In just a few short days the next-generation of video game horror will arrive. Resident Evil VII: Biohazard looks to bring the series back to its genre-defining roots with a game that is at the same time an exhilarating and horrifying experience. However before we dive into Capcom’s latest & greatest we decided to take a step back in time and look at the games that helped make Resident Evil one of the industry’s most important franchises, not only for horror aficionados but gamers everywhere. So turn off the lights, grab some green herbs and check out our Top 10 Resident Evil games.
10 – Resident Evil 5
Let’s kick things off with one of the more controversial entries on the list. Forced co-op has always been a sticking point for gamers, especially when it’s introduced into a series that had always been a primarily solo affair. Thankfully Resident Evil 5 (mostly) avoids being lumped in with games whose multiplayer ruined the experience (looking at you Red Alert 3) thanks in part to the superb gameplay inherited from its predecessor. While the game is often cited as the point where Resident Evil began to diverge from its survival-horror roots to being more of an action shooter franchise it can still deliver the frights with its tight corridors swarming with the infected hordes. Just make sure you’re playing with someone who knows what they are doing.
9 – Resident Evil Zero
One of my personal favorite games in the series, Resident Evil Zero is both an excellent example of how ‘classic’ Resident Evil and new gameplay mechanics can come together to deliver something that is both familiar and unique. You take control of S.T.A.R.S. medic Rebecca Chambers and escaped criminal Billy Cohen as they fight to survive against all manner of infected evil (I’m still scared of that giant scorpion), the twist being that you can control both characters independently allowing for some creative puzzles that force you to think on your feet. The game still holds up well to this day if you’re interested in checking out the HD remaster, just make sure you’re prepared for the awkward ‘tank’ controls.
8 – Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles
The Wii Remote is a very versatile piece of technology that lends itself well to many different gameplay styles. One genre in particular that exploded on the Wii was the on-rails shooter, something that Resident Evil fans know very well since the console got not only one but two excellent games that helped expand the series’ lore. The better of these games was The Darkside Chronicles, a gorgeous (for the Wii) game that not only filled us in on what Leon was doing before the events of Resident Evil 4 but also helped flesh out some of the supporting cast’s personalities as well as their motivations. If you’re a fan of the series’ overarching story, then you need to play this game.
7 – Resident Evil: Code: Veronica
If any game in the series could be described as ‘solid’ it would be Code: Veronica. The gameplay is great, the soundtrack will get your heart pumping, the difficulty is challenging and story will leave you on the edge of your seats. Oh sure it might look dated now (this is a Dreamcast game after all) but don’t let that turn you off since this game can stand toe to toe with most of the ‘numbered’ Resident Evil games.
6 – Resident Evil: Gaiden
The Game Boy Color is mostly remembered today as the system that brought us Pokémon but there were plenty of other things to play on the system, including a really good Resident Evil game. Resident Evil: Gaiden is a an underrated game that gives us a different take on the series we know and love and features surprisingly deep combat, exploration and narrative for an early 2000’s handheld game. Now I’ll admit that of all the games on this list Gaiden is probably the one that has aged the least gracefully, but if you’re a die-hard Resident Evil fan you definitely need to check this one out.
5 – Resident Evil 3: Nemesis
No game in the series can match the sheer self-induced paranoia that Resident Evil 3: Nemesis will leave you with. There’s just something about being constantly chased by a giant mutated monster with a rocket launcher that’s a little unsettling. Oh! And he wears a trench-coat, so you know he’s evil. To this day I’m still haunted by Nemesis’ STAAAAAARSSSS scream every time he makes an entrance. Really scary stuff.
4 – Resident Evil: Revelations
I’ll admit it, when Resident Evil: Revelations was first announced my expectations were somewhere around the bottom of the ocean. To say that the series was in a slump would be nothing short of an understatement as fans were still coming to terms with the massive disappointment that Resident Evil 6 was setting itself up to be and for a while there it seemed like Capcom was only interested in releasing competitive shooters wearing Resident Evil’s skin. So you can imagine my surprise when Revelations turned out to be an actual survival-horror game with an emphasis on using your inventory and environment wisely in order to survive and not just a run of the mill shooter. And to make things even more impressive, this game was running on the Nintendo 3DS and still stands four years later as the system’s best looking game.
3 – Resident Evil (Remake)
The original Resident Evil is a great game but it’s very much a product of its time. The graphics from the PlayStation version are, and this is putting it nicely, so choppy a zombie would think they were ugly and the voice work has become notorious for its unintentional hilariousness (Jill sandwich anyone?). So if you’re planning on checking out the series, maybe for the first time, I highly recommend you give the GameCube remake or it’s HD ports your attention as these are clearly the best way to experience this classic game.
2 – Resident Evil 2
Coming in at number two is the second game in the series and the pinnacle of ‘classic’ Resident Evil gameplay. Resident Evil 2 has it all; action, gameplay, story, replayability, tense moments, memorable villains, everything a fan of the series could want is here. Capcom has announced that a remake (not just a port) is in development but have since been tight-lipped on when we can expect to see it, but if it can be anywhere near as good as the original then we can wait a little longer to make sure it meets our expectations
1 – Resident Evil 4
Resident Evil 4 is to its series what Metal Gear Solid and Ocarina of Time are to Metal Gear and Zelda respectively. It’s a leap forward, not just slightly over what was done before but by leaps and bounds. Gone are the ‘tank’ controls that hindered the series and in comes an ‘over-the-shoulder’ control scheme that has since become an industry standard. Also gone are the slow, shambling zombies, now replaced with the infected villagers known as ‘ganados’; intelligent enemies that will use the environment (and chainsaws, crossbows and dynamite among other things) to stop you. Playing this game was an absolute blast in 2004 and we can only hope that Resident Evil VII: Biohazard has the same effect on the series and takes it to the next level.
And that does it for our picks! What are your favorite Resident Evil games? Let us know in the comments below!