When it comes to survival horror, few franchises come close to the success of Resident Evil. The smash hit series seems to only grow in popularity with each passing year. Recently, the second and third games in the series have received remakes that reintroduced fans into their world. The fourth and, to many the best, game just recently received a remake and RE has never been more popular. To celebrate the RE4 remake, we are taking a look at the core games in the series. Counting spin-offs, there are around 30 games in the series. We will only be covering the main games that cover a linear timeline.
10. Resident Evil (1996)
This is where it all began. Originally released on the PSOne in 1996, this legendary survival horror game was only the beginning of a long and prosperous franchise. You take control of one of two characters, Jill Valentine or Chris Redfield. Jill and Chris are S.T.A.R.S agents sent to investigate a string of gruesome murders in the woods surrounding Racoon City. Their investigation leads them to the Spencer Mansion, where they discover something out of their worst nightmare. They must fend off the horrific, mutated victims of the T-Virus as they uncover the secrets behind the Umbrella Corporation. While the original game is nothing short of classic, many fans feel the 2002 remake is the definitive version thanks to its updated controls and added story elements.
9. Resident Evil 2 (1998)
Taking place two months after the original game, RE2 follows Chris’ sister Claire Redfield in her search for her brother. The game also features the future protagonist of the RE4 remake and rookie cop Leon Kennedy. Like the original game, players can choose which character to play as, and each one branch into their own story. This sequel also features the introduction of the iconic Tyrant enemy. The game takes place in the epicenter of the outbreak, Racoon City. Players are introduced to an even deadlier virus, the G-Virus as Claire and Leon uncover the sinister truth behind the Umbrella Corporation. The game received a modern remake in 2019, modernizing the graphics and updating the story.
8. Resident Evil 3: Nemesis (1999)
The third game in the series is in part a prequel to RE2. The first part follows Jill Valentine after the original game, around 24 hours before the events of the second. After surviving the events at Spencer Mansion, Jill attempts to escape Racoon City, which has been overrun by the infected. things are made increasingly more difficult as she discovers she is being hunted by Nemesis, a bio-organic weapon. Nemesis is designed to target the surviving S.T.A.R.S members who know Umbrella’s secrets. Nemesis appears and stalks players at various points throughout the game, adding an element of fear knowing he can appear at any moment.
7. Resident Evil: Code-Veronica (2000)
Code-Veronica follows Claire Redfield a few months after RE2. Still searching for her brother, Claire finds herself held at an Umbrella facility in France. The game features Chris Redfield from the original game once again as a playable character. Like his sister, Chris is searching for his sibling while attempting to solve the mystery that is Umbrella. The two characters’ story happens concurrently throughout the game until they cross paths with the supposed mastermind of the outbreak, Albert Wesker. Unlike the previous games, Code-Veronica uses real-time 3D environments and dynamic camera movements as opposed to pre-rendered backgrounds.
6. Resident Evil 0 (2002)
Resident Evil 0 is the earliest game in the franchise’s chronology, taking place just before the first game. The game follows Rebecca Chambers, S.T.A.R.S medic and supporting character from the original game alongside former marine Billy Coen. The duo is investigating the Arklay Mountains, home of the Spencer Mansion when they discover a train full of infected. They discover valuable information regarding Albert Wesker and the development of the T-Virus. The story dives deep into the Umbrella Corporation and its sinister agenda. The game’s ending leads directly into the first game, making it a valuable companion to that story.
5. Resident Evil 4 (2005)
Ask a group of RE fans, and most of them will likely say the fourth game is the best. RE4 follows Leon Kennedy six years after the events of the second game. Leon is sent to a village in Spain to rescue the president’s daughter. Things aren’t as easy as they seem, as he is once again faced with the effects of the Umbrella Corporation. Kennedy faces a cult and its ties to a mind-controlling parasite that has Umbrella written all over it. The game is scary, intense, and most importantly fun. Many feel this game is the pinnacle of what the franchise should be. It takes skill to conquer the game and uncover the secret of the cult. The RE4 remake takes everything from the original game and improves it exponentially.
4. Resident Evil 5 (2009)
Set five years after the fourth game, RE5 once again follows Chris Redfield. This time, Chris, along with his partner Sheva Alomar, is sent to Africa. The duo is meant to stop the black market sale of a bio-weapon only to find the local police have already been infected. To make matters worse, they have been infected with an enhanced version of the mind control parasite from RE4. The story is on a much larger scale than previous entries, a mechanic that would stick around for future games. In addition to combating the parasite, Chris is also attempting to track down his long-lost partner, Jill Valentine. The game is also the first in the series to offer co-op play, with the second player controlling Alomar.
3. Resident Evil 6 (2012)
RE6 begins to truly lean into a more action-horror style as opposed to survival horror. The plot was the most interwoven and convoluted in the series yet. The story weaves together four campaigns. Each one follows a different character including RE4 remake protagonist Leon Kennedy, Chris Redfield, Ada Wong, and a new character named Jake Muller. The BSAA, a group introduced in the spin-off game Revelations, plays a major role in this entry. The four protagonists work to stop the Neo-Umbrella group and prevent the spread of a new virus known as the C-virus. While not the worst game in the franchise, fans missed the survival horror aspect of the earlier entries. Thankfully for them, the series would go down that path once again with the next entry.
2. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard (2017)
The RE4 remake as well as the remakes for 2 and 3 owe a lot to the seventh entry. The game reinvented the series and made the fan base happier than ever. Biohazard once again leaned more into survival horror and introduced first-person mechanics into the game. The first-person gameplay ensured the terrors were right in the face of players, so they knew firsthand Capcom was no longer playing around. The game introduces a new character known as Ethan Winters. Ethan finds himself in rural Louisiana held captive by the terrifyingly insane Baker family. The game’s connections to the previous six games are loose, meaning even new fans can pick this game up and follow it well enough.
1. Resident Evil Village (2022)
The eighth and latest game in the RE chronology follows Ethan Winters three years after the seventh game. Like Seven, Village has loose ties to the franchise’s past, although there are more than in Seven. Because of this, Seven and Eight serve as their own duology of games, meaning new fans do not need a heavy knowledge of previous entries. Ethan is once again trusted into the world of Umbrella when his daughter is kidnapped by a face RE fans will find familiar. The game is once again frightening in all the right ways. There is even a DLC that progresses the timeline even further. The DLC takes place 16 years after Village, meaning as of now it is the furthest point in the RE timeline.