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Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor - Martyr
E3 Preview
"Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor - Martyr is, in its current state, not doing much to convince me that it will build upon the Diablo formula in a meaningful way."

The Warhammer: 40,000 universe is vast, expanding dramatically in the last few years as the property has been licensed by a number of gaming companies. The latest developer to tackle the franchise is Neocore, whose upcoming title, Inquisitor - Martyr, evokes Diablo with startling similarity.

Described as an "open-world sandbox action RPG," Inquisitor - Martyr is the first game of its kind in the Warhammer universe. In truth, it looks more like a "lootfest" RPG in the vein of Torchlight and its brethren. The player controls one of several Warhammer archetypes, including a new dual-wielding female assassin, raising hell down isometric corridor after corridor. The game is bizarro-world Diablo right down to its interface, red health globe and all, though the art design is decidedly more grotesque. Mutants, corrupted soldiers, and vile hybrid creatures roam the halls of Inquisitor - Martyr's randomly-generated dungeons, swarming the player in droves. One unique element for a game in this genre is the existence of a cover system. Both the player and enemies can utilize cover to minimize the damage they take from attacks. Cover is fully destructible, so the player cannot stick to one spot and expect to emerge victorious. From what I saw, enemy AI is currently not at a level where it utilizes cover efficiently, but that could change as development progresses. In fact, the game appeared rough around in the edges in most ways during my demo; animations were on the stiff and glitchy side, and the framerate was anything but consistent. Of course, what I saw was a pre-Alpha build, so I expect the developers will continue working to address these issues.

The most promising element of the game is its approach to story. Every player's individual decisions throughout the game are tallied and shape the overall narrative in real time. The developers will be writing the story going forward according to how players react to it, which is a fairly novel concept. Other notable features include a customizable HQ for each player, as well as a four-player co-op mode to supplement the single-player campaign.

Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor - Martyr is, in its current state, not doing much to convince me that it will build upon the Diablo formula in a meaningful way. Aside from its story and setting, I've seen everything it's doing before, and I'm not terribly impressed by the performance of the build I saw. Warhammer fans might find more to appreciate in its use of series lore, but in the meantime, I'll stick to Diablo III.


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