Resident Evil (originally known as Biohazard in Japan) is one of the longest-lasting horror video game series in the world with over a dozen titles for different platforms. The franchise has also “escaped” the game realm successfully and has greatly expanded into animated films, TV series, live-action films, novels, comic books, and more.
With all of the titles to try out and the recent confirmation by CAPCOM at Sony’s June 2022 State of Play that a Resident Evil 4 remake is in the works, the question arises: In which chronological order should you play the Resident Evil Series?
Which Order Do I Play the Resident Evil Series In?
Whether you’re a newcomer to the franchise or a seasoned veteran who is looking to refresh the good old memories of the genre-defining horror survival game that is Resident Evil, you ought to play the games in chronological order so that the story makes more sense. In this article, we’ll do away with the confusion of most consecutively released games not falling in timeline one behind another. We’ll try to keep it as spoiler-free as possible.
1/17 Resident Evil Zero
Released in 2002, it is available on GameCube, Wii, Windows PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.
This is the prequel to the entire series and introduces you to the T-Virus and what the Bravo Team of S.T.A.R.S. were doing before the first game. You play as police officer Rebecca Chambers and a wrongfully convicted criminal Billy Coen (Dual Protagonist system is being used here). This is the first introduction to what is later known as The Mansion Incident.
2/17 Resident Evil (With Remake)
Released in 2002 (we highly suggest playing the remake), you can play it on GameCube, Wii, PS3, PS4, Windows PC, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.
In it, you play as either Jill Valentine OR Chris Redfield, members of the S.T.A.R.S. force who are trying to locate the Alpha team which seems to have lost contact with the base. The game is set in the notorious mansion, where you learn more about Umbrella Corporation and Albert Wesker as you explore it. It has different endings (for which you are responsible) but the most canonical one would be where both Jill and Chris escape the mansion.
3/17 Resident Evil 3: Nemesis (First Half) (Remake)
The original was released in 1999 for PS1, GameCube, Windows PC, and Dreamcast. The remake came out in 2020 and is available on PS4, Xbox One, and PC and we recommend you to jump into this one, even though some small parts of the story are re-arranged, for better focus on the main storyline. You get MUCH easier control of the characters, making it way more enjoyable to play. But make sure to start downloading Resident Evil 2 as soon as you start playing this game because this is where things get complicated and games start to shuffle and overlap from a timeline perspective. In Nemesis, the main protagonists are Jill Valentine, a Special Operations Agent of the Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance, and Carlos Oliveira, an Umbrella Biohazard Countermeasure Service member.
Chronologically, you should play this game until the hospital section while controlling Carlos. The “cutoff” for the first half of Resident Evil 3 is when Jill gets infected. At that point, it’s safe to save your position, close the game and move “back” to Resident Evil 2.
4/17 Resident Evil 2 (Remake)
RE2 was originally released in 1998 for PS1, Windows PC, Nintendo 64, Dreamcast, and GameCube. The remake dropped in 2019 for PC, PS4, and Xbox One. We also recommend you play the remake, due to the same reason as 3 (better controls).
Leon Kennedy and Claire Redfield are the main protagonists of this entry in the Resident Evil series, and the best part is that you can play them in two separate campaigns, with four possible endings in total. The canon experience should be to play Claire’s first campaign and then Leon’s second. Claire is searching for her brother Chris (from Resident Evil 1) and Leon is a rookie police officer. The game takes place mostly in the Raccoon City P.D., some underground sewers, and in an Umbrella Corporation lab.
5/17 Resident Evil 3: Nemesis (Second Half)
Welcome back to Resident Evil 3! You’ll have just two sections in this game to clear in this “half”. Make sure to be prepared well for a Nemesis encounter! We wouldn’t want to spoil anything else.
6/17 Resident Evil Survivor
Released in 2000 on PlayStation and on PC in 2002, this is a spin-off game and is a combination of a first-person shooter and light gun shooter genres, but we found it worth mentioning anyway, despite the controversy with the light guns in the US version of the game. The story takes place right after the ending of Resident Evil 3 and is skippable.
7/17 Resident Evil: Code Veronica
Code Veronica came out in 2000 on Dreamcast, GameCube, PS2, PS3, and Xbox 360, with no remake as of now (it can be rather difficult to run it today on PC so we can hope that Capcom might invest in a remake someday). Despite not having a number in the title like most of the Resident Evil installments so far in this list, it follows a storyline that’s placed after Resident Evil 2. If we provided any further description we would outright spoil it, so we’ll keep quiet.
8/17 Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles
Released in 2009 on Wii and PS3, this is an on-rails light gun shooter video game. Plot-wise, it’s not that crucial to play but there are some interesting story bits that hardcore fans of the franchise will certainly like. The game revolves mostly around personal stories and is mainly retelling some of the events that happened in Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil: Code Veronica. There are four scenarios to clear, revolving around Leon Kennedy, Claire Redfield, Steve Burnside, Sherry Birking, Jack Krauser, etc.
9/17 Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles
Released in 2007 on Wii and PS3, this is also an on-rails light gun shooter like The Darkside Chronicles. It’s as simple as the above entry: you follow a pre-programmed path and you shoot enemies that pop up, like in the arcades. The Umbrella Chronicles features several scenarios based on certain plot points from earlier entries in the series, mostly set in Raccoon City (many from Resident Evil Zero, 1, 3). You can play nine characters in this game: Rebecca Chambers, Richard Aiken, Chris Redfield, Jill Valentine, Albert Wesker, Carlos Oliveira, Billy Coen, Ada Wong, and Hunk.
The final scenario of The Umbrella Chronicles is based on new material and is set in Russia. It’s not essential to play this title for a full understanding of the Resident Evil lore.
10/17 Resident Evil 4
Released in 2005 on GameCube, PS2, PS3, PS4, PC, Wii, Mobile, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch, it doesn’t have a remake yet but a remake of Resident Evil 4 has been announced for 2023. Fan-favorite Leon Kennedy is the protagonist and the story revolves around him saving the president’s daughter from a cult located in Spain. In this iteration, we see that the game is slowly moving into an action-based mechanic style, and away from survival horror. It is one of the top games in the series for sure, and we can’t wait for the remake to hit the shelves!
11/17 Resident Evil: Revelations
Released in 2012 for Nintendo 3DS, PC, PS3, PS4, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch, this game gives us the opportunity to play as Jill Valentine and Chris Redfield once again. The plot is mostly set on a ship and even though it’s not crucial to know the lore, you will find that it makes a great bridge between Resident Evil 4 and Resident Evil 5, so if you’re a fan of Jill and Chris, you should give it a go.
12/17 Resident Evil 5
Released in 2009 on PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch, Resident Evil 5 follows Chris Redfield, but this time, with a new character called Sheva Alomar. It’s a great co-op title to play with a friend (since the A.I. is not the best, sadly). For the plot, we’ll reveal that you are supposed to eliminate Ricardo Irving in Africa, who deals with bioweapons on the black market.
13/17 Resident Evil: Revelations 2
Released in 2015 for PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS Vita, and Nintendo Switch, Revelations 2 has Claire Redfield return to the series and has an overall interesting story. The plot is mostly centered around Moira, the daughter of Barry Burton and Claire Redfield, who is fighting to escape from a dangerous island. The game has four chapters and multiple endings and is an exciting entry in the series.
14/17 Umbrella Corps
Released in 2016 on PC and PS4, this is a Tactical Shooter with a multiplayer mode (quite unorthodox for this franchise). It has a short single-player campaign that isn’t valuable in terms of main plot so it’s definitely skippable.
15/17 Resident Evil 6
Released in 2012 on PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch, Resident Evil 6 has four connected campaigns which feature Leon Kennedy, Ada Wong, Chris Redfield, and Jake Muller (son of Albert Wesker), and Sherry Birkin. The game is best experienced in co-op mode. Even though critics gave it a mixed rating, you should go for it, for the lore.
16/17 Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
Released in 2017 on PC, PS4, and Xbox One, Resident Evil 7 is a first-person shooter (unlike most other entries in the series) that features a completely new character: Ethan Winters. Ethan is searching for his missing wife Mia in Louisiana, USA, and encounters horrors beyond all imagination after arriving at the house where the main plot takes place. There are definite connections with the previous Resident Evil games and also has multiple endings.
17/17 Resident Evil Village
Released in 2021 on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and Xbox Series S, Resident Evil Village is currently the newest title in the franchise which also stars Ethan Winters and features Chris Redfield. We all remember the insane hype on the Internet about the extremely tall Lady Dimitrescu (9’6″ / 290 cm), and the enormous amount of cosplays, memes, and other modern internet culture creations that have emerged. This is also referred to in a similar way to the seventh game (roman numeral in the word VIllage).
The plot is centered around Ethan and Mia moving to Europe to run away from everything they’ve survived in Biohazard. Conveniently enough, they move to Eastern Europe (given the name “Alcina Dimitrescu”, it’s assumed that it’s Romania due to the Transylvania vampire myths and her vampiric character) so you might say that they were kind of asking for trouble since that entire region of Balkans (mostly Romania, Serbia, Greece, Albania) is widely considered as the origin of Vampiric myths and folklore, historically speaking. Sadly, Ethan didn’t bring garlic or a cross with him so the action-packed plot thickens fast, both outdoors and in Castle Dimitrescu as well. It is a must-play even if you haven’t played any other Resident Evil games.