After Resident Evil was put through the wringer in the PS3/Xbox 360 era and the early PS4/Xbox One era, it was hard to believe that the franchise would ever get back to its glory days. Capcom has done the impossible though- not only has it restored its famous horror series back to the top, it has even taken it to completely new heights. Resident Evil is now in the best shape of its life, and here, we’re going to go through all of its mainline games and rank them from worst to best.
Before we proceed, a note on what we’re including in this list- all narrative mainline Resident Evil games are being considered for the purposes of this ranking, which includes all numbered Resident Evil titles (from 0 to Village), both Revelations games, and Code – Veronica. Also keep in mind that for this ranking, when it comes to Resident Evil 1, 2, 3, and 4, we’re only considering the remakes, not the original releases.
With all that out of the way, let’s get started.
#12. RESIDENT EVIL 6
The undisputed worst game in the Resident Evil franchise. On paper, RE6’s ambition has to be lauded, and back in the day, prior to its launch, it would have been easy to get excited for what was being billed as the ultimate Resident Evil game. Of course, the game itself ended up completely fumbling the execution of those ideas. RE6 is a complete and utter mess. There is almost no horror here whatsoever, with the game instead deciding to turn itself into a cheesy, unbelievably over-the-top action experience, where the villain is turning into a dinosaur and highways are exploding for no good reason, like they’ve been pulled right out of a Michael Bay movie. From a narrative perspective, things get even worse, not only because the game’s own immediate story is unbelievably messy and incoherent, but also because it fails in its attempts to recontextualize past events in the series in any meaningful way. Even with four separate campaigns, this game feels entirely skippable, which should tell you something about how bad it is.
#11. RESIDENT EVIL 0
Resident Evil 0 is not a game without redeeming qualities. It looked amazing, it had a solid setting, and it did evoke the survival horror aesthetic of the franchise’s early days really well- but it was also a game that, once again, failed to execute some of its new ideas quite spectacularly. The concept of having no item boxes, for instance, isn’t necessarily a bad one- unless the game fails to design itself around that idea. Inventory management became an absolute chore in Resident Evil 0 as a result, which should never, ever be the case in any RE game. And while playing as Rebecca Chambers was obviously a highlight for any fan of the series, the experience was dragged down significantly by the presence and importance of Billy Coen, who has to be one of the most underwhelming protagonists in an RE game to date.
#10. RESIDENT EVIL 5
Even though Resident Evil 5 is emblematic of so much of what was wrong with the series in that era, it’s hard not to appreciate the game for what it was. When it comes to the survival horror nature of the franchise, RE5 was almost completely divorced from that aesthetic, and without a doubt, that’s one of its biggest issues. If you look at it purely as an action game though, especially as a co-op action game, it’s an accomplished shooter with excellent, tense shootouts. From a narrative perspective, too, it’s a hugely important game to the franchise, and even though one can’t help but bemoan how poorly it used the character of Jill Valentine, it’s impossible not to like the gleefully over-the-top characterization of Wesker and how his story is wrapped up.
#9. RESIDENT EVIL REVELATIONS 2
In an era where Resident Evil was down in the doldrums and completely out of touch with its roots, it was hard not to appreciate Revelations 2 for how it pulled things back and delivered an experience that felt much more like what an RE game should. It felt like just the right mix of horror and action, and mechanically, it was consistently fun to play. It helped that it also revolved around a solid cast of characters, from excellent newcomers like Moira and Natalia to series stalwarts like Claire and Barry. It was clearly made on a budget, which showed in more than a few ways, and its staggered, episodic launch was perhaps not the best model for Capcom to adopt, but there’s still plenty about Revelations 2 that deserves praise. Special shoutout to its Raid mode, which was an absolute blast.
#8. RESIDENT EVIL: CODE – VERONICA
The series’ final game in its fixed cameras era, Code – Veronica may not have touched the heights of any of its immediate predecessors, but it was still a solid Resident Evil outing nonetheless. It boasted an excellent setting, and it told a story that remains incredibly pivotal to the series’ overarching narrative, while having Claire and Chris in a game together was also something of a dream come true for RE fans. Of course, it also made plenty of questionable choices in terms of both story and gameplay- Steve Burnside remains one of the worst Resident Evil characters to date, for instance, while from a design perspective, it’s plain to see that the game didn’t go through the level of quality assurance it needed to. Still, for fans of RE’s classic style, this is an easy game to recommend.
#7. RESIDENT EVIL 3 REMAKE
Resident Evil 3 Remake turned out to be quite a controversial game, when really, it should have been a slam dunk. There was plenty that the remake got wrong, from cutting out sections like the clock tower and truncating Raccoon City and all of its outdoor locations to removing things such as Mercenaries and completely fumbling in its execution of Nemesis as a stalker enemy. The latter, in particular, was a huge disappointment, especially since with RE2 Remake’s Mr. X, RE3 had the foundations in place to turn Nemesis into a stalker enemy for the ages. Add to that its short runtime and its excessive reuse of RE2 areas, and the remake ended up failing to do any justice to the original. It’s still a lot of fun to play, of course, and there are parts of the game – like the Hospital, the opening couple of hours, Jill and Carlos’ characterization, and all of the Nemesis boss fights – that are excellent, but overall, Resident Evil 3 Remake felt very much like a textbook case of squandered potential.
#6. RESIDENT EVIL REVELATIONS
Resident Evil Revelations divides opinion in the RE fanbase a little bit, and it’s easy to see why- from its action-heavy second half to a story that had a tendency to go completely off-rails, Revelations had a fair few things that held it back from being truly excellent. Even so, it’s an easy game to recommend if you’re a fan of the series- especially if you want a horror Resident Evil experience in third person. The bulk of the game is set on a creepy, claustrophobic cruise ship, which proves to be an excellent setting for a horror game, and the enemies and bosses that you take on throughout the game serve as excellent foils for that atmosphere. It’s also a massive bonus to have the original duo of Jill Valentine and Chris Redfield back in the driver’s seat for this one, especially considering how woefully underutilized the former has been over the years.
#5. RESIDENT EVIL 7
We’re now getting to the very top tier of Resident Evil games, and there’s absolutely no doubt that Resident Evil 7 belongs up here. The game single-handedly brought the franchise bought from the brink, and it did it with greater success than anyone could have imagined. Reimagining the series as a first person experience and putting the horror firmly back in survival horror, Resident Evil 7 was an incredibly game that felt like a much needed clean break for the series, while also fitting in nicely with its overarching lore. From a gameplay perspective, the Baker Residence was an excellent setting, and with its focus on exploration, survival horror, backtracking, and puzzles, it took the series right back to its roots, and did it in spectacular fashion. Yes, the lack of enemy variety was a bit of a disappointment, and yes, the final chunk of the game loses a bit of its steam, but RE7 is still one of the best survival horror games you’ll ever play.
#4. RESIDENT EVIL REMAKE
Modern audiences might find the original Resident Evil a little hard to go back to, given its old-school design sensibilities and the way it controlled, but as fans of the game will tell you, all of that contributed significantly to the game’s tone and aesthetic. Spencer Mansion remains one of the greatest survival horror settings we have ever seen to this day, and exploring its creepy halls, solving its elaborate puzzles, and avoiding and trouncing its many nightmarish threats combines to make for one of the most harrowing horror experiences to date. From its excellent design and the way it told its story to how oppressive and atmospheric it was and how excellent it somehow manages to look even by today’s standards, the original Resident Evil remake earns its place as one of the series’ best outings to date.
#3. RESIDENT EVIL VILLAGE
In the lead up to its launch, Capcom described Resident Evil Village as a theme park of horror, which really is the perfect way to describe the game. It’s a culmination of everything Resident Evil has ever been about up to this point, a smorgasbord of its many different identities, all coherently wrapped up in one incredible package. It has the survival horror gameplay and design of classic Resident Evil, it has the first person perspective of Resident Evil 7, it has the tone and aesthetic of Resident Evil 4, it has the action of Resident Evil 5. Village celebrates the Resident Evil franchise in all of its colours in the best way possible, and as a result delivers one of the series’ best outings yet. Its story, combat, level design, boss fights, enemy variety, its many different approaches to horror across several different areas- the game hits the ball out of the park in pretty much every area that matters.
#2. RESIDENT EVIL 4 REMAKE
You can easily make a case that Resident Evil’s most recent outings may also be one of its very best to date. Remaking all-time classics that are held in incredibly high regard is no easy task, and yet the RE4 remake does that with such confidence, it’s hard not to be gobsmacked by its achievements. No, there isn’t much horror here, and yes, its story feels very secluded from the rest of the franchise, but the combat experience and tense action it delivers are second to none. Resident Evil 4 Remake looks spectacular, has incredible boss fights, stellar enemy variety, and also manages to rope in other gameplay aspects that make RE what it is, from engaging exploration to an impressive variety of puzzles, even though the latter very much isn’t the experience’s focus. RE4 has been called one of the greatest games ever made on no few occasions, and that’s not going to change anytime soon.
#1. RESIDENT EVIL 2 REMAKE
If someone completely new to the Resident Evil franchise were to ask you what the series is about at its very core, it’d be hard to look past 2019’s Resident Evil 2 remake as the perfect exhibit. This is the peak of survival horror, from its incredible lock-and-key level design, which makes exploration more engaging than it has ever been in a Resident Evil game, to how effectively it executes the gameplay sensibilities and design style that this series built its identity around decades ago. What makes it even more impressive is how successfully it takes the essence of Resident Evil 2, a game that came out all the way back in 1998, and completely reimagines and recontextualizes it as a modern experience. From its stellar visuals and its slow, palpable pacing to the incredible atmosphere and, of course, the excellent implementation of Mr. X as a stalker enemy, there’s just so much to love about this game. Resident Evil 2 Remake is not only the best Resident Evil game ever made, it’s also one of the greatest survival horror games of all time, one of the greatest remakes of all time, and by extension, one of the best games ever created.