Games like Command & Conquer are most prevalent in people’s minds when they think of an RTS. The addictive gameplay combined with Frank Klepacki’s rocking soundtracks make a winning formula. Live action cinematics and tongue in cheek humor add to the enduring popularity and success of the series. Even the wrestler and actor John Cena is a noted fan of these games!
The gameplay is quick and addictive. You’ll find yourself immersed in battles between GDI and the Brotherhood of NOD, or the Soviets versus the Allies. The sheer plethora and variety of units available are incredible. The different factions are not just cosmetically different, they each have their own particular strengths and weaknesses.
The original games are available as freeware here which gives you no excuse to not try out these classics.
9 Best Games Similar To Command & Conquer Series
The long-awaited sequel to one of the most popular RTS games of all time, Starcraft II is a welcome return to the Koprulu Sector. Three distinct factions, the rugged Terrans, the ancient Protoss, and the hive mind Zerg all war for domination and survival in this action-packed science fiction story.
The game takes up where Brood War left off, offering a campaign for each faction as part of an overarching storyline. Wings of Liberty, Heart of the Swarm, and Legacy of the Void are each full-length games in their own right, offering a mammoth experience to players.
Multiplayer is what Starcraft is most famous for and its successor continues that tradition. The player can test their skills against AI opponents, team up with an ally for cooperative missions, or go head to head with other players, ensuring a challenge worthy of their prowess.
Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War Series
Action-packed. Bloody. Awesome. These words don’t do Dawn of War justice. The series (set in Games Workshop’s thrilling 40k universe) lives up to the hype featuring chaotic battles with visceral close combat. Take control of Orks, Space Marines, Chaos, Tau, or numerous other races in a vicious battle for supremacy.
The first game features several expansions, which add new races as well as units and features to the game. Taking place on a Risk-style map, invasions of provinces are fought on the battlemap. Bases endure from battle to battle and threatened provinces can be garrisoned to give you a head start in conflicts.
The second game focuses more on combat with squad-based gameplay and RPG mechanics. With a third title released, Dawn of War shows no sign of stopping.
Supreme Commander Series
A spiritual successor to Total Annihilation, the Supreme Commander series is all about scale. Taking charge of one of three factions, you fight for supremacy in the maelstrom that is the Infinite War.
It is a game meant to be played on multiple monitors. The strategic zoom system allows you to go from a controllable version of the minimap to following a single unit. The single player campaign expands the map as objectives are met until it truly feels like the player is fighting across a continent. The maps of up to 80km x 80km are colossal, making mounting an expeditionary force a huge feat of logistics.
The sequel has received mixed reviews for what is seen as a simplification of the original game but Supreme Commander remains a game that any serious RTS player should play.
Company of Heroes Series
From the same creators behind Dawn of War and Homeworld, Company of Heroes is a squad-based RTS set during the latter stages of the Second World War. The original game had the player command a combined arms formation from the invasion of Normandy to the capitulation of Germany. Sequels and expansions allowed for the British, German, and Soviet armies to be played.
The second game has an army to suit every player. Each army has their own particular strengths and weaknesses, allowing players to find their niche and playstyle.
Planetary Annihilation: TITANS
From members of the team who created Total Annihilation and funded by Kickstarter, TITANS is the latest and most improved title. It lets you wage war across an entire galaxy. No other game on this list lets you attach engines to an asteroid and use it to destroy a planet.
The varied nature of the different planets means that you are constantly tailoring your forces to suit the terrain. A navy might crush the opposition on one planet but be useless on its neighbor, a rock devoid of any water.
The real showpiece of the game is the titular TITANS. Much like those mentioned in Age of Mythology earlier, they are game changers, capable of destroying whole armies and even planets.
Another unusual game on our list, Grey Goo features Humans, the Beta, and the Grey Goo. The formula might seem familiar to RTS veterans with the Beta being fast moving and hard hitting aliens, the Humans the versatile all-rounders, and the Goo as the all-consuming nemesis but this isn’t just a Starcraft clone.
The combat system is well balanced with an emphasis on macro level decisions as opposed to constant micromanagement. The battles are entertaining with the game-ending Epic level units a joy to watch in action.
Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak
A prequel to the legendary Homeworld games, Deserts of Kharak changes the action from space to ground combat, having the player lead an expeditionary force deep into the desert to hunt for an ancient artifact. All of the hallmarks of the earlier games are present here, a gripping storyline, beautiful graphics, and an atmospheric soundtrack.
The game has fantastic graphics as you battle through a desert map with soaring dunes, looming cliffs, fierce storms, and ancient ruins. Units bounce over dunes at high speeds while zooming out lets you view most of the map in all its glory. The game is very much a tactical one with the player’s carrier serving as a mobile base, allowing for fast-paced gameplay.
Age of Empires Series
Though one of the more venerable games on this list, Age of Empires seems to have only grown in popularity since its release. The second game in the series received an HD update and has seen several fanmade expansions and campaigns released. The old favorites of Saladin, Barbarossa, Genghis Khan, and Joan of Arc; are joined by a legion of others, set in the Americas, Eurasia, and Africa.
The third game brings the timeline forward to the colonial era and has one of the best expansion packs in the series, Asian Dynasties, which adds Indian, Chinese, and Japanese civilizations to the mix, each with their own unique campaigns.
The games enjoy thriving multiplayer communities as well as numerous fanmade expansions and content available for free. No self-respecting RTS fan can be without this game.
Rise of Nations
Primarily known for being a competitor to Age of Empire, it’s an unfair comparison as Rise of Nations is a game with more differences than similarities. Rise of Nations has you lead a civilization from ancient times right up to the modern era.
A key concept in the game is territory. Areas near the player’s settlements and fortresses are the only places where structures can be built. Enemy units on hostile territory take attrition damage.
The real joy of the game is the civilizations and their unique units, each one based on a historical soldier. The British have longbowmen, the Germans Tiger tanks and so on.