My relationship with Resident Evil started in 1998, at the time the second game in the series was released. My brothers and I were too young to be playing it really, but we’d managed to convince mum to get us a copy of the first game now that it had gone Platinum. Thank you HMV for not being too hot on asking who the game was for!
On the edge of the bottom bunk we turned on the PlayStation and the 14″ CRT and waited. What followed was the start of a fascination with a franchise that has both amazed and frustrated me. Several times I’ve nearly given up on it but it’s still here and I’m still playing it 19 years later.
Part One covered spots 12-7. Now we’re at the business end. Which Resident Evil game takes the top spot? Let me know what you think in the comments!
#6 – Resident Evil 5 – Xbox 360, 2009
I’m almost as surprised as you are to find Res 5 this high up the list. When I started this list I assumed it would be near the bottom like its sequel. But there are things two that saved this game. Co-op and Chris Redfield. Did you know that he’s had enough of your bullshit?!?
Despite hating this game at points it always comes up in conversations with my friend Keith. It may not have been a classic Res experience but it was a great two player experience. We had a lot of fun and I’ve grown to appreciate over time just how much fun we had taking down BOW’s together. Even when I had to stand in the corner whilst he dealt with the puzzles, or when I accidentally took the sniper rifle and proceeded to suck with it, we had a good time.
Or I could just tell you that CHRIS REDFIELD PUNCHES A MOTHERFUCKING BOULDER. That should be enough on its own to justify its placement.
#5 – Resident Evil: Revelations 2 – Xbox 360, 2015
Pre RE7 this was the closest the series had come to its roots since the original Raccoon City trilogy had ended. Unique for its episodic nature, this new way of releasing the game had pros and cons. The pacing wasn’t always great, but it was enjoyable to take on chunks at a time and then look forward to the next part.
The biggest selling point was finally getting to play as series legend Barry Burton. Capcom didn’t hold back on giving him awful jokes, whilst they further delved into the fatherly instincts that got him into so much trouble in the past.
Higher quality dialogue amidst the shooting and solving stayed with me too; a good balance between natural conversation and the usual nonsense that comes up in these games. Rev 2 isn’t perfect but it’s a good modern Res game.
#4 – Resident Evil 2 – PS1, 1998
As this came out I was busy being scared by the original. That didn’t stop me seeing the amount of hype it garnered. Resident Evil 2 was highly anticipated, and by all accounts lived up to it. Bigger in every way, it expanded the Raccoon City story with branched storytelling and more playable characters.
It’s tough to put my finger on why Resident Evil 2 didn’t quite grab me in the same way as the other games you’ll see ranked higher. It’s a great game, with a fantastically eerie atmosphere and great music. I do think it’s a bit long, and whilst Claire and Leon have gone on to be some of the most well-known characters in the series, they’ll never be Chris and Jill.
For many people this will be the high point of the original games and possibly even the franchise. For me though it’s a very good game that doesn’t contain moments that really stuck with me like those ranked higher.
#3 – Resident Evil 7: Biohazard – PS4, 2017
Resident Evil 7 blew apart my expectations, forcing its way into my top three with the scariest experience since I turned off the PS1 in a panic playing the original game. It’s a major return to both form and Survival Horror.
In the shoes of an Average Joe thrust into a horrendous situation, Biohazard steps back from the action and OTT nature of the previous numbered entries. Instead it is gruesome and tense, especially in the first couple of hours. Things do settle down once you find a rhythm and gain more weapons but you always feel up against it. Once again you’re left with too many enemies and not enough bullets. Taking the best aspects of the original games and doing what Survivor couldn’t, RE7 uses the first person view to crank up the intensity.
#2 – Resident Evil 3: Nemesis – PS1, 1999
For a long long time Nemesis was my top Res game. Streamlined and refined, there was little backtracking and there was finally a 360 degree spin! It kept you constantly on edge via one of the best enemies the series has had. The Nemesis.
Over two games I’d learnt and trusted the term ‘saved by the door’, as the classic door animation, meant to conceal the next room being loaded from disc, interrupted the jump of a dog or the lunge of a zombie. Sigh of relief breathed, I could continue on or even go back in knowing their position had been reset.
The Nemesis takes that idea, chews it up, and spits it back out. I distinctly remember the first time he followed me into another area. Off I went, almost oblivious to the change in music, until BAM, he grabbed me and promptly smashed a tentacle through my face.
Brad Vickers finally gets what he deserves in a game that used the traditional formula but tweaked it enough to make it feel very different.
#1 – Resident Evil – PS1, 1996
Pretty obvious? You’re right. If it wasn’t going to be 2 or 3 it was more than likely going to be this. 7 makes a pleasing entry high up but ultimately the Spencer Mansion in the Arklay Mountains is where we find the number one entry and my favourite Resident Evil game.
It was a replay of Resident Evil 1 a few years ago that cemented it. I realised that the setting, and the relationship you build with it, is its single biggest strength. I mentioned the lack of back tracking as a plus when discussing Nemesis but here retreading old ground with new knowledge and items is what makes the game what it is. The mansion holds many secrets, pushing you forward despite the surroundings becoming more and more familiar.
Then there’s the opening movie. It’s terribly good as it begins a story of cowards, traitors and heroes before the series became overly complicated.
It’s clunky and it’s cheesy and the voice acting is terrible. But I don’t care. It could be taken as a slight at the rest of the series that they’ve never been able to top it, but it’s also a sign of just how good this game is.
There you go! Do you agree? Am I talking rubbish? Let me know!