Survival horror, janky shooting, linear progression, and zombies should be at the core of games like Resident Evil.
It’s a long series, including nine core games plus various spin-offs. It’s Capcom’s best-selling franchise and the most popular horror series in the gaming industry.
However, we’re sure fans looking for games like Resident Evil are thinking about specific titles. Entries like the fourth, the remakes, and Village can leave a long-lasting impression on your memory.
Selecting Games Like Resident Evil
We believe Resident Evil fans would like games featuring a mix or a twist of the series’s elements:
- Genre: Resident Evil is a third-person survival horror series with linear progression, cinematic storytelling, and zombies.
- Third-person shooting: Rather than playing with super-soldiers, characters take time to draw the gun, aim, and shoot. Often, they can’t move or jump while shooting.
- Perspective: The titles feature an over-the-shoulder view and third-person cinematics.
- First-person shooting: The later games feature a first-person perspective. Yet, the action remains purposely janky.
- Survival horror: Munition and supplies are scarce, dark and creepy scenarios, and enemies are vicious monsters.
- Setting: The scenarios across the series are wide. However, Victorian-era castles, abandoned houses, and secluded towns are common.
- Storytelling: The stories are linear and feature multiple cinematics in-between long action and horror set-pieces.
- Story-driven focus: Lastly, each entry features a heavy storyline, most of which are gripping, fun, and over-the-top.
- Episodic progression: RE games are episodic. You advance to the next part by completing the act’s puzzle, defeating the act’s boss, or both.
- Linear progression: The games are linear, although it requires a lot of backtracking. Most areas are behind puzzles, like a series of keys you need.
- Puzzle-solving: Puzzles are challenging and feature little to no clues. Often, it’s about figuring out the items you have to find and combine to open areas.
- Vehicle controls: Some RE games famously deliver a vehicle scheme that inverts the axis.
- Arsenal: The arsenal is fair, and it includes grenades, pistols, SMGs, long-range rifles, rocket launchers, and shotguns.
- Weapon upgrade: some RE games feature ways to upgrade your weapons via in-game currency.
- Inventory management: The inventory is upgradable but has a limited size. It’s a grid, and you have to micro-manage the space.
- Enemy types: A significant element is the number of enemies, enemy type, enemy behavior, and bosses populating each entry.
- Boss fights: Boss fights are typically a highlight in these games. Each is frightening, unique, and features scripted scenes and scenarios.
- Extra game modes: Aside from the main campaign, RE games often offer New Game+, survival modes, arcade modes, and others.
Even though the franchise has evolved, it’s easy to recognize the Resident Evil elements. These are survival horror shooters with puzzles, linear progression, and cinematic storytelling.
Games Like Resident Evil
- Developer: 4A Games
- Publisher: Deep Silver
- Release Date: February 2019
- Platform: Windows, macOS, Linux, SteamOS, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series, Nintendo Switch, Google Stadia, Luna
Metro Exodus is not the most similar title. Still, we believe it is the best survival horror FPS in recent years. In fact, the entire series is worth your time, but Exodus, the latest, is its greatest example.
This is a story-driven and linear game featuring hardcore mechanics. For example, a key element is your gas mask, which you need to maintain with a fresh supply of filters to survive. And if it takes damage, it breaks, and you may die. And if you rely on frontal assault more than stealth, you die as well.
It also uses an immersive design to great effect. For example, rather than an interface to display your actions, everything happens in-game, in real-time. You have a real map you craft in real-time, binoculars, a compass, a watch, a flashlight, night-vision goggles, a charger, a radiation counter, a lighter, etc.
Then, you explore semi-open world hubs but linearly progress the story. Resources are aggressively scarce, but enemies (weather, monsters are, humans) are vicious and ready to take your resources at any time. Moreover, the game’s AI delivers dynamic events, so no gameplay or moment is equal.
Lastly, the title is based on the Russian metro novels. This part of the story features the hero, Artyom, leading a group of survivors on the surface. It’s the first time they explore the ground after living for many years in the metro tunnels due to a nuclear apocalypse.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl
- Developer: GSC Game World
- Publisher: THQ, GSC World Publishing
- Release Date: March 2007
- Platform: Windows
The Stalker series is more in the Metro vein than Resident Evil’s alley. But it is also one of the best survival horror franchises you can play, and we’re eagerly expecting their next title for Xbox Series and Windows.
This is the first in the saga, and we recommend you play the series in order. You play as a “Stalker,” a character who explores the Zone for hidden artifacts and treasure. In 2012, your journey took you towards the deepest truth behind the anomalous activity in the area.
The linear gameplay has you micro-managing the inventory to pack the scarce ammo and supplies you need to survive and defeat monsters and other Stalkers. The action features first-person shooting, and it blends stealth, character progression, and survival stats.
Another key element is the AI system. NPCs are capable of reacting to environmental changes. They evaluate the threat and act accordingly, making the game dynamic and unpredictable. Moreover, there’re bullet calculations and heavy recoil, a day & night cycle, weather, and other immersive elements.
Unfortunately, the developer is Ukrainian. Given recent events, the production for their latest title has suffered considerable delays. Consider buying their previous titles to show your support if you like the franchise.
The Evil Within 2
- Developer: Tango Gameworks
- Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
- Release Date: October 2017
- Platform: Windows, PS4, Xbox One
The Evil Within 2 is the second part of Tango’s survival horror psychological thriller. You can start with the first game, but we acknowledge the second as the best in the series. Also, the presentation is cinematic but dials more into the horror than RE.
Moreover, it is quite similar to its predecessor. You play in third-person perspective on a nightmarish yet linear world. Ammo is scarce, supplies are low, and enemies are vicious monsters. Additionally, the main character is not adept at combat, so he’s slow and cannot run while shooting.
You control detective Sebastian Castellanos. Your quest is to find your daughter, Lily, in the “Union” world. Your key tool is “The Communicator,” revealing objectives, resources, clues, and enemies. That said, exploration is a key part of solving puzzles, as well as finding stations to upgrade guns and gain perks.
Unlike Resident Evil, stealth is pivotal for the franchise. You can face enemies upfront, sneak by or kill them silently. It’s necessary, as both your ammo and health are often low. But as the story goes on, you’ll grow your weapon arsenal and become more comfortable when facing enemy hordes.
Lastly, the game features three difficulty modes—these heavily influenced enemy AI, resources, and ammo. The developers recommend the hardest mode, Nightmare, for survival horrors hardcore players only.
- Developer: Red Barrels
- Publisher: Red Barrels
- Release Date: September 2013
- Platform: Windows, macOS, Linux, SteamOS, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
Outlast is a first-person survival horror by industry veterans. Former Ubisoft and Bioware developers found the studio behind the title, and this game was the studio’s debut. In particular, they used real-life asylums and criminal insanity cases to craft their first story.
You play as independent journalist Miles Upshur as you explore Mount Massive Asylum. The place is unsettling, almost like Hell. So your investigation turns into a quest to survive for as long as you can. Or, at least, until you find the secret.
You play from a first-person perspective, and most of the gameplay is about exploring, hiding, and researching. You have a camera and other items to document your discoveries around the abandoned asylum. Then, you can use your clues to solve puzzles.
It’s also a psychological thriller, as you may guess from the setting. The theme is how the worst monsters come as human creations and from the human minds. But you’re no fighter; you must run, hide, or sneak by.
Lastly, the game uses an astonishing visual and sound design to deliver an immersive experience. And if you like it, you may try Outlast 2, which leans deeper into the real horror setting mechanics.
The Last Of Us Part I
- Developer: Naughty Dog
- Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
- Release Date: June 2013
- Platform: PS3, PS4 (2014 remaster)
The Last of Us Part I is a 2013 PlayStation masterpiece. The fact the original game looks great, even today, is a testament to its technical achievements. You can also play Part II, but we feel it offers a more generic “revenge bad” story.
Aside from its technical quality, the title offers a gripping survival horror story. The themes are dark, the setting is chaotic, and the message is grim. Is the life of a person you love more worthy than the survival of a damaged society?
The characters answer for you, as it’s not an RPG. Instead, it’s a third-person survival horror with episodes. You go through a series of linear areas, with cinematic cuts in-between. Then, you use your limited ammo and tools to fight against zombie-like monsters and enemy humans.
Then, you can also sneak to bypass enemies or take enemies on stealth. Because the ammo is very low all throughout, you’ll rely on your silent skills. Additionally, in-game collectibles allow you to improve various character areas to further customize your gameplay.
Lastly, you play Joel in a post-apocalyptic world. She’s escorting Ellie, who’s immune to the worldwide virus. They are traveling to a laboratory that may make a cure out of here. Along the journey, though, the tough survivor finds the daughter she lost in Ellie and a reason to keep fighting for survival.
- Developer: Techland
- Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
- Release Date: January 2015
- Platform: Windows, macOS, Linux, SteamOS, PS4, Xbox One, PS5, Xbox Series, Nintendo Switch
We’ve recommended Dying Light 2 many times on our site, but never the first one. Yet, many people consider the original entry even better. You may think of this section as a recommendation for both.
Both titles are first-person action-adventure survival games. You parkour across roofs and sewers on an open world and faith with make-shift melee weapons kicks and jump against zombies and humans. The overall action is creative, fast, and brutal.
The first title features a city right after an epidemic zombie virus destroyed humanity. You’re scavenging for supplies, which you need to the tools, gadgets, and weapons to face the horde. Meanwhile, you’ll gain the loyalty of either the military or the survivors. See, this is an RPG where your choices matter.
You can only repair weapons so much, and ammo, resources, and currencies are very scarce. Depending on your current resources, you must consider which areas to explore and which enemies to face.
Lastly, the developer support for the title is impressive and the fan base. The title features, for example, dozens of free DLCs, and they keep coming. More impressively, it has a 4-player co-op, and you would still be able to easily find someone to play with online.
Dead by Daylight
- Developer: Behaviour Interactive
- Publisher: Behaviour Interactive
- Release Date: June 2016
- Platform: Windows, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PS5, Xbox Series, Android, iOS, Stadia
Dead by Daylight is a multiplayer-only survival horror title. It features 1v5 matches with unique gameplay. One player is an assassin, and the others are survivors.
The assassin has the skills to track, chase, catch, murder, and sacrifice their prays. He plays with a first-person perspective, bulky, slow, and deadly. However, he’s not capable of sneaking, crouching, jumping, or similar.
The survivors have tools to sneak, crouch, hide, and deceive the killer. Their goal is to escape the map through specific zones or incapacitate the killer by setting different traps. They play in the third person, and they are nimble but weak.
Another key element is how the system procedurally generates the available maps. No two matches will be the same, as you’d never know about the map layout, item spawns, or hiding places.
Lastly, survivors can either cooperate or be selfish. It’s often the best experience to work together against a force of nature. And the game’s formula proves successful as well: it’s a top-5 survival horror title for PC and consoles.
- Developer: EA Redwood Shores
- Publisher: Electronic Arts
- Release Date: October 2008
- Platform: PS3, Xbox 360, Windows
Dead Space is a classic sci-fi survival horror shooter. It’s the debut of the series, and two other games are waiting for you if you like the original. A sequel is yet to come in 2022.
You play as Isaac Clarke, an engineer of the USG Ishimura spacecraft. It’s a mining spaceship overrun by Necromorpsh, deadly space monsters that appear after discovering an alien artifact.
The main protagonist is not a soldier, so he’s janky and not heroic. Even so, he’s the last hope for the remaining crew, and he’ll use every tool at his disposal to survive and fend off the enemies. Adding up to the horror is the immersive element of the game, as the UI is minimal and indicators are on the suit itself.
With a grim setting, danger in every corner, and a weak character, you’re set for a horrifying experience. Your journey is about rescuing the other survivors, using sci-fi tools as defense, and shooting an arsenal of creative weapons.
The action, from a third-person perspective, is gory. Bullets can dismember enemies, or enemies can bite off your body parts. Similarly, the story is horrifying, and it revolves around the truth about the space station. It’s a linear adventure with dynamic scenarios, evolving mechanics, and low-zero gravity segments.
- Developer: Arkane Studios
- Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
- Release Date: May 2017
- Platform: Windows, PS4, Xbox One
Prey is perhaps the best game by Arkane Studios, creators of the Dishonored stealth saga. It follows their formula, though, as it is an immersive action game with heavy sim and role-playing elements.
You play aboard the Talos I, a space station orbiting the Moon. You awaken after an experiment gone wrong. The result is alien monsters invading the ship, and your goal is to escape and save the survivors.
The action is quite heavy, but it grants player freedom. You can learn tons of abilities from the aliens and craft almost any tool you see on the ship. Then, you combine tools and skills with a sci-fi arsenal for explosive and gory results.
The progression is non-linear, though, as it’s an open-world game. However, in a Metroidvania-like match, you need to learn skills and find items to unlock certain areas. Yet, you never know where areas lead or where you may find the next deadly monster.
Lastly, there’s a heavy focus on the story as well. The plot revolves around your role in the station, the truth about the experiment, and your past. It’s a gripping story with twists, turns, and top-tier cinematics.
Little Nightmares 2
- Developer: Tarsier Studios
- Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
- Release Date: February 2021
- Platform: Developer: Tarsier Studios Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment Release Date: February 2021 Platform: Windows, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series, Nintento Switch, Stadia
Even though it’s a sequel to a highly-acclaimed indie title, Little Nightmares II is actually a prequel to the story. If you’re a newcomer, you can start here and then move on to the original game.
It’s a horror survival title, but not a shooter. Instead, it’s a linear adventure in 2D where you travel around a horror world in silence. If you see enemies, you must figure out how to use the tools around you and the setting to escape or attack.
You travel around as Mono, a boy trapped in a distorted world. Six, a young girl, is traveling with you. Together, you’re to discover the transmission source to go back home.
The adventure is unsettling, thrilling, and often terrifying. You’re playing with helpless children rather than powerful heroes. In fact, I’d say it’s the scariest game on the list after P.T. On top of that, it’s a puzzle horror adventure up to the challenge.
Lastly, the current version on Stream is an enhanced edition. It supports 4K, uncapped FPS, a new 3D audio design, and many visual upgrades. And most importantly, the game comes in a very small 2GB download size, so you could be playing it instantly.
Left 4 Dead 2
- Developer: Valve
- Publisher: Valve
- Release Date: November 2009
- Platform: Windows, Xbox 360, Xbox Series, Linux, macOS X
Left 4 Dead 2 is a successful, decades-old co-op-only zombie shooter. It’s a Valve property with no sequel, but the developers behind the title recently created Back 4 Blood.
You play as part of a 4-player squad. Because it’s an old game, this would only happen on your PC and online. The action, visuals, and mechanics don’t feel outdated, and the game still excels in its settings and evolving gameplay.
The story takes you across various stand-alone campaigns across Southern USA scenarios. Locations include swamps, cemeteries, cities, sewers, and abandoned stores. Regardless, you’ll find the same design across dark places, many enemies, and low ammo.
It’s a third-person zombie shooter as well. Each character has a personality, a signature weapon, and a story. On top of that, there’s a huge arsenal of grenades, firearms, and melee weapons you can use. Similarly, zombies come in varieties and pack different skills and behaviors.
Lastly, there’s an AI system that makes the game dynamic. The Game Director AI notices how you play to tweak various game elements and rise to your challenge. It can change weather, effects, layouts, enemy spawn, ammo spawns, etc.
- Developer: Kojima Productions
- Publisher: Konami
- Release Date: August 2014
- Platform: PS4 (formerly)
We’re closing off the list with an off-putting title. Even though it’s short and hard to find, many consider it the best horror game. It’s a stand-alone off-spring of the Silent Hill series. We could not recommend other Silent Hill titles, as their best entries are currently hard to find.
P.T. is a physiological horror game by the legendary Kojimima studio. Filmmaker Guillermo del Toro directed the title, while Hideo Kojima designed and co-directed it. The result is a heart-stopping interactive horror.
The title was an interactive Silent Hill demo with photo-realistic graphics and slow-paced first-person gameplay. However, the story was complex. The supernatural horror was a slow burn full of tension and scary moments in the places you’d least suspect.
You play as a helpless character as you explore a mystery in a mansion. A Ghost, Lisa, haunts the area, but you have no means of defending yourself. The goal is to uncover the mystery by solving large puzzles, surviving, and escaping. But if the ghost catches you at any moment, the game will set your progress back, like a loop.
Sadly, the game is no longer available. It debuted for PlayStation only, and Sony took it off the store about nine years ago. Moreover, Kojima currently has no plans to re-upload it again. If you’d like to try it, you’d have to find it in…other places.