The Resident Evil 4 remake is dropping in just a couple of days. This, understandably, has fans of the franchise restless in anticipation. It's always exciting to see a new interpretation of one of your favourite stories. However, those new to the series might be wondering where to start.


There have been so many new releases over the years (some of them remakes, some actual new instalments), that things might be a bit confusing to the uninitiated.

The franchise first started with Resident Evil back in 1996, with blocky 3D environments, pre-rendered backgrounds, and voice acting so bad (but so good) that it needs to be heard to believed. Then many sequels followed, the latest being Village back in 2021.

We're going to list all the mainline releases in the article below. Not all the spinoffs (there aren't enough hours in the day), but a few. Hopefully this will sort out any confusion, whether you're a curious outsider or an old fan who has lost track.

We should add that, while we've tried to avoid spoilers, some are unavoidable in a list like this. Right, let's get started!

How to play Resident Evil games in story order

Our recommended story order for the main Resident Evil games is:

Not all of these games have made it onto modern consoles (yet), of course. We've included links to the versions we'd most recommend buying at the moment, taking into account the various remakes that have made this franchise more accessible on modern systems.

Just to complicate things further, Resident Evil 3: Nemesis technically takes place before and after the second game. It's pretty much half and half, though, so you could stop at the midway point of Resi 3 and then play through the rest once you have completed the second game. (Or if you can't be bothered to do that, we'd say it's safe to just play 3 after 2, as we've recommended in the list above.)

Also, note that the recent remakes of Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3 do change some elements of those games, expanding some segments as well as adding new ideas (and in some cases, removing old content). You can play the originals or the remakes, depending on your interest in retro gaming, or try both if you want to see absolutely everything.

Read more on Resident Evil:

Resident Evil games in release date order

There is another option, though! To play the Resident Evil games in release date order, so you see the graphics getting better as you go along, follow this chronology below. Where games are still readily available, we've included links to help you collect them.

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Resident Evil (1996)

One of the most iconic games in the horror genre, the original Resident Evil released originally in 1996 may not hold up as well as later entries, but even playing now will give you a good indication of why we all fell in love with it. The game is largely confined to a mansion in Raccoon City, and it is the perfect setting for some tense gameplay and some bone-chilling jump scares.

Resident Evil 2 (1998)

Raccoon City has fallen in the second game in the franchise, and the mission is to get out of there in one piece, while also learning more about what started the whole mess - and who is helping to cover it up. Resident Evil 2 was a stand-out game at the time, and that is even more the case now with the gorgeous remake available to play (more on that later).

Resident Evil 3: Nemesis (1999)

Former elite agent Jill Valentine has to escape from a city that has been infected by a virus in the third instalment of the franchise - one that has also been remade from the ground up to look right at home on your current-gen consoles. The action gets dialled up a tad in this one, but it remains a tense and fun game from start to finish as you work to avoid the terrifying Nemesis.

Resident Evil Survivor (2000)

Resident Evil Survivor is a first-person light gun shooter game and the first major spin-off in the horror franchise. While there is a lot to like about the mysterious story that has you play as an amnesiac working to find out who they are and how they got into the mess they are in, the game is not exactly beloved, with many calling it out for being a cash grab coasting off the Resident Evil name - ouch.

Resident Evil Code Veronica (2000)

Claire and Chris Redfield have to survive a viral outbreak at a remote prison island in the Southern Ocean and a research facility in Antarctica - so they have their hands full. The game is split between the two leads and it is one that was, at the time, beloved by fans of the series. And it is still worth a play now with a lot of the story and gameplay elements holding up.

Resident Evil Gaiden (2001)

A rare handheld entry in the franchise, Resident Evil Gaiden was a Game Boy Color title that jumped between a top-down perspective and first-person combat. If you're playing the games in the modern day, this one is pretty skippable, but purists would urge you to seek out a cartridge anyway.

Resident Evil Remake (2002)

The era of Resident Evil remakes truly began in 2002, with this new spin on the original game. It originally launched on GameCube, and then came to the Wii, before eventually spreading like a virus onto all of the modern consoles (including the Nintendo Switch). If you want to see how this franchise began without having to go all the way back to the 1990s, this is the way to do it, with modernised graphics that blow the original out of the water.

Resident Evil 0 (2002)

Prequel time with Resident Evil 0. Players can switch between police officer and medic Rebecca Chambers and convicted former Force Reconnaissance Officer Billy Coen as they explore an old Umbrella training facility – and get ready for one of the tougher main games of the series from the earlier days as this was designed with difficulty in mind.

Resident Evil: Dead Aim (2003)

Another light-gun shooter, Dead Aim is a Resident Evil game that most players would skip if they were working through the franchise in order. It originally came out to mixed reviews, and hasn't been revisited with a remake since. Move along, folks.

Resident Evil Outbreak (2003)

Introducing co-op and online multiplayer to the series, Resident Evil Outbreak is notable on a technical level but not considered a mainline entry in the franchise. Again, you could skip this one. The same goes for its 2004 sequel, Outbreak File 2.

Resident Evil 4 (2005)

One of the best ones! A Resident Evil 4 remake is on the way in a few months' time which will almost certainly present the best version of this game possible, but the original is still very much worthy of your time. US government special agent Leon S Kennedy is at the heart of the action (again) when he is sent to rescue the president's daughter from an evil cult in rural Spain.

It's a stunning game and one of our favourites in the series, so to say we are excited for the remake is an understatement. Also, we'd recommend the recent VR port - it's a great way to experience this story.

Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles (2007)

The Umbrella Chronicles is an on-rails shooter game that was made for the Wii before being ported over to the PS3, and it's a spin-off that got a lot of love at the time of release. As the name suggests, the game explores the inner workings of the Umbrella Corporation, taking us through events we have seen in previous games, while also giving us fresh insights along the way.

Resident Evil 5 (2009)

Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance agents Chris Redfield and Sheva Alomar are off to West Africa in the fifth of the mainline games, and this was the first in the series designed for two-player cooperative gameplay. It is a great game, but it is here that the series really went in on the action - making those that turn up for the survival horror elements feel a little hard done by.

Resident Evil The Darkside Chronicles (2009)

Set before the events of Resident Evil 4, The Darkside Chronicles also takes us back to the events of Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil - Code: Veronica. Released on the Wii, it was also included on the Resident Evil Chronicles HD Collection, the game received some complaints for its controls, but was still generally liked. It does help to have good knowledge of the franchise up to this point though as the story will be muddled if you don't.

Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D (2011)

Another multiplayer entry here! And another skippable side-entry, to be honest. Still, fans of the Mercenaries mode from Resi 4 were pleased to see the experience expanded into this standalone title. Probably not worth revisiting in the modern day, unless you're really committed.

Resident Evil Revelations (2012)

Atmosphere and chills are the order of business with this spin-off that looked to bring the fear factor back to the series after the switch to a more action-orientated style of gaming. It seemed to largely do the trick with many praising the tense nature of the experience. The Nintendo 3DS handheld game is set not long after the events of Resident Evil 4.

Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City (2012)

This game sold a lot of copies, even though the reviews weren't very kind to it. The game had a solo campaign and the option of four-player co-op, as well as online connectivity. The story took players back to the initial outbreak, around the same time that Resi 2 and Resi 3 took place. A bit of a side-story, then.

Resident Evil 6 (2012)

Leon S Kennedy, Chris Redfield, Jake Muller and Ada Wong all take centre stage in the sixth of the major Resident Evil games, and the campaign is split into 4 parts with each at the helm. But that choice did not go down well with a lot of people, and neither did the choice to once again pick action over scares - something that would be rectified in Resident Evil 7.

Resident Evil Revelations 2 (2015)

Claire Redfield is back as the protagonist in this one, and Barry Burton is a playable story character for the first time too in the spin-off title. Claire and others are all captured at a party and whisked away to a deserted island in the Baltic Sea, and things only get worse for them from there. It's a mixed bag of a game to be sure, but one that has enough moments in it to make it worth playing.

Resident Evil 7: Biohazard (2017)

Ethan Winters enters the story for the 7th entry in the main game series, and he is desperately searching for his missing wife in a derelict plantation. Unfortunately for Ethan, an infected family are already living there and they are not set on welcoming him in with open arms. The franchise switched to FPS here, and it also went back to its survival horror roots - ditching a lot of the action that had dominated in recent years.

Resident Evil 2 remake (2019)

A glorious example of how to rejuvenate your franchise whilst keeping the original fans on-board, the Resident Evil 2 remake captures the tone of the original game whilst expanding certain sections and shifting the gameplay into a more modern action experience. A great place to start your Resident Evil journey, actually, and definitely one you shouldn't skip.

Resident Evil 3 remake (2020)

It's not quite as universally beloved as the Resi 2 remake, but the Resi 3 remake is still a really fun action-horror experience with plenty of really scary moments. Again, here in the modern age, it's a great place to jump into the franchise and see what all the fuss is about (without having to make do with ancient graphics and outdated gameplay).

Resident Evil Resistance (2020)

Another multiplayer entry that you can skip over, unless you've really got a lot of time on your hands. Launching alongside the Resi 3 remake, this game allowed groups of five to play together — one of you is a horror mastermind laying traps, while the others are your terrified victims. Quite fun, actually!

Resident Evil Village (2021)

resident evil village

The latest game in the mainline series may have irked some (it was a little lower on the scares than other games in the franchise), but it made up for that with some brilliant monster designs and a story that had us invested from early on. And with it being a more recent entry, you can hear our full thoughts on it by reading our Resident Evil Village review!

Resident Evil Re:Verse (2022)

The most recent game in the Resident Evil franchise is not one that you really need to write home about, although it is a fun concept. Another multiplayer entry, this one features six-person death matches across an array of familiar locations, where you get to play as a number of iconic characters from the franchise. It sounds fun, but the reviews weren't great, so the search for a perfect Resi multiplayer game continues!

Resident Evil 4 Remake (2023)

Slotted for release in just a few days, this remake of the ultimate fan favourite is looking to be killer. You can read our review of it here, but you've probably already ordered! The plot looks to be very similar to the original, but there might be a few surprises here and there.

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