After AoE3, what next?
February 14, 2006 10:41 PM   Subscribe

I like Age of Empires 3 for the PC. I never thought I'd like games of this genre; up until now Half-Life2 was the only big PC game I really enjoyed, being more of a console gamer. What's a game similar to AoE3 that I might enjoy?

Specifically looking for great graphics, a similar style of converting resources to weapons to staging large battles. I'm not interested in MMORPGs, nor Rollercoaster Tycoon style world building. The goal is a large fight, and the mechanism should involve development, resource constraint, etc.
posted by jonson to Computers & Internet (22 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Rise of Nations - although it's a few years old now so I don't know if I'f characterize the graphics as "great".
posted by falconred at 10:58 PM on February 14, 2006

Second on Rise of Nations. It's amazing.

To be honest, I prefer AoE2 to 3. The gameplay is top notch. Perhaps it might be worth taking a step back a generation?
posted by charmston at 11:03 PM on February 14, 2006

The genre that you're asking about is known as Real Time Strategy (RTS). There are lots of games available in this genre.

Personally I'm looking forward to Rise of Nations: Rise of Legends which comes out this spring and looks to be fantastical to say the least.

Empire Earth II is a year old and along the same vein as AoE, I found it to be an excellent substitute to AoE while I was waiting for AoEIII to come out. If you like ancient mythology you can try Age of Mythology which is about three years old but looks fine, and there's a Titans expansion pack, which you might fined bundled for cheap.

Finally, Star Wars: Empire at War just came out and has garnered some very positive reviews, although some RTS purists have taken exception to some of the game elements.
posted by furtive at 12:05 AM on February 15, 2006

Civilization III is a bit older but still great, same goes for Red Alert 2.
posted by tweak at 12:23 AM on February 15, 2006

I pretty much only play strategy games on PC, and I fell deeply in love with Command & Conquer Generals. (The link has some screenshots) When it comes to "gathering up resources and battling to the death" it's second to none.

Otherwise, you might like browsing through Metacritic and looking for real-time strategy games. You can generally count on anything with a score over 80 to be worth a try. Good luck!
posted by Ljubljana at 12:27 AM on February 15, 2006

RTSes (like MMORPGs and to a lesser degree FPSes) unfortunately don't translate well to consoles as they really require a point and click interface to effectively make groups out of an arbitrary set of units and then give those units orders. AOE 3 is good stuff, but I still prefer the quite different AOE 2 + Expansion, just like charmston. You should be able to pick them up ultra-cheap. My wife is into one of the other spinoffs - Age of Mythology (she gets a slightly demented joy from playing as a follower of Set and hypnotizing vast flocks of ambient wildlife into an army) but I think the gameplay is a bit lacking.

Rise of Nations is, as everyone else has said, probably your best bet here for a solid and somewhat modern product.

The Empire Earth series is 'interesting' in that there are some real bits of brilliance there, but both of them really lack the polish of RoN/the Age of- series. They should probably be your last pick out of this set.
posted by Ryvar at 12:32 AM on February 15, 2006

I've been an RTS fan since Warcraft2 and was lucky enough to get into the StarCraft Beta. I also played the original Dune game before then and loved it. Somewhat RTS-y.

AoE is not bad, but AoE2 seemed pretty much like the first one, and I didn't bother with 3. Empire Earth 1 was great, and 2 is excellent as well. I just picked it up a few weeks back, and the system is very nice. The AI is good, what little of the campaign I've played is nice. I wouldn't say the graphics are outdated yet. I also picked up Stronghold and Stronghold Crusader at the same time. Both are excellent games, the graphics arn't horrible, and might be just what you are looking for gameplay wise. Cheap at 9.95 each. (Stronghold came with Tropico as well.) I've heard Stronghold 2 is not nearly as good.

I thought Rise of Nations was interesting, but I didn't find it to be too fun after a week.

Oh, and SW: Empire at War...doesn't come out until Thursday. Unless some stores already have them out on the shelves. I live in nowhere-ville. There's not even a game store in town. Closest is 25 miles, and they don't generally get the new releases until a week after. I'll probably spend 2.5 hours in the car on Thursday to get my copy. bleh
posted by Phynix at 1:23 AM on February 15, 2006

You're either a Civilisation fan or you aren't. It's worth finding out. The Game is turn based and this might not appeal at first sight, it's as much about building structures as fighting, however each game contains something unforgettable, such as struggling out of the renaissance only to find a foreign ship on your shores offering you a cargo of 'hit singles'.

If it appeals then Civilisation IV is everything you could want, even if you need to buy a new computer to run it. It's gorgeous, a complete animated 3D world and as deep and difficult as you like.
posted by grahamwell at 2:11 AM on February 15, 2006

You have to try the Total War Series. Medieval is my favourite, but you might like Shogun (older) or Rome (newer) better.
posted by Skyanth at 3:26 AM on February 15, 2006

Warcraft 3 (at this point get the bundle with frozen throne). And I second Civilization IV, despire it being somewhat of a different genre (turn based rather than real time). Also, if you are looking get a few more hours out of any of these games, try out the multiplayer lobbies.
posted by sophist at 4:53 AM on February 15, 2006

Total Annihilation is still the best all out combat RTS game IMHO. Add in all the custom games, maps, units, AI etc and you can just keep playing it forever and ever.
posted by srboisvert at 5:56 AM on February 15, 2006

Skyanth: Funny you should mention Medieval: Total War - I'm alt-tabbed out of it right now. The next installment in the franchise looks like it's going to be the same basic game with a massive graphics overhaul. Good thing, too, Rome was a wash.
posted by Ryvar at 7:02 AM on February 15, 2006

StarCraft, along with the BroodWar expansion set, is still a terriffic game 8 years later. You can pick up the SC Battlechest for under $20.
posted by Scoo at 7:15 AM on February 15, 2006

Civilization IV is absolutely amazing.
posted by wackybrit at 7:19 AM on February 15, 2006

Second Starcraft. It's still my favorite RTS game. I just couldn't get into Warcraft 3, but I'm going to give it another shot now that I'm a World of Warcraft addict.

Civilization isn't an RTS game (as others have pointed out above, it's turn-based). It's part of a general class of games that are classified as "empire building" or 4X games. I'm really looking forward to the release of Galactic Civilizations II later this month, which is not directly related to Civ but follows pretty closely to the build, expand and conquer mechanics of that game.
posted by flipper at 7:53 AM on February 15, 2006

I've been a fan of this kind of games for the past 6 years. In fact, this type of games are the only ones I still play in the computer instead of console gaming.

As far as I know all of the previously mentioned are awesome in their own style (some are magical, some are realistic, futuristic) but if your looking for one of the newest with awesome graphics, don't miss out on Civilization IV.
Like some have said before, either you are a fan or not of the Civilizations series, but you got to try them to know that.
posted by bergan at 8:04 AM on February 15, 2006

Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri is older, and based on Civ II, but for me it was a lot more fun for some reason.

My all time favorite turned based strategy game: Master of Orion II. Hard to find, but you can probably locate a torrent somewhere.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 9:07 AM on February 15, 2006

Just a warning in case you didn't pick up on it: The Civilization games, while similar in theme and feel to some extent, are a completely different style of game than Age of Empires. if you're a Half-Life and console fan, I imagine you've got some happy feeling towards the occasional fast-paced gaming, and Civ can be a lot more like playing chess than reacting quickly. I do like the Civilization series (although I haven't tried 4 yet) and my father loves them as well, but they've never held the same interest for me that Empires and other RTSes have. It might be worth taking a shot, if you can borrow it from a friend or something to try it out first, but be prepared: at least in the older versions, a game could take days, not the two hours an AoE match might run.
posted by luftmensch at 10:43 AM on February 15, 2006

Yeah, that doesn't sound like me. I like the build a quick empire, start a quick fight, skirmish mode in AoE3. That Rise of Legends above looks like my kinda thing. THanks for all the good suggestions, everyone!
posted by jonson at 11:35 AM on February 15, 2006

Rise of Nations, Rome Total War, C&C Generals are great games along the same lines as AOE 3. Empire at war and Rise of legends are two games i haven't yet played but have very high hopes for. If you only buy one game right now, i would recommend Rise Of Nations.
posted by Bjkokenos at 12:47 PM on February 15, 2006

the site i would go to for this kind of information is gamerankings. Load up this page:

Category: Strategy >> Real Time >> All
Platform: PC
Limit Results To: 50, 100, whatever

and go to town. It looks like the most popular ones have already been listed here, Warcraft3, Rome: Total War, AoE2, Age of Mythology, Rise of Nations, C&C Generals, etc.

Personally, i agree that the best real time strategy game ever made was Total Annihilation, released in 1997. The sheer amount of units you can create gives it a flexibility not seen in other games. The graphics are quite outdated now though =/

And yes, Civilization et al fit into a different (but similar) category of games, found on gamerankings at:
Strategy >> Turn Based >> All
posted by escher at 1:26 PM on February 15, 2006

Personally, i agree that the best real time strategy game ever made was Total Annihilation, released in 1997. The sheer amount of units you can create gives it a flexibility not seen in other games. The graphics are quite outdated now though =/

Gas Powered Games are coming out with a sequel soon (ish) : Supreme Commander

I'm excited but also worried I won't have the requirements to play it.
posted by srboisvert at 6:57 AM on February 17, 2006

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