Once upon a time, Games Workshop's darling tabletop space opera only rarely dipped its toes into digital territory. But today, in the grim darkness of the year 2019, the world's leading purveyor of miniaturized warfare seems to be playing it really fast and loose with the licensing. This has resulted in a lot of questionable titles, to be frank. But the silver lining is that it's resulted in just as many great ones.
With the library of Warhammer 40,000 video games steadily growing by the year, it can't be said that fans of the universe don't have options these days. But how many of them are actually worth playing? The list below is a great place to start. Here are the ten Warhammer 40,000 video games that did the fandom proud.
10 Fire Warrior
It might be surprising to see the list start here. After all, Fire Warrior really isn't the greatest in terms of FPS games. But in terms of Warhammer 40,000 titles, it's far from the shabbiest.
Beyond the novelty of getting to play as a Tau soldier, boots-on-the-ground style, it really needs to be noted how well they represented the iconic Space Marine bolter. Inaccurately depicted as a sort of machine gun in most games, the heavy weapon actually lobs massive, high explosive shells, and it certainly feels that way in Fire Warrior.
9 Inquisitor - Martyr
Inquisitor - Martyr makes for a fun and accessible Diablo clone with a nice Warhammer 40,000 paintjob. It offers three different classes to master, solid multiplayer functionality and plenty of heretics to chop up or shoot to bits.
However, a Diablo clone is precisely what players are getting, and little more. The mechanics that make it unique (such as the cover system) fall a little flat, and the pricetag is pretty exorbitant for what it is. Still a wonderful title to pick up on sale for Warhammer fans, though.
8 Dawn of War III
Dawn of War III had quite a bit of hype funneled into it. From the epic teaser trailer to the much desired return to a large-scale base building RTS format, things were looking good and fans seemed to be in for a real treat.
Though what they got was a pretty decent game, the awkward fusion of the first two Dawn of War titles felt a little ungainly. Reviews were mixed and tending towards average, which seems fitting. It may have not been the game fans expected, but it does beat out a great many of the alternatives.
7 Space Hulk: Vengeance of the Blood Angels
It wasn't the first digital adaptation of Space Hulk, nor was it the last. Most of them revolve around the same base concept and gameplay elements, but Vengeance of the Blood Angels was among the earliest successful iterations of Warhammer 40,000 in video games.
Pitting Space Marines armored in cumbersome terminator gear against stealthy and agile genestealers, reviewers praised the heavy atmosphere and tense, strategic gameplay.
6 Dawn of War
Dawn of War was a remarkably good RTS. The full catalog of expansions adds an impressive multitude of factions, units, and campaigns to play with, the visuals looked a lot like the tabletop miniatures brought to life, and the army painter was a radical feature.
There were a few drawbacks, such as the Soulstorm expansion practically breaking the game with balancing issues. The writing that went into the campaigns is a mixed bag, ranging from delightfully ham-fisted to thoroughly cringe-inducing. Allll things considered, though, it's a great title that is essential for any fan of the 40k universe.
5 Space Marine
The trials and tribulations of Ultramarine Captain Titus don't make for a perfect game, but Relic Entertainment managed to do a lot more right than they did wrong here. The melee combat is incredibly meaty and visceral, effectively conveying the might of a chainsword or thunder hammer in close quarters and providing some real eye candy during executions.
The plot isn't particularly strong, but it isn't bad either, and is more than made up for with the combat system. The only real downsides are the questionable AI, clunky shooting mechanics, and a multiplayer component that could've had a lot more done with it.
4 Battlefleet Gothic: Armada
Probably the most visually impressive entry on this list, Battlefleet Gothic takes the player into space and puts them in control of their chosen faction's spacefaring armada. The ship-to-ship combat looks nothing short of spectacular, and devoted 40k fans are likely to be delighted by the attention to detail and extensive ship customization options.
However, that very depth of the game can prove convoluted for some players, being somewhat micromanagement intensive. The game's limited mission variety can wear thin pretty quick too. That said, players are going to have a great time before that becomes an issue.
3 Space Hulk: Deathwing
A decidedly different take on the typical Space Hulk adventure, Deathwing is a marriage of elements that seem totally meant for one another, borrowing the cooperative horde survival elements of games like Left 4 Dead and grafting them onto the Warhammer 40,000 universe.
The result is a satisfyingly violent romp through some abandoned space junk alongside the Dark Angels' toughest terminators, burning, blasting and hacking through a legion of genestealers all the while. To say the experience is "gratifying" is a woeful understatement.
2 Battlefleet Gothic: Armada II
Armada II is a fairly straightforward sequel. It does everything that Battlefleet: Gothic Armada did, but it does it bigger, and does it better. Successfully blending the micromanagement and more "broad strokes" strategic gameplay a little more smoothly than its predecessor, Armada II has shaped up to be a bit more accessible than the original.
The key phrasing there is a bit, as the game's still got a steep learning curve, and the missions themselves can be a little hit and miss. It's still a great deal of fun and incredibly engrossing, if a little involved, and the visuals are predictably outstanding.
1 Dawn of War II
The sequel to Dawn of War took the series in a new direction that was somewhat divisive among the fans, but ultimately revitalized the formula for the better. Fusing its RTS elements with the tactical, squad-based focus of games like Company of Heroes and doing away with base building, the result was a tighter, much more action-oriented title.
The models looked cooler, the writing was better, the campaign was more engrossing, and the multiplayer was much more competitive. Dawn of War II was a clear improvement over its predecessor, and that's before even considering its addictive mini-MOBA add on, The Last Stand, which totally seals the deal.