Like it or not, Age of Empires is still one of the best and most popular real-time strategy franchises and naturally, a lot of people want experiences that are similar to the one Ensemble Studios offers. Since Age of Empires has been around for so many years and has sold so many copies, there are dozens upon dozens of titles that use a similar formula. Below, you’ll find a list with of the best games that are similar to Age of Empires.
10. Shogun: Total War
The Total War series has been around some time. As a consequence, older players who have been following the franchise since its inception, have a favorite. Personally, I prefer Shogun: Total War, since it’s the first one I played and the RTS represented an eye-opening experience at the time. But regardless of which Total War game you choose, Total War battles are always a cinematic and memorable experience.
In Stronghold, you can build a large empire from the ground up. So you are put in the shoes of an English king who needs to develop a stable economy, as well as a strong castle to defend from attackers. If you prefer one aspect over the other, there are missions that focus on either economy and combat.
Instead of fighting members from other civilizations, Banished focuses on city-building and survival. In the game, you control a growing community that’s completely isolated and interestingly, your primary resource is people. They are born, grow up, work, have children and die and it’s your job to keep them happy, well-fed and healthy.
7. Anno 2070
The Anno series has been around for while and there are several entries. One of the best is probably Anno 2070, but you really can’t go wrong with this franchise. Anno focuses on city-building and economy, so the main goal here is to transform a bunch of peasants into tycoons.
6. Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2
When it comes to Command & Conquer fans of the series still debate which title’s the best, so I decided to play it safe and chose Red Alert 2. Command & Conquer is probably one of the most descriptive titles ever written, so I won’t explain the core concepts of the series. Usually, the games involve choosing a place to settle to build a few structures. Then, as soon as you generate some units, you start exploring the map to attack your enemy.
5. Empire Earth
Empire Earth is very traditional. In the game, you collect resources that let you construct buildings, generate more citizens and fight opposing factions. The main difference between Empire Earth and most real-time strategy games is that the former spans 500,000 years of world history, so while you begin in the prehistoric age, you can end in the nano age. Empire Earth has an expansion pack and the game has spawned several sequels.
If you make a list about strategy games, StarCraft has to be on that list. Although the setting is remarkably different to that of Age of Empires, both games are more similar that you might think. Something that both games allow is using different playstyles and while a certain mission might be the same for everyone, different players can approach it in different ways.
3. Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos
Another terrific strategy game. Warcraft III’s formula is so solid that years after its release the game is still remarkably popular. The single player campaign is engrossing, the multiplayer aspect is extremely entertaining and the game also has an expansion pack and supports one of the most popular modifications in the history of video games (read: the original Defense of the Ancients.) If you’re planning to play Warcraft III, I highly recommend its expansion The Frozen Throne.
2. Rise of Nations
Rise of Nations is without a doubt one of the best real-time strategy games ever made and one of the most unconventional ones. Unlike most games on this list, Rise of Nations focuses on territory and as you expand your empire, so does your territory. Rise of Nations features 18 civilizations and each one of those has its own civilization tree and units.
1. Age of Mythology
As its name suggests, Age of Mythology is a mythology-based real-time strategy game developed by Ensemble Studios (a company that you might remember from the Age of Empires series.) The gameplay elements are pretty much the same as those from Age of Empires, but Age of Mythology also focuses on legends from the Greek, Egyptian and Norse civilizations. Apart from the single-player campaign there are multiplayer modes, a scenario editor and an expansion pack and a spin-off.
Honorable mentions: Sim City, American Conquest, Company of Heroes, Galactic Battlegrounds and Commandos.