The Inquisitor Review

I love Kalypso as a publisher. Most famous for their Tropico series, they also have a can-do attitude when it comes to scrappy/janky third-person action games. The most delightful being The First Templar. Never good, but always entertaining. I eagerly await Kalypso‘s release schedule to see what they might generate.

You can imagine, it was very difficult to resist playing The Inquisitor. Developed by a Polish team, based on a series of novels about an alternate timeline inquisitor and looking like a perfect installment in this publisher’s lineage.

Going in blind to The Inquisitor was an utter delight, as it starts with an animated cutscene that is succinctly depicted in the gif on its Steam page. Basically, Jesus didn’t die on the cross. Instead, once he has been nailed to the posts, he decided that this wasn’t how he wanted to go out and rips off the cross and proceeds to smite all nonbelievers.

Thus, the alternate timeline bible talks of how forgiveness is a sin, and Jesus the unmerciful preaches the strength of killing anyone who gets in your way.

This setup is done in a deadly serious tone, and it had me grinning from ear-to-ear. The game then put me in the shoes of Mordimer Madderdin, an Inquisitor several hundred years later. Walking into the town of Koenigstein, Mordimer is on the trail of a vampire. Along the way he ends up investigating murders, corruption, and religious weirdoes.

The game is a mish mash of different gameplay mechanics. Set in a semi-open world, there are dialogue trees to go through where Mordimer gets to choose between pious, or murderously pious, some sword fighting, some eavesdropping, some stealth, and some quick time events.

Most of this is performed in Koenigstein itself, but Mordimer has a connection with a place called the Unworld. It is a dark place controlled by murk that allows him to discover extra information about suspects and witnesses.

The setting looks great. Koenigstein is a dirty, labyrinthine city. It feels lived in as each section intersects with the other – be it the boggy docks, the bustling market, or the imperious religious sector – I could practically taste sewage.

With environmental art this strong I was saddened to see that the character models don’t have the same flourish. Mordimer looks ‘okay’ but almost every other character in the game looks like a melted wax character. It doesn’t help that the voice acting alternates between ‘very strong’ and ‘I think this was someone’s friend that had a spare minute’.

With so many close ups of these character models it is fortuitous that the writing is strong. I did giggle at first, but The Inquisitor plays the setup of a wrathful God with such a straight face that it won me over. The world building lends itself well to just the worst people I’ve ever met, and it pulled me into the central mystery of politics and religion. This also means that each choice the player can make feeling more congruent with the outlook of Mordimer. At one point I let a child take an arrow to the chest and that wasn’t out of place. 2024, with Rogue Trader getting updates and this title, truly feels like the year of the ‘believable miscreant’. Making mean choices don’t feel like wrong choices.

To top it all off The Inquisitor has that janky combat I love from Kalypso published titles, but it is surprisingly restraint with the gameplay leaning more on exploration and deduction than fisticuffs. The story is given time to breathe and it really, really, works.

The Inquisitor is not going to win any awards, it is a little uneven in terms of quality, but there is an intent here that surprised me. I would love to see this developer get a second shot at this franchise with a bigger budget, and hopefully some better voice actors.


A strong start to a potential franchise. Excellent environment art, compelling world and story, The Inquisitor just needs a little more polish in other areas.

This game was reviewed based on Xbox S|X review code, using an Xbox S|X console. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by publisher.

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  • I love being a douchebag in this game
  • Every time Mordimer quotes the alternate bible
  • Beautifully ugly world
  • The story is straight faced and it works
  • Character models could do with some love
  • Voice acting is hit-and-miss
Written by
AJ Small is a games industry veteran, starting in QA back in 2004. He currently walks the earth in search of the tastiest/seediest drinking holes as part of his attempt to tell every single person on the planet that Speedball 2 and The Chaos Engine are the greatest games ever made. He can be found on twitter (@badgercommander), where he welcomes screenshots of Dreamcast games and talk about Mindjack, just don’t mention that one time he was in Canada.

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