If you’re unfamiliar with RPGs but want to explore the genre of gaming, a Warhammer 40,000 Rogue Trader review might be exactly what you’re looking for. Inspired by a table-top miniature wargame designed by Games Workshop, Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader by Owlcat Games has found great success since its release on December 7, 2023. Fans of the original Warhammer will tell you that the game is full of mystery and intrigue and approaches space wars like nothing else does and they’re right, the dark charm of Warhammer can be hard to recreate. 

From our first impressions of Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader, we can tell you that the game is designed for those familiar with the universe, itching to revisit the experience on a new platform. This, however, does not mean someone unfamiliar with the game’s history cannot play. The story, setting, and characters take inspiration from the original but the gameplay involves just as much learning for you as it would a person who has played the tabletop before. The game was released for Windows, macOS, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X and Series S in December so there are multiple platforms for you to experience the game when you’re ready.

Warhammer 40K Rogue Trader impressions

Image: Presenting Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader by Owlcat Games

A Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader Review To Get You Ready For Some Action

Are RPGs a niche genre? They used to be, but the gaming segment has evolved considerably to include games you may not have placed in the genre yourself. The blend of RPGs with, say an action-adventure theme, has become increasingly common and we’re seeing a wider variety of games adopt the tag without any true explanation of what exactly makes it an RPG. We’re not purists and we love the amalgamation of RPGs with other genres, but it is still a delight to see a genuine paper-and-pen RPG mold itself into an online game.

Other WH40K video games in the past have been designed for action and strategy, but Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader is the first adaptation into a computer role-playing game. If it isn’t already obvious, our Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader review is going to largely favor the game and all its intricacies.

Reviewing the Warhammer 40K Game Setting

At the heart of it, Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader is a space fantasy game where you navigate the Koronus Expanse on your voidship, battling off the many dangers that lurk outside, and perhaps inside, your ride. Filled with complex characters who hide dark and desolate pasts and presents, the game is not designed for the weak. As a privateer, or more specifically a Rogue Trader, in the empire of the ominously named Imperium of Man, you are tasked with the behemoth task of sailing forth into the Koronus Expanse and determining the fate of the worlds and cultures you discover on your journey. How you make decisions and how you present yourself to these foreign powers is entirely up to you.

Will you choose to be a “kingsman,” and complete your assignment as ordered, or will you rebel and carve out your own path? That’s the kind of free-choice game this version of Warhammer 40K cRPG is designed to be.

Warhammer videogames

Can You Solo Warhammer 40K Rogue Trader?

When you play Rogue Trader, you are essentially the main character, the lord captain of the von Valancius flagship. To make the journey more exciting, you can recruit other characters to your crew, all of whom come with a different directory of strengths. There are powerful companions you will meet on your journey and you get to determine who you accept into your ranks. From the Psyker Heinrix Van Calox to Jar Heydari of the Kasballica crime syndicate, you have many comrades to ally with and execute as you wish. 

All Warhammer 40K Rogue Trader reviews will tell you that a large part of the fun in the RPG is getting to test your dynamics out with other characters in the game, even giving you the opportunity to “romance” some of the characters if you play your cards right. 

If by soloing Rogue Trader you want to continue on your journey without any characters by your side, it is possible to make your way by rejecting all avenues for companionship. According to a developer on the community page, the game wasn’t specifically designed to be played solo nor do you receive any advantages from attempting it. However, if you’re determined to solo the game, for a large chunk of the experience, it should be possible to fight the forces on your own.

The game is a solo experience in the sense that you will largely find yourself playing without your friends or other gamers joining in. There are many multiplayer-compatible components to the game, but you don’t have to play with others if you don’t want to. The co-op experience in Warhammer 40K Rogue Trader can support up to 6 players so there is a lot of room for bringing others along on your journey. You can act as a leader and assign different characters to those who join the fun, reassigning roles as you play. Strategizing and plotting will take up a lot of brain power and soon enough, you’ll be able to write your own Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader review.

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Gameplay Review: Is Warhammer 40k: Rogue Trader Turn-Based?

The Warhammer 40K RPG allows you to play the game the way you want to, right from redesigning your appearance to choosing your next step when presented with difficult choices throughout your journey. The game utilizes the mechanics of isometric turn-based battles where you deploy your characters and use their skills to take down your enemies. 

Your companies join your party with the same base stats, but their importance to your team varies depending on their lore—different factions, loyalties, abilities, weapon proficiencies, etc. They may also have specific weaknesses, like Idira Tlass’ spells increasing Veil Degradation, a detail that can turn into a real problem quite quickly. Scanning through Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader reviews will tell you that managing your party is one of the most exciting challenges of the game, and things get more interesting as you progress. 

Not all battles are based on slinging weapons and spells around. If you make it to the space battles, you also get to sling holy fire around at your enemies and order your teammates to protect the vessel while you’re leading the charge. As you explore the region, solve quests, and make tough decisions that may affect entire populations, you tread with Inquisitor Clacazar conspiring against you, close at your heel. There are over 130 hours of gameplay here so you can be sure that you will have a lot to do in this game. 

Warhammer 40K RPG

First Impressions of What You May Not Enjoy in Warhammer 40K Rogue Trader

If you’re unfamiliar with tabletop RPGs, they do require a lot of reading, where you must patiently sift through the lore before you fully understand the choices you’re making and their consequences. In the same vein, in this Warhammer 40K RPG, you will have to read through a lot of dialogue and might be met with lore that doesn’t feel quite as overwhelming but is considerable all the same. We want to be honest with our Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader review and put it out there—right from the opening of the game, you will be confronted by a lot of story material before the game really begins. Even after it begins, the passages don’t disappear.

If that’s not your cup of tea, then this game may not be for you, but you won’t truly know unless you give the game a try and test out the mechanism for yourself. The lore might be extensive, but it is never boring. If you’re not a fan of stinky alien beasts and blood splatters as you chop down your enemy, again, this may not be the right RPG for you. The game also has a lot of bugs that have come up in most Warhammer 40K RPG reviews, but they’re not significant enough to ruin the experience for you.

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Warhammer 40,000 Rogue Trader Review: What You’ll Love Most About The Game

When we were making notes on our Warhammer 40K Rogue Trader impressions, the companionship and decision-making components stood out as the most attractive features of the game, which is natural considering its RPG status. The conversations in-game are unfiltered and bring many extreme ideologies to the forefront—ideas that you may not find another game allowing as blatantly as this one does. The game is also amazingly designed and you may not be able to feel the miniature models in your fingers as you move them around, but you will have an immersive experience here nonetheless. The music pulls you in, the game design is extravagant, even if half your screen is blocked off by walls of text. 

The doom and gloom of being bad in space is never lost, regardless of where you go and who you encounter. If grimdark fantasy is something you enjoy, you’ll find the aesthetics of the game right up your alley. The Warhammer experience by Owlcat Games is distinctly different from their other games and from other Warhammer 4K video games that came before. 

If you needed another reason to get on the WH40K video game hype train, then you may be interested to know that the lovely gamer Henry Cavil is set to bring a live-action Warhammer cinematic experience to our screens. Teaming up with Amazon Studios, he has begun working on making his 30-year-old dream of celebrating the franchise a reality. Now is a great time to stop reading Warhammer 40,000 Rogue Trader reviews and start playing the game yourself.