The Inquisitor Preview

The Inquisitor takes an unusual premise and runs with it.  The detective work looks interesting, the voice acting demonstrated is quite capable, and overall care is shown to making the world connect.

There’s an appeal to taking a look into humanity’s past.  Taking that past and making alterations is a great way to spin things to look at stories in different ways.  In The Dust’s The Inquisitor players get to control Mordimer Madderdin, made known through the Polish book series The Inquisitor Cycle by Jacek Piekara, who is sent to investigate a series of murders in the small town of Koenigstein.  Mordimer learns that the church and the inquisitors aren’t as honourable as once perceived and has to decide to keep following the tenets or forge a new path.  RPGamer was able to learn a bit more about what lies in store for him through a thirty-minute press preview.

On the immediate surface, The Inquisitor is set in a version of 16th century Europe.  Its primary twist from history is that Jesus Christ never died on the cross but instead went on a violence filled vengeance against the non-believers.  This, in turn, has created many differences in the current state of the world.  Supernatural elements may also been at play, with the murder Mordimer investigates having supposed connections to vampires.  Mordimer himself is an able and intelligent detective, and the game promises interrogation sequences that combine both of those abilities to get confessions out of suspects.  Player choices are reflected on a morality system, but how that works is steeped in mystery at this time.  The developer did reveal that the landscape and NPC placement may be directly affected by those choices.

Depending on the situation, certain story choices may be timed.  Also, story scenes can be skipped if players choose, but doing so will deprive players some snarky comments from Mordimer and likely make figuring out some of the clues more difficult.  While Mordimer is skilled at reading body language, he also has the ability to use the power of prayer to help with cases.  Prayer mode allows Mordimer to perceive his surroundings differently and find clues that he might otherwise miss.  The game is full of dark and bloody moments, but this is more to portray its bleak world rather than a push into splatter horror.  Balancing this darkness is a dry wit to some dialogue, collectible lore, and Easter eggs that will bring levity at times.

While Mordimer is sometimes able talk his way out of situations, other times swordplay is needed.  Mordimer is only a decent swordsman, being able to use light and heavy attacks to wear down enemies.  There isn’t any stat progression in the game, so player skill will be important for the dodging and blocking necessary against sturdier foes.  New equipment is tied to story progression, but Mordimer’s combat skills remain the same throughout The Inquisitor.  Boss fights will follow multiple stages with each one getting progressively more difficult until the enemy is defeated.  One wild card in any combat is the shersken powder, this versatile substance can be applied as a poisonous weapon coating, thrown in eyes of enemies, or used as a healing salve for Mordimer.

The scope of the supernatural elements used in The Inquisitor is very interesting.  There is no magic in the world, so witch burnings are based on fear of the eccentric and intelligent.  Yet, there are still vampires and the existence of the Unworld.  The Unworld is an area that teeters between life and death, history and present, where Mordimer enters to collect fragments of memories to help with investigations.  Abilities such as teleporting through giant swords that block the player’s path are only available in the Unworld.  While in the Unworld, Mordimer’s health and mana is converted to light.  It is an area requiring stealth and care, as losing too much light from enemies or arrow traps within will lead to a game over.  Enemies are much easier to defeat in the Unworld, but the noise brings the attention of an undefeatable flying entity, whose spotlight is a constant drain of Mordimer’s light.

The complexity of The Inquisitor’s puzzles wasn’t shown, but they will factor into Mordimer’s investigations.  Information provided throughout the game may be important for solving puzzles later on, such as an earlier conversation offering clues for wordplay necessary to unlock a door later on.  Another instance, which leads to a boss confrontation, has players playing a game of hide and seek with a deranged enemy who’s been taken over by a possessed mask.

The Inquisitor takes an unusual premise and runs with it.  The detective work looks interesting, the voice acting demonstrated is quite capable, and overall care is shown to making the world connect.  The Unworld looks to bring a change of pace with stealth and puzzles to compare to the more straightforward and story based real world segments.  There’s a lot to look forward to in The Inquisitor and seeing how it all shapes together will be very interesting as the game comes to PC (via Steam), PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X|S on February 8, 2024.



Ryan Costa

Friendly neighbourhood reviewer that thinks every RPG should be discussed, because one never knows where a hidden gem can appear.

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