Resident Evil is one of the longest-running horror franchises in gaming, but then, you probably already knew that so I don’t really know why I decided to say it. Nonetheless, it has been going for years, ever since the first game came out on the original PlayStation back in 1996. How has it been 22 years since Resident Evil first debuted!?
Anyway, in those 22 years, we have been treated to a huge amount of awesome games from the series, as well as a few that are probably best forgotten. Of course, being that I’m making this list, the less than stellar Resident Evil games won’t be forgotten, will they?
With that said, let’s take a look at 4 Resident Evil games you definitely should play and 3 that, in my opinion, you would do best to avoid.
Play – Resident Evil 3: Nemesis
We’re going to start off this list of the best and worst Resident Evil games with one of the best; Resident Evil 3: Nemesis. The game seems to get mixed reactions, for some reason, but it is actually a really good horror game. It mixes in a bit more action than the previous 2 Resident Evil games, as well as choices and the ability to play either an Easy or Hard Mode, which put a lot of fans off. However, in my opinion, Capcom did a really good job of mixing these elements together.
It may not be the best game in the Resident Evil series, but it is thoroughly enjoyable (as much as a terrifying horror game can be). The story is pretty good, but it really is the gameplay and Nemesis himself that made Resident Evil 3 incredibly memorable.
Avoid – Umbrella Corps
Umbrella Corps was Capcom’s attempt to turn the Resident Evil world into that of an online, multiplayer shooter along the lines of Call of Duty or Battlefield. This was an interesting idea and, as you may know, I am a big fan of experimentation in game design. However, Umbrella Corps felt very much like a cash-grab rather than legitimate experimentation in game design.
What we ended up getting was a very boring and dull shooter than offered nothing original or exciting. Instead, it felt like a template shooter game kit from the Unity Asset Store that was given a Resident Evil styled coat of paint. I would definitely recommend you avoid this one!
Play – Resident Evil: Outbreak
It’s funny how, by the time the PlayStation 3 came around, multiplayer aspects of Resident Evil led to the franchise taking a severe downturn… Especially since Resident Evil: Outbreak, and its sequel for the PlayStation 2, were designed for online multiplayer and actually made for awesome games. This was because they kept the horror as the main element of the game. Each character has their own flaws you had to deal with, meaning that all of the zombies and monsters in the game were actually threats.
The highly limited ammunition and a variety of scenarios also meant that we got to learn a huge amount more of Raccoon City’s history whilst feeling on edge at all times. Sadly, the online servers are no longer active, but thankfully, the Resident Evil: Outbreak games are still really enjoyable when playing single player.
Avoid – Resident Evil 6
I know a number of people who enjoyed Resident Evil 6, and you know what? I enjoyed part of it – specifically, I enjoyed the Leon campaign as it felt as close to the original horror gameplay that we might ever get again, at the time. Sadly, that’s only about 33% of the game. The other 67% of the game was an action-packed third-person shooter with military elements and a plot that relied more on epic explosions than actual fear.
As someone who enjoys the Survival Horror genre for the fear, not running down a street of exploding cars, Resident Evil 6 was such a departure from the horror of the earlier games that it just didn’t keep me interested. I mean, I forced myself through it as much as I could, but I never managed to finish it. It just wasn’t what I wanted from a Resident Evil game… So naturally, if you want a Survival Horror game, Resident Evil 6 isn’t going to be right for you.
Play – Resident Evil 0
One thing I never expected was to actually enjoy a prequel to the original Resident Evil. The idea sounded somewhat over-the-top and a bit of a cash-grab (and you can probably guess how I feel about those). However, as soon as I turned on Resident Evil Zero and took my first steps through the train at the start of the game, I was hooked. Add to this a great mechanic of switching between characters on the fly whenever you want, and an intriguing story that adds a lot of backstory to the main plot of the Resident Evil franchise.
There are a few things that people didn’t like, such as the lack of an item box meaning that you may need to do more backtracking. However, that never really bothered me that much and doesn’t take away from just how good Resident Evil 0 is.
Avoid – Resident Evil: Survivor
Resident Evil: Survivor was Capcom’s first released attempt at creating a first-person shooter in the Resident Evil franchise. I think part of the problem with Resident Evil: Survivor is that it could have been so much better than it ended up being. The development of the game was very lazy, reusing the graphical elements of Resident Evil 2 and not really making anything particularly new or scary for the series.
The gameplay was also incredibly monotonous, missing all of the adrenaline and fear of the other Resident Evil games at the time. Inside, it just felt like an incredibly pointless dungeon crawler with dull mechanics. This is definitely one of the worst Resident Evil games ever made.
Play – Resident Evil Remake
When it comes to remakes, I’m typically very cautious. The reason for that is because they typically don’t do a very good job at capturing what made the original version of the game so good in the first place. That wasn’t the case for the Resident Evil Remake on Gamecube (and now PC and current generation consoles with an HD remaster). Capcom did a phenomenal job at keeping the tension of the first Resident Evil game whilst building upon it and adding some truly horrifying additional story elements. And yes, I do mean Lisa Trevor.
The Resident Evil Remake is one of the best remakes I have ever seen, really showing what the original game could have been. It also changed things up just enough that it felt brand new to someone like me who had played the original version to death.
Avoid – Resident Evil 5
Next up on the “avoid” side of this list is Resident Evil 5. Whilst the switch towards a more action-focused gameplay style started with Resident Evil 4, it was the fifth game that signified the death of Resident Evil as a horror game (for the time being). I mean, how can a game where the main character literally punches a boulder into submission be considered a horror game? And yes, for those of you who don’t know, that actually happens in Resident Evil 5.
The fifth game in the series marks the moment in time that it went downhill faster than you can say “this game is terrible”. Because of that, I would highly recommend you just ignore Resident Evil 5 if you are a horror game fan, pretending that it just doesn’t exist!
Play – Resident Evil 2
Resident Evil 2 is my favourite game in the Survival Horror franchise, so naturally, it was going to be one of the Resident Evil games that I recommend you do play. But there are reasons for that! The second game in the series took everything that made the first game awesome and just expanded upon it massively. With an entire city full of zombies and mutants, you never feel like you are safe. The static camera angles also return, helping to increase the tension levels.
However, the storyline is also incredibly engaging, keeping you on your toes throughout the length of both scenarios for each of the two characters. That’s right! The original PS1 version of Resident Evil 2 technically features 4 different storylines for you to play through. It is such an incredible feat of game design that every horror fan should experience.
Avoid – Operation Raccoon City
The final game in this list that I’m going to recommend avoiding is Operation Raccoon City. This game could have been an average shooter that would be worth picking up for £3 from a charity shop if it hadn’t been turned into a Resident Evil game. You get to play as a number of very generic members of a special forces team for Umbrella, tasked with capturing Sherry Birkin during the outbreak within Raccoon City.
The premise could have lent itself to an interesting game as well, but Operation Raccoon City just feels like a generic squad shooter without the intricacies that you would expect from a squad shooter. Instead, you’re left with a relatively hollow game that can be completed very swiftly and then left on the shelf indefinitely.
Play – Resident Evil 7
The last game in this list of the best and worst Resident Evil games is also the latest; Resident Evil 7. As yet another complete departure, Resident Evil 7 is a first-person horror game that doesn’t feature zombies, but rather, a family of murderous and psychotic individuals who seemingly cannot die (at least, not easily). The game is a step back to the horror aspect of Resident Evil, which was more than welcome.
Trying to play Resident Evil 7 in VR is one of the most terrifying experiences you could actually have on modern consoles. If you haven’t played Resident Evil 7 yet and are looking for a modern horror game, then I would definitely recommend playing it. However, just be aware that it does get a bit more action-orientated towards the latter half of the game.
And That’s All Folks
Well there you have it, those were 6 Resident Evil games you really should play and 5 of the games that you should probably avoid, at least in my opinion. I adore the Resident Evil series and have been a fan for over 2 decades, which makes me old, but I am more than able to admit that there are some really bad games in the franchise.
What are your favourite and least favourite Resident Evil games? Let me know in the comments below!