Resident Evil - Ranked!

...Gaben??
...Gaben??

Partly inspired by Game Informer's recent ranking of the series, which reminded me that despite being such a self-proclaimed Resident Evil nut, I still haven't formally listed the games from Best to Worst. It would ideally go the other way but... Giant Bomb lists, whattayagonnado.

One of the reasons why I've held off for too long with this is I tend to... ramble a little lot when it comes to these games, which in turn potentially amounts to an awful lot of writing. Being the lazy bugger that I be, it as such has kept me from ever even getting to the stage of listing them out. However in the interest of just finally putting this out there, I'll try to be as concise as possible, for all our sakes. Plus, I want to keep my thoughts on the modern games brief especially, as I'm STILL trying to write up these damned retrospective blogs.

Also, I can of course only include the games I've actually played, so there are a few omissions regarding the series as a whole.

Note: I'll add in advance that I'm actually writing this all up within the confines of the lettertextbox... So, typos and garbled sentences are likely prevalent! Once posted I'll do as I do and feveriously re-read it all while negatively judging my own work from every angle... and maybe swat a few of the typos here and there, too.

List items

  • A rather common pick for No.1 I'm sure, but there's a reason for that! Many in fact! For myself a large part of it undoubtedly resides in nostalgia, which is why it just ever so manages to scrape past the equally predictable No.2 spot. This was the first Resident Evil I had completed, and literally one of the first handful of games I had ever played! This game defined much of my childhood -- it lead to weird instances of me walking around IRL with 'tank controls' and would inspire many live-action reenactments of the game's most famous scenes... If only I had a video camera at the time >_>

    In any case, it made a vast number of improvements over the original in terms of production values, with all kinds of swanky new animations across the board for both characters and enemies alike. Shooting a zombie with the shotgun and witnessing the torso collapse off onto the floor as it then begins to crawl at you -- good stuff!

    The story's a lot of fun too, with the right amount of cheesy melodrama and some actual, legit drama. That kiss scene between Leon & Ada... not gonna lie, it brought a genuine tear to my 8-9 year old self. The Scenario system to this day is a really neat feature at that and is perhaps one of the most inventive uses of New Game+ I can think of. The Mr. X Tyrant was also a real fucker too, bashing through walls and the like, causing my heart to skip a beat or three. And the big fella's respectful enough simply for being the prototype for what would soon follow in the series' next entry.

    Man, and then there's the amount of unlockables! Like, giving you a side-story playing as the enigmatic 'HUNK' character is one thing, but then also fitting in a Tofu-lead parody of aforementioned side story??

  • I'd say the 2002 Resident Evil remake is insurmountably a better game for all intents and purposes, but again, it can't beat that nostalgia! Nonetheless, Resident Evil is a genuinely superb game, and perhaps the only one that to this day can still prove to send the odd shiver down my spine. On its own terms it makes for a hauntingly beautiful and densely atmospheric horror game, but for the veterans it's all the more special, for how it plays tricks with your expectations and constantly keeps you guessing as to what else Mikami has rejiggered for this 'un.

    Also, Crimson Heads -- OHGODWTFNOSHIEEEEEETTE

  • I decided to add the DC version as it's essentially the original just with bonus stuff.

    In any case, while this one hasn't aged all too well (which, coming from me you know means a lot), it still has a place in my heart. The almost impressively awful dialogue is timeless and infinitely quotable , and while it's obviously not especially scary any more, it's still creepy enough to be effective courtesy of its brilliantly placed camera angles.

    The DC's Advanced mode only makes it all the better, with an even more unnerving assortment of camera angles to go alongside a much tougher experience overall, with items moved around, a new flurry of jump scares, and a significant amount more of those fakkin Hunters! Jill also gets herself a real swanky new costume in it, too.

  • Resident Evil 3 at times sorta feels like it's in the wrong format. This is still survival horror all the way, but it's undoubtedly actioned things up a skosh. It's got this new dodge manuever (that's admittedly rather tricky to pull off, however) you can create your own ammo, and it was also the one to firstly introduce the Mercenaries minigame, albeit one that actually differs pretty greatly from the much popular RE4 iteration.

    Even still, the inclusion of Nemesis still does the job in giving you a feeling of intense vulnerability. He's just as much of a horror video game icon as Pyramid Head, and his ceaseless determination in hunting you down aids that fact. While like all monsters he will still ultimately perish by your hand (You want STARS? I'll give you STARS...), he still proves to be a terrifyingly tenacious foe from beginning to end.

    While RE3 is unfortunately much shorter this time, with only one playable character and no Scenarios system or anything like that, it at least has a bevy of random elements--including when Nemesis will show up--to infer plenty of replay value all the same.

    Also, Carlos Oliveira's accent changes midway through the game, and I think that's pretty funny.

  • RE4 was a tough time for me. I mean, like everyone else I fucking loved this game! I completed it in two sittings straight and wanted to head right back in as soon as the credits finished rolling...

    However this still sort of functioned as the beginning of the end for me. I've liked Resident Evil games released after the fact, but not to the extent of my favourites, as this list proves of course. This was also the tipping point for the series of having a delicate balance between action and adventure, to now embracing the action side of things almost wholesale. That you're actually encouraged to kill every enemy you encounter of courses makes for a pretty heavy distinction between RE4 and all of the ones that came before it. The linearity of it all also meant that you were no longer trapaising throughout one huge environment on key hunts; whenever you located a key item, chances were high that you would then proceed to use that item a few steps ahead of you.

    Still, for what it is RE4 is a bloody good time. It's a genuine innovator for starters, leading the way for such series as Gears of War, another favourite of mine. It's a 15-hour long adventure that never feels its length, it's got oodles of unlockables, and it was a graphical powerhouse for its time -- it to this day still looks fetching enough on PC I'm sure. So many iconic boss battles, weapons -- Hell, even the weapon sound effects are still to bring about a smile. Playing as Krauser in Mercenaries also holds what is quite possibly my favourite video game bow at that.

    ...Ashley's still an annoying bint, though.

  • Whoops, heh, this isn't a Resident Evil game! My mistake...

  • ...I've put over 200 hours into this bloody game. I think that alone proves to me that I have clearly enjoyed me some RE5 in my time. While it has at this point pretty much completely abolished any pretence of trying to be a horror game, it's still a superbly crafted third-person shooter, with some of the best gameplay this side of Gears that I can recall. It has many notable flaws, such as the Wesker boss battles, the final third where they start throwing enemies with guns at you, and the game's a little on the easy side -- with a disappointingly bog-standard NG+ offering. On the other hand its Mercs mode alone has kept this game installed on my PS3 HDD since day-1, and the impressive amount of weapons has always pushed me on in giving this game just one more playthrough. Its small DLC offerings also delivered both aspects of Resident Evil at their prime, with Lost in Nightmares delivering a look at what a modern day survival horror game could entail, and Desperate Escape providing all of the contemporary thrills of the series, only now with randomisations elements mixed into the fray.

    The gameplay is so grand that it's a wonder why Capcom felt they had to 'reinvent the wheel' as it were... But more on that later.

  • Yes, yet another version of the original Resident Evil. Though like the DC, the DS version includes its own mode to help introduce many a new element to keep fans on their toes. The many new puzzles (most of which involve the touchscreen & microphone, though not all) are all weaved in surprisingly naturally and manage to add a lot adventure to this action-adventure title.

    Even besides the added puzzles are a number of incremental improvements at that. 180 degree turn? ffffffffffffffff yeah!! Having the knife existing as a permanent fixture of your character like in RE4 is a wonderful addition at that, and one I wish RE2 and 3 could see one day... One day...

  • Revelations is a game that I more so respect than I do outright... enjoy. OK, that makes me feel like I'm judging this game a little harder than I mean to be... I mean, it's OK! But at the same time that's kinda all it is, and I believe it's because of what else was coming out at the time that's made Revelations seem like such a comparative gem.

    Still, its lofty ambitions of meshing together the old and the new is something I again certainly respect. However what that ultimately lead to is a game that doesn't excel in either direction of the series. It doesn't quite capture the vulnerability of survival horror, there are very few puzzles overall, and there's far too much action and character-switching throughout that deflates much of the intended effect of horror. Furthermore, the shooting isn't nearly on the same caliber as Resident Evil 4 or 5.

    It does carry a smidgen of the atmosphere of old school Resident Evil at least, and it does also include many opportunities to go and explore the primary Queen Zenobia ship. Its story, while needlessly convoluted as it is, helped introduce the world to Parker Luciani! A character that is so likeable and full of enough personality that if anything he's... almost too good for this series even in a weird way of putting it. Much of the dialogue throughout has a playful nature about it, which is a nice change of pace from the stark, grim and overly self-seriousness of Resident Evil 6 for example.

    Its Raid mode makes for an intriguing evolution of the staple side-game for the series at that. Adding in RPG elements such as random loot and damage numbers makes every game better! And Revelations is no exception.

  • At release, I was outright addicted to this game. Invested a time estimating at about 250 hours I think? I mean, Outbreak isn't an especially stellar games by any means, and returning to it rather recently has reaffirmed my fears...

    However the many ideas on display here I still feel have the potential to create something truly grand! Multiplayer in horror games is the sort of concept I would once typically scoff at, but Outbreak is such a game where it perfectly blends cooperative gameplay with the ammo conservation and general feeling of vulnerability of survival horror. Having one person lockpicking a door, while your teammate is literally pushing their weight against another to keep the zombies at bay -- all the while a third stands firm with their gun ready! It all sounds fucking awesome on paper, however we in Europe never got the game's online capabilities so... I was stuck with the AI -- AI that to this day still stands as some of the most hilariously moronic AI I have encountered in a video game. Yet the 14-15 year old never seemed to mind; he was too busy reveling in the ''what ifs'' and simply enjoyed playing all of this survival horror goodness. Looking back, it really sucks that I never got to play this as intended, especially since with the AIs you basically have to take up the role of... everything. The AIs can't really do much of anything beyond running around (and right into enemies) spouting dumb ad-libs, at best functioning as a pair of pack mules. Pack mules that will also routinely fuck off and go do their own thing, which typically involves getting munched on, returning to you for aid, and then going right back out again to do the same thing.

    I've always enjoyed the voice acting at least, with Mark's ''HELP MUH PLEEZ'' existing as my own little meme of sorts. The writing along with it has it veering awfully close to days of Jill Sandwiches and Oh My Cods -- the way the dialogue and the subtitles are sometimes telling completely different stories is sort of surreal to try and read in tandem at that...

    Has one Hell of an opening CG cutscene, one that truly captures the melancholic sense of dread that's bubbling underneath as Raccoon City is thrusted into a waking nightmare. A nightmare made up of -- OH FFS WILL YOU STOP PICKING UP THAT SHITTING PESTICIDE SPRAY?! THERE'S NOT EVEN SPRAY LEFT IN THE FUCKING THING YOU BLOODY...

  • This was the point that the format was really showing its age for the public. Everybody is aware of such names as Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine, but Billy Coen? Nothing but crickets and tumbleweeds from most I'm sure.

    Resident Evil Zero still retains many of the hallmarks I personally enjoy of this series, however. It essentially functions an awful lot like the original in particular, with the Umbrella training facility resembling the Spencer Mansion in more ways than one. It helps fill in some not-all-that-necessary-but-still-interesting-backstory behind the creation of the T-Virus, and it gives Rebecca Chambers a bit of extra spunk & personality to prove that literally every other female leading lady in this series is more interesting than Jill Valentine.

    Oh, and Billy Coen. That guy. I think it's honestly unfortunate that your partner character couldn't have been fellow STARS Bravo member Richard Aiken instead, but Billy's... fine. Both he and Rebecca mesh well together and come across as believable in their initially rocky attempts at working together.

    The partner mechanic that drives the game is perhaps not as well implemented as it could be, much like how Billy is for example the single RE protagonist who can't mix herbs, but it at least helps it stand out amongst the crowd of its forebearers. Plus, because of how Billy is practically the tank of the two, the moments that force you to play as Rebecca alone accentuates the tension as you're suddenly forced to take extra care during combat. Especially when it comes time to fight against the Proto-Tyrant!

    My main problem with it, however, is that it's awfully... slow. Like, tank controls and all that, but most RE games all animate pretty fluidly, whereas RE0's animations feel terribly sluggish, especially when put against the remake. It's a small gripe, but one I hope can be fixed amidst a similar sort of remastering that the remake is being treated to one day.

    Also, the Leech Hunter minigame is laughably bad.

  • Despite being apart of the Old Guard, I've never especially cared very highly for Code: Veronica. I wouldn't go as far as to call it a bad game, but it's without a doubt one of the weakest of the core lineup.

    The one thing right off the bat that clashed with me is the more cartoon-ish art style. It simply doesn't carry the oppressive atmosphere that I grew so fond of with these games. Though that's only the start. While it's technically a sequel to RE3, it was actually developed in conjunction, only many of the mechanics introduced RE3 are noticeably missing in here, with very little replacements to help it stand out. You can't manually go up/down stairs, but the zombies sure can! Which would actually result in you then having to wait for the blighter to go up/down the staircase for you to then travel whichever way. The gore was noticeably toned down at that, with no head explosions unfortunately. Animations looked a little more rigid over even RE3, with all characters standing weirdly upright as they're at attention.

    It lacks many of the kooky unlockables at that, with only one minigame available -- to which also easily stands as the worst minigame of the series. It all feels disjointed (speaking for the minigame I mean) overall, as it progresses from one random environment to the next, where you're required to kill everything to proceed -- not exactly a defining aspect a survival horror. You also have infinite ammo?? But only for some weapons?? There's just very little rhyme or reason to much of it really and it, well, kinda sucks. Without a doubt the worst minigame of the series -- even puts Leech Hunter to shame. Though it does at least include the playable debut of Wesker, I guess.

    On the plus side there's Alfred Ashford, a cross-dressing yuppie who has a borderline-incestous fascination with his twin-sister. His ear-shattering laugh also only piles on the creepiness all the more, and while he's more of a laughing stock overall, I'd say he's certainly one of the series most memorable human villains! The music's pretty great at that, with one of the best renditions of the series' hallmark Save Room themes. This was also the first of this era of RE games to have the knife actually being surprisingly effective.

    Oh but disregard all that because Steve Burnside -- just fucking fuck that guy, fuck 'im fucking FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF... Whiny little tosser, the Hell did Claire see in him??

    Overall, it's kinda piecemeal and doesn't have anything that makes it stand out all that much mechanically speaking, and as mentioned before it actually made a number of downgrades from RE3.

  • I admittedly can't remember much from this other than that I have most definitely played it. And er, the main antagonist is some effeminate Sephiroth-lite that changes sex during the end of the game, there's a Chinese agent called Fong Ling? And the game switches between third-person and first-person depending on whether you're exploring or shooting respectively. It admittedly feels a bit harsh to certify this game's position like this given there's so little I can remember... But I remember thinking that it was ultimately just sorta mediocre, and I'm willing to go with my gut and believe the 14-15 year era Yummylittlelee.

    Though I have been meaning to go back to it one day, which'll then at the very least allow me to reassess my feelings on this one.

  • I really love me some RE4-era Mercs, enough that even this shameful cash-grab was able to snag many hours of my time. Buying it £4 rather than at release certainly eased the amount of therapy my wallet would have had to go through, but all the same the Mercs 3D just screams wasted potential.

    The idea of a stand-alone Mercs release still in all honestly sounds like an alright idea! However this attempt simply existed as a way to Capcom pull at the fanboyistic heart strings of the many millions of fans this series has accumulated. For this to really stand on its own it would a helluva lot content, yet what they give you is actually LESS than what you'd find in Resident Evil 5 Gold Edition -- which of course would also include the, y'know, coop campaign and stuff right along with it.

    There's no new maps, and in fact while it does incorporate maps from RE4 & RE5, it doesn't include all of them. There's only one new wholly designed character, being the Mercs debut of Claire Redfield, and such baffling omissions like Leon S. Kennedy and Sheva Alomar only has this game digging an even deeper grave. Really there's very little to say about it beyond what I've already briefed -- it's essentially just RE5 mercs, with a few characters and stages from RE4, and boom, there's your product.

    The core gameplay itself is fortunately still a surprising amount of fun, despite the limitations in enemy frames and actual AI behaviour -- most enemies can be found simply standing around waiting for you to make their head go pop. However the shameful lack of original content does little to help bolster the whole and help prove that Mercs is fun enough to stand on its own. If I had paid full price for this it would have assuredly scored even lower.

  • /sigh... Resident Evil spin-offs have always been a little spotty to be sure, but the main core entries had always carried a consistent level of quality. As I mentioned before, even Code: Veronica I wouldn't consider to be a bad game. Then of course Resident Evil 6 had to come along and mess all that up.

    I'll admit that I've actually played a lot of RE6 -- my overall playtime reads somewhere around 100 hours. Crazy? Yes. Idiotic? Yes... Er

    Though that's all precisely because RE6 is one of those bad games that I find to be ever so fascinating. There's just so many layers of crap to all of this that, in a weird way, I kind of enjoy uncovering it all. Plus I sometimes like to head back and reaffirm to myself that yep, this game still sucks zombie shit.

    Whereas RE5 had already placed its priority inline on the side of action over any sort of adventure, it was still a brilliantly put together game with superb gameplay. RE6 on the other hand has an air of shoddiness throughout; simply 'moving' in that game felt off somehow. Everything has an unsatisfying looseness to it, which contrasts against the tight controls of RE5. The shooting has very little feedback and never feels particularly satisfying, the melee attacks--while more freeforming--feel clunky and don't flow very well from one attack to the next, the boss battles too poorly telegraph what it is you should be doing and also retain that same lack of feedback; QTEs of course are so damned prevalent that RE6 almost starts to feel like a shitty rhythm game of sorts. It has four (four!) campaigns yet barely any story at that, one that is primarily delegated to 'Files' that are located outside of the actual campaigns! Then there's all of the mind-numbingly mediocre vehicular segments -- no vehicle is safe from lulling you to sleep in this thing.

    Its aspirations to function as some sort of third-person Call of Duty are perpetuated throughout. This is a game that has you quite literally ''saving hostages'', while then having to nail an enemy with a headshot while he's holding on the final hostage -- but in slow-bromo.

    The way the game adheres so tightly to its scripting is one core flaw throughout the entire game. Such examples include the way will frequently PULL the camera from your grasp in order to show you what the game wants you to see, to many highly-scripted set-pieces that'll result in immediate death should you ever stray an inch off the beaten path. There's one part in Chris' campaign where you've got a searchlight blaring in your face, but any attempt at destroying results in wasted ammo. It is completely invulnerable, that is until some reinforcements arrive while also shooting it out on their way in. Another great example is the many corpses on the floor amidst Leon's early chapters; they're so very clearly going to get up, however until they do they're completely invulnerable.

    Its shameless attempts in (poorly) replicating all of the worst cliches and tropes of western design results in a truly memorable kind of awful.

    It's not... all bad, though. The idea behind designing four distinctive campaigns, which will often connect with one another throughout, is a genuinely interesting concept. The cutscenes are also well directed, there's some good music in here, and its Mercs mode is... OK. While still largely inferior to RE5, when you remove all of the camera-fucking claustrophobic corridors, QTEs and buggered boss fights, you can at least what they were getting at with the combat. Sliding around and shit can actually prove to be fun at times, though again, despite the many numerable mechanical additions, it all still fails to improve upon the combat designs of RE5.

    Honestly RE6 is a game I could talk about for hours -- and I have! On multiple occasions, both in text and slightly more rambly and potentially psychopathic speech at that. I'll have to cut this short anywhoo, as I don't need to scroll to know this is already falling into that rambly rabbit hole. RE6 is simply one of those games that I enjoy talking about, even if it's to primarily complain about it. Oh well, all in due time... if I can ever finish up this damned retrospective write ups of mine.

  • What a tweest! Nope, RE6 is not residing at the very bottom. And of all things to proceed it, but a sequel to a game nicely situated in No.10? Well for as much as I still enjoyed Outbreak, File 2 on the other hand made drastic balance changes to make it all significantly more difficult. Its new selection of scenarios are all seemingly designed by a psychopath at that. It's as if the goal of each and every one of 'em is to frustrate you into submission. Four out of the five scenarios have you being stalked by some nigh-invincible enemy. In the zoo, you have the otherwise hilarious zombie elephant. However because it's so damned fast, and the gameplay of Outbreak being as slow and stodgy as it is, it's simply nothing but a nuisance. Another level set in a broken down hospital features a rampaging axe maniac forever on your tail, right alongside zombies that will continually poison you should you attempt to defend yourself. Which in most cases means you have to decide between having half your health chewed away, or getting poisoned instead. Then there's the fucking hornets that are practically impossible to hit, yet in contrast will have an exceptionally easy time hitting you -- oh, and they too have a very high at poisoning you, too. The level's end boss is situated in vines and shit that will continually keep grappling you at that, barely giving you any moment of reprieve from getting poisoned.

    The one set in the RPD station will continually fill the area with nerve gas, which was said to act as a mechanism designed to fight away the undead -- only unfortunately it only actually affects you. Not only does it occur at random, but there's no way to know when it's dissipated. So, this will often involve you entering a room to see, finding that yep, the gas is still there, and then exiting back out again. All the while having to put up with loading times that can go up to like 30 seconds -- and there's to be a lot of time looking at that loading screen in these games, let me tell ya.

    The worst of 'em all is the final one, titled End of the Road, which is fitting as it about summed up my patience for this game. There's one area of the game that has you having to make your past landmines--which you can't disarm by the by--all the while having a sniper bearing down on you. The sniper is also IMPOSSIBLE to avoid might I add, that is unless you use the single second of iframes to escort a wounded NPC character... Yup. And again there's still the multitude of mines, most of which are placed so you're bound to walk into at least one of 'em.

    Outbreak File 2 did at least belatedly introduce online play, however I was once again still stuck with the AI as I never had the necessary components. So, you compound all of that with the same inane AI stupidity and you get a game that is borderline unplayable.

    On a more positive note, there's still th -- OH FOR FUCK SAKE DID YOU ACTUALLY JUST GIVE ME YOUR SHOTGUN IN EXCHANGE FOR THE SHOTGUN SHELLS?!

  • Like Dead Aim before it, there's not that much I can remember about Survivor other than it being baaad to the bone. Like, seriously, I can't remember this really having anything redeemable about it. What I do remember is that it was 3 hours long, but you couldn't save -- at all. Like, literally no save function, not even passwords. The shooting was likely unsatisfying and generally shitty at that.

    Despite my admitted haziness as to the particulars of its terribleness, the infamy of this game for its sheer awfulness I'd say is enough validation for this spot anywhoo. But... just to be safe, I decided to keep it one spot above another I most definitely remember all too well as to how utterly abhorrent it be.

  • Whereas RE6 is like some sort of spectacular disaster, Operation Raccoon City is just pathetic. It's nothing but a bunch of cobbled together, slapdash pile of shit. The shooting is complete garbage, there's like literally zero feedback from enemies, all the weapons feel like toys, you're constantly running low on ammo despite this supposedly being a generic TPS, it looks ugly, the squad AI gives the Outbreak games a run for their money, it does a disservice to many iconic RE monsters, there's bugs a plenty, the multiplayer's unbalanced and borderline broken in spots, the classes aren't especially distinctive, the characters and the dialogue have like zero personality, it's like 5 hours yet it still feels like it's too long, they released DLC for like £18 overall that was essentially the exact same base game missions only you played as the equally boring specs ops characters, you can often just run right past everything and trigger the next checkpoint -- yo seriously this game is fucking abysmal.

    Certainly one of the worst games I've ever played. See, RE6 was actually, in spots, trying! Operation Raccoon City on the other hand is practically a smear campaign, as if it actually wants you to turn on this series. It's a shit-covered sling of rope meant to pull in any would-be punters that see the name Resident Evil and think they're in for a good time.

    And what's more is how the 'writer' then attempted to give this game some sort of relevance later down the line by announcing that this one-dimensional soldier guy is gay. So, add 'shameless polygon pandering' to the list, too.