The Resident Evil franchise has for two decades been the pinnacle of the survival-horror genre, even if it has fallen by the wayside in recent years.
A shift towards heavy-handed action saw a significant drop off in quality, but Capcom is hopeful that Resident Evil 7 can bring about a reinvigoration of the franchise.
Having first been introduced as a slow, eerie zombie shooter in 1996, the series has seen what seems like a countless number of sequels, prequels and spin-offs, and while there has been an inconsistent stream of quality over the years, the Resident Evil franchise still has a strong following, and rightly so.
To celebrate the release of Resident Evil 7 on January 24, we’ve ranked the main entries in the series from worst to best. Agree/disagree with our list? Sound off in the comments below!
12. Umbrella Corps
Perhaps the most critically panned Resident Evil game in the franchise’s history, this first-person shooter aimed high but couldn’t even come close to the standards set by its namesake.
This muddled shooter was not the type of game Resident Evil fans deserved during the series’ 20th anniversary, and is in many ways reflective of just how far from the series’ roots the franchise had fallen since 2004’s Resident Evil 4.
While some critics celebrated the game’s ambition, most couldn’t look beyond the fact the Umbrella Corps was a terrible shooter with a Resident Evil skin. Fans would rather soon forget, but it’s hard to forgive Capcom for this not-so-celebratory turd.
11. Operation Raccoon City
Capcom celebrated the game’s mild commercial success, and fans were excited leading into release. It was set during the time period of both Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, two revered titles in the Resident Evil franchise, and as such, hype was high.
The end result, however, was as far removed from those classics as it could get.
It has its moments of pure, chaotic mayhem, but something about the game and its design just didn’t “click”, and it was yet another recent entry that significantly dragged down the standards of the RE name.
Taking obvious inspiration from the likes if SOCOM, Rainbow Six, and, of course, Resident Evil, Operation: Raccoon City ultimately lacked much of an identity, making it hard to care about, and perhaps the most forgettable game in the RE series.
10. Resident Evil 6
Resident Evil 6 is a strange game. It has its great story moments, amazing set pieces, superb design and solid gameplay. At its core, it’s a great action game.
It’s just that it’s not a very good Resident Evil game. Many critics at the time of release claimed this to be the end of the Resident Evil franchise, or perhaps the end of what would eventually lead into a new beginning.
That may be the case with Resident Evil 7, but by looking at that game and then glancing at RE6, it’s clear to see just how “off the hinge” Capcom went with the franchise.
Around the time of its release, the Japanese gaming giant was attempting to justify its stance on shifting the franchise towards action. It argued that no one was buying survival-horror games anymore, and that this was the right direction for the franchise.
Diehard fans would have no doubt appreciated it in some regard, but, like those entries in the few years before it, RE6 was mostly forgettable. It wasn’t as grounded as RE5, and its cooperative offering wasn’t anywhere near as focused or structured.
Overall it just felt like a game crying out for attention.
9. Resident Evil: Revelations
The handheld version is undobutedly better than the console HD equivalent, but Revelations is still a solid spin-off entry in the franchise, regardless of platform.
Its ability to blend old-school survival horror with modern action gameplay had RE fans clamouring for a return to the good ol’ days, which they’ve had to wait until 2017 for.
Importantly, it brought straight-up horror back to the franchise, something that had been replaced with action-suspense in recent RE releases leading up to this game’s launch.
8. Resident Evil: Revelations 2
In what was considered a big step in the right direction, Revelations 2 appeared set to reignite interest in the tiring RE franchise.
As with its predecessor, it found a nice balance between new and old horror, as well as action techniques, making for a well-rounded, exciting, thrilling and scary romp.
It superbly blended puzzle solving, shooting, exploration and straight-up combat action, fitting considering the natural direction of the franchise leading into Resident Evil 7.
7. Resident Evil 5
Resident Evil 5 offers one of the best cooperative experiences ever, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
While many see RE5 as the “beginning of the end” for the franchise in that in took what was great about RE4, turned it into an even more action-packed game, and then added cooperative multiplayer, the game still managed to entertain through its unbridled combat.
It’s not anywhere near as creepy, scary and suspenseful as earlier entries, but it still fits firmly in that “good but not great” category.
Worthy of a replay? Sure. It may not be up there with the all-time greats of the franchise, but it’s certainly close.