Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader Review

Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader Review
The OMG Review
Our review format is not your usual fare and we’ve broken it down into 3 very simple ratings!

“Buy it!” means that the game deserves a place in your collection. Be it day 1 or a slightly delayed purchase, it’s hard to go wrong with this title. In numbers, this is around an 8/10 and above.

“Wait for it…” means that while the game is good, it probably isn’t worth it at its day 1 price point. We suggest you wait for a sale before jumping in. In numbers, this is around a 5 – 7/10.

“Ignore it!” means that the game is not something we’d recommend playing, whether it be now or in the near future. Maybe ever. Let’s not even go to the numbers for this one.

Sneak Peek
  • Release Date: December 6, 2023
  • Platforms: PS5, Xbox Series X|S, PC
  • Genre: CRPG
  • Similar Games: Weird West, Mass Effect
  • Price: starts at $59.99

Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader is a new CRPG from OwlCat Games featuring the lore and characters from the Warhammer 40,000 franchise. One of the few scheduled releases this calm month of December, Rogue Trader appears to be an interesting title to pick up due to its interesting take on the franchise.

The lore of Warhammer 40,000 is vast, and in this tale, you take on the role of a second in line to the title of Rogue Trader; a Lord Captain of a Voidship exploring the vast reaches of deep space. After a nefarious betrayal of the previous Lord Captain by a seemingly loyal follower, your character quickly advances to become the new Rogue Trader in their wake.

As you investigate the cause of this rebellion, you scour the outer lands for clues, companions, and the true cause of this rebellion. Time to sit behind the Lord Captain’s chair and claim your birthright as the next Rogue Trader!

A Massive Universe

The massive world of Warhammer 40,000 has built a literal universe of lore behind it. While I’m familiar that the franchise exists with countless games behind the pedigree, starting from scratch feels intimidating with the mountain of text to read and catch up with. For the ardent fan, I’m sure there will be quite some elation with this universe; but for a newcomer, I’d say it does a good job not alienating us into the universe.

As a CRPG, I’m aware that there will be a fair bit of reading especially during the lore-heavy prologue getting much of the exposition out of the way. Narrative-wise, I appreciate that Rogue Trader starts us off in a fair bit of conflict, setting the plot in motion during the first five minutes of play. I expected a bit of a tutorial, but Rogue Trader went old school and just threw us into the fray with a digital tutorial for us to figure out for ourselves.

While it could be frustrating for fresh players into the genre, it reminded me of how old-school CRPGs don’t give you a lot of context and make you figure things out for yourself. The actual turn-based combat in itself is not too difficult to get into. I would say what could be a bit of a learning curve would be the menus in which you would equip and check your status. It was frustrating at times, but once you overcome the hurdle, it’s a straight shot to finish the prologue.

Rogue Trader Combat

Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader, before the most recent patch, was a garbled mess, filled with choppy cut scenes and framerate issues that made it nigh unplayable. After the patch, the issues were still present, but it has been fortunately fixed. Given the gameplay where you will access more menus, dice roll screens, and turn-based combat, I’d say the framerate issues are more distracting than game-breaking.

The turn-based combat is straightforward. The unit with the highest initiative goes first and the rest follow. You will start with three extra companions with your chosen protagonist. I went with Darrius, a street-smart rogue who excels in tech and fast talk. Among your squad, you’ll receive a warrior, a soldier, and a psyker. The warrior is your tank, a melee unit that can take a lot of damage; the soldier is a balanced projectile user who can take damage but is also quick on their feet; and finally, the psyker is a magic user capable of AoE. As you progress in the game, you will have access to more companions.

As you progress in combat, you have Movement Points (MP) and Action Points (AP) to expend and regenerate every turn. If you take your actions before your move, you will forfeit the movement phase, so you can prepare wisely by setting up your units pre-skirmish. Actions involve using skills, attacking, reloading, and using items. When one of your companions falls, they will take injuries and affect their future turns.

Rogue Trader Dialogue

When not in battle, Rogue Trader allows you to explore the isometric maps and interact with other units and objects. You can speak with NPCs and potential companions, who are quite easy to distinguish due to being fully voiced, almost as if that’s a hint that you can recruit that character as a future companion. The protagonist, however, will continually speak their canned dialogue as you explore, and it can get quite annoying.

The actual dialogue part is quite involved, allowing you to gain information from allies, enemies, and laymen alike. You can use your social skills such as commerce and lore to discern information or access extra dialogue options that allow you bonuses or to gain items or favors. Just like combat, dialogue becomes a mini-game with its challenges as you progress through Rogue Trader.

You can collect loot from objects marked as goods. Some loot can be added to your cargo, which you can use for commerce or crafting. Other loot can be added to your inventory that can range from equipped gear and consumables. There is loot that is also lore-based such as letters. There are other objects that you can interact with that serve as lore pieces that provide more context to the area map.

An Epic Journey

When you gain access to your Voidship, you’ll be able to explore other areas, start quests, and continue with your adventure. You’ll be able to access your bridge navigation and be able to navigate across the galaxy and scan new planets to see where you can dock and explore. What you have scanned will be the area that you’re able to explore, saving you time from scouring the planet.

Quests in Rogue Trader are divided into main quests, side quests, errands, and companion quests. Similar to many open-world adventures, they follow the same route. As you complete main quests, you’ll be able to progress the story to later chapters being able to recruit new companions along the way.

Side quests and rumors allow you to explore areas for better cargo, experience, and open up new paths for your crew to explore. Companion quests as it suggests allow you to build relationships with your companions and the Rogue Trader and even open up romance options. While they’re not as elaborate as certain other CRPGs, it does reward you for scouring through much of the text.

Rogue Trader Character

As you explore and expand your character, you’re able to level up and gain better skills to improve their standing in battle, aid you in the exploration of several areas, and even allow you to create a formidable crew in your Voidship to create a crew for the ages. Think the Normandy but with your Warhammer 40K squad.

As you enter new areas or encounter enemies, more advanced combat options allow you to pick and choose which companions would best suit your Rogue Trader. Regular enemies and bosses will get more challenging as you can use every available option to defeat your foes. Cover becomes an important mechanic in Rogue Trader, where you can save your more squishy glass cannons to take out multiple enemies at once, while your tanks can take quite a lot of punishment.

Persuasion and other social skills can also turn encounters around quite well. You can avoid difficult battles this way or even gather a powerful ally to aid your Rogue Trader in some skirmishes. It’s more about where the narrative goes rather than the specific actions of each character that allow for progress. Decisions matter in the end, so while there is a lot of reading involved, you’re rewarded for making a good decision and paying attention to detail.

Rogue Trader Magic

Despite the patch, there are still a lot of issues that plague Rogue Trader. There are areas that gate progress due to some glitches that prevent progress. Status screens freeze up, which prompts you to have backup saves just in case. It can get frustrating especially when you’ve progressed quite a lot but hit a game-breaking glitch that makes you lose progress.

There’s so much in Rogue Trader that also reminds me of how we navigated CRPGs that prompted some terrible memories. While the game itself is good, it’s a bit of a mess having workarounds just in case the game decides to glitch on you. With so much effort you spend on reading and building your character, these little glitches feel like a thousand little cuts that can be frustrating.

What We Liked

  • A vast treasure trove of lore based on the Warhammer 40,000 universe.
  • Dynamic dialogue options that are its own mini-game.
  • Easy to pick-up turn-based combat that gets more involved as you progress.
  • Diverse skills and customizable Voidship options to extend gameplay.

What We Didn’t Like

  • Pre-patch is a garbled mess; framerate issues are slightly fixed with the patch but still noticeable.
  • Voice-over feels half-baked. The protagonist repeatedly blurting out lines gets annoying after a while.
  • Massive lore and unintuitive menus can be intimidating for newcomers.
  • There are still a lot of game-breaking glitches that ruin the experience.

Verdict: Wait For It…


Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader is an epic journey that brings back great nostalgia for computer RPGs of yore with a great amount of lore and story that takes you deep into the world of Warhammer 40K. It also has some dated components and lack of polish that mar the experience because it prevents progress due to said glitches.

While a future patch can improve the experience, it’s quite a shame to hold back on experiencing this game because of these glitches. It is a solid CRPG that is well-written and has a stable universe in its wake. The combat mechanics are sound and you can spend hours exploring and customizing your world as a Rogue Trader. It’s too bad that you can lose hours of progress because of a bad save file.

*Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader has been reviewed on an Xbox Series X with a review code provided by the publisher.

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