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Top 10 "Resident Evil" Games

Matt is a scaredy-pants who has spent too many sleepless nights playing "Resident Evil."

In the quarter century following its first entry, "Resident Evil" evolved into a multi-media franchise with over twenty game releases and several feature films.

In the quarter century following its first entry, "Resident Evil" evolved into a multi-media franchise with over twenty game releases and several feature films.

My first experience with Resident Evil was in the late 1990s when I played Resident Evil 2 on Nintendo 64. Despite the video compression that allowed the game to fit on a Nintendo 64 cartridge, and despite having not yet played the first Resident Evil, I was so delightfully creeped out by the atmosphere and survival-horror gameplay that I became a lifelong fan of the franchise. I’ve played every major release, with the exception of a few spin-offs that are not on this list.

A Brief History of the Resident Evil Franchise

Resident Evil is a series of survival-horror and action-adventure video games published by Capcom that began in 1996 with the release of Resident Evil for the PlayStation. In the quarter-century following its first entry, Resident Evil evolved into a multi-media franchise with over twenty game releases and several feature films.

The franchise features a large cast of heroes who struggle to survive in a world consumed in biological warfare and plagued by grotesque monsters. Almost every game takes place in the same massive narrative, but they occur mostly independent of each other and each tells its own complete story. Additionally, Resident Evil games play widely different from each other. Most modern titles are played in third-person over-the-shoulder perspective, while Resident Evil 7: Biohazard and the upcoming Resident Evil Village are played like first-person shooters.

Resident Evil Rankings

What are the best Resident Evil games? Different players have their own preferences, and each new console generation saw drastic changes to the definition and direction of the series. This list of the top ten Resident Evil games was organized with considerations to critical reception, user reviews, and sales numbers. My personal preferences were applied in cases where games were very close or tied, and I combined the remakes of the first three Resident Evil games with their respective originals.

"Resident Evil 6" featured an ensemble cast of heroes from throughout the series.

"Resident Evil 6" featured an ensemble cast of heroes from throughout the series.

10. Resident Evil 6

  • Published by: Capcom Co.
  • Release Date: October 2, 2012
  • Available on: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch

Resident Evil 6 presented itself as a celebration and culmination of the franchise’s legacy, dividing its story between three separate campaigns that featured many characters returning from previous games. Unfortunately, the game was critically panned for feeling disjointed and relying too much on bombastic action over traditional survival-horror gameplay.

Resident Evil 6 was not a bad video game, but many fans agreed it was not a good Resident Evil game. Each main campaign offered a two-player cooperative mode that drastically improved the experience for those who played the game with a friend, but the isolating atmosphere and resource management the series built its reputation on was all but absent from this game.

Claire Redfield returned as a playable character in "Resident Evil: Revelations 2" after being absent from the series for several years.

Claire Redfield returned as a playable character in "Resident Evil: Revelations 2" after being absent from the series for several years.

9. Resident Evil: Revelations 2

  • Published by: Capcom Co.
  • Release Date: February 24, 2015
  • Available on: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch

Resident Evil: Revelations 2 was an action-shooter that featured characters from across the series in an episodic spin-off adventure taking place between Resident Evil 6 and Resident Evil 5. Full of epic moments and frantic combat, the Revelations sub-series provided a lot of fan-service while elaborating on the lore of the franchise. Revelations 2's greatest weakness was its episodic narrative, which prevented its larger story from reaching the same depths as the main series titles.

The action-adventure gameplay of "Resident Evil 5" was designed around its cooperative multiplayer mechanics.

The action-adventure gameplay of "Resident Evil 5" was designed around its cooperative multiplayer mechanics.

8. Resident Evil 5

  • Published by: Capcom Co.
  • Release Date: March 5, 2009
  • Available on: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch

Famous for featuring a muscle-bound Chris Redfield who literally punching a boulder into a volcano, Resident Evil 5 took the series to new action-packed heights. The action hero aesthetic of the game was recognized as uncharacteristic of the franchise, but fans’ frustrations with Resident Evil’s shifting tone would not crescendo until its sequel’s release.

Resident Evil 5 played best as a two-player cooperative shooter, and it was certainly designed with that playstyle in mind with its accessible online and couch multiplayer options. Unfortunately, single players were left dissatisfied with the repetitive mission design and an especially unhelpful computer-controlled companion.

"Resident Evil 0" challenged players to control two characters simultaneously throughout its story.

"Resident Evil 0" challenged players to control two characters simultaneously throughout its story.

7. Resident Evil 0

  • Published by: Capcom Co.
  • Release Date: November 12, 2002
  • Available on: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch

Released as a GameCube exclusive in 2002, Resident Evil 0 brought a visual upgrade to the series with its detailed character models and high quality pre-rendered backgrounds. Players controlled two protagonists, often simultaneously to solve complex environmental puzzles and defeat monsters in a prequel story to the first Resident Evil.

Resident Evil 0's unique features did not help distract from its derivative and inconsequential story, and its achievements were overshadowed by the remake of Resident Evil that was released only a few months earlier. Resident Evil 0 and the remake of Resident Evil received HD remasters, which were released together in 2016 as Resident Evil: Origins Collection on all major platforms.

The 2020 remake of "Resident Evil 3" brought an overdue upgrade to the graphics and gameplay of the original game.

The 2020 remake of "Resident Evil 3" brought an overdue upgrade to the graphics and gameplay of the original game.

6. Resident Evil 3: Nemesis

  • Published by: Capcom Co.
  • Release Date: September 22, 1999
  • Remake Release Date: April 3, 2020
  • Available on: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

The 1999 release of Resident Evil 3: Nemesis for PlayStation was among the last games in the series to use pre-rendered backgrounds. Set within a vast city in the midst of the zombie apocalypse, Resident Evil 3's constricting alleyways and abandoned storefronts drew comparisons to its precursors' cramped hallways and secret passageways. Players were pursued throughout the game's main campaign by the title's namesake, the intimidating biological beast called Nemesis.

The remake of Resident Evil 3 delivered on nostalgia for long-time fans, but the experience was far removed from the bitter fight for survival featured in the original. Where other remakes in the Resident Evil series added content and features to the original games, Resident Evil 3's remake was criticized for being too short, too linear, and too easy.

"Resident Evil Code: Veronica" used a semi-static, roaming camera to take full advantage of its 3D environments while staying true to the "Resident Evil" formula.

"Resident Evil Code: Veronica" used a semi-static, roaming camera to take full advantage of its 3D environments while staying true to the "Resident Evil" formula.

5. Resident Evil Code: Veronica

  • Published by: Capcom Co.
  • Release Date: February 3, 2000
  • Available on: PlayStation 4, Xbox One

Originally planned as the third numbered entry in the series, Resident Evil Code: Veronica was the first main series Resident Evil game to do away with pre-rendered backgrounds and feature fully 3D environments. This technology allowed for semi-static camera movements that followed the player-character throughout the game's dynamic locales.

This game quickly became a fan-favorite in the franchise when its plot reunited the estranged siblings Chris and Claire Redfield, a narrative thread that was left unresolved in previous titles. Code: Veronica was among the first Resident Evil games that took place outside of the fictional Raccoon City, playing out its narrative across Europe and Antarctica.

The first-person perspective gameplay of "Resident Evil 7: Biohazard" enhanced its claustrophobic atmosphere and indomitable enemies.

The first-person perspective gameplay of "Resident Evil 7: Biohazard" enhanced its claustrophobic atmosphere and indomitable enemies.

4. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard

  • Published by: Capcom Co.
  • Release Date: January 24, 2017
  • Available on: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

While Resident Evil 6 was considered a low-point for straying too far from the formula, its sequel was a welcomed revision. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard introduced a new series protagonist in Ethan Winters, and told a story that was mostly independent of the complicated lore the franchise had built up over the past twenty years. Drawing reference from the series’ roots, Resident Evil 7’s first several hours were spent running and hiding from overpowered enemies while scavenging for supplies and solving puzzles.

In a decision to refocus on horror and increase players’ immersion, producers at Capcom thought to make Resident Evil 7 with a first-person perspective. Resident Evil 7 was not the first Resident Evil game to use first-person perspective, but it managed to create fear and tension using a limited field-of-view that referenced the original game's restrictive camera angles. The decision to use first-person perspective also allowed for new experiences in Resident Evil 7’s numerous DLC releases, like the first-person shooter Not a Hero and the tense puzzles found in Banned Footage Vol. 1.

The canonical ending of "Resident Evil 2" was achieved by playing Claire Redfield’s side of the story, then completing Leon S. Kennedy’s campaign to unlock the final boss.

The canonical ending of "Resident Evil 2" was achieved by playing Claire Redfield’s side of the story, then completing Leon S. Kennedy’s campaign to unlock the final boss.

3. Resident Evil 2

  • Published by: Capcom Co.
  • Release Date: January 21, 1998
  • Remake Release Date: January 25, 2019
  • Available on: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

Resident Evil 2 introduced series mainstays Leon S. Kennedy and Claire Redfield, each of which had their own campaigns that players had to complete to unlock the game’s final boss and true ending. The decision of which character to play as first also impacted the outcome of the game, so one needed to play through Resident Evil 2 at least four times to experience all of its story content.

The 2019 remake of Resident Evil 2 managed to improve on the original extensively by adapting Resident Evil 7's graphics engine to an over-the-shoulder camera perspective. The remake was mostly faithful to the original game’s plot, but environments and enemies were expanded on to create a modern experience. The remake's rendition of the towering Mr. X enemy, who relentlessly chased players through large portions of the game, was genuinely frightening in a way that was not possible in 1998's Resident Evil 2.

The pre-rendered backgrounds used in the remake of "Resident Evil" achieved visuals that outshined contemporary games that used fully 3D environments.

The pre-rendered backgrounds used in the remake of "Resident Evil" achieved visuals that outshined contemporary games that used fully 3D environments.

2. Resident Evil

  • Published by: Capcom Co.
  • Release Date: March 22, 1996
  • Remake Release Date: March 22, 2002
  • Available on: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch

Resident Evil's original 1996 release for the PlayStation established the game mechanics that carried the series through its first four sequels. Initially conceived to be played in the first-person perspective, Resident Evil’s series producer Shinj Mikami was inspired to set the game in third-person using pre-rendered backgrounds after he played the 1992 horror game Alone in the Dark. Using then-advanced technology in Sony’s PlayStation, Resident Evil achieved visuals that were leagues beyond other 3D action-adventure games at the time.

The 2002 remake of Resident Evil added new areas, enemies, and story elements that meshed seamlessly with the original’s narrative. Additionally, modern CGI cutscenes and professional voice acting brought a layer of prestige that was absent from the PlayStation original. The remake’s HD release on PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch offered players the option to play without tank controls, making it the perfect entry point for new fans to the series.

Absent of the series’ stable zombies, "Resident Evil 4" featured a variety of gothic horror-inspired monstrosities.

Absent of the series’ stable zombies, "Resident Evil 4" featured a variety of gothic horror-inspired monstrosities.

1. Resident Evil 4

  • Published by: Capcom Co.
  • Release Date: January 11, 2005
  • Available on: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch

Resident Evil 4 featured an over-the-shoulder camera perspective with fully 3D environments for the first time in the franchise. Players took the role of fan-favorite hero Leon S. Kennedy, tasked with rescuing the President's daughter from a mysterious village in central Europe. Instead of zombies, Resident Evil 4 introduced the mind-controlling Las Plagas parasite. Resident Evil 4's technical improvements over its predecessors and fresh game design earned it critical acclaim and introduced a new generation to the Resident Evil franchise.

What Is Considered to Be the Best Resident Evil Game?

Resident Evil 4 is widely considered to be not only the best Resident Evil games, but also one of the best action-adventure video games of all time. Ranking among the highest selling and most widely played games in its franchise, Resident Evil 4 has been re-released on numerous platforms from Nintendo Wii to Android and iPhone.

Will There Be a Remake of Resident Evil 4?

A remake of Resident Evil 4 is rumored to be in development, but Capcom has not made any official announcements on that matter. Until the remake is confirmed, fans can enjoy Resident Evil 4's HD edition on all modern gaming platforms.

What Is Considered the Worst Resident Evil Game?

Resident Evil: Survivor was developed by Capcom and Tose Co. as the last Resident Evil game for the original PlayStation console. Arguably ahead of its time, Survivor attempted to adapt the series formula to a first-person shooter perspective. Unlike Resident Evil 7: Biohazard’s achievements over a decade later, Resident Evil: Survivor failed in its experiment spectacularly. The game’s outdated graphics, awkward controls, and nonsensical plot brought it widespread criticism and established it as the lowest regarded Resident Evil game.

"Resident Evil Village" will release on May 7, 2021, for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

"Resident Evil Village" will release on May 7, 2021, for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

What Is Resident Evil Village?

Resident Evil Village is the eighth main game in the series and retains the first-person gameplay from Resident Evil 7: Biohazard. Evocative of Resident Evil 4’s Eastern European setting, Resident Evil Village takes place in a remote village dwarfed by an old Victorian castle. The cast of monsters in this game includes an apparent coven of vampires and packs of werewolves. Resident Evil Village will be available May 7, 2021, on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.