In celebration of the franchise’s 20th anniversary and the reveal of Resident Evil 7, Game Rant ranks every main game in the Resident Evil series from worst to best.
For the past 20 years, one franchise has been at the top of the mountain when it comes to horror gaming: Resident Evil. The franchise debuted on the original PlayStation, and eventually became one of the longest-running and most successful video game series of all time.
Since 2016 marks the 20th anniversary of the Resident Evil franchise, we have decided to take a look at every main series Resident Evil game, and rank them from worst to best. So, from the 1996 original to 2015’s Resident Evil: Revelations 2, here’s every main game in the Resident Evil series, ranked.
11. Resident Evil 6
There are only a handful of Resident Evil games that could be considered outright bad, but Resident Evil 6 is arguably one of them. The game stands as the second best-selling game in Capcom’s history, but it’s also the lowest-rated main series Resident Evil game so far. Resident Evil 6 stretched itself too thin with four different campaigns, and completely abandoned survival-horror in favor of being a third-person action game. Even Capcom has acknowledged the mistakes it made with Resident Evil 6, deciding to return Resident Evil to its horror roots, and move away from action-oriented gameplay.
10. Resident Evil: Revelations 2
Resident Evil: Revelations 2 is much more of a genuine horror game than Resident Evil 6, but it struggled in other areas. Namely, its episodic release format resulted in some pacing issues with the story, and that combined with excessive backtracking makes Revelations 2 one of the weaker games in the franchise.
9. Resident Evil Zero
As far as video game prequels go, Resident Evil Zero may be one of the better ones. The game takes place the night before the infamous “mansion incident” from the first game, functioning as an origin story for Rebecca Chambers, and depicting the downfall of Bravo Team. Rebecca’s story is realized with incredible visual flair, with the game’s graphics still holding up to this day, regardless if one is playing the original GameCube version or the HD remaster on current-gen consoles. On the downside, the reception to Resident Evil Zero‘s character swapping mechanic was mixed, and the choice to remove item boxes didn’t sit well with all Resident Evil fans.
8. Resident Evil: Revelations
Resident Evil: Revelations was originally a Nintendo 3DS exclusive, and was hailed as one of the best exclusive games on the system at the time of its release. Resident Evil: Revelations combined the action-oriented approach of Resident Evil 5 and 6 with more classic-style Resident Evil gameplay, to great results. The game also saw the return of fan favorite characters like Jill Valentine, though the inclusion of obnoxious new characters, like Agents Quinn and Keith, hold it back from reaching its full potential.
7. Resident Evil 5
While it has more action than some Resident Evil purists would prefer, Resident Evil 5 nonetheless built on Resident Evil 4‘s foundation well, with a plot more relevant to the franchise’s overarching story, and the addition of co-op. Over the years, Resident Evil 5 has earned plenty of praise for its co-op mode, with the game often finding its way on “best of” lists for co-op games. However, inconsistent partner AI makes playing Resident Evil 5 solo a far less enjoyable experience.
6. Resident Evil Code: Veronica
Considered by Capcom as the “true sequel” to Resident Evil 2, Code: Veronica moved the series forward in important ways, despite not being a numbered sequel. For example, Code: Veronica ditched the pre-rendered backgrounds of previous entries in favor of fully-rendered 3D environments, and it also used a movable camera instead of static camera angles.
5. Resident Evil 3: Nemesis
Developed in tandem with Code: Veronica, Resident Evil 3: Nemesis was the last hoorah for the franchise on PlayStation 1. Set before and during the events of Resident Evil 2, Resident Evil 3 sees Jill Valentine attempt to survive a zombie-ridden Raccoon City, while also contending with the hulking, nearly-invincible monstrosity that is the titular Nemesis. Few things are as scary in gaming as Nemesis randomly bursting through a wall, and his ability to use human weaponry makes him an even bigger threat than other Resident Evil baddies.
4. Resident Evil
The original Resident Evil made waves on the PlayStation in 1996, introducing fans to beloved characters like Chris Redfield, Jill Valentine, and Albert Wesker, while also popularizing the survival-horror genre in the process. Its cheesy dialogue and bad acting were hurdles for some, but others were able to look past its B-movie aesthetic to find one of the best survival-horror games released to date.
3. Resident Evil REmake
Believing the game hadn’t aged well, franchise creator Shinji Mikami decided to remake the original Resident Evil just five years after its release. Utilizing the power of the Nintendo GameCube, Mikami was able to create a game more in line with his original vision, and one that is arguably better than its inspiration. The Resident Evil remake is often considered one of the scariest games ever made, boasting realistic graphics, a haunting atmosphere, and plenty of horrifying enemies for players to battle throughout the game.
2. Resident Evil 2
The original Resident Evil may have put the survival-horror genre on the map, but Resident Evil 2 took it to the next level. Besides boasting sharper graphics and tighter controls, Resident Evil 2 also had much more in the way of replayability, with unlockable mini-games along with numerous “scenarios” to complete. These improvements helped Resident Evil 2 become one of the best-selling games in the series, and its popularity is still apparent today, with fan demand convincing Capcom to finally move forward with an RE2 remake.
1. Resident Evil 4
Even with the switch to third-person action, Resident Evil 4 didn’t lose sight of the franchise’s horror roots, featuring a tense atmosphere and plenty of scary moments in addition to its set pieces and over-the-top action. In terms of gameplay, Resident Evil 4 reinvented the franchise, and won countless Game of the Year awards in 2005. Since it remains one of the highest rated video games ever released, it’s no surprise that Capcom seems bent on releasing Resident Evil 4 for every platform under the sun, with a Resident Evil 4 re-release coming to PS4 and Xbox One this October.
With the upcoming Resident Evil VII, it appears as though the franchise is about to go through yet another reinvention. Some fans are skeptical of the game and its first-person viewpoint, but if Resident Evil VII is able to reinvent the series with the same success that Resident Evil 4 did, then Resident Evil fans may be able to look forward to many other quality games in the future.
Which Resident Evil game is your favorite? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.