Still in love with Age of Empires and looking for more of the best RTS games to add to your growing collection? No sweat! We’ve curated a list of the best real-time strategy games across PC, Xbox, PS5 and Switch!
As a genre that dates back all the way to 1989 with Herzog Zwei, real-time strategy games have seen many-a-makeover as the years have rolled past. What was traditionally a video game genre for PC players, real-time strategy games have since transcended onto many other platforms with grand strategy and 4x games now take the fore.
While we know that historical-based RTS games are still the cream of the crop, there are many titles now that place less of an emphasis on the past as we look towards building cities or commanding troops for the future of mankind.
But what titles stand tall as the best variations of the genre today? Let’s find out!👇
Top 10 Best RTS Games
Nothing beats a first-class real-time strategy game. It’s the perfect blend of action, adventure and of course; strategy. From 15-year-old classics to modern-day RTS adventures, we’ve pinched, punched and scratched to curate what we believe is the ultimate collection of RTS games around! Ready to get your commander on?
Here are the top 10 best RTS games to play right now:
Release Date: 1st September 2020 Platforms: Xbox, Series X, PS5, Windows & Mac Developer: Paradox Interactive
Kicking off our list of the best RTS games comes the award winning Crusader Kings 3. And, by golly, this is one heck of a grand strategy game!
Massively overhauled from past entries into the series, Crusader Kings III is probably one of the deepest and most hilarious real time strategy games currently available. With each character packed full of personality, for better or for worse, Crusader Kings 3 is littered with so much detail you will be enthralled for months upon end as you take control of your empire.
Whilst Crusader Kings 3 screams your traditional all out war-fest, the hilarious storylines and details are what makes this game truly special. For newcomers to the series, you’ve got a heck of a lot to learn. But, if you can put up with losing a few times then Crusader Kings 3 will absolutely knock your socks off – for all the right reasons!
Negate backstabbers, seize power through military might and be mindful that religious values, influence and diplomance all have critical parts to play in your succession.
Release Date: 22nd February 2017 Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch & Android Game Developer: Shiro Games Reason: Best Age Of Empires Like RTS Game
If you put Civilisation IV, Valhalla and simple mechanics into a blender, you would essentially get Northgard. For any AOE lovers out there looking for a unique spin on the much-loved classic, Northgard is one of the best real-time strategy games you can play across multiple platforms right now.
Taking the helm of a variety of viking Northgard clans, your mission is to storm across unknown lands and stake your claim. With a story mode, single player mode, multiplayer mode and varying levels of difficulty, there is so many ways to victory and many scenarios to encounter. From clearing areas of wolves to forging Norse mythological artifacts that ultimately give your production units huge amounts of boost, whilst the game within itself is relatively simple, there are many cool mechanics to exploit throughout.
The maps are super dynamic, there are freak weather conditions to handle and of course, plenty of strategies to pursue for each chapter that you play through. Honestly, we picked this game up at last year’s EOFY sale for just $4 and we have not put it down since. With plenty of free updates since release, don’t be put off by the initial 2017 release date.
There’s plenty still to enjoy with Northgard – even on your mobile!
Release Date: 28th September 2017 Platforms: Windows, Mac & Linux Game Developer: Creative Assembly, Feral Interactive
No RTS game list would be complete without mentioning at least one of the Total War series and Total War: Warhammer II is regrettably our pick of the bunch!
While we are not huge Warhammer fans, Total War: Warhammer II is without question the best Total War game available; closely followed by Medieval Total War. Yes, Warhammer 3 is available, however, Total Warhammer II still trumps the lot; standing tall as Creative Assembly’s most creative work to date.
Offering extremely diverse layers with engaging encounters, Total War: Warhammer II takes everything we love about the historical strategic Total War series and transcends the archaic storytelling into modernised fantasy that quite frankly is a total blast.
The premise of the game is almost identical to the well-known Total War series, except, you won’t be deploying archers and pikemen this time around!
Release Date: 17th November 2022 Platforms: Windows PC Game Developer: Relic Entertainment
If you know anything about Relic Entertainment’s Company Of Heroes series, you’ll know damn well that Company Of Heroes 3 will become one of the best real time military strategy games of all time. Actually, it’s the only WWII set military strategy game we recommend you play!
Featuring new mechanics and game modes, Company Of Heroes 3 sets you within Italy and North African theatres of war which quite frankly is under published throughout the war games that have been made available over the years. From it’s expansive single player campaign that actually makes you think twice about utilising your band of warriors as cannon-fodder to it’s challenging and complex multiplayer game modes, Company of Heroes 3 is a war commanders dream.
Arguably the best real time strategy series of all time, Company of Heroes 3 feeds the minds of history fanatics and RTS lovers alike. If you have never played any Company of Heroes game but enjoy Creative Assembly’s Total War series, you are going to absolutely fall in love with this one!
Release Date: 10th November 2015 Platforms: Windows & Mac Game Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
As the godfather of modern eSports, Starcraft 2 joins our list of the best real time strategy games for a plethora of reasons that kind of really don’t need to be mentioned.
With a campaign mode that is still considered as one of the best RTS stories of all time, Starcraft is absolutely packed with wonderful characters and plot twists that are insanely exciting. It’s the perfect blend of strategy and game mechanics that puts Starcraft 2 up there as the most competitive eSports RTS game on the planet.
For newbies, there is a very steep mana curve now that the game has been played to death by so many gamers. However, with no official development in progress but much hope on the horizon for Starcraft 3, there is plenty of time to get yourselves familiar with one of MOBA’s greatest strategy games!
Release Date: 24th April 2018 Platforms: PS4, Xbox, Windows, Mac, Android, iOS Game Developer: 11 Bit Studios
Standing tall as one of the only storylines on our list of best real time strategy games that doesn’t centre around domination or warfare, Frost Punk presents as a city building survival strategy game that by all accounts is just as entertaining as dominating your foe!
Assuming control of your clans leader within an alternate late 19th century realm, you must manage your resources, build and maintain a city and make choices to survive a worldwide volcanic winter. We’re talking about making brutal choices as to whether your civilians work overtime or freeze to death because you haven’t keep the furnace burning during the cold nights!
Every decision you make has cause and effect and with several scenarios to undertake, surgical precision is required with each choice that you make. To be frank, Frostpunk is one of the most exhilarating games that doesn’t include bloodying your enemies that we have ever played!
Release Date: 21st October 2016 Platforms: PS4, Xbox, Switch, Windows, Mac, Android, iOS Game Developer: 2K Games, Firaxis Games
Supported by a legacy that is unrivalled by most 4x RTS games, Civilisation VI makes small improvements to its much heralded predecessor in an attempt to continue the legacy for new gamers into the future. While seasoned Civ players might have hoped for a complete overhaul, everything we love about Civilisation games has been slightly refined – for the betterment of the series.
There is a lot to be said about incremental improvements to a game and Civ VI handles this very well. On the outside, you might be included to stick with Civilization 5. However, the small mods actually make for a much more playable game with Civ VI and paves the way to lock these down in the future. As one of the best grand strategy series of all time, Civilisation VI employs smaller milestones to complete on your journey to ultimate victory.
From the bare bones of civilisation to robotics and space racing, there are many ways to reach victory and plenty of hurdles in the process too! Will you pressurise the UN? Drop nukes on underdeveloped settlements or enforce culture across the realm to win yourself a cultural victory?
Release Date: 1st September 2020 Platforms: Windows, Xbox Series X, PS5 Game Developer: King Art Games
If you are looking to add another one of the greatest military RTS games of all time to your collection then Iron Harvest would be one of our top picks. With strong similarities to Company of Heroes, Iron Harvest is set within the 1920’s alternative history world of Jakub Rozalkski.
His imagination consists of hovel villages with nothing but burning vehicles and remnants of your communities former homes surrounded by dieselpunk mechs that trample down fields and cut through buildings like a hot knife through butter. Yes, it’s abstract, but the gameplay is phenomenal.
With increased focus on the battle rather than base building, the game of Iron Harvest involves using squadrons to capture resource gathering territory points (with your mechs of course) whilst ducking behind cover to avoid enemy fire.
If you like real-time strategy games that involve warfare and little bit of fantasy too, this action packed RTS from King Art Games is a great addition to your collection. –
Release Date: 25th October 2000 Platforms: Windows PC Game Developer: Westwood Studios, EA Pacific
There is very little that can live up to the relentless Command & Conquer series. Of which, the tongue-in-cheek cold war setting of Command & Conquer 2 is the cream of the crop! Controlling both nations to defend against superpowers with it’s arcade style gameplay, every character takes form as a funny caricature of the real-life counterpart and every nation plays true to the world’s most sinister stereotypes.
Yes, we are not joking!
From incredible cutscenes and an abundance of resource gathering to working your way through various objectives across complex maps, Command & Conquer 2, despite being over 2 decades old, holds it own as one of the best real-time strategy games of all time.
Don’t be fooled into thinking this is your standard alternate history simulator. Every single aspect of Command & Conquer 2 is completely unique to the series. You will not have played a game like this before, thats for sure!
Release Date: 28th October 2021 Platforms: Windows PC Game Developer: Relic Entertainment, World’s Edge
Rounding up our list of the best real-time strategy games is, of course, Age Of Empires 4.
Since the very beginning of Age Of Empires, the series has ultimately boiled down to AOE 4 and fans have been waiting many moons for this title to arrive. Whilst near impossible to top both AOE 1 and AOE 2, AOE 4 does it’s very best to uphold the wait time and introduces a fair few new mechanics to the game.
Sure, the currently available is slightly short in depth. However, we have no doubt that AOE 4 will be the last addition to the series and therefore will be well supported with regular updates over the coming years. It’s the free DLC that Relic Entertainment have provided over the years that truly makes games like AOE 4 titles that you just have to simply keep replaying.
We won’t go into too many spoilers seeing as we know you’ve probably been waiting for this game too. However, it’s a must buy RTS game and we can only hope it becomes ported to consoles very very soon!
For PC gamers, there is an abundance of real-time strategy games for you to choose from. Age Of Empires, Total War, Company Of Heroes, Starcraft. The list is completely endless. But what are the best PC RTS games available right now?
Here are the top 10 best PC real-time strategy games right now:
#1: Age Of Empires 4
#2: Company Of Heroes 3
#3: Starcraft 2
#4: Total War: Warhammer II
#5: Crusader Kings 3
#6: Sid Meier’s Civilization VI
#7: Driftland: The Magic Revival
#8: Medieval Total War 2
#10: Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun
Top 10 RTS Games On Xbox & Series X
While Xbox is not as prolific for RTS games as Windows, what with the lacking Age Of Empires and Total War series, there are still plenty of incredible titles to choose from.
Here are the top 10 best Xbox RTS games right now:
#1: Iron Harvest
#4: Crusader Kings 3
#6: The Colonists
#7: Dark Souls 2
#8: Bad North
#9: Halo Wars 2
#10: LOTR: Battle For Middle Earth 2
Best PS5 RTS Games
Similarly to Xbox, PlayStation is not blessed with an abundance of real-time strategy games either. However, from the selection that you do have, there are some absolute bangers!
As voted for by you, here are the top 10 PS5 RTS games:
#1: Crusader Kings III (PS5)
#2: Frostpunk: (PS4)
#3: Evil Genius 2: World Domination (PS5)
#4: Shadow Tactics: Blades Of Shogun (PS4)
#5: Dungeon Of The Endless (PS4)
#6: Desperados III (PS4)
#7: Defenders Quest (PS4)
#8: The Colonists (PS4)
#9: Sudden Strike 4 (PS4)
#10: Stellaris (PS4)
Best Nintendo Switch RTS Games
Fairly new to the RTS genre, Switch consoles are home to some of the lesser-known real-time strategy titles. Nevertheless, what the Switch does bring is a variation of real-time strategy games that step away from your typical medieval war-like titles.
Here are the top 10 best RTS games on Nintendo Switch:
#4: Bad North
#5: The Colonists
#6: Swords & Soldiers 3
#7: War Party
#8: Pikmin 3
#9: Masters Of Anima
#10: 8-Bit Armies
The Final Word
So there you have it, our roundup of the best real-time strategy games of both all time and the present day. From classics such as Command & Conquer to modern-day RTS titles such as Sid Meier’s Civilization VI, we guarantee you’ll rapidly be able to clock up thousands of hours of pure entertainment.
Historically, game developers such as Feral Interactive and Relic Entertainment absolutely dominated the RTS space for many years with both the AOE and Total War series respectively. However, with new players in the industry such as Paradox Interactive and 11 Bit Studios, there is much to look forward to over the coming years for this classic genre.
Out of all of the real-time strategy games listed here, we would highly recommend that you explore a combination of both city-building and survival alongside your a-typical warfare-style grand strategy masterpieces. There’s a lot to be credited for games that do not contain all-out violence and the beauty is truly within the detail.
Just remember, RTS games are supposed to make you grind so be sure you’ve got ample popcorn ready to enjoy the storylines that unfold!
Did we miss any titles?
Give us your top 5 best real-time strategy games in the comments below. Meanwhile, feel free to check out some of these other incredible roundups and game reviews:
Content Disclaimer: This handpicked shortlist of the best RTS games has been independently written. We have not been commissioned by any manufacturers featured on this list, nor have we received any royalties for this article. This includes financial reimbursement, free advertising or free gifts. In addition, all statistics are estimates based upon publications from manufacturers.
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