In preparation for us all being stepped on by a tall vampire next month, I waded through the murky waters of Resident Evil’s history to compile a list of all the games the series has put out to date. There’s a lot, 26 in 25 years in fact. So, given that we get just over a game a year on average, I figured it would be a grand idea to rank them all (based on their Metascore, because I’m a pathetic fence-sitter), over this whopping two-part special. Honestly, there’s so many Resident Evil games, it’s ridiculous.
The rules are simple; trawl through each game and note the Metascore for each version of its release. The platform with the highest score is the one used for the games final ranking. In addition, the remakes will all be ranked alongside their original counterparts. Remasters and mobile games won’t be counted, because we’ll be here until the sun implodes and consumes us all if I did.
N/A - Resident Evil Survivor 2 - Code: Veronica (PlayStation 2) & Resident Evil Gaiden (Game Boy Color)
A grand start here, with two games that actually failed to notch up a Metascore at any point. Resident Evil Survivor 2 is a middle of the pack game. Despite being much improved on the original Survivor game, it likely wouldn’t have pulled in a score higher than 65.
Resident Evil Gaiden escapes the devastation of finishing bottom of the pile. It’s an ambitious project, attempting to recreate that Resident Evil feel on the Game Boy Color. It falls far short, thanks to the limited hardware, but it’s one quirk is allowing us to play as Barry Burton for the first time. Arguably the worst game in the franchise, definitely the worst game in the franchise set on a boat.
24: Umbrella Corps (PC), Metascore - 36
Who would have thought we only had to travel back five years to get to the bottom game on this list? A lot of people, probably. Umbrella Corps was an awful mess from start to finish. For most fans, it was a step too far for the franchise that had already deserted its survival-horror roots. A generic shooter, painted with Resident Evil references and sold for a quick turnaround. It was a low-point, not just for the franchise, but for Capcom too. It somehow managed to pick up a 36/40 from Famitsu though, which seems absolutely criminal.
23: Resident Evil Survivor (PlayStation), Metascore - 39
An interesting specimen is Resident Evil Survivor. A light gun shooter, where the light gun compatibility was removed from the game's American release. Admittedly, light gun or not, the game was a poor attempt at breaking into a new market. As one of the first light gun games to be off-rail, Resident Evil Survivor was often frustrating, with players refusing to survive the gameplay mechanics, rather than the game itself.
22: Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City (PC), Metascore - 48
Firstly, I’m shocked this game pulled in such a high score. Set during the events of the second and third game, but being purely hypothetical and non-canon, Operation Raccoon City is a wreck from start to finish. Offering cooperative play, which was essentially pointless because people would leave if they couldn’t be HUNK, this is the game where people truly started to feel Capcom was losing its way a bit with the series. It was a pointless money grab, a money grab that didn’t even benefit the overall story of Resident Evil. A money grab that didn’t even grab money, now I think about it.
21: Resident Evil Outbreak: File #2 (PlayStation 2), Metascore - 58
A huge leap in quality from our previous entry, but we’ve merely entered the painfully average stage with this one. Generally, the premise of both Outbreak games has been received positively, with the implementation of said premise being the mini-series’ biggest issue. Unlike the main series, Outbreak focuses on a cast of survivors that the player has to command through Raccoon City in order to get to safety. The game is held back by the double whammy of poor AI and a difficult multiplayer system. In many ways, Outbreak: File #2 was a game too far ahead of its time.
20: Resident Evil Resistance (PlayStation 4), Metascore - 64
Resident Evil Resistance is a mediocre, online multiplayer game. The main purpose of the Resident Evil Resistance is to hide the fact that Capcom sold a three-hour game for many British pounds. The actual game itself is alright, mainly ruined by its unbalanced gameplay and dwindling player base. Sadly for Resistance, it’s hard to see it as anything but a rushed add-on to dampen the blow of forking out so much for such a short main title.
19: Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D (3DS), Metascore - 65
One hopes that Capcom may eventually start to take note of the critical response to these multiplayer games. The Mercenaries 3D is another added to the list, acting as a full-release to what had been a bonus game in both Resident Evil 4 & 5. Its premise was simple; enter the stage and defeat as many enemies as possible before the time runs out. In fairness, it was a perfectly fine experience, but ultimately, it was just a glorified game mode being released as a full priced, standalone 3DS title.
18: Resident Evil: Dead Aim (PlayStation 2), Metascore - 65
Back into the light gun era of the franchise again, with Capcom’s best attempt; Dead Aim. I actually enjoy Dead Aim, it’s a significant improvement on Capcom’s other entries, with a much better movement system, plus the transition from third person to first person is pretty fluid. With that being said, it’s still a temperamental light gun shooter at its core, which is the core element that never seems to work in these types of games. Not until we hit the Wii at least.
17: Resident Evil Outbreak (PlayStation 2), Metascore - 71
Arguably the most underrated title in the franchise, Outbreak is far from a masterpiece yet it remains a game that a lot of the hardcore Resident Evil fans love. Just like its sequel, it involves the same cast of characters working together to escape the horror of Raccoon City. It was a great looking game for the PS2, but Capcom still struggled with the multiplayer support, meaning the lacklustre AI were still the most likely to accompany you through your journey.
16: Resident Evil 6 (PlayStation 3), Metascore - 74
The first main series entry to be featured on the list, Resident Evil 6 has the misfortune of being the worst game critically of the entire mainline series. On the contrary, however, it does remain one of the series’ best selling hits. In fact, it sits second, behind only Resident Evil 5. The long-term damage of Resident Evil 6 is still being felt however, as recent titles have failed to reach the sales mark set by this sixth installment. The game’s convoluted and disjointed campaign is often to blame for its poor reception. In an attempt to satisfy everyone, Resident Evil 6 satisfied no one, except those lusting for a romance between Chris Redfield and Piers Nevans.
15: Resident Evil Revelations 2 (PlayStation 4 & Xbox One), Metascore - 75
A strange entry here, because it’s one that I believe is massively affected by whether or not you played it multiplayer. Switching between characters made the game a lot more active during a solo playthrough. The multiplayer was hurt because one person would always be left completing mundane tasks, whilst the other got all the action. Strange gameplay design aside, Capcom did a pretty good job with the story in Revelations 2, and nailed a pretty grizzly atmosphere too. Ultimately, as is the tradition at this point with Resident Evil, it was held back by Capcom’s desire to experiment with the gameplay, rather than keep it simple and give the fans what they wanted.
14: Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles (Wii), Metascore - 75
An on-rails shooter at last! Taking advantage of the Wii’s motion controller (in particular that little zapper thing), The Darkside Chronicles was a surprisingly good hit. It looked great on limited hardware, having been built from the ground up, The Darkside Chronicles retells the story of both the second game and Code Veronica. It’s unnecessary from a narrative perspective, essentially redoing two of the most acclaimed games in the franchise with a different style, however it was enjoyable to experience those games from a different perspective. There is a nice nod to the relationship between Leon Kennedy and Jack Krauser in the game's hidden scenario though, which adds a bit of depth to Resident Evil 4 quite nicely.
13: Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles (Wii), Metascore - 75
Another on-rails shooter to round out part one of this list. Again taking advantage of the Wii’s motion controls, The Umbrella Chronicles ties together some plot points regarding the Umbrella Corporation. Focusing on the early games, series antagonist Albert Wesker narrates players through Umbrella’s behind the scenes movements. Acting as one of the better narrative games in the series, The Umbrella Chronicles did a fairly good job tying up plot points in a series that can really lose it’s way narratively. Of course, it’s far from perfect, but it does its best, which was far beyond what anyone thought an on-rails shooter for the Wii could ever achieve.