Coinciding with the re-release of Resident Evil 4 on Xbox One and Playstation 4 this week we have decided to rank from 1 to 7, the official numbered entries of the franchise. I am completely ignoring the offshoots (think Umbrella Corps, Operation Racoon City and Resident Evil Survivor) and providing my own personal opinion on which games sit atop the main franchise.
NUMBER 7 - RESIDENT EVIL 6
Excess is my biggest gripe with RE6, the games main story is stretched to the limit, clocking in at over twenty hours, biggest a giant Resident Evil fan I usually wouldn't complain but the game suffers from a major identity crisis. Weaving together four separate storylines was very ambitious by Capcom, there are some hits but sadly they are beaten out by big misses. Chris and Jake's campaigns feel like they are ripped out of a Call of Duty game, Ada's bonus campaign had a few thrills but overall left me feeling underwhelmed. Leon's campaign is the truest experience to the source material, bringing with it that familiar feeling of suspense and horror.
NUMBER 6 - RESIDENT EVIL 0
Utilizing the partner zapping system Resident Evil O was released less than 12 months after the original RE GameCube remake, and the last game in the franchise to truly embody the feel of a survival horror game. Pairing S.T.A.R.S member Rebecca with escaped convict Carlos sounds good in theory but both characters are bland and sadly neither can carry the game.
Resident Evil 0 serves as a prequel to the original game and was released just 8 short months after the 2002 GameCube remake. While the graphics do impress and many of the creatures are terrifying (seriously the humanoid leech confrontation is creepy as hell) the game is ultimately let down by an average and laughable main villain.
NUMBER 5 - RESIDENT EVIL 5
Action, that was the sole focus of Resident Evil 5, the total transition into an action-oriented series divided alot of the RE fanbase, the game reviewed well but met with a lot of negativity (and backlash due to racism). RE5 sees Chris Redfield paired with Sheva Alomar, who seems to seek pleasure in using your already scarce ammo and health items, seriously a major pain playing through the campaign alone. Luckily this problem disappears when playing with a friend, creating a much better experience.
Capcom took risks with Resident Evil 5, setting the whole game in daylight coupled with an equal parts insane and humorous final mission which sees you punching a boulder within a volcano (yep, you read that right). It's a very different Resident Evil but it's a heap of fun, the co-op experience is also an excellent addition.
NUMBER 4 - RESIDENT EVIL 3: NEMESIS
Featuring one of the most frightful villains in gaming history, Resident Evil 3 also brings back Jill Valentine and happily leaves her silly beret back in Resident Evil 1. The Nemesis completely steals the show, he is a hulking beast who carries a rocket launcher around for kicks, has a thirst for S.T.A.R.S blood and chases you worse than any T-1000. The exchanges you have with Nemesis during the game constantly has you on the edge of your seat, the "pick your path" aspect was something new in the Resident Evil universe but it was a little too on the nose at times.
NUMBER 3 - RESIDENT EVIL (GAMECUBE REMAKE)
My first Resident Evil experience on the original Playstation is hazy at best, I vividly remember the opening credits filled with terrible B grade acting, but my time spent within the original game has been replaced by my memories spent on the Gamecube. This remake is still, in my opinion one of the scariest games ever made, due in no small part to Capcom completely rebuilding the original game from the ground up, even adding new areas in the mansion and new bosses (shout out to Lisa Trevor). One of the best things Capcom ever did for this franchise is also upgrading the zombies, the agile and fast-paced Crimson Head variants are terrifying and create some of the best moments within any Resident Evil game to date.
NUMBER 2 - RESIDENT EVIL 4
Resident Evil 4 will forever be known, in my opinion (and a lot of gaming circles) as the title which effectively brought new life into a franchise, that was wavering and losing footing to Silent Hill, xxx and xxx. Capcom decided to take the franchise in a new direction, shifting from the traditional survival horror realm and instead focusing on action based game elements.
When RE4 was released in 2004 it was met with critical acclaim, becoming the best reviewed game in the franchise. It features some of the franchise’s best set pieces, the most thrilling of which happens in the first hour of the game when you must face a horde of Ganados (including one individual Ganado wielding a chainsaw) in a small village. My only real issue with the game is that it is, for the most part, a completely standalone story that doesn’t really do much to advance the narrative of the franchise.
NUMBER 1 - RESIDENT EVIL 2
Determining the top three was not an easy feat, each title is brilliant and could all take the top spot for various reasons. Resident Evil 2 is the rare gem which improves upon the original in all facets, introducing us to Leon S. Kennedy and Chris Redfield's sister, Clair. Capcom also dialed up the sheer scope of the game by throwing players into Racoon City. New monsters were also introduced, I still remember my heart racing when I had the unfortunate first experience of running into that Licker, waiting for me on the ceiling, made even worse by the impressive CGI cut scenes within RE2.
The boss fights ranged from giant alligators in the sewers to egomaniacal doctors who tested their own experiments on themselves. If Resident Evil 2 has a flaw it’s that it follows the blueprint of the first game a little too closely, even mimicking its final countdown during the climax (almost all of the games will employ this gimmick). It also doesn’t have the benefit of being a landmark game like the first one was, but that is no fault of its own. Resident Evil 2 has the distinction of being one of the best video game sequels of all time, and that is no small feat.