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The "Resident Evil" Timeline: Play the Games in Order

Caleb loves an immersive gaming experience. When he isn't writing about games, he probably has a beer in one hand and nachos in the other.


Resident Evil: The Best Horror Franchise

The Resident Evil franchise has been known by gamers to be one of the gaming industry's top tier franchises. It has delivered many installments—including spin-offs and remakes. Movies have also been produced on account of the series' success.

With immense growth and achievements, the series doesn't seem to be ending anytime soon. The studio is always cranking out new entries—so to gear up for the latest game, you might want to play the Resident Evil games in order and make sure you're up to date with the story. Here's a list of all the games, as of 2020, arranged chronologically.

Resident Evil

Resident Evil

1. Resident Evil

Release Date: March 22, 1996

Any game that aspires to have a long and successful run must build a solid foundation that will attract the interest and respect of gamers. This game did just that. Resident Evil was initially released for the PlayStation platform back then, but through the years, it has done remakes in other platforms such as Windows and Nintendo DS.

The first chapter of the game introduced gamers to iconic characters, Jill Valentine and Chris Redfield. They also play important roles in all of the other titles. What made this game innovative was that the story varied depending on which character you chose to play as. The ability to choose between a man and a woman was also a welcome addition.

The story revolved around the two characters that were assigned on a mission to check out the first t-Virus outbreak in Raccoon City. The game also introduced us to those painfully effective door-opening jump scares. Aside from horror, the game featured challenging puzzles and a great storyline.

2. Resident Evil 2

Release Date: January 21, 1998

After the successful release of Resident Evil, Capcom did not waste time to release Resident Evil 2. The story continued in Raccoon City, just two months after the events in the first game. Like the first, the game introduced two more characters to its growing franchise: Leon Kennedy and Claire Redfield.

The fluidity and graphics of the game showed a slight improvement. But even if the gameplay mechanics were not that different from the first one, Resident Evil 2 had this "Zapping system" that allowed gamers to experience both perspectives of the main characters.

Resident Evil 3: Nemesis

Resident Evil 3: Nemesis

3. Resident Evil 3: Nemesis

Release Date: September 22, 1999

To shake things up a little, the third entry showed the middle part of the two previous games. It was the prequel of the events on Resident Evil 2 and the sequel of Resident Evil 1. The game concentrated on Jill Valentine's escape from Raccoon City and the introduction of the iconic antagonist, Nemesis.

The game focused on more action because gamers and critics demanded it. Even with the additional action parts of the game, Resident Evil's original gaming aspect, survival horror, can still be felt while playing. Because of its success, the game was eventually ported to other platforms like Sega, Windows, and Nintendo.

Resident Evil: Code Veronica

Resident Evil: Code Veronica

4. Resident Evil: Code Veronica

Release Date: February 3, 2000

Success after success, Capcom relentlessly continued to improve and released another Resident Evil masterpiece. Resident Evil: Code Veronica featured the Redfield siblings, Claire and Chris, with the story set in Rockfort Island and Iceland. Although there was a shift in location and storyline, the gameplay felt almost the same as the third entry, with slight modifications.

The game transitioned its genre from a slow-burn survival horror game to a fast-paced action game. The developers also introduced 3D rendered environments that provided a better gaming experience. The game was eventually ported to other platforms.

5. Resident Evil: Zero

Release Date: November 12, 2002

Resident Evil: Zero served as Capcom's first bump in its franchise history. New protagonists were introduced in this game, namely Billy Coen and Rebecca Chambers. The setting of the scene took us back to Raccoon City, and the event of the story seemed like a prequel of the first Resident Evil.

The gameplay did not change much. Even updates on the graphics and game engine were not noticeable. Due to the lack of innovation, not everyone enjoyed the game as much as the first three.

Despite some position reviews, there were far more negative—primarily complaining about the revised inventory system and the simple puzzles.

Resident Evil 4

Resident Evil 4

6. Resident Evil 4

Release Date: January 11, 2005

Because of the Resident Evil: Zero flop, both gamers and Capcom believed that the next game should undergo an overhaul. It took Capcom more than two years from its last release to produce one of the greatest Resident Evil games ever: Resident Evil 4. This game featured the rise of Leon Kennedy as the main character of the story. His objective was to rescue the US president's daughter from a cult in Spain.

They replaced the t-Virus storyline with zombies and gave you an over-the-shoulder perspective, creating a more immersive gaming experience. Aiming weapons added new excitement to the game because in previous Resident Evil games, you could not aim easily.

Another added feature was the new mobility system. This allowed players to jump over obstacles in the game, used ducking attacks, and use melee weapons. Resident Evil 4 was recognized by many gamers and critics as the best game in the franchise because of the changes that took it to the next level.

7. Resident Evil 5

Release Date: March 5, 2009

The next entry took place in Kijuju, Africa. Plaga Parasites from Resident Evil 4 infested the area and caused humans to turn into zombies. The game included Chris Reinford as the protagonist, alongside a new character named Shiva Alomar.

Although the setup and protagonist changed, it plays similarly to Resident Evil 4. It uses the same over-the-shoulder perspective and gameplay mechanics. But the pace of the game is faster. It clung to the action genre rather than the survival horror genre.

The game added a multiplayer experience that allowed cooperative gameplay, which led to an immersive gaming experience. The only notable thing about this was that the single player's AI doesn't help you enjoy the experience. You needed to play with someone else to totally get immersed in the game.

Resident Evil 5 failed to garner the success its predecessor had. It was too similar to Resident Evil 4—but with less of a horror vibe.

Resident Evil: Revelations

Resident Evil: Revelations

8. Resident Evil: Revelations

Release Date: February 7, 2012

Just like Resident Evil 3, Resident Evil: Revelations served as a prequel to Resident Evil 5 and a sequel to Resident Evil 4. Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine starred as the protagonists of the story, with the goal of stopping an organization of bioterrorists from infecting oceans with their virus.

The game was playable on the Nintendo 3DS and was later ported to the Nintendo Switch and Microsoft Windows. It featured a great combination of horror and fast-paced action.

It wasn't as famous as Resident Evil 4, it didn't flop either. It gained significant attention in the market and got positive reviews from gamers and critics.

Resident Evil 6

Resident Evil 6

9. Resident Evil 6

Release Date: October 12, 2012

Shortly after Capcom released Resident Evil: Revelations, they experienced the franchise's biggest ever flop. Resident Evil 6 took the title for being the worst title in franchise history.

To most gamers, this game was simply terrible. Even if Capcom made some good additions to the game, it didn't nullify the bad ones. The only good feature that everyone agreed on was the addition of a four-player cooperative mode, but that too fell short of expectations.

The game concentrated too much on action, and as a result, the story lacked consistency. Because of this, the revenue gained from this game was quite low.

Resident Evil 7: Biohazard

Resident Evil 7: Biohazard

10. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard

Release Date: January 24, 2017

It took Capcom almost five years to make the necessary, bold changes from their last flop. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard re-invented the series.

The game introduced a new protagonist named Ethan Winters, who went out searching for his wife, Mia. She was proclaimed dead, but one day, a girl named Zoe contacted him to let him know that she was still alive. This story's highlight was when Ethan finally arrived at the said location and got trapped by a cannibal family.

For the very first time, the game introduced a first-person view that was more immersive than the previous over-the-shoulder perspective. This gave gamers the same chills they felt when they played the first Resident Evil game. The cloistered areas and slower pace improved the eeriness of the game.

A few improvements could still be made, like additional weapons and a faster movement option. But overall, the challenging puzzles, graphics, and strategic placement of jump scares made this game a huge success.


Resident Evil 2

Release Date: January 25, 2019

This game served as a complete remake of the first Resident Evil 2—just with better graphics and gameplay. It followed the same storyline as the older version, but added aspects of Resident Evil 4.

Resident Evil 3

Resident Evil 3

Resident Evil 3

Release Date: April 3, 2020

This title is a newer version of the original Resident Evil 3 game that focused on Jill's storyline and battle with Nemesis. It received excellent reviews because of its flawless graphic design and gameplay.

The only criticism it received was related to the length of the game. It felt short, and there were missing elements from the original.

A Masterpiece: Even at Its Worst

Resident Evil truly is a masterpiece that has gone through the best and worst of times. At this moment, their franchise continues to run at a strong pace. So, if you are looking for a game that can fulfill your gaming desires, then pick up a Resident Evil game! Play them in order to see the evolution of one of the gaming industry's most recognizable series.