Resident Evil 7 hits shelves next Tuesday, so here is my ranking of the eight existing games in the main series from worst to best.
8. Resident Evil 6 (2012 – 360, PS3, PC)
This is the only game in the series that I sort of dislike. It’s hard to hate it because it is a Resident Evil game, but for most of the playthrough, it really doesn’t feel like one. The survival-horror roots of the series have completely vanished, and this game plays like a generic third-person shooter trying to be a big-budget action movie instead of a Resident Evil title.
7. Resident Evil Zero (2002 – GameCube)
The last of the traditional play style in the series, Zero seemed too short and uninteresting to me. The gameplay was fine, but after playing the initial GameCube release, I never desired to revisit the adventures of Rebecca and Billy on the train. However, I do intend to check out the HD remaster on PS4 sometime in the future to give this one another shot.
6. Resident Evil 5 (2009 – 360, PS3, PC)
After multiple orgasms over RE4 from the game community, RE5 had a lot to live up to. My favorite addition was the ability to play online co-op during the campaign, as my buddy (and Brand writer) Mark Mayhugh and I blasted through this game in a day or two. Unfortunately, the bright Kijuju setting didn’t mesh well with horror.
5. Resident Evil 3: Nemesis (1999- PS1)
The final game in the original PlayStation trilogy, RE3 took place before and after RE2 focusing on Jill Valentine trying to escape Raccoon City. Although the game did reuse part of the Police Station from RE2, there were plenty of new environments to see as we got to explore a good part of the city. I loved the change in format as the main boss Nemesis stalked the player throughout the game resulting in about six or seven fights (if you didn’t run).
4. Resident Evil- Code: Veronica (2000 – Dreamcast)
This game could have been the actual RE4, but since it was only on the Dreamcast at the time, the developers paused the numbering. Great opening cut scene with Claire (which inspired a scene in one of the films), and long time fans enjoyed her finally reuniting with her brother Chris. Interesting story involving the creepy Ashford twins, the return of Wesker, and diverse settings.
3. Resident Evil 4 (2005 – GameCube)
It was the beginning of a new era in the franchise, as Leon headed to Spain to rescue the U.S. President’s daughter from a weirdo cult. Clunky tank controls were now a part of RE’s past, as the game put the player directly behind Leon in an over-the-shoulder perspective that many games have used since. Also gone were zombies, replaced with Las Plagas infected villagers. Although this was a major departure from the successful formula of the previous games, RE4 stood on its own as an amazing experience.
2. Resident Evil 2 (1998 – PS1)
Following up the amazing environment of the Spencer Mansion seemed impossible, but RE2 succeeded with the Police Station setting. The dogs jumping through the window in the first game always gets mentioned as the best jump scare, but I would challenge that with the Hunter plowing through the one-way mirror in this game. Like the first game, there were two different characters you could play with, slightly altering the experience, while telling different parts of the story. You had to play both to get the full narrative which added to the value.
1. Resident Evil (1996-PS1)
The original, and the best, in my opinion. (Although this game has possibly the worst voice acting and dialogue in the history of video games.) Of all the video games I have played, the Spencer Mansion is my favorite setting. This game defines survival-horror, whether it is deciding which corridor to explore, trying to hunt down all the keys to all the locked doors, being nervous about what is waiting in the next room, haunted by the jump scares and music cues, or running in circles as a giant snake tries to eat you – all while simultaneously trying not to run out of ammunition. If this game wasn’t as awesome as it was, everything that followed wouldn’t have existed.
Agree? Disagree? Comment below and follow Jeff on Twitter: @JeffLane22