7. Anno 2070
At its core, the Anno series is about dealing with global change. The best of the bunch (for my money) is the near-future setting of Anno 2070. In it, oceans have risen to near-Waterworld levels. It’s thus up to you to save humanity by constructing massive cities and protecting civilization from rival factions. The game’s coolest premise is its unique world setting where people rally around energy production routes instead of the usual boundaries of country, race, or religion.
Similar to other games like Age of Empires, Anno 2070 invites you to manage resources, upgrade buildings / units, and explore large generated maps. The game does differ from Age of Empires insofar as you’ll get to construct truly massive technologically advanced bases on an epic scale. Graphics are also far more detailed to that of older Age of Empires games.
Overall, the Anno series will please you with a number of games like Age of Empires that stick to familiar real-time strategy territory while also trying out new story ideas.
8. Rise of Nations
Rise of Nations harnesses what you love about Age of Empires – but ramps up feelings of civilizational progress by increasing the overall pace. Akin to other games like Age of Empires, this classic title lets you choose from a huge variety of nations spanning nine key historical epochs. The game also allows you to expand your sphere of influence through building things, exploration, and advancing up your tech tree.
You’ll have to make a lot of important decisions in Rise of Nations. This is because each building / unit / upgrade is intentionally crafted to fit a very specific (rather than a general) purpose. Thus, every choice you make must be done so in response to your also evolving enemies. One wrong move and disaster is bound to strike!
All in all, Rise of Nations is without a doubt one of the better classic RTS games like Age of Empires available.
9. StarCraft 2
We know that including StarCraft 2 into this list of games like Age of Empires is a bit controversial. But bear with us.
Admittedly, the differences between StarCraft 2 and Age of Empires are substantial. For starters, StarCraft 2’s sci-fi setting is much narrower in scope, lacking the wide-ranging historical depth of Age of Empires. The game’s pace is also much faster than most other games like Age of Empires.
However, StarCraft 2’s core gameplay actually shares a lot in common with Age of Empires in three important areas: resource management, building / unit upgrades, and base expansion. In addition, many Age of Empire fans tend to cite the StarCraft series as one of their favorite strategy game franchises of all-time. You may thus want to give this one a shot if you haven’t yet played it.
10. Total War: Shogun 2
Looking to scratch the same itch for history that Age of Empires does? Consider the Total War series – specifically, Shogun 2. In our opinion, this game represents the peak of the franchise (as also reflected by its Metacritic score of 90).
However, unlike the purist RTS formula of most games like Age of Empires, Total War: Shogun 2 offers a unique hybrid of real-time and turn-based strategy. In a way, this gives you the best of both worlds, challenging you to plot your moves carefully as you also partake in tense on-the-fly battles. The game is somewhat limited in its setting (that of 16th century feudal Japan) – but what is presented is rich in historical detail.
Total War: Shogun 2 does share a lot in common with many games like Age of Empires. As clan leader, you’ll be in charge of planning economic growth, military expansion, tech advancements, and so on. Real-time battles are also about balancing the right units against those of your opponents, with an added emphasis on choosing the best formation for various situations.
In short, if you’re a real-time strategy fan looking to dabble a little into the turn-based realm, think about giving Total War: Shogun 2 a shot. This is definitely one of the most polished games like Age of Empires on its list.
Honorable Mentions (More games like Age of Empires… but different in their own way.)
WarCraft 2 – Like StarCraft 2, WarCraft 2 is faster-paced and more setting-specific than most games like Age of Empires. Nonetheless, it still offers similar resource management, real-time battles, and base expansion.
Company of Heroes – A critically acclaimed RTS where resources are gathered through map control. It’s rather different from Age of Empires with its WW2 setting. However, it does provide for a similar sense of resource management, unit upgrades, and so on. Highly recommended by many Age of Empire fans. Avoid the disappointment of Company of Heroes 2 though.
Warhammer 40k: Dawn of War – This game is far more action-oriented than Age of Empires. However, it still challenges you to manage your resources and units in the name of conquest. Dawn of War is frequently mentioned alongside Age of Empires as one of the best RTS games ever made.
Command & Conquer: Ultimate Collection – This incredible collection of 17 Command & Conquer games is truly your real-time strategy wet dream come true! Battles are much quicker than in Age of Empires with a heavier emphasis on intense battles over empire building. However, again, both share an equal focus on resource management, upgrades, and real-time battles.
Other Games Like Age of Empires (Historical Focus):
Got more suggestions for games like Age of Empires? Share your thoughts below and we’ll add them to the list!
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