So, you want to know about the best Warhammer 40K games? While Games Workshop’s licensing history has been a bit sporadic, the grim darkness of the far future is one place the company has consistently experimented with regarding digital adaptations.
It should be no surprise to fans that the best Warhammer 40K games ever made are from aeons ago. Still, after a brief wobbly spell in the middle, we’re finally getting some decent digital grimdark adaptations of the physical tabletop game that come close to the quality of those classics. Genre variety is a big thing here as we’re also being treated to space games and even action-adventure RPG games. We’re not here to highlight our ancient battle brothers of 40K games of yore – they’ve had their time in the sun. Instead, we want to highlight the best Warhammer 40K games that have been released in more recent times.
These are the best Warhammer 40K games:
- Warhammer 40,000: Darktide
- Space Marine
- Space Hulk Tactics
- Warhammer 40,000: Gladius – Relics of War
- Battlefleet Gothic Armada 2
- Dawn of War
- Warhammer 40,000: Battlesector
- Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor – Martyr
- Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate – Daemonhunter
Warhammer 40,000: Darktide
If splatting rats in the Vermintide Warhammer games isn’t quite the smiting you had in mind, you’ll be pleased to know that you can now purge heretics and mutants in the name of the God-Emperor in a late challenger to some of the best PC games of 2022, Warhammer 40,000: Darktide.
The latest Fat Shark game follows pretty much the same structure as its fantasy-flavoured Left 4 Dead-like predecessors but infests it with the grimdark universe where Warhammer 40K takes place. So instead of magic users, you have Psykers that are in tune with the Warp, while other choosable Darktide classes include heretic-slicing Zealots, former Imperial Guardsmen Veterans, and colossal Ogryns. So if you’re looking for a decent 40K co-op game, this might be a good one for you – make sure you use the best Darktide weapons while you’re at it.
The release of Space Marine came amidst the growing hype around third-person shooters thanks to Gears of Wars’ glorious ascent. But when the PR buzz phrase is “You are the cover”, you know you’re in for a special time. This is one of Relic’s hidden gems that offers a surprisingly robust Space Marine power fantasy where you live up to the one-man army mythos surrounding the Adeptus Astartes.
It is also quite clever in letting the player, who assumes the role of Ultramarine Captain Titus, stand out despite being from the most on-brand Astartes chapter. There are no good guys in the grim darkness of the far future, but the Ultramarines are the closest you’ll get. We were excited to learn that a Space Marine 2 is on the way and look forward to discovering more.
Space Hulk Tactics
The history of Space Hulk digital adaptations has been rocky, to say the least, which is why Space Hulk Tactics is a very welcome surprise in that it’s quite good. It follows the design of the original tabletop game more closely, offering a slick, fresh turn-based tactics experience.
It’s not perfect, but there’s no denying that this is the best Space Hulk game on the market and a pretty great strategy board game adaptation.
Another one worth checking out is Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus, another tactical game that swaps out Genestealers for Necrons and Space Marine Terminators for the Adeptus Mechanicus – the grumpy nerds and IT supports of the Warhammer 40,000 universe.
Warhammer 40,000: Gladius – Relics of War
In the long history of things that nobody asked for, I’d say a ‘Civilization-but-it’s-Warhammer-40K’ is high up the list. Gladius is a 4X game that strips out diplomacy, trade, and other niceties and keeps it focused on the setting’s core purpose – war.
It’s pretty good, all things considered. Most of the 40K roster is present now via DLC packs, and they all have a varied playstyle which means even though all you can do is fight each other, you at least have a different way of going about it. It’s not just about fighting AI or human opponents either – the early game sees you struggle against local alien wildlife as you try to exert dominance over the planet Gladius.
Battlefleet Gothic Armada 2
While some elements of the original Battlefleet Gothic Armada game were arguably better, Armada 2 gets to claim the top spot as it has received much more love and support, with every significant 40K faction represented during the game’s launch. Inspired (but not a direct translation) by Games Workshops’ tabletop fleet-based tabletop game of the same name, Armada is an RTS game where you command fleets of grimdark warships and fight it out in space.
There are three dynamic campaigns, one each for the Tyranids, Necrons, and the Imperium. There are also some neat persistence elements across single-player and multiplayer where you can take the same ships in battle and have them earn experience. Apart from that, it has a very bombastic aura, making it one of the finest space naval warfare games on the market, as well as a great 40K game to boot.
Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War
The undisputed king of Warhammer 40K games remains Relic’s masterpiece in the original Dawn of War. Based on the award-winning Company of Heroes format of real-time tactics games, it allows you to experience the visceral, bombastic action of the far future in gritty tactical action. The original release featured Orks, Space Marines, Chaos Marines, and Eldar. Over time, expansions added factions such as the Imperial Guard, T’au, Necrons, Dark Eldar, and even the Sisters of Battle as additional playable races via expansions.
While the original game followed Company of Heroes’ model of linear missions for its campaign, the later spin-offs would experiment with campaign meta-layers, with Soulstorm seeing you fight over an entire system. Dawn of War got two sequels that were drastically different to the original, and if we’re honest, they’re pretty good games, but we much prefer the first.
Warhammer 40,000: Battlesector
Despite our guarded Battlesector review, this is on the list for two key reasons. Firstly, between the points-based army setup, the wargear options, and the turn-based design, this is an excellent distillation of the tabletop game. Secondly, if you like Space Marines and Space Marine (above) wasn’t enough, this does make you feel very good about everyone’s favourite 40K faction.
Fighting against the Tyranids on a moon orbiting the Blood Angel’s homeworld; while it’s not especially taxing, it does immerse you in the power fantasy of Games Workshop’s golden boys in a way that only Dawn of War has managed previously. The technical foundations of this game are solid, but it needs better scenarios and – ultimately – more factions for it to come into its own. Thankfully, the Necrons have arrived to ruin everyone’s day via the Warhammer game’s first faction expansion, and we can’t wait to see who else appears.
Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor – Martyr
What if you take Diablo, but it’s Warhammer 40,000? Inquisitor – Martyr is a rough and ready action RPG that sends you to the Caligari sector, far from the Emperor’s grace and in dire need of an Inquisitor to straighten things out with some good ol’ fashioned hack-and-slashing.
You can play the game solo or co-op with up to three other players, and there are three classes you can choose from. There’s also a battle barge’s worth of micro-DLC packs that offer extra missions and other things to keep you entertained. These minor expansions support all of the free content updates Inquisitor – Martyr has had since its release in 2018 and is, overall, a refreshing departure from the kinds of Warhammer games we typically get.
Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate – Daemonhunters
A surprisingly fun turn-based strategy game based on one of 40K’s most humourless chapters, this is an XCOM-like tactics game where a small group of perpetually outnumbered Grey Knights take on never-ending tides of Nurgle.
Daemonhunters’ greatest strengths don’t come from its satisfying management interfaces or chaotic tactical battles, however, but from the fact that it manages to condense some very dense lore and mechanics into an experience that’s readable and surprisingly efficient at teaching the player how to play the game. As our Chaos Gate – Daemonhunters review shows, there are some rough edges to iron out, but this is a surprisingly good Warhammer 40K game that takes an easy spot on this list.
Those are the best Warhammer 40K games on PC. There are more interesting projects on the horizon, so we imagine more faces may appear on this list in due course. In the meantime, do check out some excellent management games if you’re into planning less violent endeavours.