assignments (which are a form of multi-stage missions), Tarot missions (where you can create specific missions to get specific drops) and weekly challenges, in which you get superior drops the better you do. No-one is looking at Martyr and questioning the amount of content on offer. If they are, then they clearly haven’t had their Shreddies. The issues derive from repetition. The issues derive from repetition. Repetition. Repetition. Repetition. See, annoying isn’t it?

Technically speaking, Martyr isn’t the smoothest ride on consoles either. Aside from the ridiculously long load times, the game is buggy at best, with some bizarre graphical glitches – like the one where you turn into a ginormous arrangement of white boxes at your home base… I kid you not. The game is littered with graphical bugs, like flickering assets, enemies disappearing and so on. Considering the game is brand new as well, it’s just not as polished or even as impressive on the eyes as Diablo 3 was. A 2012 game.

While Warhammer 40K: Inquisitor – Martyr might never reach the dizzy heights of classics in the ARPG genre, it’s a fairly decent game. The problem is that while Diablo and Path of Exile are polished beasts, Martyr is anything but. Sure, the gameplay might be repetitive and you might spend more time fighting the mechanics than the waves of enemies, but buried beneath the frustrations is a solid little game. Somewhere.

Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor - Martyr

Warhammer 40K: Inquisitor – Martyr is a pretty solid ARPG from NeocoreGames with some neat ideas – like procedurally generated dungeons – but it’s far too frustrating and repetitive for a mere mortal like myself. If grind is your name though, you should probably change it, but at least you’ll like Martyr.

Form widget

It’s a nice change to play an ARPG with a sci-fi score which ramps up at the right time. There just isn’t a lot of it, which means massive repetition throughout.


Everything is great from a distance until you get up close and personal which it when it gets a bit fugly. From anti-aliasing to bugs, it’s not the prettiest of games.


The most lacking aspect of the game. On consoles it's a pain and the shooting can often drive you completely mad thanks to a weird target selection system.


Plenty for players to sink their teeth into here thanks to local co-op, online co-op and multiplayer. The PvE stuff even more so because of the procedurally generated dungeons. It just gets a bit repetitive.


Grind, grind and more grind. Decent spread, but not a lot of originality. If you love a bit of grind, then you’ll love the achievements – and probably Martyr too!

Game navigation