SIGINT’s Ranking of Resident Evils (New Fan Perspective)

In late 2019, I timidly bought Resident Evil 2’s remake, with intentions of trying it out and probably refunding it. Surprisingly, I ended up mostly having an amazing time. I had to pick up RE3’s remake on Day 1, and after I closed the book on it, I needed more. What followed was a few months of binging the entire series, full of ups and downs, but no game I really disliked. They are all fun in their own way, even with occasional issues. Here is my ranking of which ones I enjoyed the most:

List items

  • I was nervous about this game as my first experience with fixed camera gameplay, but it soon faded away. The story is dumb—not even in a good way like in CV and 4, but it has funny bad voice acting at least. The real appeal is what we could call the classic “RE formula,” methodically working through puzzles and enemies, mapping out routes, making tough loadout decisions, taking risks, unlocking one door at a time. It’s addictive, tense, fun, extremely memorable, a thoroughly enjoyable experience despite its clunky mechanics relative to the more recent titles. I like it more and more as time goes on, thinking about how cool some of the puzzles and encounters were.

  • At first glance, it was easy to think, “This is not Resident Evil,” but after a few hours, I did a complete 180. First person view is a radical departure, but feels truly immersive, invoking the same blind spot tension I imagine people felt playing the original fixed camera games in the 90’s. The grimy, gross-out horror vibe in the deep South can feel very different, self-serious, and edgy in a way I found off-putting at times, but it’s well-balanced with humor and entertainment value as it really lets its characters and story shine and go crazy. Jack plays as perhaps the series’ best and most entertaining villain—the enemy variety of past games is mostly gone, but Jack and his family members spill over into their “levels” in exciting, distinct ways. There is no B campaign, but instead VHS flashbacks and some character switch moments are used to great effect to give two perspectives on areas and story moments. The game feels amazing to play, has tons of memorable sequences, just an all killer no filler, no clunkiness, no annoyance, fresh, fun, exciting take on the classic formula.

  • This one may have my favorite story, at least as a guilty pleasure—it’s the ridiculous, cheesy side of RE done so right, packed with entertainment value thanks to its mix of series regulars and crazy new characters. A meaty, involved game that gets a lot of mileage out of its areas in a single consecutive story campaign, rather than needing an A/B scenario or DLC/expansion content. Some of the areas are so cool, either through a particularly nice appearance or just a really nice long puzzle. I especially loved puzzles that stretch across multiple characters and hours that make you think about a key item or location in a different way. This is the RE game I fell hardest into and just couldn’t stop playing for hours.

  • The beginning hours of this game make it feel like the best one. The atmosphere is grounded and tense, puzzles and combat are super fun, and everything feels like a threat. I found that my big AI adversary started interrupting me in an annoying way, and by the time he’s mostly gone, in the middle of the game, it loses some luster and starts to feel a bit less inspired. But I think this one at its best really nails better than any other the balance of tension and release, the weight of each zombie encounter, the best iteration of one of the most iconic characters (Ada), and many of the best moments. When the gameplay and visuals are this good, it’s an amazing experience overall despite whatever small complaints I have.

  • This game was a mildly conflicting but overall very fun journey. It has some of the greatest moments of the series, the over-the-top funny stuff, some great bosses, the iconic opening village section. Leon is at his most likable by far compared to 2 and 6, a goofy action hero for the ages. Some of the puzzles, villains, bosses, and other segments just got on my nerves in a way higher-ranked titles on this list mostly didn’t. It was a tough game to sit down and play for hours on end like I did for the higher-ranked or older titles. But don’t get me wrong, overall it was a great time and it deserved its high place in gaming history. The horror tension is gone, but it replicates it through fun, demanding action. The remake will be one of my most anticipated games of recent years!

  • This for me solves many of my problems with RE2 and the other linear, action-focused titles. I found Nemesis much more exciting than Mr. X, rarely getting in the way of my fun and always changing. Like the action counterpart to RE7, nothing felt like filler or made the game feel like a chore, just one fun segment after another. The early outdoor segment in Raccoon City and the later hospital section stand out as favorites. Can’t think of many actiony third-person shooters that I liked more in general—in fact on first impression I want to rank it even higher, because it lacked the annoyances I felt in the above titles. It’s just a bit too barebones and lacking in iconic-feeling moments to justify a higher placement when I think about it in terms of the whole series.

  • Another one of my favorites in the series in terms of setting, story, and the balance between horror, exploration, and action of the mid-to-late titles. The ship is just way too cool, and thanks to a new type of virus and backstory, everything feels unique. Gunplay feels a little off, but the scanning mechanic is a fun gameplay tweak, the enemies and bosses are weird and different, and the shorter episodic structure with many protagonists works very well. RE6 should have been more like this. If even a game’s water / swimming levels are fun, you know they really went off.

  • A fun co-op shooter, despite its more bland Xbox 360 era appearance, this game is solidly better than the other co-op ones on average and has the series’ best extra / DLC campaign content. While not a horror game, its combat setpieces and bosses were a lot of fun and could be tense in their difficulty at times. Like RE4, I could only take so much of this game at a time, but it has a lot of fun parts and made me wish 4 had co-op too somehow. I would love to see this style of game continue separately with modern gameplay and visuals alongside the survival horror style of RE7.

  • I almost hated this game at first due to its clunky inventory system and partner AI. As annoying as those issues could be, they couldn’t ruin what fundamentally was another good—if not amazing—execution of the classic formula, with enough unique twists to justify itself. The game looks great in the HD re-release, really showing the power of pre-rendered backgrounds over the polygonal stuff in Code Veronica. This one probably isn’t worth remaking fully, but I‘d love to see a new Rebecca game—just please give me an item box. At the very least, its constraints forced me to use and not hoard my items and think really hard about when I should do so, and that unique feeling should be somewhat commended, even if it ultimately turns out for the worse.

  • Widely considered the worst, this game worried me going in, but more often than not, I had a fun time playing its 4 campaigns. QTEs are a nightmare, gameplay can feel weirdly bad at times, and the story is not exactly amazing. But this is a fun co-op shooter with some great high points, even if it overstays its welcome and can be confusing or stupid in its story. I was particularly a fan of Jake’s campaign, which features a great variety of exciting encounters.

  • The sequel to Revelations is let down by characters who are either bland or unlikeable, a forced episodic structure that messes with pacing, a bad ending, and un-fun co-op. But it has its moments, with a cool unique story setup and setting, fun gameplay, and nice bonus content. I wasn’t convinced Barry could be a good protagonist, but he comes across as the game’s most likeable character. Haven’t dug into Raid Mode much but it seems very fun. Worth the time for fans, and definitely tries something different with the partner mechanics that had been around for so long—I just feel sorry for Player 2.