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Ranking all mainline Resident Evil games from worst to best

We here at SQUAD love the Resident Evil franchise. With Village recently dropping, we thought it would be a good idea ranking all of the mainline Resident Evil games. This means that Code Veronica, Revelations, Gaiden, Outbreak, and the Wii shooters are void, as are off-shoots like Umbrella Corps, obviously.

For this Resident Evil ranking, we will use the remakes and remaster for Resident Evil 1 through 3.

9. Resident Evil 5

Being the follow-up to the critically acclaimed Resident Evil 4 meant a lot of eyes were on this game from day one. While not a terrible experience, Resident Evil 5 turned up the action and left the survival horror fans had come to know and love behind. Chris Redfield is always an entertaining character, but the new protagonist, Sheva, fell flat.

Throw in a frustrating inventory system, an emphasis on co-op that sucked in single-player due to bad AI, and the infamous boulder punching scene, and you have a forgettable entry in the Resident Evil franchise. 

Image by Capcom

8. Resident Evil 6

Many call Resident Evil 6 the worst game in the franchise, but I think that’s too harsh. What makes the game playable is the diverse content. There are four unique campaigns with different protagonists to control. Each of them has varying feels to the gameplay, and the AI partners felt slightly better than in Resident Evil 5.

As a long-time fan of the franchise, seeing characters I love again made Resident Evil 6 a nostalgic experience. It’s not a perfect game, but the shortcomings helped shaped the future of the franchise.

7. Resident Evil 0

Many people think of Nintendo as a family-friendly company, but the GameCube is actually one of the more mature consoles to come out in the early 2000s. Some of the best horror experiences in gaming history – some of which are featured later in the list – debuted on GameCube.

Resident Evil 0 was the first game in the franchise to use AI partners, and it probably does this better than any other RE game. Players controlled S.T.A.R.S. agent Rebecca Chambers alongside prisoner Billy Coen. What made the partner mechanic work so well is that each character had strengths and weaknesses. Rebecca could combine herbs to make medicine, while Billy couldn’t. Alternatively, Billy could move objects that Rebecca wasn’t strong enough to carry.

Capcom also gave players the ability to switch characters on the fly. The mechanic allows for unique ways to solve puzzles. Despite a low ranking on the list, Resident Evil 0 is a fantastic game. There are just plenty of gems within the franchise. 

Image by Capcom

6. Resident Evil (2002)

The remake of the original Resident Evil is the game that introduced me to the series. While fans of the 1996 version may champion the initial installment, the remake stands out for various reasons. The graphics and audio components are more realistic compared to the PlayStation version. Additionally, puzzles have been changed to keep players on their toes.

If that wasn’t enough, Capcom added amplified versions of the regular zombies. If you don’t burn them or remove the head, zombies can reanimate as more aggressive versions of themselves. They normally appear when you least expect them.

The story of Resident Evil gave us characters like Jill Valentine, Chris Redfield, and Albert Wesker. Without this game, none of the iconic characters and set-pieces we know and love would exist. It’s a classic in its own right, and fans of horror games should give it a shot.

While Resident Evil has aged over the past 19 years, it’s still an incredible experience from start to finish. 

5. Resident Evil 3 (2020)

Resident Evil 3 is one of the more iconic games in the franchise. One of the biggest reasons people know about this game is Nemesis, the hulking bioweapon that relentlessly hunts down Jill Valentine. When the initial game launched in 1999, players were scared of the titular villain.

After seeing what the development team did with the Resident Evil 2 remake, fans were eager to see how Nemesis would be treated. Fortunately, the remake is incredible. The gameplay is responsive, the tension is heightened, and the feeling of being pursued by Nemesis is terrifying.

Despite all its strengths, Resident Evil 3 stumbles on some storytelling aspects. The development team did flesh out Carlos’ character a little more, but omitted sections of the original game that fans loved. Resident Evil 3 is an excellent  game that occasionally feels like it would’ve been a better fit as DLC for the Resident Evil 2 remake.

Regardless, if you’re looking for a game with stellar set-pieces, gorgeous visuals, and fantastic gameplay, Resident Evil 3 is the way to go.

Image by Capcom

4. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard

After the divisive reviews Resident Evil 6 was met with, Capcom went back to the drawing board with the sequel. Right from the reveal trailer, we could already tell that we were in for something unlike any other game in the franchise. First off, zombies didn’t exist in this installment, which was crazy because that’s a series staple. Additionally, Capcom decided to make Resident Evil 7: Biohazard a first-person shooter.

Most of my concerns were eased after meeting Mia in the Baker home. The opening moments sent chills down my spine, but all of the fear amplified when meeting the iconic Baker family: Jack, Marguerite, and Lucas. Each of the Bakers poses their own unique challenge, and a new enemy called the Molded persistently attempts to stop protagonist Ethan Winters.

Unlike many of the games that came before it, Resident Evil 7: Biohazard is a return to form on the survival horror front. It’s frightening, unpredictable, and a welcome change of pace to the iconic franchise. While Ethan Winters is a mediocre protagonist in Resident Evil 7, his adventure is unforgettable. 

3. Resident Evil Village

The latest Resident Evil game is also one of the best in the entire franchise. Following the events of Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, Resident Evil Village follows Ethan Winters on a journey as he looks for his kidnapped daughter. There is plenty of inspiration taken from Resident Evil 4, and the game encourages exploration.

Instead of zombies, players fight against various undead enemies: Lycans, vampires, and other nightmarish creatures. While the Internet is obsessed with Lady Dimitrescu and her daughters – and for good reason, because they are awesome – Resident Evil Village is full of unique and memorable sections. Donna Beneviento’s dollhouse is one of the scariest areas in recent horror history.

While the action constantly ramps up, and the story is occasionally convoluted, Resident Evil Village exceeded all of my expectations, squashed my concerns from the initial reveal trailer, and pumped me up for the franchise’s future. 

Image by Capcom

2. Resident Evil 4

Resident Evil 4 was the turning point for the franchise. After a handful of installments, the formula was growing a little stale. Then Capcom released an exclusive Resident Evil title for GameCube that revolutionized the series and horror games as a whole.

Players controlled Leon S. Kennedy as he travels to Spain to rescue the president’s daughter, Ashley. Resident Evil 4 was the first game in the franchise to use the over-the shoulder perspective, and helped usher in the action era of Resident Evil games. Los Ganados were formidable enemies that dodged attacks and were more resilient than zombies. The tension of being in an unknown location always ramped up every situation to 10, and the unpredictability made each step nail-biting.

Despite its reliance on quick time events and the terrible Ashley section, Resident Evil 4 is a masterclass of action horror game design. There’s a reason Capcom has released Resident Evil 4 on almost every console since it initially launched. It’s because the game is absolutely incredible.

1. Resident Evil 2 (2018)

The Resident Evil 2 Remake is how every remake should be handled. The developers knew the legacy of the second game, and they treated it with respect and care.

Players step in the shoes of Leon S. Kennedy and Claire Redfield in multiple scenarios. Going through the Raccoon City police department is terrifying at the start, but gets even worse once Mr. X makes his appearance. The thumping of his feet will cause even the most hardened horror veterans to sweat profusely. His relentless assault requires you to stay on the move and avoid attacks from other enemies, like the vicious lickers.

Image by Capcom

Resident Evil 2 is a near-perfect experience that provides a lot of replayability, top-notch horror, a fantastic story, and unforgettable set-pieces. As someone who has played Resident Evil games since the 2000s, I consider the Resident Evil 2 remake to be the pinnacle of the entire franchise. It’s phenomenal and proves that Capcom are experts when it comes to the horror genre. 

And that’s our official Resident Evil ranking. What are some of your favorite Resident Evil games and why? Let us know in the comments!

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Andrew Gonzalez

I'm Andrew! I love video games and mainly play on my Xbox One, but also dabble with PlayStation 4 and Switch. When I'm not playing video games, I'm hanging out with friends, watching movies, rocking out, or debating which Taylor Swift song is the best. I'm a bit of a mixed bag.
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