The Warhammer 40,000 universe is one of the most interesting fictional settings of the future, which has gone far beyond the “board games” for which it was created in the 80s of the last century. Unfortunately, although a lot of W40K video games have been released in recent decades, they are less fortunate in terms of quality than “games in the Star Wars universe”.
However, among the dozens of games under the Games Workshop license, you can still find quality projects that will appeal to both Warhammer fans and players unfamiliar with this unique universe. Given the source material, it is quite natural that these are mostly strategy games, but other genres can also be found here.
Despite its respectable age, the real-time strategy game Dawn of War II is still considered one of the best games in the W40K universe. Unlike the first part, the sequel completely lost the base building, focusing on the actual combat mechanics. Dawn of War II received two major add-ons – Chaos Rising and Retribution – and a certain amount of DLC. The game has very favorable reviews on Steam and currently has a higher number of simultaneous players than Dawn of War III, which was released 8 years later in 2017.
A dynamic third-person action game in which the player takes on the role of a space marine from the Ultramarine Order fighting against the orc invasion and the forces of Chaos. The game had spectacular and bloody close combat, fast gameplay, and very high-quality graphics for its time. More than a decade after its release, Space Marine is still one of the very few high-quality action games in this universe, so it’s no surprise that the game still has its own army of fans. By the way, in 2021, it received a free Anniversary Edition update, which includes all released DLC, soundtrack, etc.
Space Hulk: Tactics (2018)
The game is in a more traditional Warhammer 40,000 genre than the previous Space Marine. Space Hulk: Tactics is a turn-based tactics game based on the Space Hulk board game and focuses on clearing out piles of abandoned spaceships. As in the board game, the video game allows you to play both as a space marine clearing abandoned corridors and as his opponent, the tyrannical genestealers spacemen.
A turn-based 4X strategy game with a hexagonal map, the events take place on the planet Gladius, where the player can control one of four races – Imperial Guard, Space Marines, Orcs, and Necrons. In terms of game mechanics, Gladius – Relics of War can be considered an analogue of Civilization, but with the nuances of the W40K universe: the game completely lacks diplomacy.
The game is in the action/RPG genre, which is unusual for the universe: Inquisitor – Martyr is a kind of Diablo clone, with a typical camera placement and almost classic gameplay. The player takes on the role of the Inquisitor, who goes to explore an abandoned battleship in the Caligari sector (designed specifically for this game). Inquisitor – Martyr features different classes, the use of shelters by both the player and his opponents, the ability to destroy the environment and, traditionally for a lore game, the choice between puritanical and radical behavior of the Inquisitor.
Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus (2018)
Turn-based tactics in which the player controls a unit of Adeptus Mechanicus, a cult of cybernetic warrior priests. Techno-adepts of Mechanicus search for and preserve sacred knowledge and create advanced technologies of the Imperium. Gameplay-wise, Mechanicus battles are similar to another popular turn-based tactics game, the legendary XCOM series.
Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 2 (2019)
A real-time space tactical strategy game, a computer adaptation of the tabletop Battlefleet Gothic. This is a spinoff of the main Warhammer 40,000 series that focuses on space battles, and the “miniatures” here are not recreations of ground armies with their soldiers and equipment, but spaceships. Armada 2 offers three storyline campaigns (for the Tyranids, Necrons, and Imperium) and all 12 factions from the original game.
Turn-based tactics that looks like the most authentic adaptation of a board game: move units of the Blood Angels Legion around the map’s “squares” and try to destroy the tyranid armies. Initially, the game was criticized for the small amount of content, but later the developer released several add-ons, and now Battlesector has 90% positive reviews on Steam.
Necromunda: Hired Gun (2021)
Necromunda: Hired Gun is probably the worst game in this selection, but it is, firstly, a rare representative of the first-person shooter genre for W40K, and secondly, we don’t play as space marines in it, which is also not very common. The game is based on the Necromunda board game, in which the player controls a bandit in the slums of a beehive city on the planet of the same name and participates in street battles with other gangs. Necromunda: Hired Gun is a linear story-based single-player shooter with nothing outstanding to offer, but fans of the universe will be interested to see a fairly high-quality image of the hive city locations.
Warhammer 40,000: Darktide (2022)
Another first-person shooter set in a hive city, but this time it’s a session-based multiplayer game. Darktide (see our review) was created by the developers of the successful Vermintide series in the fantasy Warhammer and looks like an attempt to repeat the success, but in the W40K world. Unfortunately, the attempt was not very successful, and the game was heavily criticized after its release. Nevertheless, the developer continued to support it, and now, a year after its release, its rating on Steam has increased significantly: 83% of positive reviews over the last month versus 66% over the entire period.
A single-player turn-based tactics game with role-playing elements, this time about the Order of the Gray Knights, which opposes the forces of Chaos. The game is a reboot of 1998’s Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate and offers complex gameplay with base modernization, construction of new facilities, research of new technologies and combat missions in different worlds. Fans of the Warhammer book series will be interested to know that the story of Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate – Daemonhunters was written by the famous author of Black Library – Aaron Demsky-Bowden.
Warhammer 40,000: Boltgun (2023)
A single-player first-person boomer shooter with graphics and gameplay that mimic classic shooters of the 90s. Boltgun is very similar to a mix of the original DOOM and Quake: the same fast gameplay, non-stop fire, and a lot of enemies that fly in bloody pieces in front of the protagonist, but we play not as an unnamed marine, but as a space marine from the Ultramarine Legion. The game even has a plot, and its events take place a few years after Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine.