Few video game franchises have enjoyed as much success as the lauded Resident Evil series. Much more than just your scary soiree into the unknown, were it not for the first game survival horror as we know it would be a very different beast. Literally! Over the years it’s continued to evolve, iterate, and adapt, resulting in varying degrees of success.
So to separate the bio-terrible from the bio-terrific, we’re ranking every mainline Resident Evil game.
7. Resident Evil 5
The game that marked Resident Evil’s first venture into “action horror”, Resident Evil 5 iterated upon its ground-breaking predecessor by doubling down on the guns and anarchy. Working in its favour was the entirely new and hypnotizingly exotic South African locale, but the reason it ranks so low on our list is due to its frustrating boss fights, lack of pure terror, and excessively campy plot. Instead of ushering you into the dark it plunged you firmly in the light, and for Resident Evil, this simply didn’t make sense.
6. Resident Evil 6
Liked by some and overtly loathed by many, for the mass populous Resident Evil 6 was the game that pushed the series’ newly found action aspect too far. For me, however, the game remains one of the most polished, fun-filled and jam-packed entries to date, boasting 4 distinct campaigns that each show a different side to Resident Evil. It lacks the scares for the most part sure, and a significant lack of tentpole features like limited saving and restricted health pickups, but Resident Evil 6’s faults were largely originated in 5.
5. Resident Evil 2
The difficult second album that turned out to be not quite so difficult. Resident Evil 2 allowed the world and lore to open up beyond the walls of the spencer mansion, for the first time giving players the chance to take hold of two characters to gain multiple perspectives on the Raccoon City outbreak. Resident Evil’s original sequel introduced to the world to fan-favourite characters Leon Kennedy and Claire Redfield, upping the scares substantially while keeping everything that made the original game noteworthy intact.
4. Resident Evil 3: Nemesis
“STAAAARS!” Who could forget the first time they came across the hulking Nemesis – a mutated bio-organic weapon specifically programmed to track you down – when he roared his chill-inducing signature phrase? Very much Resident Evil 2’s sequel, 3 heightened the pressure and kept the scares coming fast and fierce, being a much more timed affair. Though only featuring a sole protagonist in Jill this time around, the game encouraged player choice by giving you the option to battle or evade against your titular foe.
3. Resident Evil
The one that started it all, 1996’s Resident Evil can be attributed for defining the survival horror as we know it, introducing systems and mechanics that still continue to be iterated upon in the genre even today. Locking you within the creepy confines of the Spencer mansion, this original game is full of so many memorable moments like dogs smashing through the window and happening upon that first zombie in the corridor. Shinji Mikami bottled lightning when releasing this game, leading the charge for how to set a mood and keep players always on edge within an interactive experience.
2. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
Following the overbearingly lukewarm reception to Resident Evil 6, many were worried that the classic Resident Evil formula as we knew it was long since gone. We needn’t have worried. With the release of Resident Evil 7 earlier this year, not only did the camera perspective shift, but Capcom’s intentions also. Gone was the globe-trotting action-adventure epic, instead making way for an incredibly stripped-back and unnerving first-person horror. Going toe-to-toe with the Baker family is one of the series’ highlights, making for a harrowing exploratory outing.
1. Resident Evil 4
As if you were expecting a different result! Despite months of troubled development, in 2005 Resident Evil fans were treated to an entry that would forever transform the video game landscape as we knew it. Often considered one of the best games ever made, Resident Evil 4 placed us back into the shoes of Leon but set us out in all new territory, a seemingly quaint Spanish village. Shifting perspective to over-the-shoulder, pitting you against many a cult and infected hostile villager, Resident Evil 4 remains a titan in its field.