A few years ago, Adam wrote up a list of his 5 Best ‘Resident Evil’ Games, a list that championed some the earlier entries into the Resident Evil universe. But it didn’t take into account the 5th or 6th entries of the core series. Also, it ranked Code: Vernoica, a game that doesn’t fall into the numerical series.
With a ton of hype and news coming out about Resident Evil 7, I figured now is as good a time to talk about the numbered games and see how they rank in your eyes. I’ve got my personal list below that goes in order of worst to best.
Side note: I’m not going to include Resident Evil Zero as 1) I never beat it and 2) I don’t know if I consider it part of the numerical series because it almost felt like an afterthought, one that was created simply because there was a story sorta explained and they created the game because it was easy to do.
Alright, enough dawdling! Here’s my ranking of Resident Evil 1 through 6!
Resident Evil 6
Goddamn, this game just blew it in every way. Apart from Leon’s campaign, there are zero survival horror elements. It became an action spectacle that was more focused on creating amazing cinematic moments than it was in crafting an interesting story with real threats. And the worst thing about this game? It was boring. There was no pep, no pizazz, and no excitement. Just one disappointment after another.
Resident Evil 5
Okay, so this is a major leap in terms of enjoyment even though it’s right after 6. The game offered some creepy environments, it brought the game into almost blinding daylight (I know RE4 has scenes during the day but they were muted, almost overcast), and there was this fantastically built environment that made the spread of disease all the more believable. The opening town was dirty, there were flies swarming everywhere, there was an air of palpable aggression and violence, and it looked hot, humid, and miserable (I hate that weather).
The controls were tight, the action sequences were thrilling, and the camaraderie between Chris and Sheva felt real. It isn’t anywhere near the best that the series has to offer but it damn sure isn’t the worst. In fact, I’ll happily pop it in and play through a few levels now and again.
Resident Evil 3
At times confusing but still embracing the survival horror aspect of the originals, Re3 was tight and exciting. Reconnecting us with Jill Valentine, the story felt brisk and meaningful as well as unveiling more of Umbrella’s deceitful ways, allowing the player to delve further into that world. Plus, the introduction of Nemesis was fantastic as it felt like creating a monster more memorable than Birkin was nigh well unthinkable, yet they did it. In fact, I’m damn near sure that Nemesis is more popular in pretty much every way than Birkin is, even though RE2 is nearly universally more beloved.
Resident Evil 1
The game that started it all is a masterpiece of tension, atmosphere, and terror. However, it suffered from clunky controls, terrible voice acting, and some rather confusing segments. None of that takes away from the innovative experience, one that changed the face of gaming forever. There’s a reason this franchise has been around for so long and you don’t have to look any further than this game.
Resident Evil 2
While RE1 kicked off the franchise, RE2 took it to completely new levels, improving it in nearly every single way. There were better monsters, more interesting locations, and, in my opinion, a scarier experience. They also improved upon the differing storyline options, creating totally unique experiences within the same world.
Resident Evil 4
This is where the RE franchise really started to go into the action/horror world but the focus was still very much on the latter with only dashes of the former coming into play later in the game. The atmosphere here is brilliant, the characters sharp and witty, the weapons responsive and powerful, and the controls are damn near perfect. Plus, the score embraced the ambient style (that was so popular at that time) to create tension over the more familiar symphonic attitude, ultimately creating a more cerebral unease.
I’ve played this entry more times than any other one in the series and I still love every second of it. It flows from one scene to the next pretty much effortlessly and the journey is exciting and packed with danger. They really hit the nail on the head with this entry.