2022 is a big year for Warhammer fans as it marks the 30th anniversary of Space Crusade, the very first video game set in the 40K universe. And the start of one of the longest-running and most prolific franchises in all of gaming.
Thanks to Games Workshop’s willingness to sell licensing rights to virtually anyone who offers them a bit of money, the franchise would eventually end up including dozens of Warhammer 40K video games, some better than others. A LOT better.
Warhammer 40K games have become a bit of a meme in recent years precisely because of how many of them keep popping up on a constant basis. We’re talking several dozens of titles in almost every conceivable genre. And, let’s face it, most of them are pretty bad. Don’t worry, though, because we’re not here to talk about the worst video games of all time. Quite the contrary.
We played through all the titles set in the grim darkness of the far future that we could get our hands on and put together a list of what we consider to be the best Warhammer 40K games of all time. Check it out down below.
16. Warhammer 40,000: Regicide (2015)
Regicide is essentially a modern version of Battle Chess that takes place in the Warhammer 40K universe. Of course, there’s a bit more to it than that as the game features a wide variety of unit models and abilities along with two game modes and even a single-player campaign.
Like all the best Warhammer 40K games, Regicide features fantastic combat animations that turn any engagement between two units into a veritable bloodbath. Unfortunately, you can only play as either Orks or Space Marines. So expect to end up seeing the same animations over and over again after a while.
As far as the two game modes are concerned, you’ve got Classic and the titular Regicide. Classic follows traditional chess rules while Regicide puts an interesting spin on the formula by giving your units abilities and introducing an initiative system. Among other things. You can play the single-player campaign if you want to learn the ropes, but you’ll definitely have more fun battling against human opponents in multiplayer.
15. Warhammer 40,000: Armageddon (2014)
Another 40K title revolving around Orks and the Imperium of Man, Armageddon is a turn-based tactical wargame featuring hundreds of playable units, including towering Titans. You play primarily as the Armageddon Steel Legion of the Imperial Guard. But can also control units from Space Marine chapters like the Salamanders, Blood Angels, and Ultramarines.
The entirety of the game takes place on the titular Armageddon, a hostile but resource-rich planet constantly embroiled in war. In this particular scenario, players get to follow the events taking place before and during the Second War of Armageddon. The campaign closely follows Warhammer 40K lore, so expect to encounter iconic characters like Commissar Yarrick and Commander Dante. The Ork Warboss Ghazghkull Thraka is present as well.
While not very impressive visually, Warhammer 40:000: Armageddon is a solid strategy game with quite a bit of depth and unit variety. It’s a bit hard to recommend at full price but you should definitely check it out on sale. Especially if you’re a fan of 40K or wargames like Panzer General.
14. Warhammer 40,000: Dakka Squadron (2021)
Most Warhammer 40K games are heavily biased towards humans, which makes sense. I guess. However, that inevitably means that the other races are made to look like the bad guys most of the time. If, like us, you’re tired of Space Marines always being in the spotlight, you’ll want to give Dakka Squadron a shot.
Just as its name suggests, this game is all about the Orks. You take on the role of an Ork Flyboy and get to test your piloting skills in insane aerial combat scenarios accompanied by metal music and obligatory Cockney voice acting.
The fact that everything is Ork-themed may end up getting on your nerves if you’re not a fan of the greenskins. But if you are, prepare for a bloody good time and plenty of “dakka dakka dakka!”
13. Warhammer 40,000: Sanctus Reach (2017)
Sanctus Reach is another Warhammer 40K title developed by Slitherine, the same studio that brought us Armageddon. The two are pretty similar in terms of gameplay but Sanctus Reach is overall better in our opinion.
This time around you’re tasked with leading the Space Wolves against hordes of Orks. With Chaos Daemons and Astra Militarum also showing up if you happen to own the required DLC. The scale of Sanctus Reach is a bit smaller compared to Armageddon, but this one is 3D rather than isometric, so you’ll get a better view of the action.
Sanctus Reach features quite a few game modes to choose from. There are multiple single-player campaigns along with multiplayer, a skirmish mode, and a map generator that lets you create custom battles. It’s also cheaper than Armageddon despite being newer. All the more reason to try it out.
12. Battlefleet Gothic: Armada (2016)
Battlefleet Gothic: Armada is an RTS based on the eponymous Warhammer 40K tabletop game. While not without its flaws, this was one of the first Warhammer 40K video games that showcased the true scale of the battles that routinely take place in this universe. Instead of controlling armies on the ground, here you’re leading entire space fleets. And yes, that’s just as epic as it sounds.
The base game features four factions in the form of Chaos, the Imperium, Eldar, and Orks. The Tau Empire and various Space Marines chapters are also available via DLC. In typical RTS fashion, each playable faction comes with its own strengths and weaknesses. Many of which are pretty easy to exploit, for better or worse.
It’s honestly hard to recommend the original Battlefleet Gothic: Armada over its sequel because it’s weaker in pretty much every department. However, it’s still better than a lot of the other Warhammer 40K games out there. This is why we just had to add it to our list.
11. Necromunda: Hired Gun (2021)
Warhammer 40K FPS games are surprisingly rare considering how much time people spend shooting at each other in this universe. Luckily, you do have a couple of shooters to choose from, with Necromunda: Hired Gun being among the best of the bunch.
The game takes place on the titular planet of Necromunda, a gigantic Hive World of the Imperium that’s said to house over 100 billion people. Perhaps unsurprising given the setting, Necromunda is a hive of scum and villainy. It’s also the perfect place for a Hired Gun such as yourself to make some good money by hunting down gang members and mutants.
Necromunda: Hired Gun is often described as DOOM set in Warhammer 40K thanks to its fast-paced and hectic combat system. That, and the heavy metal music that serves to spice up every gunfight. Necromunda: Hired Gun is nowhere near the same level of quality as DOOM in terms of performance and animations, among other things, but it’s still a pretty good FPS to waste a few hours on.
10. Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor – Martyr (2018)
Speaking of pretty good games, next up we have Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor – Martyr, an action RPG that draws more than a little inspiration from the likes of Diablo. There are a few different classes to choose from, each with its own specializations, and most of the gameplay revolves around blasting waves of enemies while filling your inventory with loot.
One feature that sets Inquisitor – Marty apart from most other isometric RPGs is the cover system. Both players and enemies can use the environment to their advantage during combat. In addition, many parts of the environment can be destroyed to open the way for new tactical opportunities.
Inquisitor – Martyr features a story-driven campaign that you can play either solo or with up to three other people. There’s also online PVP if you’re into that sort of thing. The game is technically a live service so expect things like daily quests and seasonal events.
9. Space Hulk: Deathwing – Enhanced Edition (2018)
We’re specifically listing the Enhanced Edition for this one because it’s the only version you can still play right now. That, and because it brings a slew of nice features to the table that was severely lacking from the original.
So what even is Space Hulk: Deathwing? To put it simply, it’s Left 4 Dead (or Vermintide to use a more appropriate comparison) set in Warhammer 40K. You get to play as a badass Terminator as you cleanse a huge derelict starship, commonly known as a Space Hulk, of xeno filth. The game is dark, claustrophobic, and difficult to the point where one might (rightfully) consider it unfair. Especially in single-player.
Like any other game in this genre, the best way to enjoy Space Hulk: Deathwing is by playing co-op. And, ideally, playing with people you know and can easily communicate with. The game is clearly intended to be played with friends and can be quite frustrating otherwise.
8. Warhammer 40,000: Battlesector (2021)
Battlesector is one of the newest Warhammer 40K games on this list and yet another entry published by Slitherine. It’s a pretty traditional TBS that refines and polishes a lot of the gameplay elements we’ve seen in Armageddon and Sanctus Reach. It doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel and it doesn’t have to because all 40K fans want is a faithful adaptation of the tabletop. This one comes pretty damn close.
The story centers around the Blood Angels and their campaign to purge their homeworld of Tyranids. This is very much a story-driven game. But you can also engage in skirmish battles and online PvP once you’re done with the single-player campaign.
Much like previous Slitherine projects, Battlesector is likely to get progressively better in the months and years to come. The only playable factions currently available are Blood Angels and Tyranids. But the developers are working on also bringing Necrons and other factions to the game. Along with new game modes, maps, multiplayer tournament support, and more.
7. Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate – Daemonhunters (2022)
If you like both Warhammer 40K and XCOM games you won’t be disappointed by what Chaos Gate – Daemonhunters has to offer. Released back in early May, Daemonhunter is a turn-based tactics game with RPG elements that centers around the Grey Knights and their fight against the forces of Chaos.
The fact that you get to lead a squad of Grey Knights is already a big selling point since we don’t have a lot of Warhammer 40K games that feature the beloved faction. Your squad is comprised of four champions, each with his own class, skills, abilities, and customization options. The customization system isn’t the best we’ve ever seen but it gets the job done.
A lot of talented people contributed to the development of Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate – Daemonhunters, including renowned composer Doyle W. Donehoo, Black Library author Aaron Dembski-Bowden, and the one and only Andy Serkis. Yes, you read that right, Andy Serkis is in this and he voices Grand Master Vardan Kai.
Daemonhunters didn’t have the best launch and a lot of players are still a bit disappointed by the game’s current state. I recommend waiting a few more weeks before trying this one out. The game shows a lot of promise but still needs a few more updates and possibly some DLC before it can reach its full potential. It’s definitely above average even at this stage, though.
6. Warhammer 40,000: Gladius – Relics of War (2018)
Gladius – Relics of War is not only one of the best Warhammer 40K games around, it’s also one of the best 4X games. The title features all the staples of the genre, including hex-based combat, randomly-generated maps, resource gathering, city management, and more.
Warhammer 40K: Gladius – Relics of War only featured four playable factions at launch but that roster has more than doubled in the years since. In addition to the original Space Marines, Imperial Guard, Orks, and Necrons factions, you can now also lead into battle armies of Tau, Tyranids, Eldar, Chaos, and Adeptus Mechanicus.
Unit variety has always been a major feature of Warhammer 40K. Having so many playable factions to choose from is definitely a big selling point. Granted, half of them are locked behind DLC but that’s pretty common for 4X games.
5. Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 2 (2019)
Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 2 takes everything we loved about the original and builds upon it to create something truly spectacular. The battles are bigger and more dramatic than before and you have all 12 factions from the original tabletop at your disposal.
This time around there are three single-player campaigns you can check out – Tyranids, Necrons, and the Imperium. Plus, a fourth campaign centered around Chaos if you’re willing to spend $10 on the DLC that unlocks it. The campaigns aren’t particularly great in terms of pacing, However, they more than make up for that with sheer spectacle and destruction on a galactic scale. Armada 2 uses Unreal Engine 4 so expect battles to look epic all the time.
Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 2 has the distinction of being the first video game taking place in the ‘Gathering Storm’ setting. If you’re big into Warhammer 40K lore, you’ll find a lot to love here in terms of how the setting is portrayed.
4. Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus (2018)
Mechanicus is what happens when you combine an XCOM-like Warhammer 40K game with a dungeon crawler and add some RPG elements into the mix. The game benefits not only from solid gameplay design but also a fantastic soundtrack and superb writing courtesy of Black Library author Ben Counter.
Warhammer 40K: Mechanicus tells the story of an Adeptus Mechanicus expedition on Silva Tenebris, a long-lost Tomb World that has only recently been rediscovered by the Imperium. As Magos Dominus Faustinius, you are charged with leading this expedition and recovering technology that the planet’s inhabitants, the Necrons, would rather not part with.
In addition to your main squad comprised of powerful tech-priests, the game also gives you access to all sorts of servitors, gadgets, abilities, and other toys to play around with. The Adeptus Mechanicus usually take a backseat to Space Marines and Imperial Guard in Warhammer 40K games. It’s nice to finally see the Cult of the Machine shine in all its technological glory for once.
3. Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War Ii (2009)
Relic Entertainment’s decision to change Dawn of War from a traditional RTS to a squad-based RPG was not embraced by diehard fans of the original. However, those who ended up giving Dawn of War II a chance found that the game has a lot to offer. And is, in some ways, even better than its predecessor.
This time around you take control of a small but extremely capable squad of units as you battle your way through Sub-Sector Aurelia as one of several factions. The base game only lets you play as the Space Marines in single-player, but you can access five additional campaigns thanks to the Retribution expansion. Each campaign features unique playable characters, abilities, gear, and more.
Dawn of War II is hands-down one of the best Warhammer 40K games to play in co-op. You can go through all the six campaigns together with a friend or bring along two buddies for The Last Stand. This is a great cooperative survival mode where you face off against waves of enemies. Unfortunately, you probably won’t find many people still playing The Last Stand these days. And that’s a real shame because it was easily one of the best parts of the game.
2. Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine (2011)
Space Marine does a fantastic job at making you feel like an absolute badass while you’re cleaving hordes of enemies with your chainsword. The game is unapologetically brutal and doesn’t waste any time trying to ease you into this universe. You’ll be covered in Ork blood from head to toe just a few minutes into the game. And things only ramp up from there.
This game is a testament to the fact that even the most boring Space Marine chapter, the Ultramarines, is capable of unspeakable carnage. In the name of the Emperor, of course. Warhammer 40K: Space Marine is visceral from start to finish and while the combat can get a bit repetitive at times, it never gets boring. But if you do manage to somehow get bored, there’s always the multiplayer.
10 years after its initial launch, SEGA released Space Marine – Anniversary Edition, a free upgrade that comes with a bunch of new goodies and content. More recently, during TGA 2021 we finally got our first look at Space Marine 2, the long-awaited sequel that’s hopefully going to land in 2022 or 2023 at the latest.
1. Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War (2004)
If you’re a long-time fan of Warhammer 40K games you probably saw this one coming a mile away. The original Dawn of War is many people’s favorite 40K game and it’s easy to see why. Dawn of War gets everything right about 40K. From the strategical gameplay elements and lore-accurate unit models to the grimdark atmosphere and dramatic storytelling. The game even has an army painter, a feature that’s somehow still missing from most 40K titles. Despite being crucial to the tabletop game.
One of the other things we really appreciate about Dawn of War is the fact that it dumbs down the traditional RTS formula just enough to make it accessible to everyone. Things like base-building and resource gathering are simpler compared to what you can find in more fast-paced RTS games like Starcraft. Meanwhile, managing armies is nowhere near as demanding and doesn’t require godlike micro since you’re moving around squads (mostly) rather than individual units.
Those may seem like drawbacks to some but they are actually some of the game’s biggest strengths. Not having to worry too much about the RTS elements means you can afford to sit back and actually enjoy the battles. And you’ll find yourself doing that often because Dawn of War has some of the best animations and kill moves ever seen in a strategy game. Seeing two gigantic monsters duel to the death surrounded by swarms of smaller units is a feast for the eyes.
If you’re looking to give Dawn of War a chance, which we highly recommend, make sure to also grab the expansions. Dark Crusade, in particular, is an excellent addition to the game while Winter Assault and Soulstorm have quite a bit to offer as well.
If you enjoyed this list make sure to check out some of our other ones down below.