11 of 21
11. Resident Evil: Revelations (3DS, 2012): The biggest crime Resident Evil: Revelations committed was being on a 3DS, a system that was clearly not designed for third-person shooters. Before the New 3DS, you either had to play with the clunky Circle Pad Pro contraption, or deal with aiming with the touch screen or face buttons. It was a much better game once it made the move to higher-end systems in 2013, but it still wasn't a particularly memorable one; it had some tense moments, but it didn't offer much when it came to captivating environments, clever shooting, or even a campy story. It offered a relatively traditional Resident Evil experience at a time when fans weren't getting that, and I suppose that's all it had to do.
12 of 21
10. Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles (Wii, 2007): This on-rails shooter is like the Cliffs Notes version of the first few games in the series, but it makes great use of the Wii remote. Aiming and shooting with that weird little wand feels like second nature. Like The Darkside Chronicles, it's a distinct take on Resident Evil lore for Wii owners who maybe hadn't played the series before.
13 of 21
9. Resident Evil 0 (GameCube, 2002): Even if Resident Evil 0 didn't stand in the shadow of the 2002 Resident Evil remake, it would still be a disappointment. Capcom seemed to have thought twelve inventory slots was far too many, and it did everything it could to stymie that advantage: There was no item box, many weapons and key items took up two slots, and there's a ridiculous amount of items you have to keep track of littered across save points. And while having another character with you added more firepower, it also meant micro-managing two characters who could get mauled by an offscreen enemy. Having a partner with you should have made tackling zombies and obtusely-designed architecture easier; instead, Resident Evil 0 made me wish I didn't have someone else (and an enormous hookshot) to weigh me down.
14 of 21
8. Resident Evil—Code: Veronica (Dreamcast, 2000): If you played Code: Veronica on the Dreamcast, you probably remember more than anything else that it's long and hard. A notable step forward for the series, and the first to not debut on the Playstation, Code: Veronica isn't the side-step you might think it is, but a crucial part of the Resident Evil epic, and its first steps into the 21st century.
15 of 21
7. Resident Evil (1996) (PS, 1996): The original Resident Evil is plagued by dated visuals, awful dialogue, terrible cutscenes, controls that felt like trudging through mud, and simplistic combat. And yet it's likely the most famous entry in the series, owing most of its reputation to how much of a landmark it was for videogames. It excelled at creating situations you didn't want to be in but were compelled to see through. It offered the satisfaction of figuring out the intricacies of a mansion filled with nooks and crannies. It offered a tantalizing vision of what gaming might be like in a few years. It wasn't the most impactful trendsetter, but it more than made a name for itself. How many other games have managed to flip most of its flaws into endearing qualities? Its terrible dialogue is iconic, fans still insist its controls were essential in creating tension, and its blocky characters immediately bring anyone who played the game in its day back to wherever they were when they first played it. It's probably impenetrable to most new players now, but its legacy will likely continue to influence games for years to come.
16 of 21
6. Resident Evil: Revelations 2 (PS3, PS4, 360, XB1, PC, Vita, 2015): Resident Evil: Revelations 2 has no business being as good as it is. Even as the sequel to a meat-and-potatoes spinoff, it managed to right many of the things the series had struggled to nail for so long: its staggered two-team progression made managing multiple inventories as tense as it was satisfying; its characters finally delivered dialogue that made you care about whether they lived or died; and it made co-op an essential part of the action rather than a diversion or a way to stall progress. It's not revolutionary and won't stress your hardware, but it succeeds at everything it sets out to do. In 2015, a year when the most prominent news about the series had to do with remakes, creating an original game this good was a delightful surprise.
17 of 21
5. Resident Evil 3: Nemesis (PS, 1999): Nemesis beefed up the action of the first two games without sacrificing their utter dread. With more enemies to survive, including the frightening and indefatigable Nemesis, the third Resident Evil gives the player more to do but doesn't lose the distinctive feel or atmosphere of those early games. It was a common sense progression for a series that was an instant classic, and still one of the most beloved games in the Resident Evil catalogue.
18 of 21
4. Resident Evil 2 (PS, 1998): The original Resident Evil defined the survival horror genre, but Resident Evil 2 was the series' real coming out party. Seeing a framework that seemed built around the idea of small, confined spaces successfully expand its scope to an entire city changed the idea of what horror games could be. Although it was a bit bloated in some spots, Resident Evil 2 made the series' ill-told and often confusing story seem like it mattered. And in 1998, seeing a zombie outbreak on the scale of Dawn of the Dead play out in a game felt new in its own right. It's still a little hard to go back to (hopefully the upcoming remake will fix that), but this was one of the best videogame sequels of its time.
19 of 21
3. Resident Evil 5 (PS3, 360, PC, 2009): Resident Evil 5 is hardly a horror game. The early moments where you feel overwhelmed by the infected masses don't last as long as they should. But the game still ends up being one of the best, most intrinsically rewarding third-person shooters of the last generation. Every gun has an appropriate weight behind it, and as a result, shooting monsters and infected non-zombies feels good even dozens of hours later. Which works out splendidly, since Resident Evil 5 is one of the most replayable games I've ever encountered. It makes jumping across each of its chapters to collect gems and better weapons so you can tackle harder difficulties one fluid cycle, and the shooting holds up long enough for the entire journey worth it. So no, Resident Evil 5 isn't a great horror game. But it's still among the best games in the series.
20 of 21
2. Resident Evil (2002) (GameCube, 2002): With the recent HD remaster bringing the game's control scheme into the present, 2002's Resident Evil remake cements its place as the best version of the "classic" Resident Evil.. Without the tank controls to impede you, the simplistic combat seems like less of a hassle, since it's easier to dodge out of the way of zombie attacks. And with smoother encounters, everything else falls into place. The back-and-forth trek across the series' signature mansion gains a powerful momentum when you're not groaning every time you seen an enemy. Puzzles gnaw at you even when you're not playing, and seeing every last room on the map light up green (indicating you've done all there is to do) feels better than ever. Every piece of this game begs you to barrel forward through it at top speed, and it can enrapture you in a way few other games can. Sequels managed to build on this remake's formula, but none of them ever reached its highs.
21 of 21
1. Resident Evil 4 (GameCube, 2005; pretty much every other platform known to man afterward): Resident Evil 4 might be the most well-paced videogame of all time. It starts by instilling the feeling that something's not quite right, then slowly builds momentum as you make your way through a cultish village, a garish castle, and a grotesque rendition of 1980s action movies. It has plenty of downtime, but never dull moments; from the vulnerable and isolated fight against Del Lago on a motorized skiff boat, to the frenzied defense of a log cabin, to the Alien-esque encounter against the Verdugo, Resident Evil 4 packs more captivating encounters in its 10-15 hours than many entire series can muster. It manages to effortlessly move from creepy to excitingy, making sure the next segment will be as great as the last. Changing the core of the series to make the shooting the centerpiece was a bold move, and it paid off better than anyone could have imagined. Resident Evil 4 is easily the best game in the series, and you can still see its influence in games coming out now, more than ten years later.