Age of Empires is an exemplary series that continues to influence real-time strategy games, with comprehensive features and historical appeal. The second game in the series undoubtedly set a high bar with its challenging, yet balanced complexity and thematic details.
For those who have only just discovered Age of Empires, this list will explore ideal follow-up games in no particular order. Selections will concentrate on the broader historical atmosphere and strategic rush from Age of Empires. So, they will focus on period piece settings, and similar gameplay that won’t solely feature pure RTS mechanics.
7. Command & Conquer Remastered Collection
Command & Conquer is one of the definitive RTS series, and its earliest games were much lighter on sci-fi. Red Alert masterfully blends thoughtful missions, base strategy, and a compelling story. That particular game is set in an alternate history, which is far more recent than Age of Empires. So, it doesn’t provide an ancient civilization approach, but it is a period piece.
The pacing and innovation are also similar to Age of Empires, resulting in the same sense of freedom. The gameplay is just as layered and delicately balanced. Fortunately, the remastered collection is a satisfying update for longtime fans that runs well and doesn’t alter much.
This game is a bit of an oddity because it includes a small degree of multiple elements from Age of Empires. It successfully juggles ideas from many different genres, including hints of RTS. However, this period piece mainly focuses on economy management, and it should not be mistaken for a traditional city building game.
The logistics of this game are fascinating, with a surprising depth that will please Age of Empires fans. And although the story doesn’t lead players as far back into history, the Industrial Revolution is a novel setting that presents interesting challenges.
5. Total War: Rome Remastered
The gameplay in Rome: Total War centers on turn-based actions and real-time tactics. However, Total War’s original adventure into ancient Rome offers the same extraordinary strategy and tone as Age of Empires. The recent remaster also does a great job of reinvigorating the game without tinkering with it too much, which is always a relief.
Flipping between the campaign and the battles is a brilliant and rewarding experience, which feels immersive enough for Age of Empires fans. There are many familiar locations and historical figures to discover, and an excellent attention to authenticity.
This installment of the beloved Cossacks series harkens back to the earliest days of the genre. Although this game doesn’t have the polish or flexibility from Age of Empires, it is a delightfully nostalgic RTS experience. The purity of its central features is fun to revisit, and the focal points are a welcome return to form for the series.
The range of unique historical battles is also a thrill to explore, since most comparable titles are limited to one particular setting. The variety of its nations, the scope of the construction mechanics, and the role your surroundings can play help distinguish Cossacks 3.
Northgard is one of the most accessible RTS games, far more casual than the likes of Age of Empires. However, it is also similarly creative and offers intuitive mechanics, with some fun twists that RTS fans are certain to appreciate. It’s a breath of fresh air for the genre, which hasn’t seen many new titles lately, let alone satisfying ones.
Although Norse mythology is incorporated, ordinary Viking culture is prioritized. The game doesn’t rely too much on high fantasy, which would likely deter some Age of Empires fans. There are also a variety of equally thematic win conditions, and the story is excellent, which is rarely the high point of an RTS game.
This is an unusually gorgeous, imaginative fusion of grand strategy, real-time strategy, and Age of Empires’ epic historical wonder. It’s an uncanny bridge between the likes of Crusader Kings and true RTS, succeeding beyond most medieval counterparts. There are many games set during this time period, but few muster half as much content or quality.
Knights of Honor II: Sovereign is a culmination of many different strategy games, aggregating all of their best features. It offers an overwhelming selection of kingdoms and units, supports co-op and PvP, and the royal court system is quite clever.
1. Rise of Nations: Extended Edition
Although this game shows its age at times, it remains an RTS classic and a superb Age of Empires alternative. Gameplay spans the entirety of history, which is a tried-and-true premise from Civilization that will intrigue new players. In fact, there are some other concepts borrowed from similar turn-based games, but never at the expense of its identity.
It doesn’t shy away from pliable, complex mechanics that allow you to constantly rediscover new strategies. The Extended Edition is also a decent update that doesn’t change much, and features newer visuals that are more accessible for newcomers. Rise of Nations isn’t just a suitable follow-up for Age of Empires fans, but an equally significant and iconic game in its own right.
Age of Empires is widely considered the peak of its genre, which has been unfortunately idle over the years. Be sure to give a shoutout to any memorable games we might have missed, that Age of Empires fans are sure to enjoy!