Given the recent proliferation of 40K titles over that past few years, it is a bit odd that an RPG take on the series has yet to be produced. NeocoreGames' Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor - Martyr is looking to fix that, giving us an action RPG set in the grim universe. This is a rather fitting genre for the game, given the 40K universes' tendency towards extreme and explicit violence, though the demo NeocoreGames brought to E3 still shows there is a bit of a way to go before the game is fully there yet.
Taking place on the edge of Imperium space known as the Caligari Sector, Inquisitor - Martyr puts the player in control of an Inquisitor, a secret agent of the Emperor. The pre-built character I had for the demo was about as far from a secret agent as one could imagine, though he fit the universe well. He was slow and sluggish, wielding both a sword, a repeating railgun, and some plasma grenades. Combat was stock but functional with different attacks assigned to each mouse button and four keys. The mission given was to kill a Hellbrute and any other Chaos forces that happened to be in the way.
The demo's map was a linear corridor leading to a circular room followed by another corridor to another circular room. The final game will have randomized dungeons with certain static setpieces scattered throughout, but for the demo it was entirely linear. This, combined with the game's pre-alpha state, led to boredom setting in about halfway through the first circular room. For starters, the demo featured no inventory or loot system, deflating any sort of excitement one is supposed to derive from a game like this. Neocore said this was due to having to narrow down the visual range of armors to fit the desires of Warhammer 40,000 parent company Games Workshop. It was about halfway through the umpteenth mindless killing of a Chaos drone that I noticed a small button on the lower left corner of the UI that switched up the equipped weapons, trading the sword and gun for a dedicate plasma rifle complete with a new set of abilities. This alleviated the tedium a bit, but without the draw of ever-dropping loot or levelling up to unlock a new skill, the game still held little appeal, even as I killed Hellbrute and the demo ended.
Actually, that may not be entirely fair. There was one interesting aspect of the game that was present for the demo: level destruction. One thing that seperates Inquisitor - Martyr from other action RPGs is that the enemies are designed to utilize cover rather than simply mob the player. However, most practical uses of cover, from industrial pipes to ceiling-high columns, can be completely destroyed. In fact, its almost assured that's exactly what will happen. Having the option to blast through cover adds a unique layer to the game's combat normally missing from mindless action RPGs. It doesn't hurt that visually the destruction looked pretty good and was on full display after every stray shot or grenade toss. It's unfortunate that the demo made it impossible to die, as it may have forced me to utilize cover better myself. Normally, healing is done through an cooldown-limited blood infusion, but was unnecessary in this demo as upon death the character simply got right back up to keep fighting.
NeocoreGames also had a hands off portion where they were able to discuss more of the game itself, including showing off another character class. This character was a female assassin who utilized a sniper rifle and dual blades. Her playstyle seemed much faster and a lot more interesting than the character I had played with, so the combat doesn't seem relegated to the slow and weighty. The game will also feature an open-world sandbox, along with the ability to construct Inquisitorial Fortresses, which will serve as a home base for players. This will also play into the game's indirect multiplayer component, where Inquisitorial Fortresses will be able to be attacked and the owners robbed of any loot stored there. The multiplayer also adds a persistant world, where certain live events will add battles and missions where players can choose who to aid and help decide the outcome of the battles. This will further shape the galaxy in favor of certain factions over others.
What NeocoreGames brought to E3 is a clearly unfinished game but one not without potential. The gameplay on its own was unable to carry it far and the lack of any RPG elements present gave the demo a certain level of interaction to make this game engaging, though further developments of these systems should rectify that. As is, the demo seemed only useful in showing the potential of the destructible environments, which, while pretty, doesn't help to give a full impression of the game. Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor - Martyr will arrive on PC in 2017 with the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions to follow after.