40K: The ‘Must Play’ Video Games Of The Grimdark
For decades Games Workshop has been licensing out their IP for video games – Here are the ones you should play!
We’re going back through the catalog of 40k video games and picking a handful of them that really captured the essence of the Grimdark. Some of these games are classics, and some are relatively new to the field – but all of them are worth booting up if you can get a copy!
Final Liberation is a Turn-based tactical game that lived up to the Warhammer 40,000 brand. This was the first time GW, and it’s partner really nailed the feel of the Grimdark universe. It was based on EPIC, and you got to play around with Titans and lots of the “big toys” from the universe as the Imperium faced off against the Orks. It did a pretty solid job of recreating the tabletop experience on PC. It’s not the prettiest game out there, but it’s at least tactically challenging and an engaging game.
Hey, do you like XCOM? Do you enjoy the Grimdark? Well, Chaos Gate was the tactical combat of XCOM set in the 40k universe, and it worked very well! It’s a tactical turn-based game built on top of a grid system. Players would move their squad around and face off against progressively more difficult Chaos Worshippers. Along the way, you could get better gear and options for your Squad. I remember sinking many hours into this game and while it’s graphics are clearly a product of 1998, the gameplay still holds up!
The OG Space Hulk video game was (and still is) the most stressful iteration of Space Hulk ever created for the digital realm. This game was a mix of real-time and turn-based gameplay but being able to pause to issue commands was hardly a reprieve. Space Hulk had a player take control of up to 5 Terminators as they marched through a Space Hulk in an attempt to complete objectives. I don’t think any other Grimdark game recreated the claustrophobic atmosphere and heart-pounding stress that this one was able to do. If you were able to beat this game without cheating, we tip our hats to you!
Dawn of War II along with the subsequent expansions did a great job of capturing the vibe of the Grimdark. This Real-time strategy game really expanded the appeal of 40k to the masses. It built on top of the first game in the series, but it controversially removed the base-building aspects of the game. The stream-lined gameplay focused more on cover and movement than micromanaging the home base. The campaign felt more like a protracted skirmish game than your more traditional turn-based strategy games. This game also had CO-OP for the campaign which was nice. Plus it had a Skirmish mode that allowed for the more traditional TBS style battles. DoWII is an excellent addition to any game library!
Battlefleet Gothic: Armada II took the concepts and groundwork laid down with the first game and really improved on those systems in this second iteration. On top of that, there were 12 factions at launch for this version of the game! As a sequel to the first game, it has multiplayer support, ship customization, and improved game – so, if you enjoyed the first game, then you’re going to like the improvements made in this version.
The game takes place in and around the events of the 13th Black Crusade and the Gathering Storm story-line from the modern era of 40k. It puts the player right in the middle of the story, and you get to command your ships in epic space battles in real-time. If you’ve ever wanted to participate in the battles of the Imperial Navy or face down the Hive Fleets of the Tyranids – this game is for you!
There are so many more 40k video games out there it’s hard to keep track – plus more are in development all the time. Let us know your favorites in the comments! (Also, Space Marine – RIP. That game was awesome.)