The Inquisitor Review | Xbox Series X

You can't hide the truth from the Inquisitor, but it doesn't always mean he's right, either.

By R3GR3T, Posted 11 Feb 2024

It looks like 2024 is going to be an excellent year for gaming, but a few flops are bound to happen once in a while. Now, The Dust might be a new contender on the scene, and they have high hopes for their future in the gaming industry, but their flagship release might leave a weird taste in your mouth. The Dust has actually been around since 2014, and this Polish studio looks to be made of developers from several studios, such as Game Island and 4Knights. Now, here's where things become weird. The Dust has a motto and goal to make games that stand out from their competition with graphics and captivating stories... Hold on tight, and this is going to be messy.

The Inquisitor, Review, Screenshots, Fantasy, Third-Person, Action, NoobFeed

So, with their first and only release, The Inquisitor, which was released on 8 February, you'd think it'll be a visual masterpiece with a life-changing story. Sadly, they missed the mark on the visuals, and a bad book adaptation from a Polish author while twisting the story does not make anything all that captivating. This doesn't mean the game isn't worth playing, just that you might need to carry a shovel of salt nearby for when the red flags start waving, but there are a few redeeming qualities to this little escapade. Granted, there's no knowing if they'll be enough to redeem The Dust in their decade-long run.

As with any story, you'll have to start somewhere, even though the opening cutscene for The Inquisitor is as confusing as confusing as can be. To make a long story somewhat easier to understand, you take on the role of an Inquisitor known as Mordimer Madderdin, who was sent to Koenigstein in the year 1533 to hunt down and exterminate a vampire threat. With your orders from the Bishop of Hez-Hezron, you'll need to set out to uncover the evils hidden within Koenigstein and use any tools or powers at your disposal, though you might find other evils lurking within as well. A little caution goes a long way with what awaits you, but as Inquisitor, you must do what you must in the name of Christ and His eternal glory.

As can be expected with any new game, there might be some form of a tutorial, and given the nature of this third-person release, you'll have it, but it will be drawn out as far as possible. Spacing out the tutorial isn't a bad thing, but you need to fill those gaps with enough interesting story content to keep a player interested. Sadly, The Inquisitor might have slightly missed the mark on this part and there’s not enough interesting content going around to keep you going at first, in turn; making the game feel more like a walking simulator. When you keep in mind that you play the role of an Inquisitor in what looks to be a mostly open world, there has to be a lot more going around than a seemingly linear experience that will only occasionally throw you a bone, but that bone might not always be a bone.

The Inquisitor, Review, Screenshots, Fantasy, Third-Person, Action, NoobFeed

Luckily, the very first mechanic in The Inquisitor comes up quite early, but it's also where you get to see just how lacking the textures in game are; more on this later. The first thing that comes up is that you at least have some control over the conversations, and while there are options, they might not always point to a direct 'good' or ' bad' alignment, so to speak. Instead, it can sometimes boil down between being the bad guy or the really bad guy, but it's all justified since you're working for the church. So, if you're feeling really vindictive and want to ruin a merchant for burning a witch at the stake and doing your job for you, you can choose to simply have him sent to the dungeons for the day and have his son watch his stall.... Or confiscate all of his goods, throw his son in the stocks and leave them both to rot as they are. The joys of the Inquisition, it might not be for everybody, but being able to dish out a little justice can be fun.

Now, where things take a slightly more confusing turn in The Inquisitor is with Prayer for Guidance. That's right if you ever feel lost, just start praying and let Jesus take the wheel. Well, not really, because that would just be so wrong, but your faith will point you in the right direction with an overlay that highlights points of interest and shines a beam of light on current objectives. However, things don't quite make sense when you approach your first shrine and get the prompt to replenish your Prayer Energy at a shrine, but there's no indication of having said Prayer Energy in the first place. So, right off the bat, we have our first strike of confusion on mechanics until you progress through the story a bit more and eventually get to enter the Unworld.

Now, the Unworld isn't exactly sunshine and roses for our Inquisitor, and it's a dark and miserable place that's filled with darkness and Murk. The Murk, in this case, are literally beings of darkness that live in the Unworld; their only objective is to extinguish your holy light as you seek your answers. However, the Unworld might also be the most interesting place in The Inquisitor and, somehow, the most well designed too. Sadly, you can't just make a quick trip to the Unworld on a whim, and you only go there to uncover the truth through a Sanctuary Vision. However, this requires you to hunt down several Shards in the Unworld while surviving the Murk that resides there, too.

The Inquisitor, Review, Screenshots, Fantasy, Third-Person, Action, NoobFeed

Here are a few things to keep in mind when exploring the Unworld when you do get the chance to explore it. The most important one is that your light is also your life; if you let that go out, you die. Next, remember that mention of Prayer Energy? Yeah, you'll need it here because aside from it keeping you alive in the Murk, you'll also need it to guide you to the Shards and protect you from the Murk. Luckily, The Inquisitor doesn't leave you completely in the dark, as there will be Shrines you can use to replenish your Prayer Energy and carry on with your epic quest to get a Sanctuary Vision. However, on the off chance that you can't avoid the Murk, there might not be much you can do about it, but the Murk's brood is easy enough to take down with your trusted sword and some serious button-mashing.

The Inquisitor might have a combat system, but it feels very reminiscent of the first Witcher game right off the bat, though with less hassle, and it feels more trivial than anything else when you need to take down any opponent. You'll have the basic combat loadout like a Light and Heavy attack, along with the block, parry, and dodge movements, but these don't feel all that vital as there's no challenge to most of the fights you'll end up in. You can literally take anything down with a wild flurry of light attacks, and even if they block, they'll eventually lower their guard and you can just keep hammering away at them.

Aside from the Unworld, The Inquisitor does take an interesting turn with a few investigation mechanics. You’ll eventually have to solve the murder of the town’s favorite lady of the night, and it starts with doing an up-close search of her body by looking for abnormalities that could point to clues. This does bring a nice change of pace and gives you a different form of action as he makes his comments and deductions as to what happened, though The Inquisitor might have taken a page from Assassin’s Creed when you need to Eavesdrop on the nearby people to see what they say. However, while you do sit down on a bench to listen in, you don’t exactly just sit there. You’ll enter a first-person view and basically float around to the nearby people and figure out who’s talking to gather more clues.

The Inquisitor, Review, Screenshots, Fantasy, Third-Person, Action, NoobFeed

The Inquisitor has a lot more to offer in terms of lore and exploration, maybe even a few other interesting mechanics that can help drive things forward, but all good things come to those who wait. Even if they take forever to get to, lucky for you, you can use the Journal to catch up on anything you missed or just to see what you’ve picked up or what your quests are looking like. The Inquisitor would have you walking around completely lost without any idea what to do without your Journal nearby to serve as a quest tracker and map. Granted, it really only proves to be useful for the map, and that’s about it.

On the visual side of things, The Inquisitor is far from what you’d expect in this day and age. Nowadays, we get a blast from the past with a fun retro release, or we get a heavily detailed and high-textured masterpiece, but The Inquisitor is neither of these. It might have been intentional, or maybe there’s something else afoot; sadly, you’ll be graced with a not so nicely textured and low-detailed creation that feels like it belongs on much older hardware like a PlayStation 2 or 3. On the other side, it looks like a lot more effort went into the Unworld and even the cutscenes, but everything else is just sad to look at. Again, it might be intentional for a retro feel, or maybe there’s something else going on at The Dusk, so a pinch of salt is recommended.

The Inquisitor does seem to show some polish when it comes to the music and voice acting. Even the narrator in the opening cutscene really lived the part to drive the introduction forward. As you can probably guess, just about every person you speak to is fully voiced, and even your dialogue options follow the same example; all this comes together nicely and helps build a nice atmosphere. Sadly, the lack of visuals doesn’t do the voice acting justice, but there is some fairly decent background music, too, that helps the downward spiral of The Inquisitor.

The Inquisitor, Review, Screenshots, Fantasy, Third-Person, Action, NoobFeed

Overall, The Inquisitor has nearly endless potential to be great, but it’s so damn hard to get into the story, even if is based on a set of stories from a Polish author. It’s got a solid base, interesting mechanics, and brilliant voice acting, but the execution seems to need some work, and this detracts from the game in all the worst ways. However, if you have the patience or several shovels of salt, there is some good intrigue to the story that might keep you interested. Sadly, without a major visual and story overhaul, there might not be much hope for this release.

Jay Claassen (@R3GR3T_3NVY)
Senior Editor, NoobFeed

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General Information

Platform(s): PC, PS5, XBSX, Xbox One
Publisher(s): Kalypso Media
Developer(s): The Dust
Genres: Action, Adventure
Themes: Third-Person, Fantasy
Release Date: 2024-02-08

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