Resident Evil is without a doubt one of the most popular franchises in the gaming world, with over 10 releases since 1996.
The series has had its ups and downs, but at the moment, it’s going strong with the latest titles like Resident Evil 7 and Resident Evil 2 Remake having amassed great reviews.
With a remake of Resident Evil 3 just around the corner (Released on April 3, 2020) and Resident Evil 8 being confirmed under development, it makes sense to give a refresher of all the main titles in this franchise.
So, whether you’re a newcomer or have long forgotten, here are all the 13 main titles in order of release:
Table of Contents
- Resident Evil (1996)
- Resident Evil 2 (1998)
- Resident Evil 3: Nemesis (1999)
- Resident Evil: Code Veronica (2000)
- Resident Evil Zero (2002)
- Resident Evil 4 (2005)
- Resident Evil 5 (2009)
- Resident Evil: Revelations (2012)
- Resident Evil 6 (2012)
- Resident Evil: Revelations 2 (2015)
- Resident Evil 7: Biohazard (2017)
- Resident Evil 2 (Remake) – (2019)
- Resident Evil 3 (Remake) – (2020)
Resident Evil (1996)
The original Resident Evil was released in 1996, initially for PlayStation 1, before being ported to other platforms down the road.
Resident Evil introduces Jill Valentine and Chris Redfield, characters that play significant roles throughout the franchise.
The player gets to pick between the two characters on a journey to investigate the initial T-Virus outbreak in the zombie-infested Racoon City.
In terms of gameplay, Resident Evil set the foundation that the rest of the titles would build upon including a fixed camera perspective, horror elements, puzzles, etc.
The mechanics, of course, change down the road, but most of the franchise’s gameplay elements were initiated here.
Overall, it is a great game that received an excellent rating.
Resident Evil 2 (1998)
Resident Evil 2 is a sequel that was released two years after the original title. The events in the game take place in Racoon City, 2 months after the initial one and this time, you are introduced to two more pivotal characters, Claire Redfield and Leon S. Kennedy.
This sequel takes from the original but improves upon it in almost every aspect. The gameplay mechanics are mostly the same, with an addition of the ‘zapping system’ that enables you to experience the title from the perspective of both characters.
Just like its predecessor, Resident Evil two was well received by the gaming community, primarily because it offered a memorable gaming experience.
It’s the best selling Resident Evil title for one platform and while it initially launched on the PlayStation, it was later ported to Nintendo 64, Sega Dreamcast, Nintendo Gamecube, Playstation 3 and Microsoft Windows.
Resident Evil 3: Nemesis (1999)
Just over a year later, Capcom released the third title of the Resident Evil series, Nemesis. It takes place between the events of the original and second game, featuring Jill Valentine as the protagonist.
The title focuses on escaping Racoon City as the protagonist fights the titular Nemesis creature that’s prevalent throughout the game.
Compared to Resident Evil 1 and 2, this one is more action-oriented, without deviating too much from the core mechanics. Again, RE:3 received critical acclaim and was ported to many other platforms like Windows, Gamecube, PS Vita, Dreamcast, etc.
Resident Evil: Code Veronica (2000)
On February 3rd, 2000 a fourth installment of the franchise was released, this time featuring Chris and Claire Redfield as the playable characters.
The events in RE: Code Veronica transpire in Antarctica and Rockford Island, which have a different vibe compared to Racoon City.
The gameplay felt the same as Nemesis, but from a technical standpoint, it was a major leap forward as it was the first title in the franchise to feature 3D environments rendered in real-time.
This was a key turning point for the series, as it moved more towards action, gradually leaving slow-paced survival horror behind.
RE: Code Veronica first debuted on the Dreamcast, later being released on the PS 2, 3 & 4, Gamecube and Xbox 360.
Resident Evil Zero (2002)
Next in the timeline is Resident Evil Zero, a prequel to the original game that debuted on Nintendo’s Gamecube on November 12, 2002.
RE: Zero introduces the player to two new characters, Billy Coen and Rebecca Chambers, with most of the events transpiring in Racoon City. The plot involves exploring the events that resulted in the T-Virus outbreak in the first Resident Evil game.
In terms of gameplay, the title remained mostly unchanged, although it would be the last to feature the renowned fixed camera perspective.
Re: Zero may not be considered among the best in the franchise, but it still executed the survival horror gameplay mechanics pretty well.
Resident Evil Zero received positive reviews, although a good portion of the game community didn’t like a lack of challenging puzzles and the revised inventory system. After years of a largely similar gameplay system, it was time for Capcom to make a change.
Resident Evil 4 (2005)
After years of development, Capcom surprised the industry with one of the most popular titles in the franchise, Resident Evil 4.
This time, the game features Leon as the protagonist on a mission to rescue the United States president’s daughter being held captive by a cult in a rural village in Spain.
The title is the first to part with the typical RE zombies, replacing the T-Virus with Plaga parasites.
As if that’s not enough, the gameplay is significantly different, featuring a new over the shoulder camera that made the game more immersive.
In this title, you have more control over where you aim your weapon, something that was amiss in the previous titles.
The combat has more depth and you are able to interact with the environment, including jumping over fences, dodging attacks, jumping over fences and through windows, as well as attacking enemies using melee weapons.
Resident Evil 4 gained critical acclaim and it’s usually considered the best title in the franchise ever released.
It’s ideally one of the more influential titles, having influenced numerous third-person horror games like The Last of Us.
RE4 was initially released on the Gamecube and later ported to almost every major platform.
Resident Evil 5 (2009)
The next Resident Evil iteration debuted on March 5th, 2009, for both the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360. The title once again features two characters, Chirs Redfield and Shiva Alomar, and the events transpire in Kijuju, a fictional region in Africa that has been affected by the Plaga parasites introduced in Resident Evil 4.
Gameplay-wise, the title does not differ much from its predecessor, as it features the same over the shoulder camera perspective and contextual controls.
However, it’s more fast-paced compared to other titles in this list and leans more towards action than survival horror.
RE5 was the first to implement a 2-play coop, even though the franchise has experimented with multiple protagonists in the past. However, the game’s AI companion was not that great and necessitated co-op.
Overall, the game had a positive reception, although there were complaints regarding the control scheme. It did not bring much new to the table and wasn’t as influential as its predecessor. It released for the Playstation 4 and Xbox One in 2016, but it still remains to be one of the weakest titles in the franchise.
Resident Evil: Revelations (2012)
This an episodic survival horror title that marks the return of Claire Redfield as the main character and the introduction of Barry Burton as a playable one.
The events in RE Revelations 2 happen between RE 5 and 6 and the story starts when Claire and her co-workers are attacked and taken away to a deserted Island by unknown assailants.
The title was released in 2017 for all major platforms along with the initial Revelations port.
Resident Evil 6 (2012)
Most people agree that Resident Evil 5 wasn’t that great, but the trophy for the weakest title goes to this one. Resident Evil 6 features 4 playable characters across various intertwined storylines.
This may seem like a good idea, as we have seen it well implemented in games like Until Dawn, but in this title, it lacks consistency.
What makes Resident Evil 6 even weaker is the fact that it gravitates towards more action-packed gameplay, with some sequences feeling over the top compared to the other titles.
It got a lot of mixed reviews from critics and players alike, and even though it had its good moments, it fails to live up to the standards the developers set with RE4.
The title was released in October 2012, for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox One, with all the DLC in 2016.
Resident Evil: Revelations 2 (2015)
Released for the handheld console Nintendo 3DS and later for PS 3 & 4, Xbox 360 & One, Windows, and Nintendo switch, RE Revelations is a title that follows Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine as they take on a bioterrorist organization trying to infect the oceans with a virus.
The game emphasizes on puzzles, exploration, evasion, and survival by giving the player limited health, speed, and ammo. The title received positive reviews, although it had some inconsistent gameplay.
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard (2017)
After the underwhelming reaction from fans in the previous two iterations, Capcom knew they had to take a new approach and they certainly did.
Released on January 24th, 2017 for the PS4 and Xbox One was a new Resident Evil title that would once again regain fanbase’s trust in the series.
Well, Resident Evil 7’s premise is quite familiar, with the protagonist Ethan Winters ending up lost in an abandoned plantation in Lousiana occupied by a cannibal family.
The title was a substantial change in the series as it was released in first-person mode. This is a move that helped the franchise switch back to horror, as first-person view tends to be more immersive.
The game is packed with claustrophobic areas, moves at a slower pace than its predecessor and features some really interesting puzzles. The weapons are ideally scarce, making stealth essential, which is always welcomed in a survival-horror game.
Overall, RE7: Biohazard turned out to be excellent, thanks to the direction the developers took and he new game engine. It received critical acclaim, and even though it lacks in some areas, it is an entry in the series that is worth your time.
Resident Evil 2 (Remake) – (2019)
After the success of the remake of original Resident Evil game, Capcom decided to follow the same route with remaking RE2 at the beginning of 2019.
During 2019, RE2 Remake has seen a great success with several awards and around 6 million copies sold in 2019 alone.
The game received a “BEST REMAKE” award from PCGamer, and several other acclaims, making it one of the best titles in the series to play.
Resident Evil 3 (Remake) – (2020)
Capcom is about to release Resident Evil 3, which is a remake of the 1999 version with the same title. And if you expect the same approach – only with better graphics – think again.
There are some distinct differences that hardcore fans are going to notice almost immediately, but it is not necessarily a bad thing.
The heroes in the game are Jill Valentine and Carlos Oliveira, while the main enemy comes in the form of an intelligent bio-weapon, namely Nemesis-T Type.
It is on a mission to destroy Valentine’s entire team, while Valentine has to focus on escaping Raccoon City.
Oliveira, on the other hand, has been appointed by the Umbrella corporation to aid any survivors. Overall, players can strap in for some amazing visual effects and a fast-paced experience as all hell breaks loose.
Capcom has received critical praise for several elements of the game. The graphics alone are stunning from the opening scene to the very end, while the soundtrack quickly drags you deeper into the nightmare that is the T-virus.
Even Jill Valentine has undergone somewhat of a personality change, making it easier for players to relate to her dire situation.
What are the distinct differences players will notice right off the bat? For starters, you are not locked down with tank controls.
And a third-person shooting style has replaced the fixed camera angles. Now you can also entertain a multiplayer mode online using teams of 4.
But through all the changes, not all players will appreciate the short length of the game.
While most critics and players really liked what Capcom did with the remake, there are those that feel the pacing is too quick.
One can argue the pacing adds to the horror element that ultimately keeps you on the edge of your seat.
But with all the great visuals and depth, it is understandable why the length of the game can be disappointing.
Resident Evil is a franchise that has delivered in many areas and even though it has entries that didn’t meet expectations, it’s one worth playing or even revisiting as we wait for the next iteration.