Resident Evil is one of the most classic video game series, period. They’re one of the best survival horrors around, responsible for the development of this genre and all. There have been numerous games, numerous films and a whole lot of other material. Unfortunately, this means that there have been some stinkers as well.
This list features Resident Evil games available on PC, ranked from the worst to the best. It will be particularly helpful if you’re getting into the series, but not sure where to start (and what to avoid). Let’s take a look:
|Umbrella Corps Biohazard Umbrella Corps||2016-06-21||Action & Shooter||79%|
|Resident Evil Operation Raccoon City||2012-05-18||Horror|
|Resident Evil Revelations||2013-05-20||Adventure||91%|
|Resident Evil 6||2013-03-22||Horror||83%|
|Resident Evil Revelations 2||2015-02-24||Adventure|
|Resident Evil 0 Remaster||2016-01-19||Adventure||85%||85%|
|Resident Evil 3||2020-04-03||Action||CAPCOM CO., LTD.||87%|
|Resident Evil 2||2019-01-25||Action||CAPCOM CO., LTD.||88%|
|Resident Evil 5||2009-09-15||Adventure||CAPCOM||82%|
|Resident Evil Remaster||2015-01-19||Adventure||CAPCOM CO., LTD.||82%|
|Resident Evil 7||2017-01-23||Horror||CAPCOM CO., LTD.||83%|
|Resident Evil 4||2014-02-27||Adventure||CAPCOM||81%|
|Resident Evil 8: Village||2021-05-07||Horror||CAPCOM CO., LTD.||79%|
|Resident Evil 8: Village - Winters’ Expansion||2022-10-28||53%|
|Genre:||Action & Shooter|
In fairness, this game really isn’t that much worse than Raccoon City, but I had to put it as the worst Resident Evil game because when I sat down to think about it, I realized that I could literally put any single game here in its place.
Not any Resident Evil game, ANY game. Umbrella Corps has as much to do with the core of the Resident Evil series as Call of Duty does and that’s not a joke, because Call of Duty also has zombies.
Gone are puzzle-solving elements, a suspenseful and scary story, elaborate schemes enriching the plot, clearly supernatural elements, interesting characters or classic survival horror elements. It’s a thinly-veiled multiplayer shooter. And if it was a good multiplayer shooter I could maybe even forgive all these transgressions (though I probably wouldn’t), but it’s NOT. It quickly became a meme when people realized how OP the melee weapon is, turning it into a bizarre and profoundly unentertaining experience.
It’s…bad. Really, really bad. It plays more like an incompetent RE fan fic than the real thing. It’s the equivalent of Metal Gear: Survive. And as an added insult to injury, the game’s controls were straight up broken at release. It was barely playable. Today, this game is still a bad joke.
Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City
|Developer:||Slant Six Games|
IGN in their review of the game famously stated that “an actual zombie outbreak would be less tragic” and I disagree.
See, I don’t just think it would be less tragic. If you told me I had a choice between being an extra in a real-life version of The Walking Dead or playing this game for the rest of my days, I would choose the former and promptly thank you for being so kind as to give me that option.
It’s honestly pretty much just as bad as Umbrella Corps, BUT unlike Umbrella Corps it puts some effort into pretending it’s Resident Evil. An effort that is entirely wasted, but still. That effort took the form of Capcom cramming in allusions to the story of Resident Evil 2 and touting some familiar faces, like weird Resident Evil animatronics used to market a very bad restaurant.
What’s more, the controls are just broken. Resident Evil never had the best or most intuitive controls, but there was always a reason for that: clunky mechanics are good when they’re supposed to make your horror experience more frantic. But Raccoon City is not a horror. It would greatly benefit from competent combat mechanics, maybe then it would at least be a fun shooter, but it seems to be locked in a mortal battle with itself. It’s an absolutely schizophrenic game and one I cannot recommend to anybody.
Resident Evil: Resistance
|Genre:||Multiplayer survival horror|
While not the worst game on this list and a bad title in general, Resistance – an online addition to the 2020 remake of Resident Evil 3 – unfortunately didn’t break new ground when it comes to the asymmetric multiplayer department. Too bad, as it had some real potential.
Resistance takes place in 1998. Raccoon City has just been destroyed and its inhabitants abducted by Umbrella Corp. Now, the civilians (AKA survivors) are being pitted against various monstrosities in the NEST2 facility. This means that four players will have to work together against a single player – the mastermind – who wants to make their lives hell. To do so, the mastermind uses traps, creates enemies and hazards to make sure that survivors won’t escape NEST2.
So, what’s the main problem with Resistance? It’s unbalanced and full of technical issues. The lack of dedicated servers doesn’t help, either, and the game suffers from poor connection quality. The premise is actually quite fun. It’s too bad, though, that it’s marred by all sorts of problems. You totally can give it a shot, just don’t expect the best quality here.
Resident Evil: Revelations
Alright, now that we’ve gotten through the trash that tarnished the reputation of an otherwise great series of games, we can talk about those entries in the series actually worth playing, the least of which is Revelations. It was ported from Nintendo 3DS and unfortunately, it shows, in all the worst ways.
You could think of it as a bite-sized version of Resident Evil. It’s not a bad-tasting bite by any means… But it’s just a bite, it’s thoroughly unsatisfying. Everything is just smaller in scale: smaller spaces, smaller encounters, smaller variety of mechanics, smaller story. What there is in the game is good, but there’s just not enough of it.
Though make no mistake, this game manages to capture that unmistakable Resident Evil atmosphere. Now, 6 years after the initial release, the game has become cheap as dirt, so, just out of sheer curiosity, you can go ahead and buy it. Ultimately, it’s kind of hard for me to even get angry at such unambitious and yet fairly successful game. It’s just alright.
Resident Evil 6
As if exactly the opposite of Revelations, Resident Evil 6 is an example of what happens if you try to do too much.
Spread over 4 different campaigns, the game seems a bit confused and incoherent. It’s a very hit-and-miss experience, some aspects work great (Chris’s campaign is probably the best part) and some seem pointless.
It’s also the first RE game with a fully implemented healing item crafting system, which would later return in Resident Evil 7 and become an integral feature of that game. Puzzles are here, the atmosphere is (for the most part) on point and there’s an interesting storyline throughout.
Like I said, it’s good, just not consistently so. Unlike in most cases in the series, when Capcom tried to be innovative, this time it actually works. Most of the time. It’s not the classic Resident Evil game, but unlike Raccoon City and Umbrella Corps, it is very playable and quite fun.
Resident Evil: Revelations 2
|Developer:||CAPCOM CO., LTD.|
You know that something is off when your Resident Evil game opens up with a party (though an argument could be made that “off” is the hallmark of the series).
Arguably, this actually works to the advantage of this game. It broached the subject of de-powering Resident Evil protagonists and making them very vulnerable, something we haven’t seen for a while, as they’ve been getting increasingly superhuman over the years.
This game occupies an odd place on the list for me, because it causes all sorts of unpleasant cognitive dissonance. Don’t get me wrong, other games feature campiness aplenty, but it was used as something to break the tension or maybe exaggerate it, it never was the basis for the entire setting. Resident Evil 4 was famously weird and unsettling, but it wasn’t comically weird, and that’s a line Revelations 2 sometimes crosses.
In a sense, it worked fine. Playing with the helpless Moira or the supernatural child Natalie is different from your usual experience, but I don’t know… There’s just a bit too much weirdness in this one. I tend to think that a horror experience needs to be grounded for you to be really able to appreciate the terror. If everything is unnatural, there’s nothing to compare it to.
Resident Evil Zero
|Developer:||CAPCOM CO., LTD.|
This one is certainly a very niche game in the entire Resident Evil series, and the least known from the whole bunch.
The reasons for this aren’t exactly super clear for me though. Sure, it didn’t innovate that much, but this is the first game where the cooperative idea that we’ll come to know in the later games first started sprouting roots.
In Zero, you control two characters at the same time and you can switch between them during gameplay. In fact you kind of have to, because most of the game’s puzzles utilize this system. They’re also distinct from each other to make two separate playthroughs of the game quite different.
And I’m sorry, but leeches are creepy<. Really, really creepy! Putting them as a primary antagonist of your game is a move so Resident Evil I don’t know why they didn’t make any reappearance. But there’s hope to see some more of that horrific, fleshy wickedness in Resident Evil 8.
Resident Evil 3: Nemesis
This game has certainly aged like fine wine, even if the blocky graphics are off-putting today. It’s a fantastic game that easily has a place in today’s gaming.
Once again we’re playing as Jill Valentine, the cutest of all Resident Evil protagonists. While she’s better prepared this time, this is not going to be a cakewalk, as there’s a specialized bio-weapon hunting her, in the form of the titular Nemesis — an unkillable monster that can appear spontaneously and will hunt you long even after everyone else had stopped chasing you.
This one, oh, this one gets it RIGHT, man! The tension of the game is absolutely fantastic and we have all the elements of the original Resident Evil polished to perfection. The Nemesis in particular is worth talking about at lengths, because its sheer tenacity really changes the rules of the game.
See, Nemesis can appear randomly, unscripted, which in 1999 was a pretty big deal. This means you can’t do the Resident Evil 1 thing where you play by trial-and-error and conserve exact amounts of ammo for specific parts. You have to take the risks. And the Nemesis is fantastically creepy with its vestiges of humanity visible from time to time.
Resident Evil 3
|Developer:||CAPCOM CO., LTD.|
The third in a sequence of remakes of classic Resident Evil Games, RE3 Remake brings back the Nemesis.
The creature is a great follow-up to RE2 Remake’s surprisingly memetic Mr. X. Even though it’s smaller, it’s no less threatening, since Nemesis isn’t as dull as other models.
The story of Resident Evil 3 revolves chiefly around Jill Valentine, a former S.T.A.R.S. operative, trying to escape from Raccoon City as it’s being overwhelmed by the zombies, as depicted in RE2. Talk about bad luck, as she’s also being hunted by the Nemesis, so that Umbrella Corp can cover up whatever’s going on here.
Resident Evil 2 (original & remake)
|Release date:||1998 / 2019-01-25|
|Developer:||CAPCOM CO., LTD.|
I’m putting Resident Evil 2 and its remake here together because while the latter might be a somewhat different game from the original, it’s still amazing.
When this game first came out back in 1998, it was absolutely fantastic. Probably not as great as the original Resident Evil, but that’s just because of how high a bar that game set.
This is also the first time we got to see the Raccoon city, a place we would frequently revisit in the future. As a setting, the iconic city completely overrun by zombies, with a clueless rookie cop trying to escape its confines, does a truly fantastic job at establishing the atmosphere. This unique blend of action and horror truly started to shine here.
The remake certainly has not disappointed. With a camera overhaul and the inclusion of Mr. X (who is certainly ‘gon’ give it to ya’) working very much like RE 3’s Nemesis, the game is even tenser and more claustrophobic (though I miss the ridiculous Warhammer-esque pauldrons on Leon).
Resident Evil 5
A bit of an unpopular opinion perhaps, to put this game so high on the list, but I have to say, I genuinely enjoyed it.
People by and large seem to think that this is where things started to go downhill for the series, but I don’t see it that way.
The horror of the previous games is still certainly here and I honestly think it works really well with the whole “terror in broad daylight” thing they were going for. While it may not have been very, shall we say, sensitive to put the game in Africa, I think that with a correct framing and generous coating of context, it still works fairly well.
Additionally, while it IS more action-oriented than what would be considered necessary for a solid Resident Evil game, I actually think it works to its advantage, as it shows that you CAN do a highly action-packed Resident Evil game and still make it work.
I definitely had more fun with this game than most of the others, so maybe that’s my bias.
Resident Evil (original & remaster)
|Release date:||1996 / 2015-01-19|
|Developer:||CAPCOM CO., LTD.|
Ah yes, the OG. Even now, years later, this game is a fantastic and harrowing journey to go through.
The iconic Resident Evil mansion with its messed up layout, a Victorian horror aesthetic, cryptic puzzles and the overwhelming sense of dread – it’s all worth revisiting.
And I want to use this opportunity to talk about Jill Valentine, whom I consider to be the BEST Resident Evil protagonist. It’s not just that she’s competent, capable, likable and attractive, although all of those are true, but I have to commend Capcom on the amount of attention that went into making her believable.
See, in a horror game, your protagonist has to be somewhat vulnerable, otherwise what’s the point, right? It might be true that the audience responds better to a female character put in that position, but for Capcom to do that with a strong, female lead in 1996 was, well, groundbreaking.
It would have been super easy to just put a gruff military dude as the hero of the game (and that’s kind of what they’ve been doing ever since) or just go with a damsel in distress (yuck). And they didn’t. To this day, Jill Valentine remains one of my favorite video game protagonists.
What’s great about this game is that it doesn’t really feel archaic even today. Some aspects of it (like the aforementioned strong, nuanced female lead) would probably feel innovative in today’s gaming landscape, which is just bizarre to consider. Unlike most video games, this one stood the test of time and it’s a blast from start to finish.
Resident Evil: Village (with Winters’ Expansion)
|Developer:||CAPCOM CO., LTD.|
A more action-oriented sequel, Village continues what Resident Evil 7: Biohazard started.
Ethan Winters is back and combat-ready as never before. His mission? Search for his missing daughter, Rose, in a mysterious village somewhere in Europe and defeat the evil forces that dwell there.
This quest makes you face the deadly Lycans – werewolf-like creatures who are highly intelligent and very deadly. Sometimes you will have to run from them or resort to brutal melee combat in order to conserve ammunition. And then there are the mutant lords who rule the titular village, including the now-iconic Lady Dimitrescu and a bunch of other weird folks.
How does Village fare against other entries on this list? Well, RE7 certainly takes the cake with its innovations and all, but Village isn’t far behind. The gameplay is fun and tight, however, puzzles and boss battles could use some more work, plus if you’re not a fan of action, you’ll be disappointed to learn that this game puts more emphasis on it. Still, it’s one of the best Resident Evil titles released to this day and if you’re a fan of the series, it’s highly recommended.
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
|Developer:||CAPCOM CO., LTD.|
This one definitely deserves its place. It’s not common for game franchises to backtrack in design decisions, something that was described by the game’s director as “going forwards by looking backwards” and, boy, was that a great principle to follow!
At face value, RE 7 is remarkably similar to the original Resident Evil game with its claustrophobic mansion, cryptic puzzles and clunky controls. Even saferooms make a return (with a very nice, warm soundtrack for you to chill out and prepare mentally for whatever comes next). However, changing the perspective to first person was a brilliant move which made the whole experience even more claustrophobic.
Although the variety of enemies leaves something to be desired (Moldy Boys quickly become less scary once you find the shotgun), the main antagonists, the Baker family, are absolutely fantastic, with each of them serving as a different horror archetype and having plenty of tricks up their sleeves.
Something should also be said about the additional modes and campaigns in the game, which have you playing as Jack’s cousin, a vicious Louisiana Swamp Man with a truly powerful arm, who engages opponents with punches, clinches and kicks, and as Chris Redfield (the canonicity of which is still hotly debated), fully decked out with powerful weaponry and showing how a brilliant control scheme doesn’t make your weapons that much of an advantage.
Resident Evil 4
No surprises here. This is it. The APEX of Resident Evil design, the unbeatable masterpiece, sitting comfortably on the gaming pedestal.
PC Gamer said in their review that it’s entirely possible that this game ‘accidentally’ reinvented third-person shooters and I have to agree. RE 4 is like The Beatles, it can seemingly juggle every single idea of the genre and come out on top. The balance of every element, from horror, through action, to puzzles is pitch-perfect in this game.
It is also true that the pacing of the game is fantastic, never once dropping a beat. It seamlessly combines horror with a third-person shooter in a way that Resident Evil 5, unfortunately, couldn’t handle.
And it has the best character in the series (aside from Jill, of course). That’s right, I’m talking about the mysterious vendor, with his cheeky, enthusiastic demeanor and Australian accent, insisting on calling you STRANJAH. Ah, the joys of seeing that rascal after a segment of heart-pounding action! Why yes, my friend, I will buy it at a low price, thank you.
And there you have it, folks, PC-released Resident Evil games, from worst to best. The series as a whole is one of the greatest classics among video games.
So as we wait and hope for Resident Evil 8, feel free to pick up some of these games and try them out if you didn’t get a chance to. Some of these are old, old games, by now heavily discounted, but most of them seriously hold up to this day. Well, except for the first two on the list. Raccoon City is awful and I imagine Umbrella Corps is just straight-up dead now, with empty servers and not a single spark of activity.