RPG Codex is a little later to the party with their review of Cinemax's blast from the past RPG, Inquisitor, but that hasn't stopped the notoriously critical RPG site from coming out with a lengthy review of the game. Penned by community member Mrowak, the detailed article discusses just about every facet of the game for those who are still on the fence about it. Unsurprisingly, it's a pretty negative piece overall, but also praises many of the details, like story and world design.
Quests - their composition, structure and the (lack of) mechanics that would underlie them - is another area where Inquisitor does not live up to its promise. On the positive side, it must be admitted that the game features a large amount of content: there are plenty of side quests and the main quest is fairly complex, with a lot of avenues and dead ends. Quests often overlap, creating a feeling of seamlessness and consistency, which reinforces the atmosphere of the gameworld. All these positives, however, can be attributed not to the gameplay, but to the solid foundation laid down by the setting.
Unfortunately, they are not reflected well in any actual mechanics. To begin with, the quest structure is devoid of logic. On receiving an investigation quest, the player’s job boils down to approaching everyone in town who has a name tag (nameless NPCs are only there for the filler). There is usually no crime scene, no suspects, no witnesses - it is just your PC speaking to random named people about the case in the hope that someone somewhere might make a vague remark as to the whereabouts of a suspect or an item. Even when there is a crime scene, your involvement with it comes down to finding a MacGuffin and then running around the town showing it to everyone. In the course of your inquiry you will inevitably come across other quests, which will again force you to ask even more people about even more things. This dramatically increases the amount of backtracking that is completely random in its nature - pretty much the worst kind of fedex quest system.
Combat in Inquisitor is such an excruciatingly uninspired and painful affair that one cannot help but be baffled by the approach the developers took. The first point where their design decisions must be questioned is character progression and how poorly it fits the hack and slash framework adopted by the game. Despite that 90% of the skills and all character attributes have a bearing on precisely this aspect of gameplay, there is little doubt that their implementation was not thought through well enough, resulting in a serious imbalance between classes, abilities and - most confusing of all - gameplay mechanics they are supposed to be utilized in.
The first hours of Inquisitor visibly favor the Paladin and Rogue classes due to their focus on dealing high physical damage and their lower threshold for weapon and armor specialization (in comparison to the schools of magic), which allows them to take advantage of better equipment earlier on. In contrast, playing the Priest class is at first full of hardships. As the game progresses the tables turn and the Priest becomes a juggernaut of destruction whereas the Paladin has a hard time staying alive, with some enemies capable of taking him down in literally less than a second. That kind of difficulty curve may not be a negative in itself, but when it leads to such a huge disproportion of power between classes over great chunks of the game it can only contribute to a sense of tedium.
Several of these thoughts echo our own review of the game from about a month ago, if you'd like to see our take on it.