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Resident Evil is one of the biggest franchises in video games. Starting out in 1996, the Biohazard series - as it's known in Japan - has had an impact on many gamers. With over 117 million copies sold (at time of writing), it's withstood the test of time over and over again, despite more than a few shaky instalments.
With so many games to choose from, ranking the entirety of the series is no easy task. But, after seeing just how wrong some people can be, I decided it was time GAMINGbible made a definitive list. By GAMINGbible, I of course mean myself. After all, I'm no stranger to Resident Evil, having previously written about why we need a Code: Veronica remake, and how the series helped me through the pandemic. That's not to say I'm an authority on the subject, but I at least care enough to get yelled at over my opinion.
If you need a quick refresher of the main games, here's our Evolution of Resident Evil video
So without further ado, here are all the Resident Evil titles ranked. Strap in, it's going to be a long one.
What's there to say about this game that hasn't already been said? I know, something positive! Well, I don't have anything nice to say about this game so I'm going to move on.
Another woeful entry. I remember playing this game when it came out and, while it's not a terrible third-person shooter, it didn't feel like a Resident Evil game. There was one cool feature where you could make enemies bleed to lure zombies to them, but that's the only good thing there is to say about ORC.
Included with 2020's Resident Evil 3, Resistance didn't win the majority of fans over. In fact, many players requested the option to buy RE3 without Resistance, a notion that says it all. At its core, it's not a bad little game but there wasn't enough here to keep players coming back.
The game that could've killed the franchise, Resident Evil 6 is a grandiose title offering four campaigns, a host of multiplayer modes and some of the worst enemy designs in the series. It's also the point where RE totally lost its way, with a story that strives for epic but ends up as ridiculous.
A seemingly harmless game for the Nintendo 3DS, Mercenaries 3D takes the minigame we've seen in previous Resi games and tries to deliver the best version of it. It doesn't necessarily fail as such, but it suffered for not adding much to an experience many fans already had.
An enhanced DS port of the original Resi, Deadly Silence should have ticked a lot of boxes for fans. Sadly, it just felt a bit unnecessary after the incredible 2002 remake for consoles. Deadly Silence is not bad at all, but it's far from being the optimal version of RE1.
A Resi game that lets you move while aiming? For that reason alone Dead Aim should deserve to be cherished, but it turns out you need more than that to make a fun game. Ultimately, it's fine. Not terrible but not impressive. That sentiment also sums up my general contribution to society so probably time we move on.
As the name suggests, Survivor 2 retells the story of Code: Veronica, but with a twist on gameplay. Essentially, it's a light gun FPS game, where you play as Claire Redfield or Steve Burnside, eliminating waves of undead. It's a fun way to experience the Code: Veronica story, and there's another mode where you route as many monsters as you can. A lot of bang for your buck.
The first Resi game of its kind, Survivor was a novel departure from what fans were used to from the franchise. An FPS game with light gun compatibility, it favoured action over horror, but balanced it well. It didn't really blow anyone away, but it was a fun title all the same.
Resident Evil Gaiden was an ambitious little title that brought the survival horror action to the Game Boy Color. While not as scary as the PlayStation games before it, Gaiden divided audiences with its mix of top down and first-person perspectives. A new direction for the franchise, but not a particularly successful one.
One of two first-person shooters released on Nintendo Wii, The Darkside Chronicles remains a fun game that's best enjoyed when playing co-op with a friend. The gameplay is tight enough, and the story is pleasingly told, but the gimmick had worn off from the previous game.
The first FPF Resi game released on Wii, Umbrella Chronicles retold much of the RE story fans already knew. Thanks to its fun gameplay, especially using the Wiimote, it was a novel, arcadey way to experience a familiar narrative.
Perhaps the most divisive Resi game in the franchise, Resident Evil 5 remains a fine game when played cooperatively with another human, but a travesty when playing solo with AI support. However, it did give us the scene where Chris Redfield punches a boulder, and that is arguably enough reason to make this the best game in the whole series. However, I've already written up the top game and I can't be bothered moving them around so never mind.
A worthy sequel to the original Revelations, Resident Evil: Revelations 2 saw a return for Claire Redfield. Frankly, having Claire as the main protagonist is all I need to play a game, but I'm a man of exquisite taste. It's also a genuinely good game, just not as good as its predecessor.
After some wayward steps in the franchise, Capcom managed to win back some fans with Revelations. Using a similar third-person, over-the-shoulder perspective as games like RE4 and RE5, the scale was stripped back a bit compared to the dismal Resi 6. Keeping things relatively simple was a welcome move for the series.
Nearly two decades later, I still have a love/hate relationship with Resident Evil 0. On the one hand, it's a fun prequel with stunning visuals and two loveable protagonists in Rebecca Chambers and Billy Coen. On the other hand, the game requires you to control both characters simultaneously, which leads to an endless amount of swapping items between them using the menu screen. It. Is. Fru-stra-ting. Other than that, it's pretty good.
While it does feel bare compared to the original game, 2020's Resident Evil 3 is a damn good time in its own right. From the streets of Raccoon City to the shady underground Umbrella laboratory, this RE3 game is ideal for loading up and bashing out in one sitting. And with five different difficulty modes and a wealth of unlockable items, there's plenty of reason to replay it time and again.
More action-heavy than the first two games, 1999's Resident Evil 3 put you in the role of Jill Valentine as she attempted to survive the zombie-hewn streets of Raccoon City. With its abundance of enemies and 'choose your own adventure' mechanics, RE3 remains a fan favourite to this day.
Outbreak brought the horror of the Raccoon City Incident to a range of new, more grounded characters. These weren't elite tactical police here, these were ordinary people compared to the likes of Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine. This gave Outbreak an emphatic edge over many other RE games, because you actually felt the fear of these characters all the way through, with some truly gut-wrenching moments along the way. Honestly, it deserves a remake.
Arguably the true RE3 - but that's an argument for another time - Code: Veronica picks up where RE2 left off by following Claire Redfield in her quest to track down her elder brother Chris. Things take a turn - as they always do - and what follows is arguably the finest game in the traditional Resident Evil format. Not everyone agrees with that, though, so it's here in ninth place. And yes, I am counting Code: Veronica X as the same game, thank you for asking.
2021's Resident Evil Village is "a love letter to the series' best moments", to quote GAMINGbible's own Mark Foster. The sequel to 2017's Resident Evil 7 embraced the action more than the horror, creating a truly excellent, replayable adventure. Sure, it wasn't as scary, but it stands out as a unique title that still channels other great games in the series, especially RE4.
Taking the fear of the original game's Spencer Mansion and spreading it onto the streets of Raccoon City, Resident Evil 2 was bigger and felt more chaotic than its predecessor. While that's necessarily scarier, it did add depth to the gameplay experience. Now we saw a little bit of the impact Umbrella could have on regular people, and it made for a memorable game, the likes of which we'd not really seen before.
Just missing out on our top 5, the original Resident Evil holds a special place in the hearts of many players. The first time we met that zombie was a huge moment in gaming, chilling spines worldwide. Looking back, it's fair to say it's not aged brilliantly, especially when compared to its stunning 2002 remake. Nevertheless, it remains a triumph of the first PlayStation's era.
Essentially the same game as the original Outbreak but with more content, File#2 was the definitive version of this incredible spin-off title. It essentially gave the game the Persona 5 Royal treatment, and what's not to love about that?
Following the infamous Resi 6 (which I shall continue to insult), things were looking bad for Capcom's beloved franchise. That was until Resident Evil 7 dropped and brought fans excitedly back to the series. Taking place in a creepy house in the Southern United States of America, RE7 was genuinely scary, and fans couldn't be happier. It was a delightful return to form that still enjoys success to this day.
For many, Resident Evil 4 remains a masterpiece. Set in 2004 - six years after RE2 - the game saw Leon S. Kennedy return in the leading role. As a highly-trained and experienced government agent, Leon is on a mission to retrieve Ashley, daughter of the President of the USA. Employing a third-person view, this game wasn't your grandma's Resi. In fact, it's fair to say it changed everything for the franchise. Truly, a remarkable game.
A remake of the original game, 2002's Resident Evil remains a truly phenomenal title, offering the same chilling, intriguing experience as the first game. Add to that some improved, staggering visuals and a sprinkling of new content, this updated RE blew fans away, and remains a spectacular achievement even now. It also ramped up the fear, to the point where I still live in fear of Lisa Trevor.
Without a doubt the finest Resident Evil game of all time. Stunning visuals, a breathtaking atmosphere and gore beyond belief, Resident Evil 2 is the definitive survival horror. Playing as Leon, Claire, Ada, Sherry, Hunk and more - including a variety of edible heroes (although I guess they all are to the zombies) - RE2 is just as enjoyable on your first run as it is on 100th. Now excuse this abrupt ending while I go and play 'Claire A' again.
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