After sending vampire hunters on an array of adventures with their Van Helsing action-RPG series, developers NeocoreGames have decided to put their skills to use on a more established franchise: Warhammer 40,000. Surprisingly, Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor – Martyr is actually the first action-RPG that’s a part of the well-loved space-marine filled series, though thankfully it makes for an enjoyable experience.

Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor – Martyr puts you in the shoes of an Inquisitor: essentially a massively bulky, tough and well-armed space detective. After being sent in to investigate a seemingly abandoned ship, things go wrong when it turns out it just so happens to be full of vicious creatures. Thus, your ‘investigation’ begins as you look to pummel your enemies with gunfire, swords and all sorts of glorious attacks as you look to find out what exactly is going on.

Gameplay-wise, Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor – Martyr’s setup is similar to that of your traditional action-RPG. You’ll get to play as one of three classes: there’s the Psyker who focuses on using magic-like attacks, the Crusader who relies more on big and heavy weaponry, and the Assassin who is a lot nimbler and slick with their killing techniques. Each class plays completely differently and comes with their own independent skill tree that allows you to customise them to suit how you play, though you’ll also get to equip them with subclasses too so you can really fine-tune their abilities. It’s a surprisingly deep system, but it ensures that your character is unique and that they’re designed to cater perfectly for your playstyle. Want to fight up close and personal with a mighty sword? Go for it. Or would you rather pick off enemies with a gun for afar? You can do that too.

Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor – Martyr

One feature of Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor – Martyr that I was particularly fond of was the use of cover, which isn’t something you’d traditionally see in a game like this. You’re able to hide yourself from incoming fire behind certain obstacles littered throughout each level, all whilst taking shots at foes yourself. If used tactically they can really help you gain the upper hand over your enemies – especially with some of the ranged abilities and weaponry that you’ll have access to. However, if you linger in cover for too long you can find yourself caught out by flanking enemies or even see the cover itself destroyed, so you can’t depend on it and stay in one spot for too long. Whether you’re using it to take down foes or it’s getting destroyed in front of you though, it always adds an enjoyable twist to the game’s combat.

In fairness, the game’s combat is enjoyable anyway. There’s a good variety of enemies to take down that offer different threats, whilst the range of weapons and abilities on offer is certainly impressive – heck, you even craft weapons by using the parts you earn from disassembling your own, so there’s a lot to play around with. However, whilst you do have the freedom to use all of your weapons and abilities freely, I found that I often resorted to simply holding down the attack button and letting the game play out the action for me.

Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor – Martyr

When holding down the attack button, your character will automatically attack an enemy and once that enemy is vanquished they’ll automatically move onto the next with the player only really having to move their character out of the way of specific area of effect attacks to survive. Of course, it’s an optional function and you can play battles out as you please, but the fact that you could get away with it for the most part showed that there isn’t always a whole lot of a challenge to the game’s combat.

Typically in this kind of game you’d expect to explore same massive inter-connected world, but Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor – Martyr instead offers missions that are based across stand-alone levels. It was something that I thought would detach the sense of immersion with the world at first, but the more I played the more I found that it actually suited the gameplay perfectly – not being intimidated by a massive world actually encouraged me to explore more and see what each inch of a level actually offered. It also ensured that I didn’t run into the wrong place at the wrong time and end up getting absolutely annihilated by some over-powered enemy too, so that was a big plus.

Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor – Martyr

One interesting aspect that the mission-based design of the game brings is that you don’t get access to any collected loot until you’ve finished the mission, with the player actually deciding their load-out before they begin. This was something that I got used to, but I didn’t always appreciate – it eliminated the satisfaction of finding an amazing weapon and being able to use it straight away, and I often forgot about the cool loot I’d found and end up accidentally ignoring some neat piece of equipment for subsequent missions. Sure, a lot of that was probably down to me, but the loot system didn’t help either…

Besides the main missions there are plenty of side quests you can complete, most of which involve a small investigative process that involves hunting for clues. They typically always culminate in hacking away at enemies though, so you won’t be left disappointed. There are also Warzones – stand-alone missions that don’t tie into the main campaign which let you take on even more dangerous foes whilst unlocking some sweet new equipment. There’s certainly a lot of meat to Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor – Martyr’s bones and you can expect to get hours of entertainment from it. The best part? You can do it all with a friend in local or online co-op. The multiplayer aspect is a hell of a lot of fun and probably the best way to experience the game.

Visually, the game looks pretty slick with a great assortment of environments to explore. I’ll be honest, I went into it expecting the same old sci-fi look over and over again, but you actually head out to some pretty intriguing locales, some of which have a heck of a lot of imagination to their design. The enemies all look great too, whilst the action that comes with each battle is hectic and explosive.

Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor – Martyr

Unfortunately, the frame rate is a little inconsistent, with heavily populated encounters certainly seeing more than a few stutters when you’re in the middle of a battle. It’s not game-ruining and in fairness it never hits ridiculous levels of unplayability, but they certainly come in a pretty high frequency. I also came across a handful of glitches throughout the game, with objectives bugging out on me and some enemies seemingly out of reach on the map. It’s never been anything a quick re-load of a save doesn’t fix, but it’s still a little disappointing.

Developer: NeocoreGames
Publisher: NeocoreGames
Format(s): PlayStation 4 (Reviewed), Xbox One, PC