This year marks the 25th Anniversary of the Resident Evil series, making it a quarter of a century since that first pre-rendered zombie slowly turned its head and changed our lives forever. With Resident Evil Village due to launch later this year, and today’s anniversary Capcom livestream (which we hope is chock full of announcements), we wanted to finally establish the best and worst games in the beloved survival horror series.
So, without further ado, here is the first of two Resident Evil ranking lists, charting ten spinoff games from worst to best. Let’s start with a proper honker…
10 – Umbrella Corps | 2016
Just months before the series’ big turning point with Resident Evil 7, Capcom gave us what is unanimously the worst entry in the franchise to date. Umbrella Corps is a miserable multiplayer experience glomming onto the Resi name while burying any interesting ideas with its laughable execution. It’s the lowest-scoring Capcom game we’ve reviewed with an embarrassing 2 out of 10. Let’s move on rapidly.
9 – Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City | 2012
“We want an alternate timeline, team-based shooter set in the period between RE2 and RE3 where we can play as a ragtag group of completely forgettable mercenaries,” said no one. Recognisable characters do show up at points in Operation Raccoon City’s campaign, but only as fleeting cameos, joining/fighting you depending on which group you’re playing as. Despite everything, it did quite well in terms of sales and likely led to the previous title in this list being greenlit by Capcom.
8 – Resident Evil Survivor | 2000
I hope you’re sitting down, but Resident Evil 7 wasn’t the first time Capcom played with first person. Survivor follows an amnesiac pilot trapped on an island that has him fighting zombies to escape. This was an okay first attempt at a first person shooter set in the RE universe, but it falls down hard in two key areas. Firstly, it isn’t survival horror or tense in any way. Second, it is laughably short with a first run taking not much more than an hour to complete.
7 – Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D | 2011
Remember the awesome and tense bonus mode in RE3 in which you played as the UBCS mercenaries in an escape from Raccoon City? Well, this isn’t that, it’s the survival mode from RE4 and RE5 span out somehow into a standalone game. Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D had a decent array of characters and stages, to be fair, while also showing off Nintendo’s 3DS hardware. However, the thing it was really missing was longevity, as once you had done all the stages, even the different characters couldn’t save it from becoming painfully repetitive.
6 – Resident Evil Survivor 2 – CODE: Veronica | 2001
There’s not much that can be said about this aside from the fact that it’s more of the same you saw in the original Survivor game, but instead taking the events of CODE: Veronica and putting them through a first person perspective (something that is executed far better by another game on this list). It does have some quirks that make it stand out, and clearly lessons were learned from Survivor. This all being said, it’s still not a good game overall.
5 – Resident Evil: Dead Aim | 2003
It’s an odd one, and it’s not a good game per se, but I have a huge soft spot for what Dead Aim was trying to do. It follows Bruce McGivern on a cruise liner (sound familiar?) fighting through zombie passengers to stop a bio-terrorist who is holding the world to ransom. As a light gun shooter that required additional PlayStation peripherals, there’s a good chance Dead Aim is one of the least familiar Resident Evil titles, switching from third to first person as players alternated from exploration to combat.
4 – Resident Evil Gaiden | 2001
Resident Evil Gaiden is an interesting title that follows Leon and Barry (yes, that Barry) on a ship infected with the T-Virus. It has an unusual combat system, fighting in first person but with a rhythm action element to the attack timing. It should be said, Gaiden is worth the play, if only for the achievement that Capcom and M2 managed to fit a halfway decent horror survival experience onto the Game Boy Color. It has atmosphere in spades, it was just held back by various technical limitations.
3 – Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles | 2007
Capcom’s love affair with the light gun shooter didn’t die with Resident Evil: Dead Aim. Just as players were about to retire their plastic plug-in pistols, along came the Nintendo Wii which gave the genre a new lease. The first of the two collection titles on this list, Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles covers the events of Resident Evil Zero, 1 and 3 with co-op in mind, so the narratives of the three games had to be adapted to accommodate this, which is kind of refreshing. It did have an additional narrative thread running throughout, charting the devious machinations of series antagonist Wesker too, adding intrigue and additional background to the earlier games. Excellent, but not as good as…
2 – Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles | 2009
This is the second of the two Wii light gun games, this time covering Resident Evil 2, CODE: Veronica and a brand new campaign. Much like The Umbrella Chronicles it had the storylines of both known titles altered to suit 2-player co-op, but the key difference lies in the third campaign – Operation Javier. This new campaign follows Leon and Krauser (yes, knife boy from RE4) on a previous mission and gives players an idea of their past relationship. Shame this tale was relegated to a spinoff title really.
1 – Resident Evil Outbreak & Outbreak File #2 | 2003, 2004
Following a group of individuals escaping the Raccoon City incident who need to work co-operatively to survive, Resident Evil Outbreak is in dire need of a comeback. The core game and its standalone expansion, Outbreak File #2, are fondly remembered as some of the best early survival horror multiplayer experiences. However, back in 2003, online play was still in its infancy on home consoles and as a result Outbreak didn’t get the widespread acclaim it so rightly deserved back in the day. Did we mention that File #2 featured zombie elephants? ELEPHANTS. With Capcom due to make a multiplayer Resident Evil announcement during their anniversary stream, we’ll be disappointed if we don’t see an Outbreak spiritual successor.
Okay, so that’s the ranking of all the spinoff titles, which we’re sure won’t have upset anyone. Join us very soon for the ranking of the mainline Resident Evil titles!