Top 15 Games Like Age of Empires

Games Like Age of Empires
I just said 'like'! Not better than I swear!

There is no beating around the bush, Age of Empires is one of the most successful RTS game series out there.

Some may argue it’s down to the ease of gameplay, others advocate for the balance between the different factions. But what happens when you’re all done with Age of Empires, when you can’t deal with another ‘mandatum’ from every unit.

Here is a list of games kind of like Age of Empires, perhaps even better in their own way, you be the judge:

15. Knights of Honor

Knights of Honor gameplay

To ease the transition, let’s begin with Knights of Honor. As king, it is up to you to lead your people from humble beginnings to a burgeoning empire feared for its power and admired for it’s prestige. All sound a bit familiar? Good.

What makes Knights of Honor awesome:

  • Unique knights loyal to only you come equipped with their own special skills; use them wisely from military to land administration and enhance their skills accordingly.
  • Develop your estates and castles to attend to your people and secure strategic advantages. There is more than war in this game.
  • Choose husbands for your daughters, consolidating power through marriage. Good ol’ patriarchy at play, but hey at least it’s historically accurate. Do with that what you will.

Diplomacy is vital: this Jaime Lannister looking creeper wants you to side with him, weigh up the repercussions carefully.

No mercy: a retreating enemy is only easier to finish off

14. Age of Mythology: Extended Edition

Age of Mythology Extended Edition gameplay

Age of Empires’ more interesting younger sibling is Age of Mythology. With exciting over the top mythological units at your disposal pit man against beast, many men if there is a minotaur, and invoke the favour of the Gods to give you that extra edge in battle.

What makes Age of Mythology awesome:

  • The extended edition adds Titans, the unwanted children of the Gods. Summon these colossal figures to level enemy cities.
  • Additional campaigns for hours of exciting gameplay. The Golden Gift campaign follows Dwarf brothers Eitri and Brokk as they work to defeat an old trickster.
  • Treaty mode: build your army in times of peace, but maybe do it on the sly because your enemies have more eyes than you know.

Battles for the Ages: creatures of myth collide spectacularly in this fantastic game

Y’all screwed now: a Titan is summoned through worship

13. Rise of Nations Extended Edition

Rise of Nations Extended Edition gameplay

Begin with a single city in the Ancient Age and then march through time, building infrastructure, researching technologies and constructing the wonders of our world. From the ancient pyramids to the Eiffel tower, amazing possibilities await. Don’t forget your military though, as we know by now, there is only one way to teach the villains of history a lesson, by force!

What makes Rise of Nations awesome:

  • With 18 nations to choose from, each with their own unique military units, structures and wonders, a deep pool is waiting to be plunged into.
  • Military units that will span your ages, from the hoplite to a frigate to a gunship.
  • Maps ranging from the Nile delta to the Himalayas – the world is your oyster to conquer

Humble beginnings: can’t you just smell the potential, great things are coming…

Modern warfare: it doesn’t look good for Warsaw, but hey when did it ever. We can count on it that they’ll come back harder and stronger than ever before.

12. Stronghold Crusader HD

Stronghold Crusader HD gameplay

The follow up to the best-selling classic, Stronghold puts you in the hot seat of the Crusades. Plan and fight your way through historic battles and castle sieges from one of the bloodiest periods of human history. You will see both sides of the coins as you lead the Crusades then fight for freedom as a Sultan.

What makes Stronghold Crusader HD awesome:

  • Four historical campaigns as both Crusaders and Saladin’s freedom fighters
  • View the entire battlefield on one screen
  • 100 unique skirmish missions

The overhauled high definition version of this epic game just looks really, really good

Battle on a grand scale: these guys aren’t kidding when they said you can see the entire battle on one map.

11. Dawn of Man

Dawn of Man gameplay

Finally, a fresh title! Dawn of Man came out a little earlier this year and it does not disappoint. Just when you think you’ve played through every age, these guys bring us something new, the quite literal dawn of man. We’re talking woolly mammoth attacks, forging tools and staving off Neanderthal raiding parties. From the stone age to the iron age, bring forth your civilization.

What makes Dawn of Man awesome:

  • Hunt & Gather – the two things most vital to early human survival.
  • To build megalithic structures you will need to mine massive boulders, and discover the technology to transport them.
  • Certain foods are more abundant in certain seasons, if you want your people to survive the winter, you will have to plan ahead carefully.

It’s Good to be King: Haul those boulders guys, your eminence want to build a stone-henge.

Prehistoric Mortality Issues: I have a feeling we may lose a villager or two this afternoon.

10. SpellForce 3

SpellForce 3 gameplay

It’s not every day you come across a delicious blend of RTS and RPG. The year is 518, the Mage Wars are over thanks to the Crown but at great cost. Create a hero, assemble a party, level them up but you also have to create an economy, raise an army and lead it into battle.

What makes SpellForce 3 awesome:

  • A visually superb masterpiece. It’s like Age of Empires and Age of Mythology’s adopted child.
  • A 30+ hour campaign with a rich story that can be enjoyed in co-op with friends.
  • Focus on levelling up your hero and assembling the perfect war party, then play the war in the most strategic way possible, using terrain, troop formations, scouting and all the other awesome RTS elements.

Battle of the Titans: when everyone else becomes cannon fodder.

The A-Team: Admit it, that’s one handsome hero

9. Stronghold 2 Steam Edition

Stronghold 2 Steam Edition gameplay

All those times you played AoE, did you ever get particularly cheesed off at a certain peasant? Maybe you wanted to treat them really well, but there was never a satisfying way to do it, well, read no further! Sentence them to death, tax them, torture them, or throw a lovely banquet that they cannot attend. What did you expect they’re peasants, life isn’t always fair. Look out the window though my lord, Lord Barclay has laid siege to your castle.

What makes Stronghold 2 Steam Edition awesome:

  • Will you be a kind or benevolent king? Rehabilitate thieves are sentence them to death in a myriad of ways
  • Strive for the crown, you can gain honour by title, strategy or force.
  • Duel inside buildings, it’s your kingdom!

Castle building and siege craft come second to none in this RTS game

That’s a nice castle, good views, don’t mind if I take it off your hands?

8. Cossacks: Back to War

Cossacks: Back to War gameplay

A vintage that people still enjoy today. Plunge into the sixteenth century and wage medieval war against your European neighbours in a RTS with over a hundred captivating missions.  All the features from Cossacks: European War and Cossacks: The Art of War and then some are jammed into this standalone DLC.

What makes Cossacks: Back to War awesome:

  • A new camel riding unit for Algeria and Turkey!
  • Two new nations, Hungary and Switzerland have come to the table.
  • Endless AI skirmishes on randomly generated maps

It’s grand scale war, and tactics count! Don’t charge out of range of your cannons or it won’t be good, I promise you.

Wow, so Pretty: I must destroy it.

7. Cossacks 3

Cossacks 3 gameplay

Fourteen years after Cossacks: Back to War comes Cossacks 3. There hasn’t been a more perfect blend of war, economy, army development, building and upgrading since that title, or so the developers boldly claim. So let’s give it a shot?

What makes Cossacks 3 awesome:

  • Large scale war, no jokes you can have thousands of units on the battlefield
  • 20 nations, 120 unit types and 220 buildings are available
  • FIVE historic single player campaigns, and of course multiplayer

Prepare for Battle: Defend the city at all costs!

There’s no pussy-footing around, if you show up to battle unprepared, you will be destroyed.

6. Ancestors Legacy

Ancestors Legacy gameplay

It’s time to get gory, guts and glory are the order of the day. The coolest thing about this medieval RTS, you get to lead the Vikings! Oh and there’s the Anglo-Saxon, German and Slav nations if that’s your thing.

What makes Ancestors Legacy awesome:

  • Lead an army of Vikings!
  • The rendering was done using Unreal 4 tech, which means fantastic detail.
  • A cinematic action camera accessible with the push of the button that will drop you right into the middle of the bloodshed.

Bloody Duels: Commanders are some badass dudes, so take care of and look out for them.

Viking Commander: the illest bro to ever wield an axe

5. Medieval Kingdom Wars

Medieval Kingdom Wars gameplay

Age of Empires meets Total War, the two shake hands and we get to enjoy the fruit of the deal. The year is 1336, the start of the Hundred Years’ War, and your chance to re-write history. What makes this title interesting is instead of being head honcho, you are a minor lord in medieval Europe.

What makes Medieval Kingdom Wars awesome:

  • It came out this year and you can tell, top notch graphics!
  • The real time in RTS is quite literal in this title, there are no second chances!
  • A beautiful and accurate reproduction of western Europe with over two hundred detailed towns and hamlets.

Prepare for Battle: and keep an eye on those Frenchies

Detail is King: is that a trout swimming under the bridge? Why yes, yes it is

4. Northgard

Northgard gameplay

Vikings are awesome, point blank. So here, have a RTS based on Norse mythology where you play as a clan of Vikings competing for control of a newly discovered land. Riches await the brave, but beware for the land is shrouded in mystery and danger too.

What makes Northgard awesome:

  • Survive dire wolves and undead warriors, battle or befriend giants.
  • Different victory conditions – Conquest, Fame, Lore and Trading
  • Build your own settlement on the newly discovered continent of Northgard

There can be only one! Kidding these two are homeboys

For Valhalla! Send your little Viking warriors to drink mead up in the great halls.

3. Total War: ATILLA

Total War: ATILLA gameplay

Famine, disease and war have swept the landscape. Out of the darkness a new power is rising from the East. A million horsemen led by the most prolific figure in military is headed for Rome. Choose your side; brace yourself against the tide or eliminate oppression and create a new world.

What makes Total War: ATILLA awesome:

  • The raze mechanic; weaponize fire in all new ways.
  • Significant improvements to both campaign and battle visuals bring the destruction of civilization to life magnificently.
  • Choose to start as the Roman Empire, with vast territories under your control, then watch how quickly it all comes crumbling down as you struggle to stay alive.

The Raze: Hey guys, I think I smell popcorn…

Where’s Waldo: hiding from the Huns fool!

2. Total War: WARHAMMER 2

Total War: WARHAMMER 2 gameplay

The next instalment in the Total War franchise goes back to fantasy. Command troops and monsters in this strategy of Olympic proportions. Choose your faction and mount a campaign to save or destroy a sprawling fantasy world.

What makes Total War: WARHAMMER 2 awesome:

  • Like Atilla, this is a game of two halves, one a turn based open world campaign, the other a real time tactical open field battle.
  • Each race has two lords (which you can level up, armour up and weapon up) which means you and a friend can co-op the campaigns as the same race.
  • Aerial dragon combat!

Holy Cow: that’s a birdman riding a dinosaur. I’m on their team.

That’s a skeleton riding a giant cobra skeleton. I’ll stay on the dino-team.

1. Kingdoms and Castles

Kingdoms and Castles gameplay

Let’s break the mould on this last one, what do you say? No? Well there’s more than enough to choose from up until now. The focus here is not to crush an enemy, but to take your tiny hamlet to a town, build a castle, and then bobs your uncle, you have a kingdom! Ok, so it won’t be that easy, you have to defend against Vikings, dragons and all sorts of other terrors. Good luck!

What makes Kingdoms and Castles awesome:

  • It’s medieval SimCity
  • Layout is actually important to peasant happiness, usually not too much of a factor but hey.
  • Tax the peasants, feed the peasants, and heal the peasants. Build churches and taverns for them, self-reflection is important. At the end of the day, they will make you sink or float.

Castle with Potential: Three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a home cinema and tower to lock the princess in!

High Standards: For my people, only the best. Ah rats, incoming dragon!

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A vagabond hailing from faraway South Africa, my playstation and a bag of salt & vinegar chips are always calling. When not procrastinating on the playstation, I'm writing, or working off the chips
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