One of the things people like to do with a franchise as big as Resident Evil is list the games from worst to best. At least, websites do that, because you’ve got to get that ad revenue from people clicking on bait headlines, right? So GameSpot recently made a list, spurred no doubt by the re-re-release of the Resident Evil REmake, this time a remastered version to update the now 13 year old REmake. In typical brilliant fashion, they chose 3 people, 2 of which haven’t even played the games and admitted it, to discuss these titles (https://www.gamespot.com/videos/best-and-worst-resident-evil-games/2300-6422962/)
Needless to say, rather than listening to three pseudo-gamers bullshitting about a giant franchise they haven’t even played, let’s just take a look at each game individually.
12. Resident Evil 6
Resident Evil 6 is almost unanimously agreed to be the absolute worst Resident Evil game to date, made by Capcom. There is that caveat, of course, because the actual worst Resident Evil game ever made was outsourced by Capcom to Slant Six games. After seeing how broken and abysmal of a game it is, you can see why Capcom made that decision. They aren’t good at third person shooters and wanted someone else to try it, but in hindsight, it’s a good thing because even a team who *was* good at third person shooters utterly failed to produce one.
The problem with Resident Evil 6 in a nutshell is that it mashes too many game play styles and too many characters together into an orgy of allegedly intertwined stories – ultimately resulting in a story that needs to be pieced together in proper chronological order to make any sense. What should have, or at least what was expected to be a twist at the end, was just another drop in the bucket of shit that ended up being the plot because it ultimately meant nothing. Nobody ever heard of Carla in the game before that point, and when you find out that she’s the fake Ada who essentially strung all these orchestrated events together, it doesn’t even matter. The people who actually suffered through them aren’t the ones that get to kill her.
It wasn’t a Resident Evil game. They tried to throw in all the common bullet points that can be found in a Resident Evil game, and expected them to make a game. As if they could just throw in copious amounts of ingredients and end up with delicious cookies, without actually mixing them or measuring them or following any directions. Multiple bio-weapons in one game, multiple villains, multiple locations, multiple protagonists, and multiple individual storylines, all mashed together but never truly mixed in what ended up being ultimately frustrating and full of explosions, but never scary or tense.
Resident Evil 6 did accomplish one thing though: It has the best Mercenaries mode to date since the introduction of Mercenaries in RE3. The costumes are stupid and the price of the DLC was offensive, but it managed to ramp the fun from RE 5 Mercs/Mercs Reunion up a notch.
11. Resident Evil 5
I never thought I’d see the day when I actually missed Resident Evil 5. After RE6 and ORC, and how god awful they were, Resident Evil 5 seems like a godsend when you remember it still exists.
Make no mistake about it, Resident Evil 5 sucks. It sucks badly. Although it may suck, it’s still a better game than 6 in all ways.
Resident Evil 5 took what seemed to work so well in RE4 and tried to translate it into a different environment, with the same biohazard, but this time with some actual relevance to the franchise’s overall story. This meant the return of the most retconned character/villain in the franchise, as well as everyone’s favorite – Jill Valentine. Well, kind of, if you ignore that she has about 12 seconds of screentime in the vanilla game. And don’t forget the most absurdly over the top version of Chris yet.
Most of RE5’s problems stemmed from a poor choice of setting. RE4 worked because it was in a creepy, secluded foresty area on the Spanish coast. There were rainstorms the majority of the game and it was dark, and you were dealing with a cult – including an old derelict castle, caves, labs, cathedrals, and lake monsters and old mine shafts. RE5 was set in the African country side. Very dry, very little variation in terrain, and only really becoming creepy just before descending into the earth to access an Umbrella laboratory. The other true problem with RE5 is that it did more retconning than every game and franchise release to date before it. Wesker was suddenly a genetically engineered clone, who was just following a path to his destiny all along. Ruining everything that seemed to make him an identifiable villain – the human elements which were assumed to exist before he worked for Umbrella. If that’s the case, who the fuck even gives a fuck? That makes him decidedly not an asshole – that makes him an anti-hero in the story, doing what he was destined to do, and pesky police and soldiers keep trying to stop him. No. That’s unacceptable. Fuck you, RE5 writers.
Acknowledging these downsides – massive though they are indeed – RE5 still played it pretty close to the vest. Wesker was the villain, trying to destroy the world because that’s what Wesker does. The game still had rigid controls and minimal QTEs. There was only one villain and his motivations weren’t *too* convoluted. It even included the traditional laboratories, another company tied in with RE Degeneration, an Umbrella lab, and lickers. Compared to its sequel, five was a standard RE game.
10. Resident Evil 4
Resident Evil 4
Yes, it is a horrible Resident Evil game. Mostly due to one simple fact that pervades all your first-time nostalgia, kids: Resident Evil 4 has nothing to do with Resident Evil. Literally the only links to the rest of the franchise are Ada Wong, Leon Kennedy, and Wesker. Other than that, every last second of this game, every detail, is anti-Biohazard. Chris mentions RE4 in one line of dialog, and the entire rest of the RE5 story depends on your omniscience as the player to know that RE4 is loosely connected, via the Plagas.
No labs. Very little story behind the scenes. Everything happens on screen, in a cutscene. No virus. No Umbrella. Very little tension, zero terror, not even any jump scares. QTE, for gods sake. In fact, Umbrella is just killed off in the storyline using about one sentence in the intro screen. Poof, no more Umbrella – you know how they’re supposed to be all powerful (this was said way before the movies, sorry), yea, poof. Gone. Too much ammo, upgrade-able health and guns. Merchants, for fucks sake. Over the shoulder camera, god damnit.
Absolutely ridiculous. Yes, the franchise needed to evolve from the RE1 style – there were 7 games made in that style and a change was needed. But Capcom had it right when they had the “hooked man” beta, with the supernatural shit. Not this action fest where Leon can kick enemies to death and stomp on their heads.
9. Resident Evil 0
Ugh. Where to start? Apparently we needed a prequel that literally explained the couple of hours before REmake happened. Where Rebecca goes on her own adventure to defeat all kinds of enemies and B.O.Ws with the help of an alleged ex-con former military guy. Then she somehow, for some reason, finds her way back into the Spencer Mansion and can’t handle killing a couple zombies, so she hides in a closet.
RE0 introduced co-op to the series, but it was weird co-op because you were your own partner. You controlled each character separately, but could make them stick together for certain sequences.
Basically this game just made story changes that didn’t need to be made, while being an attempt to give Rebecca fans more of what they wanted. Besides it had pretty graphics using that new REmake engine, right? It was a good game, but who even gives a shit? Who asked for this game? Who’s gaming life was better because of it?
8. Resident Evil 3.
Resident Evil 3 still occupies a rather weird place on the shelf when it comes to the franchise. Capcom developed this game using left over assets from Resident Evil 2 – people would like to argue that but the reality is, it came out 1 year after RE2. And blatantly uses some of the same areas, like the RPD. Capcom explicitly said, when the game was new, that it wasn’t meant to be canon or a sequel to RE2 – it was just something they wanted to release to give fans “more Resident Evil” while they worked on a full sequel. Then they turned around and decided RE3 was indeed canon, using it as a half-assed poor explanation for why Wesker had enough interest in Jill to keep her alive as a test subject – because she still had lingering T-Veronica virus in her system. Even though he allegedly was able to get a sample of it from Antarctica at the end of Code Veronica. But I digress.
RE3 didn’t do anything new, really. It introduced several new enemy types – never to be seen again like the Drain Deimos and Brain Suckers. It introduced environmental objects that could be used against enemies – explodign barrels or steaming pipes, for example. It also introduced dodging, but the dodge system was incredibly wonky – to be expected because movement was wonky too. It also introduced quick turn, I am pretty sure, and is actually the first game in the series to feature quick time events. Granted, the QTEs in RE3 were actually game choices – not whether to stomp a face. They were technically called live selections but these actually determined what route you took through the game, albeit not too significantly.
Despite all of that, though, it was in the same setting fighting the same monsters, more or less, with the same plot of trying to survive and foil Umbrella at the same time. All in all, it was more of the same, but it was more of what made the franchise great so it gets a high ranking. RE3 did also introduce much more action to the game, though, between the automatic rifles, constant RPGs, explosions, live selections, constant barrage of enemies and a dude chasing you always, so it is technically where the franchise began its decline.
7. Resident Evil Code Veronica X.
If RE3 can be held accountable for starting Biohazard’s decline into an action franchise, then Code Veronica certainly did absolutely nothing to stop it, and in fact, exacerbated the problem.
Dual wielding guns. Fighting gigantic creatures like the grave worm, again. First person mode sniping. Pushing a tyrant out of an airplane in midflight. Wesker retconned back to life as Neo, teleporting and ninja kicking the Refields back and forth across Antarctica and Rockfort.
As the “true sequel” to RE2, Code Veronica also didn’t bring much new to the table. This was the first game in the franchise to be completely 3D – rather than using pre-rendered backgrounds – which was a big deal at the time. Other than that, the gameplay was exactly the same as 1, 2, and 3. Again with a mix of new and old enemies, 2 playable protagonists, more psychopaths and more labs. It did however give us a more badass Claire who didn’t take shit, tangled with crossdressing psychopaths, and unfortunately, Wesker i.e “The One.”
6. Resident Evil Revelations 2
Revelations 2 did a lot of things right. It also did quite a few things wrong that shouldn’t be forgiven. Overall it was an interesting experiment, an attempt to introduce some modern horror game tropes into a franchise that had been stagnant and misdirected for years. The lighting in the game was one of the best parts – Capcom took some cues from EA Visceral Games magnum Opus – Dead Space – and used lighting to good effect, casting shadows of enemies around you before you encounter them, using sound to good effect such as the first time you are attacked by a drilling tool (totally different from a chainsaw, at least, right?).
Capcom also took some tips from Mikami’s The Evil Within and Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us, implementing stealth elements where you must hide and evade enemies and even craft items needed for survival. They also implemented the old Resident Evil 0 co op system where you control one character at a time – but in this game they are actually in the same environment and can work together, not to mention you can have a real person control a character.
At this point, I think the Revelations sub-series should be renamed to Resident Evil: Variations because the games are essentially mashing together thematic material from the franchise as a whole, with gameplay mechanics and ideas from other games. But each one seems to work out in its own self-contained bubble. The most frustrating thing this game did wrong, though, is that it ruined Claire’s character design. I don’t know how they fucked this up, but it’s bad. She sincerely looks horrible.
Don’t forget, either, that Capcom decided it was okay to bullshit another Wesker into the storyline. Again. A second time. And last but not least, this game has the unique distinction of being the only game in the MT framework engine that runs previous maps worse than the game they actually came from – for instance all the Raid mode maps from Chris’s RE6 campaign run worse in Revelations 2.
5. Resident Evil Revelations
Revelations was honestly pretty good. It felt more like a proper title, but it still mixed in a bit too much global conspiracy and too many key players. Technically there are 9 protagonists, 3 of whom turn out to be double or triple agents by the end of the game. The game mostly shoved you into tight, dark corridors with little room to run or manuever, and a lot of enemies to shoot at, and that was a good thing – but the majority of the enemies were just so lame.
The key problem here is that this years virus is the T-Abyss virus. It’s the t-virus, for fish. It only, ostensibly, affects sea creatures. So the scariest thing in the game is a walking shark with a shield and a sword. Oh and a tyrant who is an Orc blademaster – teleporting, mirror images, you name it. Other than that, Rachel is creepy and plays the role of “Thing that you have to kill repeatedly until the end of the game.”
If they had simply made this about a T-virus outbreak on a cruise ship, that would have been good enough. They felt the need to cram in this origin story about the BSAA, though, and they also crammed in tons of hunters and a tyrant. It was also held back by the fact that it was initially a 3DS release – who knows why they didn’t release this for real systems.
4. Resident Evil 7
Resident Evil 7 was a very pleasant surprise this year. There was no reason to expect anything good to come of this entry, but Capcom finally managed to make the game good again.
Featuring modern graphics, first person perspective, and some horror influences like Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Last House on the Left, and House of 1000 Corpses, Capcom managed to combine newer themes with the core gameplay mechanics that have been crucial to Resident Evil since the first game. Everything about this game, mechanically, is a huge love letter to the originals, and in the end it turns out to have the same plot structure as basically all the games, but most importantly – 1 and 2.
They even managed to get the story somewhat focused back on what made the originals cool – Resident Evil – with said evil being resident i.e close, at home. The only complaint is you-know-who and all the circumstances surrounding them, which we are still awaiting an explanation for in the delayed DLC. Oh that and the game didn’t have a whole lot of content for a full priced game, but neither did RE1.
It was pretty damn good, and putting it in the Top 5 is being very open minded.
3. Resident Evil Remake
It’s a great game. It was a great way to get a slightly younger or newer audience interest in Resident Evil without making them suffer through the brilliant wonk that was the original game. Adding defensive weapons was a great idea, new puzzles. new alternate endings, new areas and weapons, were also great. The obvious graphical update makes it visually superior, especially with the “remastered” version that has new lighting (and also breast physics because why not), but canon changes were made that have made the story even stupider than it was before (keep in mind there were only 4 RE games when REmake came out).
As pretty and as much scarier as REmake was/is, it’s not RE1. They changed game mechanics, changed item locations, changed encounters, changed the intro, changed voice acting, and removed the bad dialog – which was one of the most charming factors of the game. So it does not get first place.
You would have fit nicely into a sandwich? You should be ashamed of yourself, whoever changed that line. I hate you, it’s terrible. Fortunately for PC players, there is a mod to bring back the original dialog and voice overs. Jill sandwich or fuck outta here.
2. Resident Evil
It’s the original. Technically. Sweet Home doesn’t count. The wonky, cheesy, blocky early 3D game with bad voice acting that started it all. What can you do? It was 1995. Pre-rendered backgrounds with characters walking on t hem, controlling awfully, were the new craze – Cyberia, FF7, RE, Silent Hill, Parasite Eve, Dino Crisis, all these games came out in the same 8 or so year span once the industry decided the Alone in the Dark style was cool.
Don’t lie, either – when you walked down that hallway the first time and those Cerberi jumped through the windows in front of you, you screamed like a little girl. Everyone did.
I know a lot of people who would argue that REmake is exponentially better than the original game. So, to those people – no. You’re wrong. And I’m not sorry. It’s the original. You can’t top it.
1. Resident Evil 2.
Unless you make Resident Evil 2. Argue all you want, RE2 is decidedly better than the original – in every possible way. Bigger world, more enemies, badder enemies, better graphics, better intro (CG too), better characters, better controls, better voice acting, better dialog, better story, more environmental variety, more puzzles, just as many bosses, and a more over the top virus.
Resident Evil 2 also added additional content, and replayability. There were four different endings, technically, and Capcom never decided which one was canon. RE2 Dual Shock added Extreme Battle Mode as well, which was the precursor to RE3 Mercenaries and Raid Mode but has yet to reappear in the franchise.
Unfortunately, it was so good and successful, that now we’re stuck with Leon and Ada every single fucking new game or movie. I’m really, really, really sick of Leon. The only quality of his character that remains intact between RE2 and current times, is his “Pffft, women” comments/jokes. Other than that, he changes entirely in each game, and he must be totally ridden with Alzheimer’s because he’s the guy in the franchise who’s fought the most zombies and B.O.W’s ever, yet he never realizes he’s in the shit until 10 hours later. Not to mention he complains about women then turns down any opportunity he gets to be with them, I tell myself this is because he’s hung up on Ada Wong but that would be silly to think Capcom has even thought the story through that much.