“Over here, Stranger!”
Resident Evil is a long-spawning survival horror video game. Capcom is the sole creator, and it represents the best-selling franchise they have.
Resident Evil is amongst the top 20 highest-grossing video-game franchises in the world. Since its 1996 debut, it has expanded into other media, including movies, series, animated films, novels, comics, audiobooks, etc.
There’re 9 Resident Evil games in the core series. On top of that, there’re three significant remakes. We’re delivering a quick rundown on these twelve Resident Evil titles. However, we’re skipping mobile titles, spin-offs, and other media.
All Resident Evil Games in Order
Back in 1996, Capcom created an original IP, a virus. The virus has spread all over the world to earn over $9 billion.
These games revolve around a group of survivors, scientists, and military personnel amid a zombie apocalypse. Characters either need to survive, rescue someone, or investigate something relating to the original virus. Either way, the game mixes third-person shooting, puzzles, inventory management, and survival horror.
Their original formula introduced zombies into the video-game industry. On top of that, their titles created the “over-the-shoulder” perspective. Alongside the rest of the procedure, RE represents some of the best experiences in the survival genre.
The success of the series is quite apparent. The easiest way to measure it is by looking at the number of console releases each game has.
Yet, they have changed and evolved the formula over time. We’re taking a look at how these games have changed and how the story has evolved.
Resident Evil – 1996
Capcom developers Shinji Mikami and Tokuro Fujiwara created the original Resident Evil in 1996 for PlayStation 1. The 2002 remake rendered the 1996 title obsolete.
The story starts in Raccoon City, where the first zombies appeared (1998). The Raccoon City Police Department’s Special Tactics and Rescue Service (S.T.A.R.S) sent their beS.T.A.R.S. to investigate.
You play as Chris Redfield or Jill Valentine, S.T.A.R.S. members. Each S.T.A.R.S.character has an additional companion (Albert Wesker and Barry Burton). The agents took refuge in an abandoned mansion, and they needed to escape. Doing so requires solving multiple puzzles while unveiling the mystery of the villa and the zombie outbreak.
The title introduced classical RE gameplay elements like third-person-view, inventory management, scarce supplies, first-aid sprays, and healing herbs. Also, saving the game required finding an ink ribbon to use on a typewriter.
Resident Evil 2 – 1998
Resident Evil 2 debuted in 1998 for PlayStation. Because Capcom released a remake in 2019, it’s no longer available on official stores.
The game introduces Leon S. Kennedy, a Raccoon City police officer, and Claire Redfield, Chris’ younger sister. They must escape Raccoon City after thousands of citizens transform into zombies.
Lore-wise, the plot happens two months after the original title. Umbrella created a bio-weapon, a virus, that turns living creatures into undead zombies.
The classic gameplay returns. The game focuses on third-person combat, exploration, puzzles, and scavenging. Also, the game has branching paths, as each playable character has a unique storyline, challenges, and partners. Overall, it was an improvement over the original title, so it’s considered one of the best games in history.
Resident Evil 3: Nemesis – 1999
Nemesis debuted in 1999 for PlayStation. Capcom released a 2020 remake so that you wouldn’t find the original title on official stores anymore.
It picks the story directly after RE2 and puts players in control of STAR agent Jill Valentine. Jill must find a vaccine for the T-Virus and flee Raccoon City. Zombies have overrun the fictional location, however, Jill finds help in the form of mercenary Carlos Oliveora.
The story also has some choice mechanics and slightly branching paths. That said, the gameplay focuses more on the action and less on puzzles, as there’re more enemies to defeat and more ammo. Also, a bulky, undead creature periodically pursues the player, Nemesis.
The game also introduced a new engine, 3D models, pre-rendered background, and fixed cameras.
Resident Evil – Code: Veronica – 2000
Code Veronica is the fourth entry of the survival horror series. It debuted for Dreamcast in 2000. Ports and enhanced versions premiere for PlayStation 2, Gamecube, PS3, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 4. For example, the HD remaster Code Veronica X is available for PS4.
The game focuses on Claire Redfield, three months after Resident Evil 2. She’s in a remote prison facility in Antarctica, where she must escape and survive the virus. Chris Redfield is present as a secondary character. She joins Claire’s efforts of survival and research.
Lore-wise, Claire was raiding an Umbrella Corporation facility in Paris while searching for her brother. Umbrella is the creator of the T-Virus, and their security forces imprisoned Claire on Rockfort Island.
Code Veronica retains the classical gameplay and keeps pre-rendered backgrounds, 3D models, and dynamic cameras. Moreover, it focuses on puzzles, horror elements, and exploration.
Resident Evil (HD Remake) – 2002
The 2002 remake replaced the original title of the same name. The newer version debuted for GameCube as a Nintendo-exclusive title. Many years later, the title became available for other consoles. Currently, you may find the title on PS4, Xbox One, and Windows 10.
The remake overhauled the graphics, updated the mechanics, and increased the scare factor.
Resident Evil Zero – 2002
RE 0 debuted for GameCube in 2002. Currently, the game is available for PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo Switch, and Windows.
It’s a prequel to Resident Evil, and it covers a STARS unit researching a location in the Arklay Mountains. The story plays with officer Rebecca Chambers and criminal Billy Coen. They explore an abandoned Umbrella training facility, where they uncover some secrets related to the T-virus.
Gameplay-wise, the title allows players to swap freely between the two playable characters. Each one offers unique abilities that help solve puzzles.
Additionally, the game is harder than previous entries. Ammo and supplies are more scarce, puzzles are less apparent, and enemies are tougher.
Resident Evil 4
RE 4 is arguably the most successful shooter of all time. It’s the reason why it’s available for any console you can imagine. It sold over 11 million copies, won multiple Game of the Year Awards, and cemented the survival horror shooter formula.
The game debuted for GameCube in 2005. You may find HD re-editions for Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One, Oculus Quest 2 VR, Windows, and iOS.
The game changed the series forever. It turned RE into an action-oriented title with more weapons, more enemies, weapon mods, quick-time events, multiple boss fights, and more. And who could forget the “Is that all, stranger?” merchant?
Additionally, RE4 changed the fixed camera angles for a moveable over-the-shoulder view. The perspective comes with overhauled mechanics that made the game equally challenging and terrifying. That’s because the camera is often confined and hard to move, thus making players act slow and careful. Also, the camera doesn’t move while Leon is aiming.
Another change the game introduced was an AI that balances the game. According to player performance, the game either increases or decreases challenges discreetly. Either way, the game features several enemy types, each one featuring particular weaknesses, special attacks, and behaviors.
You play as Leon S. Kennedy, once again. He goes on a mission to rescue Ashley Graham, the U.S. president’s daughter, from a cult in Europe. He finds a new kind of virus, a parasite, turned the locals into aggressive monsters.
Resident Evil 5 – 2005
RE 5 debuted in 2009 for PS3, Xbox 360, and Windows. It’s currently available for PS4, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch.
Albeit it’s not nearly as successful as RE 4, the game did introduce one of the series’ best features: local co-op. It allows you to play the entire campaign alongside another player. Also, it was the first time Capcom used motion capture for the characters.
The story centers on Chris Redfield and Sheva Alomar, now members of the Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance. They are in Kijuju, a fictional region in Africa. They found a new virus outbreak affecting the locals and a plot that takes the protagonist against former ally Albert Wesker.
The gameplay is similar to RE 4. However, Resident Evil 5 is a full-blown third-person shooter, leaving behind the survival and scare elements.
Resident Evil 6 – 2012
Resident Evil 6 debuted for PS3 and Xbox 360 in 2012. It’s currently available for PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and Windows. The game sold over 10 million copies, so it’s one of the series’ best-sellers.
The sixth entry in the series has four playable characters: Leon S. Kennedy, Chris Redfield, Ada Wong, and Jake Muller. They are a worldwide force against bio-terrorist attacks.
Each character has a stand-alone campaign, so completing the full game means playing with each character. However, the four stories happen simultaneously, so it works as seeing the story from different perspectives.
These campaigns are yet again another departure from the survival horror formula. Like the previous game, it’s a fully-fledged action third-person shooter. Lastly, it works with an over-the-shoulder perspective, but characters can move around while aiming weapons.
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
Biohazard is the seventh entry in the franchise. It debuted in 2017 for PS4, Xbone, and Windows. Nowadays, it’s also available for Nintendo Switch, Amazon Luna, and Google Stadia.
Biohazard works as a stand-alone experience, loosely connected to the rest of the series. To make this clearer, it’s the first RE title you can play with a first-person perspective. At the same time, the title brings back the survival horror elements while delivering a setting akin to the original Resident Evil.
You play as Ethan Winters, an average civilian. He’s searching for his long-missing wife on a mysterious plantation. There, he finds clues of an infected family. As the game goes on, clues, cues, and danger increase subtle but steady.
Gameplay-wise, Ethan has few combat skills. Still, he can use handguns, flamethrowers, explosives, chainsaws, and shotguns. Additionally, the protagonist can block attacks, run, and walk-in stealth. He uses this arsenal to survive the Baker family members and humanoid fungal creatures (the “Molded.”).
Resident Evil 2 (Remake) – 2019
The RE2 remake was a huge success for the company. It brought the second game back to life and premiered in 2019 for Windows, PS4, and Xbox One.
The story remains the same in the new format. That means you can play as Leon S. Kennedy or Claire Redfield once again.
Gameplay-wise, the game brought a multitude of upgrades and updates to bring the game up-to-date. For example, it changed fixed-camera controls for an over-the-shoulder free perspective, similar to RE 4. But unlike RE 4, characters can move while aiming their weapons, just like RE 6.
Lastly, the game introduced a difficulty system that adds proper challenges to most experience levels.
Resident Evil 3 (Remake) – 2020
The latest Resident Evil remake debuted in 2020 for Windows, PS4, and Xbox One. It’s a remake of 1990’s RE 3: Nemesis.
Overall, the game remains the same, albeit the remake introduces some much-needed automatic updates. For example, it has an over-the-shoulder perspective that allows players to freely move, shoot, and move the camera.
Additionally, the remake rearranges the original game to deliver a better story. At the same time, developers changed movement speed and animations to add a dodge system to the game. Other additions included quick time events plus an overall emphasis on action.
The game had generally good critical and fan acclaim, much like the previous remake. However, fans commented on the game’s short length, plus some features missing from the original. RE 3 remake takes about 8 hours, whereas RE 2 Remake takes about 10 hours.
Resident Evil Village – 2021
Resident Evil Village debuted in 2021 for PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox Series, Google Stadia, and Windows.
Village is Biohazard’s direct sequel. Players come back to Ethan Winters on a mission to find her kidnapped daughter. After an encounter with Chris Redfield, Ethan travels to a village inhabited by mutant creatures.
This setting opens up similar gameplay. You play in first-person and use limited skills to solve puzzles, combat enemies, and defeat bosses. In particular, Village offers some of the best boss fights in the series. Also, Ethan now can create makeshift barricades for extra protection.
That said, Village focuses more on the action, and less on suspense, compared to Biohazard. Moreover, the map (a European “Victorian” village) is much larger, more immersive, and more detailed.
All Resident Evil Games in Chronological Order
- Resident Evil – 1996
- Resident Evil 2 – 1998
- Resident Evil 3: Nemesis – 1999
- Resident Evil – Code: Veronica – 2000
- Resident Evil (HD Remastered) – 2002
- Resident Evil Zero – 2002
- Resident Evil 5 – 2009
- Resident Evil 6 – 2012
- Resident Evil 7: Biohazard – 2017
- Resident Evil 2 Remake – 2019
- Resident Evil 3 Remake – 2020
- Resident Evil Village – 2021
Do You Need to Play Every Resident Evil Game in Order?
Even though the RE is a long-running series, each game works perfectly as a stand-alone experience.
Moreover, the connection between the game became less significant after RE Zero. From RE 4 onwards, each game could exist in its own universe. Fans would still recognize characters, Easter Eggs, and other elements.
However, we do recommend playing the original trilogy (or the remakes) as a whole.