Age of Empires is one of the best multiplayer games I’ve ever played. One of the Real-Time Strategy, RTS, genres giants is almost unique in terms of its scope and its consistent quality. The first game was a lot of fun. But the serious really grew the beard for the second, Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings. That game somehow combined the world building of a Turn based game with the rock paper scissors combat of a real time strategy game. Add in a more robust multiplayer, a fair few excellent expansion packs and you have a game that stands the test of time.
The third, and unfortunately final, game in the series went both 3D and colonial. Sales were lackluster compared to Age of Kings but reviews at the time were high. The games developers, Ensemble Studios, were in dire straits though. And after completing a Halo RTS they shut down. The world believed it would never again see more Age of Empires games. But you can’t keep a good franchise down. A HD edition of Age of Empires II was released in 2013 and two years later we got our first new expansion pack for Age of Kings since the 2000 release of Conquerors. The developers, Forgotten Empires, would go on to create more expansions for the game and it enjoys strong sales to this day. But what if your in the mood for something of a different flavor? A game that satisfies in similar ways to Age of Empires. Well I have five games for you that should sate that and then some.
Top Five Games Like Age Of Empires – 2018 Updates
#5 – Starcraft 2
Released twelve years after the ground breaking first game, Starcraft II takes what made the original so good and turns it up to eleven. Better graphics, more strategic options, a more balanced multiplayer and a wonderful campaign mode. The game hasn’t the focus on nation building that Age of Empires has, but it does have a far more involved combat system. Taking place in the far flung future three races are vying for superiority. The Protoss, with advanced psychic abilities, the Terrans Humans in power armor and the Zerg, a swarm of hyper evolutionary super organisms. The three races are well balanced and their is always a way around a tactic. The game is played for big money all around the world, and especially South Korea, where the players are celebrities. Pick this up if you want a real challenge, millions of Koreans can’t be wrong.
#4 – Rise of Nations: Rise of Legends
From the developers of Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri comes Rise of Nations: Rise of Legends. The least successful commercially in their innovative Rise of Nations series is probably the best. The designers left Firaxis to develop Real Time Strategy games that had the scope of their turn based cousins. While their success is arguable, I don’t think it matters too much when the results are this fun to play. Playing like a blend of Starcraft and Age of Empires, this games focus is split between combat and base building. Base building is far more streamlined than that of AOE, and the combat is not as tight as Starcraft. But its unique focus on controlling land and wars of attrition make for an excellent alternative to the more mainstream games in the genre. It’s original version has the same three race mix as Starcraft, and they are reasonably well balanced. The re-release has 13 more races, making it somewhat less balanced, but still fun to play. Pick this up if you’re looking for a nice middle ground in a wondrous fantasy setting.
#3 – Rome: Total War
Pick a war any war. So long as it’s Total War. honestly, with the exception of Empire: Total War I could have put any of them on this list. The total war series is known for its attention to detail, large scale battles and excellent strategic play. The first game in the series, Shogun: Total War, featured a very basic turn based tactical map, more functional than fun. Subsequent games, starting with Rome, built on that and made a full fledged Turn based Strategy on top of one of the best RTS’ on the planet. There are few things more fun than attempting to take over the known world, marching your legions through Gaulish France to conquer the English. The game is just an awful lot of fun. If you want something with a simulation level of detail, combined with a methodical turn based strategy game you can’t go wrong with Rome: Total War.
#2 – Sins of A Solar Empire
You will not believe the scale of this game. Set up a game, make it three suns and just start zooming. you can go from the hull of your smallest fighter to viewing an entire galaxy or three. It is staggering. Sins of a Solar Empire is perhaps the best blending of real time strategy mechanics with 4X style gameplay. You begin with one planet and a few ships. You build a few scouts and set them out in the world, traveling between planets. While they’re off looking for viable planets your miners are mining and ship yards are building. Soon you have a little flotilla, and enough resources to build a capital ship. You have your first real fleet and your expansionist dreams begin. You fight wars with words, with media and above all else, with guns. The battles are quite beautiful, but the race balance is a little off. Not so much so as to put you off playing, but enough to notice the TEC tend to be better equipped. All in all a stellar experience, and one I can heartily recommend for those looking for their AOE fix.
#1 – Civilization V Complete
Not an RTS by any stretch of the imagination, but one of the things the other games on this list lack is Age of Empires sense of progression through time. And that is something that Civ games do so well. Civ V is both the latest game in the series and one of the best. It has a wonderful strategic feel, excellent visuals and a real sense of world domination. You can play the game peacefully to victory if you like, but there is nothing I like more than setting the number of AIs to high on a small map and battling it out with Genghis Khan and Gandhi. Watching you nation grow, both by settling new cities and by military expansion, is very satisfying and a single game can last you all week, depending on your settings. One thing to remember when buying the game is to make sure you get both of the expansions. Without them the game is merely competent, a defining trait of the Civ series. If you like this game and are looking for something similar with an otherworldly feel try out Civ: Beyond Earth too. Overall, as far as strategy goes, the Civ games still reign supreme.
So there we have it, a few games like Age of Empires to help you through the lonely nights. All of these games are available on steam and all of them are most assuredly worth your time. If you have any fond RTS memories feel free to share them in the comments, or if you’re wondering why C&C isn’t on this list then you’ve probably already played it.