Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader


After the previous Rogue Trader, Lady Theodora von Valancius is betrayed; you take over as the next von Valancius Rogue Trader. Unprepared for what is to come, how will you restore the dynasty and bring those to justice as the new Rogue Trader.

Choosing a new game will give you some information on the scenario of the main story, after which you can choose the game's difficulty. There are six options of difficulty: Story, Normal, Daring, Hard, Unfair and Custom. Each difficulty comes with information about the enemy stats, damage received and inflicted, wounds and other modifiers. There are a bunch of modifiers that you can customise to your personal preference, or possibly tweak one of the difficulties slightly should you wish.

After deciding which difficulty level to play you can choose your character. There are three on offer with different backgrounds, abilities and archetypes. However, if none of the options take your fancy, you can create your own character from scratch. You’ll then be able to customise your character’s look, portrait, appearance, hair, tattoo, augmentations and voice. Once you have done creating your look, you can name your Void Ship, after which you can give your character a name as you check over your character’s statistics.

You arrive on the Void Ship [Insert Name Here] and are greeted by Kunrad Voigtvir, the Master of Whispers who works in the service of the Rogue Trader, Lady Theodora von Valancius.  He’ll greet you and you will be able to have some dialogue with him about himself, Lady Theodora, the ship, along with other information and particularly why you have been brought to the void ship. They’ll be plenty of dialogue with characters throughout the game where you can find information about current events, places, rumours and details about characters and planets.

When a dialogue starts between characters there will be several options for you to talk about. What you ask will determine the answers, along with the possibility of opening new dialogue options or ending them right then and there. There is even a possibility that you could end up saying the wrong thing, which could activate combat.

As the story progresses, helpful information about things that you come across will appear as a popup window. There is a check box that you can tick if you don’t fancy seeing the tutorial popups, but they don’t show that often and may come in handy, especially if you haven’t played the game before.

As you interact with various characters you will uncover quests.  The main quests will unlock the game's story, and there will be side quests as well that can help with your game's progress. There are also rumours that can unlock new quests; these are revealed through speaking with the folks at the location you visit.

You move around by clicking somewhere on the screen and then your character (or party) will move to that location. You can also click on the map and your party will move to the location you pointed to on the map. This can be helpful and a bit quicker than scrolling up or down to a position on the main game screen. Points of interest are indicated by a magnifying glass; however, you can select the TAB button and that will reveal items or other points of interest which were not visible before. Hidden around are goods which may be of use, or which you can stow away as cargo and use in trades later.

It won’t be long before someone picks a fight with you and when this happens, you’ll enter combat mode. Combat is taken in turn with the members of your retinue and the enemy, each trying to finish the other off. When combat is initiated most of the time you will be able place the current party members within a certain area of the battlefield. However, you will lose this option if you are ambushed by the enemy.

The battle area is divided into grid squares, the enemy and your retinue members will use these squares to move and perform area attacks or abilities. Movement Points are reset each turn and determine how far a character can move. However, sometimes if you perform an ability or attack it will cancel out any movement for that turn.

You can attack your enemy if they are in range of your weapon and abilities and are within your line of sight. To perform an attack or use an ability it will cost Action Points; how many is determined by the type of attack and ability, and some actions don’t cost any action points.

Your characters have two main weapon slots which you can use for attacking your enemy. These two slots are each split into two more slots (left and right hand) so you can have a single-handed weapon in each hand, giving you a total of four possible weapons at your disposal. Or you could just go with two big hitting two-handed weapons or even have a two-handed weapon along with two single-handed weapons giving you three weapons of choice. This has been my favourite choice for most of my characters so far, if I have a rifle as my main weapon, I will then go with probably a pistol and a melee weapon or if my main weapon is a melee weapon then I could go with a couple different types of pistols. I think having a variety of different weapon types is a must, you never know who you’ll be up against.

As your characters grow through leveling up, they will be able to unlock new abilities and talents. There are three tiers of abilities and talents which can be used to customise your characters. Each character starts with a set archetype, and you can add to this once you unlock tier two (unlocks at level 16) and tier three (unlocks at level 36) archetypes with each increasing your character's range of abilities and talents. There are quite a few abilities and talents and you’ll be able to customise how your character’s development proceeds. You can also unlock new weapons and armour types for your characters to use.

As you progress through the story you will interact with new characters, some of whom will be able to join your retinue. You will be able to have five other characters join your retinue for combat as you visit locations. So, you’ll be able to mix and match the characters to find the best ones for the current situation. The characters come from various races and have different backgrounds.

Eventually you’ll be able to move between star systems in your Void Ship. There are no clear paths between the star systems so you will have to make pathways called Warp Routes. You do this by using Navigation Insight Points, which will reveal a route between various systems. However, these routes are not always safe to travel.  Notice the colour of the routes to know which ones are safe.

There are four types of routes; green routes are the safest, followed by yellow ones. The yellow routes are unpredictable. You could have a safe journey along the yellow route, but you could also have something happen along the way. Orange routes means that there is a high chance of your void ship being attacked in warp jump, while red routes indicate that you are going to be attacked by hostile forces as you make your jump. You can make the more hostile jumps safer by spending insight points; simply select the system and it will then offer you the choice if you have the required points to spend. You can earn more insight points by making new discoveries and scanning new systems.

When you have made the jump to a new system you can then visit that system to see what is there. There may be a few planets, some spaceships knocking around or other points of interest which require more investigations.

While visiting a system you can click anywhere within it and move your void ship to that location. You can then click on the point of interest – let’s say a planet - and it will then allow you to scan that planet and with any luck it’ll reveal something of interest, such as resources, locations that you can visit or an event.

As you progress, some of the planets you find can become colonies for you. Once you have a colony, you’ll be able to direct its development through projects and colony events. Projects require various resources or other requirements such as having a reputation above a certain amount or not having certain projects already. Along with the project's requirements, it also tells you the rewards you will receive for that project. Each project will take a small amount of time to complete, and once completed, you can choose another project if you have the necessary requirements.

At some point, whether in a star system or as you make a warp jump, you’re going to meet some hostilities while in your void ship. This will then activate space combat where you will pit your ship or ships against enemy fleets. Your ship starts with some basic weaponry, laser, port and starboard weapons along with being able to ram your enemy, although this could do some damage to your ship as well. Each of the weapons aboard your ship can attack an enemy that is within range of the weapons. You cannot use your port weapons against an enemy if they are on your starboard side. You would have to manoeuvre your ship into position to be able to take advantage of your weaponry placements. You do have some torpedoes which you can fire and then in your next few turns guide the torpedoes to their destination.

After defeating the enemy fleets, you’ll be rewarded with experience points, trophies and scrap. The experience points will allow your void ship to rank up, ram, make repairs and upgrade any abilities you may have for the positions on your void ship. Scrap can be used to upgrade your hull. Trophies are items which could be useful or could be used as cargo and traded away.

Your ship can be upgraded with new technology; you can upgrade the Engine, Shields, Auspex and Armour, along with your weapon mounts on the Port, Starboard Dorsal and Prow (two slots for upgrades here). You may find some upgrades on your travels, and you could also gain some from merchants.

On your void ship there are positions which can be filled with any of the characters you have control over. There are six posts to fill with one of your members, you have the Supreme Commander, Master Cannoneer, Shield Master, Master of Manoeuvres, Warp Channeller and Master of Etherics. Each post has a skill requirement so you will want to put the character with the highest skill requirement in that position.

Upgrading your void ship is similar to upgrading your characters. You will get a choice of upgrades to select from each time you rank up your ship. You can also upgrade your ship’s abilities if you have the necessary requirement; scrap is usually one of the requirements, while others may be to have used the ability at least once.

I’ve really enjoyed playing Rogue Trader so far, the graphics are good, and the story is great. There are plenty of characters to choose from, so you’ll be able to customise your gameplay to your own liking. There are plenty of choices for you to make throughout the game to determine the type of character you want to become.

I liked the combat - it’s great in both types. With the characters, the battles can be largish and will test you at times. I love the space battles; they can be quite fun as well. The combat is challenging at times but easy enough to not get your botty spanked too much, at least playing on the normal difficulty that I played on. If you want a harder challenge, then I would go up a notch or two on the difficulty level.

For the most part I haven’t had any real problems with the game, but I have had a couple little things happen just recently. One of those things was a bit of stuttering when an event was taking place, and the screen was moving. Another was that I had a few graphic glitches, with pink squares appearing around my character’s legs; this happened two or three times.

Another graphical issue was after using the Combat Tactics ability in combat; the Combat Tactics area remained after combat had finished and I had returned to the normal world view and in the void map screen. It did disappear after exiting and rejoining the game.

One last problem which has just started (12th Jan 2024 after the latest update) is when closing the game it hangs. Sometimes you can’t get the desktop to close the window that says that the game has stopped working.  If this happens,  ALT+F4 will work, although it was slow a couple times. There has just been a patch released so maybe something has messed up slightly and with a bit of luck it’ll get fixed soon.

Apart from these few small issues everything else with the game has been fine.

Review written by Piston Smashed™ for Zeepond.com

Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader Steam Store Page


+ Good graphics
+ Great story
+ Two types of combat mode
+ Plenty of characters
+ Lots of choices to make
+ Enjoyable to play
+ Has achievements and cards


- A couple graphical errors
- Crashing on exiting the game

Review Summary

As the new Rogue Trader, build your retinue, travel the Koronus Expanse and stand against the multiple threats which threaten the von Valancius bloodline.

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Zeepond Rating: 8/10