When asked to name a real-time strategy game, one of the first names to come to mind is Command and Conquer. A veteran of the genre since the release of the first game all the way back in 1995, the series remains a fan favorite and is still popular today. Games like Command and Conquer include many modern ones in the RTS genre and they owe their success partially to their forefather.
The franchise has two major series as well as spin-off games. The Tiberian series is science fiction based, set in the near future where an alien substance known as tiberium has begun to spread across the globe. The second is an alternate history setting where the Allies and Soviet Union clash in a parallel of World War Two.
The original games have remained popular enough that they are now freeware, available here.
11 Best Games Like Command And Conquer
Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War Series
A trilogy of games set in Games Workshop’s dark science fiction universe, the Dawn of War series remains their most popular video game adaptation. Though all three games differ substantially in their gameplay, they share the same setting and fast-paced action.
The first game of the series is a base building large scale strategy game with several expansions adding new factions and features. The second game focuses more on smaller scale squad strategy, allowing players to customize and tailor their units to suit each mission. The latest entry in the series is a
Grey Goo is an RTS set several centuries in the future where Humans, an alien species known as the Beta, and a nanobot swarm, all wage war. Similar to Starcraft or Command and Conquer, it features factions that differ extremely not just in appearance but also playing style.
Those looking for games like Command and Conquer should definitely check it out. The gameplay features inbuilt shortcuts to allow players to focus on larger strategic decisions rather than pointless micromanagement. Expansion packs add new campaigns and a fourth faction, the Shroud.
Tom Clancy’s EndWar
A futuristic RTS set during WW3, EndWar lets players control the European Federation, Russia, or the USA, in a three-way conflict. The game is notable for its innovative voice interface that allows players to command their units using only voice instructions.
Company of Heroes Series
A popular and fast-paced Second World War series, Company of Heroes lets the player control a combined arms force from the German, American, British, or Soviet armies. The games focus on strategic control of the map with players receiving resources for the sectors they control.
The sequel to Blizzard’s RTS hit, Starcraft II is a fast-paced RTS set in an epic science fiction universe. The game is set four years after Brood War and follows each of the three factions in the wartorn Koprulu Sector. Lead the adaptable Terrans, ancient Protoss, or unstoppable Zerg, to victory.
Each faction has a full-length campaign that sees both new and old characters make their mark. The games are famous for their competitive multiplayer scene, it remains one of the most popular eSport attractions. The first campaign is available free for download at Battlenet.
World in Conflict
From the developers of Ground Control, World in Conflict is an RTS set in an alternate 1989 where the Cold War went hot. The game and its expansion let the player fight as US, NATO, or Soviet forces through an immersive single-player campaign.
The game has received praise for its multiplayer style. Players take responsibility for different divisions of their force (Aerial, Infantry, Armour, Support, etc) and must cooperate to defeat their opponent. World in Conflict requires careful use of units and terrain to ensure victory.
Planetary Annihilation: TITANS
Inspired by classics such as Total Annihilation, Planetary Annihilation is a large scale RTS that lets players battle for supremacy over an entire galaxy. The game focuses on macro-level play with various levels of automation allowing the player to choose how much they want to control.
TITANS is the stand-alone expansion that features the titular super units who have special abilities that can devastate entire armies and even destroy planets. It also fixes the issues that the original game was criticised for.
Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak
A prequel to the acclaimed Homeworld games, Deserts of Kharak abandons space combat for conflict planetside. The planet of Kharak is dying, the deserts spreading year by year. The player controls an expedition heading into the deep desert, searching for an anomaly that may save their species.
Deserts of Kharak is centered around the player’s carrier, a powerful unit that is used for building new units, researching upgrades, collecting resources, and launching aircraft. The scarcity of resources promotes a mobile style of play with the player constantly relocating to press the attack. The detailed graphics are a joy to behold when battles begin.
Supreme Commander Series
A spiritual successor to Total Annihilation, Supreme Commander is a game of staggering scale. The original game is set during a conflict known as the Infinite War, which has raged for over a millennium. Three factions war for supremacy, the UEF, the Cybran Nation, and the Aeon Illuminate.
Supreme Commander allows battles over maps as large as 80km X 80km. Designed for multiple monitors, players can have the strategic map on one screen while they focus on the battles on another.
Rise of Nations
A rival of Age of Empires when it was first released, Rise of Nations is more than just a copycat game. Starting back in ancient history, the game lets you lead a civilization to victory through different eras right up until the modern day.
Similar to Civilization and Age of Empires, each faction has their own unique units and bonuses. Players can only construct structures inside their faction territory and this is a major consideration when attacking rivals as unsupplied invasion forces will suffer attrition.
Age of Empires Series
Another classic of the RTS genre, Age of Empires is a trilogy of games that span the antiquity up until the colonial era of the 17th and 18th centuries. The popularity of the series cannot be underestimated with both the first game and its successor receiving HD remastered editions.
Age of Kings, the second entry in the series, is the fan favorite, still receiving expansions nearly twenty years after its original release. Offering a whole host of distinct civilizations to play as, the game boasts immersive singleplayer campaigns and addictive multiplayer matches. Other games like Age of Empires can be viewed here.