At its best, Warhammer: 40,000: Inquisitor – Martyr feels like a cross between Doom and Diablo. Featuring the gore-soaked combat and gritty sci-fi setting of the former with the top-down view and looting-and-leveling loop of the latter, it's fun for the first few hours.
As one of three class-based characters, covering tank, assassin, and spell-casting builds, players assume the role of the titular Inquisitor. Regardless of which path you choose, you're a heretic-squashing soldier of the God Emperor, who, according to game's lore, has granted you the power of judge and executioner. Behind the hand-cannons of the Crusader class, however, we did far more executing than judging.
Whether facing swarms of ugly foes, oozing boss baddies, or anything else that dared come within spitting distance of our over-sized power armor, it's a blast reducing both man and monster to meaty chunks. Swapping between shotgun and rifle – as well as their special firing modes – respectively, also adds a rewarding layer of strategy to the horde-pummeling proceedings. Breaking out the big guns, or, in this case, a barrage of rockets fired from your back, is equally rewarding.
The combat certainly makes a solid first impression, but grows a bit tedious as you progress through the campaign. Encounters start to feel repetitive pretty quickly, while weapons and their accompanying skills perform too similarly. The shotgun, for example, encourages players to carefully choose and manage its various firing modes, but when a pull of the trigger almost always results in fleshy confetti flying everywhere, it's just easier to spam attacks as they become available.
More bothersome is the clunky cover system and cumbersome targeting mechanics. Attempting to hunker down in a safe spot is more trouble than it's worth, mostly because enemies can swiftly reduce waist-high refuges to dust. And while picking off individual foes is a breeze during smaller battles, it's a finicky affair when facing waves of attackers. Both of these systems have the potential to enhance the engagements, but their poor implementation will lead most players to rely on button-mashing over thoughtful tactics.
Warhammer: 40,000: Inquisitor – Martyr’s core combat can be loads of fun, especially early on when learning the ins and out of, well, turning enemies inside-out. The game's also packed with content – solo and multiplayer – and brimming with universe-expanding lore. So, hardcore fans of the franchise may still want to lock-and-load for this one. Those just looking to scratch that action-RPG itch, however, may want to skip it, even if it means being judged as a heretic.