Ever since Chris Redfield, Jill Valentine, Albert Wesker, and Barry Burton first ventured into that spooky mansion hidden within Racoon City, fans far and wide have been enamored with the survival horror trials and tribulations the Resident Evil franchise is known for. Capcom's zombie- and bioweapon-filled series of third- and first-person action/adventure games have been spread out between mainline entries and numerous spinoffs. It's hard to keep track of all the releases that have come from the original world of survival horror, but it's a much easier task when you're looking for the best Resident Evil games. It didn't take us very long to compile 16 of the series' greatest, so allow us to speak on why those games are regarded so highly by us and diehard fans alike.
The 16 Best 'Resident Evil' Games of All Time
Best 'Resident Evil' Games
1. 'Resident Evil'
And this is the one that started it all. This original foray into the terrifying realm of survival horror began with a trek through a mansion filled with night terrors, clever puzzles, and mindblowing revelations. The game's shocking levels of gore caught everyone off guard back then, plus the ability to impact the outcome of certain events through your progress affords this game a high replayability factor. There are so many iconic moments to speak of here - Barry's "Jill Sandwich" comment, the massive snake fight in the attic, and Albert's comeuppance at the hands (claws?) of an Umbrella bioweapon are among them. This game's mansion run is one of the scariest missions gamers have ever had to embark on. Resident Evil kicked off one of Capcom's greatest IPs on an extremely high note.
2. 'Resident Evil 2'
The development process for the first Resident Evil sequel was a difficult one (you can check out Matt McMuscles' video explanation of that project's legendary backstory). Once some proper changes were implemented and a singular focus was zeroed in on during its creation, Resident Evil 2 eventually emerged as a worthy follow-up to what came before it. Due to the T-Virus outbreak, the denizens of Raccoon City have been turned into mindless zombies. Plus an army of dangerous bioweapons has broken loose to cause even more havoc.
Leon S. Kennedy and Claire Redfield get caught up in all the madness during their entrance into the city - what follows is an absorbing gameplay experience that takes players to a police station, the sewers, and a massive underground laboratory full of nerve-wracking segments to play through. The game's "Zapping System," additional character scenarios, and fun minigames fleshed out Resident Evil 2 even more to guarantee its legendary status among diehard fans.
3. 'Resident Evil 3: Nemesis'
Jill has been through the wringer, boy! After surviving her first bioweapons ordeal in that horrible Umbrella mansion, she was then forced to endure the utter destruction of Raccoon City while those same diseased terrors threatened her wellbeing. Resident Evil 3: Nemesis is a wild trek through the remains of Jill's hometown - her journey sees her explore familiar locales, venture into all new ones, and make important choices that affect the ultimate outcome of said journey. And all the while, the relentless Nemesis bioweapon stays on her toes and scares players to death when they least expect it. The series' formula still stays strong here and the element of an ever-relentless enemy to contend with from start to finish makes this game an unforgettable experience. It still feels so good to blow Nemesis' final form to bits!
4. 'Resident Evil: Code Veronica X HD'
One of the best Resident Evil games sees Claire make another attempt at finding her brother Chris. But this time, she's transported to Rockford Island and is confronted by a sea of prisoners that have been infected by the T-Virus. Madness ensues as Claire, her new buddy Steve Burnside, and Chris engage in a lengthy crusade against all types of vicious creatures, Alfred Ashford, and his sister Alexia. The return of Albert Wesker really sticks out as an insane moment in this game that Resident Evil fans still bring up to this day. The best version of this game is the one we're highlighting here, which comes with extra cutscenes that expand on Wesker's Umbrella backstory and improved visuals. This is certainly one of the longest yet wholly satisfying entries in the entire franchise.
5. 'Resident Evil Zero'
S.T.A.R.S. member Rebecca Chambers had her own troubles to contend with before she aided her fellow officers in the mansion from Hell. Resident Evil Zero threw her into the main protagonist role alongside convict Billy Coen for a quality prequel to the series' very first game. Now did this game's abandonment of item boxes annoy the hell out of everyone? Sure did! And was the partner system a bit wonky? Yep! But the other elements of this game, like the new horrors you ran into (the humanoid leech!) and the creepy atmosphere of it all, makes this prequel an essential game worth playing through. Check out the HD remaster and be sure to give the "Wesker Mode" a try - you won't regret it! Blasting zombies to bits with Wesker's "Death Stare" makes you feel like a god.
6. 'Resident Evil' (2002 Remake)
Capcom went above and beyond to make the 2002 remake of Resident Evil feel like an entirely new game upon release. The visuals still look stunning to this day - playing it now when it's so readily available on modern consoles is a blessing since it looks even better than before. The darker lighting dispersed throughout this game's many locales made players feel even tenser as they sought to escape Umbrella's death house once more. Plus the new enemies added to the horror at hand - those dreaded "Crimson Zombies" regularly made us jump out of our seats, plus Lisa Trevor's shambling motions always made us tremble when we could hear them from a mile away. This remake deserves all the kudos in the world for being one of the best Resident Evil games thanks to the way it added to the winning formula of the original in every way possible.
7. 'Resident Evil 4'
This is the one that not only changed the face of Resident Evil but also revolutionized third-person shooters as a whole. Leon made his grand return to the series here as a seasoned combat veteran who's been entrusted to retrieve the president's daughter. That mission takes him to rural Spain, where he's confronted by a cult of crazed villagers and other beasties that have been afflicted by the influence of a parasite. Resident Evil 4 is regarded as one of the greatest games of all time thanks to its smooth aiming/shooting control scheme, great campaign pacing, and a more action-packed focus that throws players into the fire and never lets up. This beloved series entry has been released countless times across numerous consoles because of how much of a classic it is. Resident Evil 4 is easily one of the best Resident Evil games and THE best entry in the long-running series.
8. 'Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles'
Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles is practically an abridged version of the events that took place across Resident Evil Zero, the 2002 Resident Evil remake, and Resident Evil 3: Nemesis. But what makes that trip down memory lane so rewarding is the fact that you play through them all as if you were in the arcade trying to beat The House of the Dead. This Nintendo Wii and PlayStation Move-powered light gun shooter is such a blast to get through - gunning down an army of familiar bioweapons from a first-person viewpoint magnifies the intense scares that come across players' screens. And the game's cool unlockables afford this game a higher replay value that makes it worth returning to time and time again. This is clearly what Resident Evil: Gun Survivor should have been!
9. 'Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles'
Just like The Umbrella Chronicles, The Darkside Chronicles takes Resident Evil fans back to the realm of light-gun shooters for some bioweapons busting activities. The games that get turned into bite-sized playable chapters here are Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil - Code: Veronica, which are definitely cool ways to capture all that nostalgia. But the wholly original "Operation Javier" scenario provides an all-new segment to venture through, which provides Leon and his buddy turned enemy Jack Krauser. The same shaky camera madness and first-person frights from The Umbrella Chronicles are all here and accounted for, for better or worse (that camera can be a bit much, we can't lie).
10. 'Resident Evil 5'
Chris Redfield made his grand return as a buffed-up, gun-toting agent for the newly formed Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance in a quality follow-up to Resident Evil 4. And just like that groundbreaking game, Resident Evil 5 stuck close to the behind-the-back third-person shooting mechanics that everyone embraced beforehand. The fun factor tied to this sequel is so much greater due to the fact that it includes co-op - taking down all sorts of bioweapons and virus-afflicted terrorists alongside Sheva Alomar or Jill makes this game feel like you're playing the most action-packed dual cop movie of all time. The boss fights are wild, the mobs that encircle players still has us sweating bullets, and the story reveals tied to Wesker and Jill actually blew our minds at the time. We'll always love big muscly man Chris from this explosive romp through West Africa!
11. 'Resident Evil: Revelations'
When we finally received a respectable handheld Resident Evil game, it arrived on the Nintendo 3DS in the form of Resident Evil: Revelations. Jill and Chris got back on the saddle here as they and their new counter-terrorism cohorts confronted new threats on a cruise ship and smack dab in the middle of some frigid snow. This spinoff series entry didn't stick to the more action-focused vibes of previous mainline entries - it instead got back to its survival horror roots and made players nervous at every turn. The episodic nature of the game made it stand apart and made it feel as if you were playing through an actual season of a decent Resident Evil show. Now that it's available across multiple home consoles, it's definitely worth hopping into this game to experience all those horrors at sea and within a raging snowstorm.
12. 'Resident Evil: Revelations 2'
The Revelations side series kept the whole "Last time on..." episodic vibes strong with this sequel starring Claire and the grand return of Barry Burton. Barry Burton's daughter Moira accompanies Claire during her mission, while Barry plays the defensive role of a mysterious little girl with crazy ties to the game's main antagonist. Resident Evil Revelations 2 is such a gem thanks to several redeeming factors, such as its zany plot, traditional survival horror gameplay, and co-op mechanic. Working in conjunction with a fellow survivalist during struggles with the game's creepy baddies and using all that combined brain power to complete tough puzzles is still a blast here. Resident Evil: Revelations 2 embraces its chaotic nature and we simply love it for that main reason.
13. 'Resident Evil 7: Biohazard'
"Welcome to the family, son!" That spine-tingling line comes from none other than the towering father that hails from the Baker Family, Jack Baker. He and the rest of his clan scared the living daylights out of everyone that encountered them in the Resident Evil sequel that revisited its roots for the better. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard switches the camera viewpoint to a first-person variation, which brought the night terrors even closer to your face (especially in VR!). A series resurgence was brought on by this game for good reason - it focuses on the horror elements fans have come to champion by incorporating a deeply disturbing journey through a whole new derelict mansion. This return to form rejuvenated the franchise as a whole and renewed its fans' confidence in the future of Resident Evil.
14. 'Resident Evil 2' (2019 Remake)
We're very confident in saying that one of the best Resident Evil games of all time is this incredible remake for one of the best video game sequels we've ever gotten our hands on. Capcom did a bang-up job when it came to bringing Resident Evil 2 back in its most impressive form to date - the new and improved visuals add to the terror-inducing ambiance that a downtrodden Raccoon City gives off. Leon and Claire's harrowing journey gets changed for the better here with new routes that did an exceptional job of adding fresh wrinkles to the original's familiar campaign. The third-person controls make blasting zombies, Lickers, and Mr. X in the face that much more satisfying. This game is undoubtedly one of the greatest video game remakes of all time and the definitive way to experience Leon and Claire's memorable affairs.
15. 'Resident Evil 3' (2020 Remake)
Yeah, we hear you, we hear you! A lot of the content from the original Resident Evil 3: Nemesis got cut out here, which was massively disappointing when everyone found out about it. And as a result, this remake has a disgustingly short run time when you compare it to the length of the Resident Evil 2 remake. Even with those issues, this remake of Jill's battle with Umbrella's most relentless bioweapon still provides a brief yet wholly enjoyable campaign. The graphics are impressive as expected, the tension is even higher than ever thanks to all the rampaging monsters that crowd around Jill, and the segments involving Nemesis (STARS!) had everyone on the edge of their seat. As soon as finished this one, we loaded it right back up to try our luck with Nemesis once more at a higher difficulty to truly test our mettle.
16. 'Resident Evil Village'
The first-person formula that was introduced in Resident Evil 7: Biohazard was thankfully brought back for its equally satisfying follow-up. Resident Evil Village feels like a different take on the best parts of Resident Evil 4 - it throws the latest series protagonist Ethan Winters into a mysterious village while he's searching for his kidnapped baby girl. Unfortunately, he's forced to contend with vicious werewolves, hideously mutated fish creatures, mechanical monstrosities, and more in order to do so. A major change in scenery lends itself well to the newfound Resident Evil recipe that we hope stays around for the future. You haven't experienced true fear until you've paid a visit to this game's dollhouse of horrors, by the way!
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