Everybody has a Resident Evil ranking, and that’s valid. There aren’t that many franchises in the games industry with so many entries that can stir up this kind of debate. In this article that will no doubt be controversial to some and pleasing to others, we’re going to run through our favourite modern mainline Resident Evil games ahead of the launch of Resident Evil Village on May 7. Let’s get into it, in descending order of greatness.
5 — Resident Evil 5
Resident Evil 5 defenders are a rare breed. It’s absolutely a pale shade of the game that preceded it, with a daft, tactless premise and some maddening Michael Bay action movie moments — the most famous one involving Wesker and a boulder… This is the point in the series where Resident Evil pivoted hard from its survival horror roots and turned into a dull action game for a little while. However, I still think it has some merit as a quirky co-op shooter game by virtue of its strange mix of genres. It’s really unlike anything I’ve played, and is lots of fun with a friend. It was quite a strange game to kickstart my Resident Evil journey as a kid though, let me tell you.
4 — Resident Evil 7
Like Resident Evil 5, Resident Evil 7 also brought multiple big changes for the series but in this case they were handled with grace. Here the series introduced a first-person format, focused on one location again and brought new characters into the fold including protagonist Ethan Winters, who will also star in Resident Evil Village. With interesting puzzles and inspired enemy design, the atmosphere was thick with the same tension seen in the beloved 20th century Resident Evil games, and it really resonated upon release. Welcome to the family…
3 — Resident Evil Remake
Much props have to be afforded to Capcom for the tender loving care they’ve given when handling remakes and remasters of their older Resident Evil games. The 2002 remake of Resident Evil which landed on GameCube (and recently spread to most modern platforms) is widely regarded as a brilliant remake, and a faithful way to play the first influential entry in the series with intuitive controls and jumpscares-a-plenty.
2 — Resident Evil 2 Remake
Similarly, the 2019 remake of Resident Evil 2 launched into critical and commercial acclaim two years ago, reviving the stone-cold 1998 classic for a modern audience. This was my first introduction to Resident Evil 2 and it really revitalised my interest in this inimitable series, with its stunning photorealistic graphics and haptic combat. The 90s aesthetics are pristine too, harking back to the past with serious flair.
1 — Resident Evil 4
It would be hard to argue against Resident Evil 4 being the best game in the franchise. For a series constantly reinventing itself, this was its finest hour, taking fans to a frightful rural Europe setting and popularising the over-the-shoulder third-person control scheme that went on to influence games like Dead Space and God of War 2018. With a surreal script that constantly catches you off guard and some of the most slick set pieces in survival horror, if you were to play any Resident Evil game it would have to be this one. Resident Evil Village even seems like it wants to bottle some of its magic by taking players to a similar setting, albeit in first-person.