When discussing RTS (Real-Time Strategy) games, no list begins or ends without mentioning the hugely popular classic Age of Empires game series.
This historic game series took the world by storm when it was released way back in 1997, and even today, fans of this iconic game series still remember it fondly and even indulge in it, like it was released just yesterday.
But thanks to Microsoft, the newly remastered versions of the older games, as well as the release of the latest installment in this grand series, Age of Empires 4, only added more excitement around this genre, reinvigorating the fans in the process and giving them an excuse to relive the nostalgia around this series all over again.
But as they say, time waits for no one, and the same can also be expressed in this regard. Since Microsoft released the first installment of this popular franchise all those years back, many other top gaming franchises took notice of the success this game received and subsequently started working on their versions of this very game, with some of those games turning out to be absolute gems.
Hence, today in this article, we’ll look at some of the best games like Age of Empires which gamers can indulge in and have a good time.
Please note that some of these games may not be like-for-like substitutes for the iconic Age of Empires games, but each one of them has definitely ‘adopted’ certain gameplay aspects from them while also adding their very own creative bits to it to entice new, as well as seasoned AOE players to check them out.
So now that we are all hyped up, without any more delays, let’s take a look at some of the best game strategy games like Age of Empires that enthusiastic gamers can look to play and enjoy today to have countless hours of fun.
Best Games Like Age Of Empires
|7 May 2018
|PC, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, iOS, Android
The first game on our list of best games to lay like Age of Empires is a real-time, strategy-survival game inspired by Nordic mythology in which players take control of a Viking clan leader named Rig, who must not only guide his people and traverse through the unknown but also help them claim the newly discovered mysterious continent of Northgard through devotion to the gods, conquest, trading and more.
In addition to all these responsibilities, Rig will also have to fend off packs of dire wolves and undead soldiers alike to avenge his father’s death, carried out by the hands of Hagen, the leader of an opposing clan known as the clan of the raven.
In this game, players will farm and harvest resources, fight mythological beats and barter with giants, find relics, explore hidden territories, construct structures, and train capable soldiers to try and claim the treacherous terrain of Northgard for themselves, all while trying to survive one of the harshest winters the North has ever seen before in the process as well.
If you are a fan of fast-paced RTS games and are fascinated by Norse mythology like us, you should check out this game.
2) Sid Meier’s Civilization 6
|21 October 2016
|PC, Linux, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, macOS, iOS, Android
The next game on our list is a turn-based strategy game in which players control a country of their choice and must guide them through various stages of development to try and become a world ruler through various means or perish trying. The game follows the 4X strategy of explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate.
In this game, players will have access to many countries they may wish to choose from and take control of, but players must be aware that each of those countries comes with its leaders, ideologies, strengths, and weaknesses, which directly or indirectly impact their relationships with other players or AI controlled leaders, in many varying ways.
Players will initially begin the game by settling down and finding a city in a suitable spot. Once that is done, they’ll have to research technologies for production and military purposes and commit to certain ideologies that suit the type of society the player is trying to build, like Hinduism, Islam, or Judaism.
Moreover, players will also farm for food and mine for resources, take part in large-scale battles, engage in diplomatic warfare, and more to ultimately try and become the best country to rule them all and stand the test of time.
3) Rise of Nations
|20 May 2003
|Big Huge Games
|PC, OS X
Moving on to the next game in the list, Rise of Nations is a real-time strategy game in which players take control of a nation and try and guide it to victory by developing military forces, gathering rare resources, and also researching the latest technologies to always have the edge over their competition.
The basic premise of the game is to control territories. To do so, players must first acquire a place and construct the necessary building and resources to claim the ‘territory’ as their own.
Once claimed, next, they must build on it and expand further to push their adversaries back into a corner and overwhelm them to such an extent that they have no place else to go.
Players can expand their nation’s territories in various ways such as constructing buildings and military fortifications, controlling a rare resource deposit with infinite supply, researching technologies through the technology tree, and so forth.
Apart from constructing various useful buildings and training powerful units, players will also be constructing special Wonders during playthroughs like the Colossus and the Pyramids.
To clarify, wonders are impressive structures built to give players various ‘buffs and perks’ in the form of efficient resource mining capabilities, units dealing increased damage to enemy units, the cost of training and managing troops being much cheaper, etc., to name a few.
4) Starcraft II: The Complete Collection
|27 July 2010
Coming to the next game on the list, Starcraft 2 is real-time, science fiction strategy game in which players will play across three stories, namely Wings of Liberty, Heart of the Storm, and Legacy of the Void, and take part in missions spread across the galaxy using species like Terrans (Humans), Zergs (alien life-forms) and the Protoss (Advanced beings with psionic powers), to save the galaxy from the evil faction Terran Dominion, as well as from a powerful unknown force.
The core mechanics across all three games are quite similar in this game series. Players will have to construct a base, mine for resources, research technological advancements and train formidable units to use them in fights and skirmishes against their foes in a more inter-galactic setting.
In the initial campaign, Wings of Liberty, players will take control of a Terran named Jim Raynor, a hard-drinking mercenary and leader of the Raynor’s Raiders, who is determined to bring down the currently dominant leader of Terran Dominion, Emperor Arcturus Mengsk.
Players will play through 29 missions, with two missions becoming accessible after selecting certain dialogue choices in-game and 1 is a secret mission.
In the next campaign, this game is a continuation of the first part, Wings of Liberty, and focuses on the story of Sarah Kerrigan, now Zerg Queen, and how she tries to regain control over her brood of Zergs and her quest to exact revenge and fight the evil Emperor Arcturus Mengsk. In this campaign expansion, players will play 20 main and seven additional missions with new features.
In the last campaign, although it was released as a standalone expansion pack, it still acts as the third and final part of the trilogy of the story.
This expansion focuses on a Protoss character, Artanis, and his quest to unite all Protoss against Amon, a fallen Xel’Naga.
5) Company Of Heroes 3
|23 February 2023
|PC, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S
Moving on to the next game on our list of the best games like Age of Empires, Company of Heroes is a real-time strategy game in which players take control of Allied forces during their invasion of Italy and the opposing Axis forces.
In this game, players will take control of allied forces like the British, the U.S., and the Soviet Union, as they play across the game’s North African campaign, set during World War 2.
Although certain aspects of Age of Empires are absent from this game like resource collection and researching technologies, gamers will still find a lot of similarities and fun as far as the combat in these games is concerned.
This game takes most of the good elements of the previous games in the series and tries to further enhance them by adding quite a few major game-changing features into the game that includes but is not limited to, a tactical pause system feature, a new destruction system, a new auto-vaulting system, a formation spacing mechanism, a new tactical pause system, etc.
In the tactical pause system, for example, players can now freely choose to pause the battle at any point and queue up commands to be given to the soldier before they resume the game.
The new destruction system on the other hand adds a new layer of realism to the game, as now, instead of the entire building or structure falling apart, a few pieces of debris will crumble from the building first before it gradually disintegrates into the dirt completely.
6) Stronghold 2
|18 April 2005
The next game on our list is a real-time strategy game called Stronghold 2 in which players must take control of a lord and manage his medieval castle, managing anything and everything that goes on it. Players will have complete control over how they wish to run their castle. They can choose to be a kind, warm-hearted ruler or a ruthless, merciless dictator.
In this game, players will have to build a self-sustaining castle while regularly coming under siege from a warmongering rival lord known as Lord Barclay.
To build a thriving castle life, however, players will have to farm, harvest and manage resources, and construct essential structures for various needs and purposes like military, civil, economy, entertainment, and production.
One cool feature this game has implemented better than the AOE series, according to users on Reddit and Quora, is that players don’t need to micro-manage their civilians or workers by assigning them to workplaces manually anymore, as now they join places that require people to function, taking away a sense of tedium from the game.
Additionally, from one cool feature to another, this game also has its own crime and punishment system that players must use if certain civilians in their kingdoms resort to crime and unruly activities, which tries to give the game a very realistic feel.
If you prefer to play games like Age of Empires but with a more castle-simulation type of feel, then you must try this game out for sure, as you’ll find many similarities between them.
7) Surviving The Aftermath
|16 November 2021
|PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
The next game on our list is a post-apocalyptic survival, a colony-building game in which players must try to build a thriving colony in a hostile world by making the most of whatever resources they can scavenge from the surrounding wastelands.
In this game, players will have to establish a settlement in a procedurally generated post-apocalyptic world and scavenge for resources by exploring a wide-open world and recruit survivors with unique skills who are subsequently attracted to your growing settlement.
As their settlement grows in reach, players will have access to new technologies and will also be able to construct new structures to harvest more resources that were inaccessible before, radio communication with nearby settlements for help, access to resources like electricity, etc., to help their colony thrive.
Players will also have to deal with random events, which occasionally occur throughout the game, bringing new challenges that the player’s settlement will have to face.
Some of the challenges include people in need, merchants bringing rare goods for purchase, attacking bandits, defending against wildlife, etc., which may have varying outcomes on the morale of the settlement based on how the players choose to deal with them, so players are advised to take decisions only after considering both the pros and cons of every situation before acting.
8) Command and Conquer: Red Alert 3
|28 October 2008
|EA Los Angeles
|PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, OS X
Coming to the next game on our list of best games like Age of Empires, Command and Conquer Red Alert 3 is a real-time strategy game in which players will play through campaign missions based on an alternate timeline in history.
In this game, players will control three opposing nations during the fictional setting of World War 3, namely the Allies, the Soviet Union, and a third power from an alternate timeline, the Empire of the Rising Sun, commonly known as the Japanese Empire, as they fight for world power.
Just like the AOE games, players will need to gather and harvest resources here as well to be able to construct important military structures to train units to engage, either on land, air, or sea, and also production-focused structures to process the harvested resources so that they may be used to aid the development of the nation, as well as their troops, to ultimately be able to compete with the might of the other rival countries.
Players can take part in the campaign missions in either online or offline mode. In the online mode, players can play co-op with their friends during missions, whereas in the offline mode, players will be assisted by AI teammates.
Seasoned players of the Age of Empires games will find a lot to love about this game as apart from its slightly advanced alternate setting, the mechanisms used in this game are not too dissimilar from the AOE games series.
Also Read: Are you a fan of turn-based strategy games? Check out this post to learn about the release date of Civilization 7.
9) Dawn of Man
|1 March 2019
|PC, macOS, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
The next game on our list is a survival, city-builder game in which players take control of the very first modern humans and must guide them through more than 10,000 years of human evolution by not only trying to survive the untamed wilds and exploring the vast, undiscovered terrain but also evolving into more civilized beings in the process as well.
In this game, to begin with, players will need to construct a settlement fit enough for the pre-historic citizens, which will provide them safety and shelter.
Moreover, players will need to provide their settlements with various necessary resources like stone, flint, wood, water, berries, meat, and hide from wild animals, grow crops, tame animals like sheep and cows to harvest resources like milk and wool, through hunting, farming, mining, etc., to help their settlements to thrive and grow ultimately.
Over time, however, as the player’s settlement thrives and becomes more advanced, players will be able to improve upon it further by adding more facilities like defense structures and centers to manufacture weapons, to battle the unknown threats they will inevitably cross paths with.
Additionally, players will also need to research new technologies as their settlements grow and advance through the stages of evolution, like how to harvest resources efficiently and how to increase the population capacity of their settlement to be able to maximize the resources they have at their disposal.
However, Each new technological advancement brings challenges that the settlement will have to face, so players must implement them with caution.
10) Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds
|13 November 2001
|Lucas Arts, Ensemble Studios
|PC, macOS, macOS X
Moving on to the next game on our list is a real-time strategy game set in the Star Wars universe in which players will play across campaign missions for the Trade Federation, the Gungans, the Galactic Empire, the Rebel Alliance, and the Wookie.
Players also have access to the Clone Wars camping expansion missions featuring two main playable factions: the Confederacy of the Independent Systems and the Galactic Republic.
In this game, players must use the worker units at their disposal to gather essential resources like food, carbon, Nova Crystals, and Ores to help them progress and unlock new features like new structures and buildings, offensive combat units like soldiers, and also more workers, to help accelerate the resource-gathering process.
Carbon in this game is equivalent to the use of wood in the Age of Empires games and is used to build structures like buildings and artillery, whereas the ores are used to construct defensive structures. The Nova crystals, on the other hand, are used to craft more advanced weaponry and units, but only when combined with a special collectible called ‘holocrons’.
In terms of the advanced military structures players can construct, the troop center is used to produce early game units like the grenadier, the shipyard produces strong naval units like the cruiser, the heavy weapons factory produces units like the assault mechs, the airbase produces air units like the fighters and bombers, and so forth.
11) Ancestors Legacy
|May 22, 2018
|PC, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
Ancestors Legacy is another real-time strategy video game where players need to build their empires and fight enemies.
Players in this game can choose from two game modes: single-player campaign and multiplayer mode. In both modes, players can choose to play as one of the four civilizations namely Vikings, Anglo-Saxons, Slavs, and Teutons.
Players can even team up with their friends and enjoy the game or choose to simply progress further with the single-player campaign. The game was pretty good and was loved by gamers worldwide, If you’re a fan of Age of Empires then you would surely love this game.
12) The Settlers Online
|October 21, 2010
|Ubisoft Blue Byte
|Web Browser, PC
The final game on our list is Settlers Online which is a strategy game inspired by “The Settlers” that is at its core a free game with a few premium elements sprinkled in it as well. Another favorable aspect of this game is that players hoping to play this game do not necessarily require a high-end gaming PC, instead can elect to boot and play it using a Web Browser.
In this game, the basic premise is that players need to build their unique empires and keep upgrading them as well to keep their empires ahead of the competition at all times. The game is quite similar to Age of Empires due to the various gameplay elements they share with each other like maintaining favorable diplomacy with rivals, economy with allies, army management, and much more, that many players worldwide still enjoy to date.
If you are someone who enjoys playing strategy games like Age of Empires, then we’re pretty sure you will love this game as well.
|24 April 2018
|11 bit studios
|PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, MacOS
Frostpunk is a city-builder, survival simulation game in which players take on the role of the main leader of a city known as ‘The Captain’, who must guide the city through one of its toughest challenges yet: helping them in surviving a volcanic winter that has engulfed the entire world in a blanket of cold and suffering.
In this game, unlike assembling armies and waging wars on other civilizations like they are used to in games like Age of Empires, players will be tasked to undertake more menial but intricate tasks like managing limited and sometimes scarce resources, making difficult choices, and taking tough decisions for the overall survival and betterment of the city.
Players will also be expected to venture out of the city’s boundaries from time to time in search of even rarer resources, people, and technologies, to add their bit to the colony and help give the city the best chance of survival. As the leader of the city, the players will have to take part in various scenarios that will test not only their mettle as good leaders but also their resource management and people skills.
14) Age of Mythology
|31 October 2002
|PC, OS X
Keeping close to the theme of the Age of Empires games, no game is better suited for players to try their hands on than a strategy game series belonging to systems they are already well-versed with.
Age of Mythology is a real-time strategy game that acts as a spin-off game series with a mythological twist, It quickly garnered a loyal following thanks to its unique Greek, Egyptian, and Norse setting, and also its revolutionary mechanics for its time.
The game follows the story of Arkantos, an Atlantean admiral, who must embark on a legendary journey to destroy and stop an evil Cyclops who is hell-bent on destroying the fictional city of Atlantis, with the aid of the the iconic god of water, Poseidon.
Like the classic AOE games, Age of Mythology, the gameplay features revolve closely around building towns, gathering resources, building structures, and training an army and villagers. As players and their empires advance through the Ages, from the Archaic Age to the Classical Age, the Heroic Age, and ultimately the Mythic Age, they get access to better units, and better technologies that they can use to fortify their kingdoms and settlements.
15) The Lord of The Rings: The Battle For Middle-Earth 2
|28 February 2006
|EA Los Angeles
|PC , Xbox 360
The Lord of the Rings: The Battle For Middle Earth 2 is a real-time strategy game similar to the iconic AOE games series which allows players to construct their settlements, build unique structures, research new technologies, gather useful resources, and train new units. Additionally, players are also given the opportunity to experience both sides of the story by enabling them to play not only the ‘good’ campaign missions but also the ‘evil’ campaign missions present in the game.
In the ‘good’ campaign missions, the story focuses on an elf named Glorfindel, who must take help from not only dwarves but also from other good forces scattered around Middle-earth, to not only repel a pre-meditated, planned attack on the elvish city of Rivendell but to also try and eliminate the evil forces of Sauron, once and for all.
In the ‘evil’ campaign, the story of the game focuses on the efforts of Sauron, as he sends his evil forces to the corners of Middle-earth, to muster all available evil forces, especially goblins, to try and outnumber, and eventually overwhelm, the remaining ‘good’ forces still putting up resistance.
16) Empire Earth
|16 November 2001
|Stainless Steel Studios
Empire Earth is a real-time strategy game that aims to span 500,000 years of human history in which players advance civilizations of their choice through various Epochs or ages that determine the future of those civilizations.
Like other popular RTS games namely AOE, Empire Earth’s gameplay also revolves around the basic premise of controlling particular civilizations, building various structures, gathering numerous resources, training, and researching newer technologies and armies to try and advance their civilizations to higher, more advanced ages.
Advancement in Epochs not only helps in defeating opposing civilizations vying for total control of the land by providing civilizations with more advanced technologies but also helps players to develop and improve upon the core features of their own civilizations as well, to reach more advanced ages.
During the course of the game, players will have the option to take part in various dedicated story campaigns, with each campaign focusing on each key point in history.
The game will almost always start with a learning campaign that will teach players how to play the game, but once players are well-versed in it, they will take part in campaign missions involving civilizations like Greece, England, France, Germany, and Russia across various key points in history.
17) Cossacks: European Wars
|30 November 2000
|GSC Game World
Cossacks: European Wars is a real-time strategy video game set during the 17th and 18th century Europe in which players have the option of selecting and commandeering a nation out of 16 other options like Algeria, England, Netherlands, France, Spain, Saxony, to name a few, each with their own unique constructional styles and technologies accessible to them.
Additionally, one big change this game introduced that other games hadn’t ventured into yet was removing the player unit limit, allowing players complete freedom to develop and field an army of bigger proportions than one would normally see in other games, provided they had access to the resources required to train and maintain such a sprawling army.
The core gameplay loop of the game should be quite familiar to players who are well-versed in the AOE game series, with players expected to engage in various skirmishes and battle with various civilizations, grow and harvest various resources like gold, wood, coal, food, stone, and iron to provide their civilizations with proper resources to grow and construct various structures, provide adequate food for its residents and look to avoid disasters like famine in the process.
18) Total War: Medieval 2
|15 November 2006
|PC, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS
Total War: Medieval 2 is a military management, strategy game in which players control in-game medieval nations called factions and take part in real-time strategic campaigns, wherein they control each and every aspect of that particular nation like its government, economy, military, diplomacy, religion, etc, across locations in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East.
Combat in this game takes place in real-time tactical battles, giving players complete freedom to control the minutest of details on the battlefield to their liking. Players will control their own selection of soldiers and will look to engage with those of the enemies and defeat them using various strategies and tactics.
The game may not have the resource-gathering elements of the AOE game series, but as far as other key elements of the game are concerned like diplomacy, real-time battle mechanics, and building a full-fledged colony, Total War Medieval 2 gives a stellar alternative for gamers looking to try something different.
19) Crusader Kings 3
|1 September 2020
|Paradox Development Studio
|PC, macOS, Linux, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 5
Crusader Kings 3 is a strategy role-playing game in which players take on the role of a ruler of a medieval state set during the Middle Ages. The main premise of the game is for players to form their own dynasty by guiding a state through the ages by fighting battles and managing its government, and if the player dies or is voted out by the public, the player’s heir will take the throne and continue the legacy.
No place is too far away to be called your own, from the snowswept mountains of Norway to the scorching deserts of Africa, a sprawling map housing various kingdoms and empires, jam-packed with peasants, knights, jesters, and secret lovers, is at the player’s disposal to rule and guide, and moreover, to romance, betray and execute, to make sure your kingdom thrives and your lineage survives the test of times.
The kind of approach players take to manage their kingdoms will most certainly dictate the future of the house. Players can either be leaders who inspire their people by performing various glorious deeds, or they can be authoritarians, who lead their people effectively, but by subterfuge and enforcing rigid rules and regulations, the choice will all be theirs.
20) Steel Division 2
|20 June 2019
Steel Division 2 is a real-time strategy game that takes place during World War 2 on the Eastern Front in 1944, during Operation Bagration, the codename given to the Byelorussian strategic offensive operation fought between the German and Soviet Byelorussian forces.
In this game, players will have access to more than 600 units, 25 detailed maps, multiple game modes like conquest and breakthrough modes in multiplayer mode, and skirmishes and scenarios to sink their teeth into in single-player mode.
For a game that prides itself on historical accuracy, players will be given the opportunity to jump into a like-for-like historical reimagining of the locations and terrains in the dynamic strategic campaign map, spanning across 150×100 km, and either try and relive the entire encounters as they happened or try and change the course of history if they can.
Players will have complete freedom to decide which units out of the extremely detailed ones take part in battles and which don’t, keeping in mind the terrain they will be engaging on. Moreover, players can choose to fight each and every battle in-game in real-time combat, or they can also opt to use the auto-resolve combat feature for a more seamless strategic experience.
So there you have it! These were some of the best games we could find for you today that play a lot like the games from the iconic Age of Empires series, and if you’re someone who’s a fan of games like these and is looking to play something similar, you must give some of these games a try at least once.
As mentioned earlier, none of the games on this list are exact copies of AOE games in terms of their gameplay styles and features, but it is clear that they do share certain similarities with the iconic Age of Empires series. Each game on this list makes sure to add their unique features into their games to help them stand out from the crowd, while still retaining the aspects that players like in these types of games in the first place.
Please keep coming back to this post from time to time as we’ll be sure to update it with newer titles from this genre, as and when we learn more about them.