The Resident Evil franchise is made up of at least two dozen video games. However, while the series has seen its fair share of classics and masterpieces, there've been a couple of duds as well.
With Capcom shedding some light on Resident Evil Village recently, along with fresh news about a live-action reboot and a new animated film due to stream on Netflix soon, expect interest in this classic survival-horror franchise to only continue to grow.
With that said, if you're new to the franchise, we really do suggest staying away from any Resident Evil game that's not on this list.
Scroll down below to find out what the 8 best Resident Evil games are, as we rank them from the worst down to the very best.
1. Resident Evil 4
Resident Evil was arguably the franchise that gave birth to the survival-horror genre. However, when you are three main installments deep, you're bound to hit a snag or two. Nonetheless, while its contemporaries struggled to remain relevant and consistent, series creator, Shinji Mikami, reinvented the franchise with Resident Evil 4.
Resident Evil 4 was a pivotal release for several reasons. For one, it changed the game's perspective and went with an over-the-shoulder third-person aiming system. This helped make the game more fluid. At the same time, the game coupled this fluidity with then-innovative quick time events along with a more action-oriented approach to gameplay without necessarily removing the suspense and thrill of being chased to your death by zombies.
As a bonus, Resident Evil 4 had some of the most memorable boss fights in the series and had an atmosphere that really set the mood.
Perhaps more importantly, Resident Evil 4 was such a successful experiment that many of the gameplay features introduced in it later made their way to other titles. This includes, among others, Dead Space, Uncharted, and Gears of War.
Resident Evil 4 wasn't just genre-defining, it was also an industry-changer, and to this day, remains just as good of a game to play as it first released many years ago.
2. Resident Evil 7
Resident Evil 4 was a good kind of different. Unfortunately, its success made Capcom double down on the formula, and it's safe to say that things didn't turn out as expected.
Eschewing puzzles and suspense for even more emphasis on gunplay and weapons, the two games that followed Resident Evil 4 was nowhere near as good, and for a while, it seemed like the franchise was on its way out.
However, just like a certain tyrant that we know who doesn't know when to give up, Resident Evil came back with a vengeance with Resident Evil 7.
The 7th main entry in the franchise, Resident Evil 7: Biohazard was yet another reinvention. Instead of a third-person survival-horror game, the title put everything in a first-person perspective. But, at the same time, the game didn't forget its roots, as it focused on the exploration and measured pacing.
The resulting experience was nothing short of amazing and a return to form for the franchise.
Arguably the most immersive Resident Evil title ever released, Resident Evil 7 made gamers feel very afraid of everything, especially when played in VR.
Methodical, brutal, and downright terrifying, Resident Evil is the franchise at its finest.
3. Resident Evil 2 Remake
Making a sequel of a remake that many have already described as perfect in every way imaginable is no easy feat. Even harder is making sure that it stays faithful to the original while also adding its own spin to it. But, that's exactly what the Resident Evil 2 Remake, released in 2019, did.
A complete remake of the PlayStation classic, Resident Evil 2 Remake rebuilt the iconic title from the ground-up while also changing up a couple of things, often if not all for the better. This included an even heavier emphasis on a thicker and more engrossing atmosphere, as well as true survival-horror gameplay that featured less action and more trying to survive while scared out of your mind.
It also certainly didn't hurt that the Resident Evil 2 Remake looked absolutely gorgeous.
Compared to the original, the remake is just better in every way. There are no more tanky controls and the loading screen doors are all gone. At the same time, the developers made sure to punish players for being too complacent, and the puzzles are just as difficult as ever.
Ultimately, it's hard to overstate just what the developers were able to accomplish with the remake. They preserved a lot of the good of the source material while adding to it without any negative effect.
For that, the Resident Evil 2 Remake deserves to be ranked this high on our list.
4. Resident Evil Remake
Speaking of remakes, it certainly seems like Capcom has a knack for reimagining the older titles in the franchise in a much more modern form.
Case in point, the Resident Evil Remake, otherwise known as REmake, for the Nintendo GameCube.
Whereas the original Resident Evil title was an industry-changer, the REmake was a technical marvel for its time and surprisingly, holds up well despite being made for a console that most of us have probably never heard of.
A completely re-imagining of the original title, the REmake made every corner of the Spencer Mansion look every bit as professional and amazing as it is downright scary complete with grotesque enemies that provided an excellent contrast to the game's incredible lighting effects.
The REmake felt every bit like what the original Resident Evil title should've been had it had better technology at its time.
What makes this an even more amazing feat is the fact that the REmake was released just a mere 6 years after the original PlayStation title was released. Perhaps this is why the REmake has seen a re-release numerous times already. This includes being made available to modern features on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One back in 2015.
5. Resident Evil: Code Veronica
What? You haven't heard of this game before? Well, we can't exactly blame you. Resident Evil: Code Veronica
Resident Evil – Code: Veronica is the first “must play” in the series. Originally released on the Dreamcast in 2000, the game follows Claire Redfield after the events of Resident Evil 2 and Nemesis. It’s the first title in the series to feature real-time 3D environments, allowing the camera to move in ways it wasn’t able to before.
The Dreamcast’s poor sales fell back on Code: Veronica when it was released, however. Although the game was eventually ported to PS2 and GameCube, the dated Dreamcast graphics felt outdated by the time it arrived. Today, however, Code: Veronica is still an excellent Resident Evil game and an absolute must-own for Dreamcast fans.
6. Resident Evil 3 Remake
Hot on the heels of the success of the Resident Evil 2 Remake, Capcom decided to release a remake of yet another classic in the form of the Resident Evil 3 Remake. However, unlike its predecessor, this one was not as well-received.
People blamed just how much content was changed between the original and the remake, resulting in the game feeling far too different. But, if you can look past those changes, this remains a strong entry to the franchise. This is especially since it managed to bring back the dread and horror of being chased through Raccoon City by none other than the genetically modified beast created to hunt down the remaining STARS members: Nemesis.
It's indeed a shame that the Resident Evil 3 Remake feels far too different from the original and the developers probably focused too much on its mini-game.
Still, with Nemesis just as horrifying as ever and the game being far more detailed with more scares, the Resident Evil 3 Remake remains a must-play title.
7. Resident Evil Zero
Resident Evil Zero is right up there with Resident Evil: Code Veronica as the best Resident Evil games that most people have probably never had a chance to play, which is a shame since it's also one of the best games in the series.
True. True. This game didn't have the benefit of having known protagonists. At this point, gamers already recognized who Jill Valentine and Claire Redfield were. However, only a few would ever recognize who Rebecca Chambers was, let alone Billy Coen.
With that said, once you do get a chance to play this game, you'll start to wonder why we haven't seen more of the game's two likable protagonists in games.
Resident Evil Zero featured the best that the Resident Evil franchise had to offer back then. This includes a fantasy atmosphere with phenomenal graphics that have stood well against the test of time and a plot that feels very Resident Evil.
8. Resident Evil 5
Anything released past Resident Evil 4 and before Resident Evil 7 is hard to love. However, the proverbial shit never really hit the fan just yet until the latter parts of Resident Evil 5, where you'll see Chris Redfield do some pretty outrageous things.
In the beginning, though, Resident Evil 5 started things off on the right note. Unfortunately, as the game went on, it felt less like a sequel and more like a failure of a cash grab attempt.
Make no mistake, Resident Evil 5 is not irredeemable. It does have a few memorable moments. It's just that for every positive stand-out memory you'll have of playing the game, there's two or so that's negative. It also doesn't help that Resident Evil 5 has some of the worst bosses in the entire franchise with an AI partner that really deterred you from approaching the few good things about the game.
Ultimately, Resident Evil 5 is the best worst game in the Resident Evil franchise.
If you can tolerate it, you'd probably be able to make it through the other titles. We just wouldn't recommend doing so.