6. Resident Evil – Code: Veronica
Code Veronica is an often forgotten gem. Released exclusively as a Dreamcast title, it is often considered one of that console’s best ever games. It also came to PlayStation 2 and Gamecube as “Code: Veronica X”, with added cutscenes and a slightly longer overall playtime.
It was the first game in the RE series to use 3D backgrounds instead of the traditional pre-rendered ones, and as such was at the time the best looking RE game to date.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a RE fan that doesn’t appreciate this entry, despite its best version having fallen into obscurity due to the failures of the Dreamcast.
However, a HD re-release brought it back to the masses, allowing a new generation to experience one of the best survival-horror offerings of the 21st century.
5. Resident Evil Zero
It’s certainly aged compared to modern survival horror titles, but, just like its predecessors, Zero still stands as a masterpiece of game design.
This spooky, scary, and fun entry — which came exclusively to Gamecube first back when Resident Evil was a Nintendo thing — wasn’t as well received as the Resident Evil games before it, but it still stands as one of the series’ best.
It’s clunky as hell in parts, is sometimes too ambitious for its own good, and occasionally lets the story get away from itself, but RE Zero is still rightly held up by RE diehards as a series favourite.
4. Resident Evil 3: Nemesis
Nemesis is perhaps where the series’ modern infatuation with action began. At the time, critics praised it as being the best of RE and RE2, while also adding a number of different and innovative (for the time) gameplay mechanics that helped introduce the series to a new generation of players.
While it’s certainly aged by modern standards, Nemesis was at the time a marvel of game design and graphical beauty, with critics and gamers alike celebrating the game’s enthralling realism and sense of detail.
It’s an undeniably faster, tenser and therefore scarier game than those that preceded it.
3. Resident Evil 4
RE4‘s position on this list may cause controversy, but it’s important to acknowledge the game both for what it is, and what it isn’t.
Firstly, let’s talk about what it is. RE4 is a brilliant game. There’s absolutely no doubt about that. One of the greatest action and horror games of all-time, it kickstarted a renaissance of sorts for the Resident Evil series, which had seen a number of spin-offs and troubled development cycles leading into RE4‘s release.
When it launched, it was undoubtedly the Gamecube’s best game. That it was eventually going to make its way to the PS2 didn’t matter: it was probably the only (and last) third-party system-seller Nintendo’s had.
Now let’s talk about what RE4 isn’t, and that’s the perfect Resident Evil game. It ditches a lot of the survival horror elements of RE2 and RE1, and takes the action-centric nature of Nemesis way too far.
That said, it’s still a superb game, and still better than all of those that came after it: its ability to blend in Resident Evil lore and popular characters with an action-focused experience made for one of the best video game experiences of the 21st century. There’s simply no denying RE4‘s place as one of the all-time greats.
2. Resident Evil (including all remakes and remasters)
Where it all began. The original, and (close to being) the best.
It broke all sorts of records upon release, and was the video game to own on PlayStation back in the day.
You know your game is causing trouble when the news is all up in your grill about promoting violence, but that didn’t stop the masses from lapping it up. But what are sales if your game isn’t actually any good?
Thankfully, Resident Evil and its many rereleases and remasters since perfectly fit the “survival horror” bill.
In fact, it was this game that supposedly contributed and led to the penning of the term “survival horror”.
I’m throwing REmake in here as well, because the quality of those remakes were what contributed to this game’s legacy: that it deserved such a thorough remake in an era when remakes didn’t exist — and so soon after its initial release — goes to show just how superb a game the original Resident Evil was.
1. Resident Evil 2
There’s no doubting just how influential Resident Evil 2 was upon release back in 1998.
That a video game could be so cinematic, tense, memorable, engaging and enthralling blew away millions of people the world over. If RE didn’t create a juggernaut, then RE2 certainly did: it immortalised the franchise in video game history.
It may have forced people to battle a super clunky and unintuitive inventory system, but outside of that, there’s very little to fault with RE2 from a survival-horror standpoint.
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