Resident Evil has become the example of the survival-horror genre. The game has some strange numbering at times, and numerous spin-offs and unrelated titles. This is my recommended playing order, but not necessarily the best or in release order.
- Resident Evil
- Resident Evil 0
- Resident Evil 2
- Resident Evil 3: Nemesis
- Resident Evil Code: Veronica
- Resident Evil Gaiden
- Resident Evil 4
- Resident Evil Revelations
- Resident Evil 5
- Resident Evil 6
Resident Evil (1996)
It would be obvious to start with the first one, right? While technically it takes place second in the storyline, it would make vastly more sense to start here.
In this game, you play as either Chris Redfield or Jill Valentine. They are both members of an elite police squad, STARS, and they are dispatched to investigate some killings that have occurred. Bravo team has already been sent in, but nobody has heard from them. Alpha team is dispatched and attacked by dogs, and runs into a nearby mansion...
Other Resident Evil 1 options:
- Resident Evil Director's Cut (1997): The Director's Cut is the same game with a few items and enemies moved around. There are two versions of the Director's Cut, one with dual-analog support and one without.
- Resident Evil (2002): This is an enhanced remake for the Gamecube. the graphics are far greater, controls are better, and each character now has their own extra weapon. The game also slightly changes the story to mention some future game characters.
- Resident Deadly Silence (2006): This is a remake of the first game for the Nintendo DS. It has some new gameplay mechanics and features inspired from Resident Evil 3 and 4.
- Resident Evil is available on the PSN as a PSX Classic.
- The Gamecube version of the game was ported onto the Wii.
Resident Evil 0 (2002)
Now you might think this game should come first, as it is a prequel to the first game. I really think it works better after Resident Evil 1. While the gameplay mechanics are going to be much better than the next few games on the list, the game is going to be the most relevant after finishing the first one.
The story is about Rebecca Chambers, a medic from the first game, and Billy Coen, an escaped convict. Rebecca was part of the first team that went missing in the mountains before Alpha team arrives.
Other Resident Evil 0 options:
- The game was released on the Wii.
Resident Evil 2 (1998)
This is probably considered the best "classic" Resident Evil game. It takes place shortly after the events of the first game. To keep this spoiler free, the mansion from the first game had some zombies in it, they got out and found their way to Raccoon City.
In this game, you can play as either Leon Kennedy or Claire Redfield. Claire is the brother of Chris in the first game. Claire comes to town looking for her brother, not knowing their is a zombie apocalypse occurring. Similarly, Leon is on his way to town for his first day on the job as a Raccoon City police officer. The game features two storylines, one for each character. Their stories are taking place simultaneously, typically at different sections of the game. The majority of the game takes place in the police station and surrounding areas.
Other Resident Evil 2 options:
- The game was ported to the Gamecube. To my knowledge, it is no different than the original release of the game. It's not like the enhanced version of the first.
- Resident Evil 2 is available on the PSN as a PSX Classic.
Resident Evil 3: Nemesis (1999)
Now, to my knowledge, this game takes place pretty much simultaneously to the events of the second game. So really, I think you could play them in either order, but this game introduces some new features, to it's probably best to do Resident Evil 2 first.
In this game, you mainly play as Jill Valentine, from Resident Evil 1, and another guy named Carlos for a bit. The storyline is about Jill making her way through Raccoon City as the Nemesis chases her. The Nemesis is a giant biological creature sent to take down the remaining STARS members.
Other Resident Evil 3 options:
This is the fourth game in the series, and has been released on more platforms than any of them. Originally for the Dreamcast, it was re-released on the PS2 and Gamecube with a few graphic changes. It's more or less a sequel to Resident Evil 2.
This game follows a few characters, I'm not going to list them all for spoiler reasons. More or less, you play as Claire Redfield from Resident Evil 2. Claire is in search of her brother when she wakes up on a small, prison island. The island has very recently become overrun with zombies.
Other Resident Evil Code Veronica options:
- The game was released in HD along with Resident Evil 4 on the PSN and Xbox Live Arcade.
Resident Evil Gaiden (2001)
This is kind of a spin-off game, and not really good, at all, but worth playing if you REALLY want the entire Resident Evil experience. It was released on the Game Boy Color.
Leon Kennedy is sent to a cruise ship that has been overrun by zombies. In the game, you can also play as Barry Burton, one of the STARS members from the first game.
Other Resident Evil Gaiden options:
- There's always emulators...
Resident Evil 4 (2005)
This is a much better Leon story than the previous one. Orignially released on the Gamecube, it was ported to the PS2 and PC.
The story takes place long after the events in Raccoon City. Leon is now a government special agent. He is sent to a remote village in Spain to rescue the president's daughter.
The game is a complete overhaul for the series. It's an entirely new everything, and it worked out great. There are not zombies, but instead villagers than are infected with something, but I can't exactly say what. The is also an over-the-shoulder third-person shooter.
Other Resident Evil 4 options:
- The game has been released on the Wii.
- Resident Evil 4 is available in HD along with Resident Evil Code: Veronica on the PSN and Xbox Live Arcade.
Resident Evil Revelations (2012)
Resident Evil Revelations is a Nintendo 3DS game. It's definitely a survival horror game, while most recent Resident Evil games have been more action based. There certainly is action, but it isn't near as intense.
In this game, you play as Jill Valentine. She has created the BSAA, a group created to take down biological threats worldwide. This game is definitely worth playing if you are a fan of Resident Evil 5, but would make more sense to be played first.
Other Resident Evil Revelations options:
- The game is being ported to the PS3, Xbox 360, PC, and Wii U in May 2013.
Resident Evil 5 (2009)
I was more excited for this Resident Evil game than any others. It is a co-op version of Resident Evil 4! It didn't live up to expectations, but it really isn't as bad as everyone makes it out to be.
In the game, you play as Chris Redfield from the first game, along with a newcomer Sheva Alomar. The game takes place somewhere in Africa. Some kind of infection has been released in an African village, and Chris is sent to aid Sheva in figuring it out.
Resident Evil 6 (2012)
Before I continue with this game, I have only played one section of this one. The game is split into different campaigns that apparently all work together in some sense. The game has received horrible reviews from critics and fans alike, but again, if you want to complete story here it is!
In the game, you can play as a plethora of different characters. Notably, Leon and Chris from multiple previous Resident Evil games.
There are numerous other spin-off titles, but this post is getting pretty long, so I'll just give a list for now.
- Resident Evil Survivor
- Resident Evil: Dead Aim
- Resident Evil Outbreak
- Resident Evil Outbreak File #2
- Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles
- Resident Evil: Darkside Chronicles
- Resident Evil: The Mercenaries
- Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City