Resident Evil quickly made an impression on players – and likely contributed to no shortage of nightmares – when it debuted on the original PlayStation in 1996. Since then, Resident Evil solidified itself as the most mainstream horror series in gaming. Despite this, the franchise underwent numerous changes that included steering the series away from horror and into the realm of action, before later reverting back to horror through the first-person perspective.

RELATED: 10 Scariest Resident Evil Games, Ranked

Resident Evil has as many highs as it does scares and as many lows as it does explosions. It currently has eight numbered mainline titles and numerous others that add to the greater continuous RE universe. And that’s not to mention a handful of remakes, including the upcoming Resident Evil 4.

10 Resident Evil 7: Biohazard (PS4/XOne) Brought Horror Back By Introducing A New Perspective (86)

After Resident Evil 6 was widely panned by both critics and fans alike, Capcom sought to right the ship by bringing the series back to its horror roots. While Resident Evil started to shift back toward horror through the Revelations titles, it was 2017’s Resident Evil 7: Biohazard that put the series back on the map. RE7 puts players in the shoes of new character Ethan Winters as he seeks to rescue his missing wife, Mia, who is held captive by the bizarre Baker family. RE7 is the first mainline Resident Evil to utilize the first-person perspective, which continued in the follow-up Resident Evil: Village.

9 Resident Evil 5 (PC) Adds Fun Co-Op, For Better And For Worse (86)

Few Resident Evil titles carry with it as much of a mixed opinion as Resident Evil 5 does. While RE4 is often credited for beginning the series’ shift away from horror, RE5 takes this a step further by telling a story that takes place mostly during the day and giving the returning Chris Redfield a partner in Sheva Alomar.

RELATED: Resident Evil: 5 Tropes That Are Overdone (& 5 We Can’t Get Enough Of)

Resident Evil 5 is built around cooperative play with the second player controlling Sheva. While many fans felt co-op took too much away from the series’ horror elements, RE5 frequently receives praise for its entertaining co-op mode with many arguing it’s the best way to experience the game.

8 Resident Evil 2 (N64/PS1) Is Still One Of The Best Sequels Ever Made (89)

How do you follow up a classic like the original Resident Evil? By doubling down on everything that made the original so influential. Resident Evil 2 was released in 1998 and introduces players to Leon Kennedy and Claire Redfield. Leon is a rookie police officer on his first day on the job while Claire is seeking to find information on her missing brother, Chris.

Unlike the original Resident Evil, where Chris and Jill Valentine’s stories were nearly identical, Leon and Claire follow different intertwining stories. RE2 showcases the onset of the cataclysmic events of Raccoon City. Leon and Claire spend most of their time in the spooky museum-turned-police-station Raccoon Police Department, filled with as many horrors, and puzzles, as the original’s Spencer Mansion.

7 Resident Evil 3: Nemesis (PS1) Will Have Players Seeing S.T.A.R.S. (90)

Resident Evil 3: Nemesis is a unique title in the Resident Evil series as it takes place concurrently with the events of RE2. RE3 brings back Jill and places her in a burning, overrun Raccoon City. There she is frequently pursued by the relentless Nemesis who was created solely to hunt down former members of the S.T.A.R.S. unit. Nemsis also featured choice options such as whether to stand ground and fight Nemesis or run and hide. Resident Evil 3 would receive a remake in 2020, but was criticized for its length, removal of sections, and overly scripted Nemesis encounters.

6 Resident Evil 2 Remake (PS4) Took An Iconic Sequel And Perfected It (91)

If RE7 was a return to form for the Resident Evil series, the remake of RE2 was proof that it wasn’t a fluke. The Resident Evil 2 remake carries over much of what fans loved about the original while also bringing back the third-person over-the-shoulder perspective of pre-RE7.

RELATED: 10 Games With Remakes Where Both The Original & The Remake Are Equally Worth Playing

While the remake was criticized by fans for not better interweaving Leon and Claire’s story, it still finds itself high on many fans’ lists of the best Resident Evil titles. The RE2 remake is also frequently mentioned as one of the best video game remakes of all time.

5 Resident Evil Remake (GameCube) Expanded The Original Classic (91)

Of course, RE2 wasn’t the first Resident Evil title to receive the remake treatment, preceded by the original Resident Evil Remake for the Nintendo GameCube in 2002. The Resident Evil Remake was made in conjunction with the prequel Resident Evil 0, along with ports of the mainline Resident Evil series up to that point. This remake of Resident Evil would later receive a high-definition remaster. The Resident Evil remake keeps nearly everything intact, including the infamous tank controls. However, a few story additions were made including the tragedy of Lisa Trevor and her family, along with brand new additions to the mansion.

4 Resident Evil (PS1) Is The One That Started It All (91)

The original Resident Evil left its mark in the video game world in 1996 and would firmly establish the mainstream video game horror genre as we know it today. Resident Evil kicks off the franchise by telling the story of the S.T.A.R.S Alpha Team – led by Chris, Jill, Barry Burton, and Albert Wesker – as they seek answers about the missing Bravo Team that was investigating a series of strange cannibalistic murders.

From laying eyes on the first zombie to the startling sound of shattering glass as a zombified dog crashes through the window, the original Resident Evil doesn’t lay off of the scary moments, which makes its quieter moments all the more unsettling. Resident Evil is still, to this day, among the scariest video games out there.

3 Resident Evil 4 (Wii) Is Often Considered The Best Way To Play (91)

Resident Evil 4 is currently one of the most ported and re-released games ever made. However, not all RE4 versions are just a fresh coat of paint. Enter the Nintendo Wii version. Naturally, its most prominent feature is motion control functionality. Each shot and the quick-timed event is done utilizing the Wii’s motion controls giving players an RE4 that feels better than ever. The Wii also comes with additions that were included in ports released after its initial GameCube release including the Ada Wong campaign “Separate Ways,” giving Nintendo players content they had previously missed out on.

2 Resident Evil – Code: Veronica (Dreamcast) Is The Real RE3 (94)

Resident Evil – Code: Veronica was released for the Sega Dreamcast in 2000 and is a follow-up to RE2, with many fans considering it to be the true RE3 (and is often speculated as originally intending to be RE3). Code: Veronica continues Claire’s story to reunite her brother Chris. However, she is captured and imprisoned on Rockfort Island, which is currently dealing with its outbreak.

RELATED: 7 Games You Didn’t Know Were Inspired By Silent Hill

Code: Veronica keeps the gameplay of the series relatively the same. The major difference is that the backgrounds are now fully rendered in 3D as opposed to pre-rendered. Beyond that, C:V is often cited as being the most difficult Resident Evil title.

1 Resident Evil 4 (GC/PS2) Is Still One Of The Best Games Ever Made (96)

To the surprise of no one, the original version of RE4 is the highest-rated Resident Evil title on Metacritic. RE4 initially launched on the GameCube in 2005 before releasing on the PS2 later that year (and many other systems thereafter). RE4 brings back RE2’s Leon Kennedy as he embarks on a mission to rescue the President’s daughter, Ashley Graham.

While escorting Ashley is often viewed as RE4‘s biggest drawback, it hasn’t stopped RE4 from receiving endless praise by both fans and critics alike. RE4 would begin the series’ transition into a more action-oriented narrative, emphasized by the new over-the-should camera angle. With a better balanced difficulty curve than the Wii re-release, it’s no wonder fans keep returning the original RE4.

NEXT: 10 Best PS1 Games You Can Beat In One Sitting

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