The hit horror franchise Resident Evil has a total of nine core games. So, which one should you play first?
Resident Evil is hands down one of the scariest franchises of the past two decades. The spine-chilling survival game has managed to stay relevant years after the release of the first installment in 1996. In 2023, players are flush with nine options, but there’s a proper way to get the hang of the story in Resident Evil.
Here’s the correct order to play the Resident Evil games.
How to play Resident Evil games in order
The chronological order of the Resident Evil games differs from the order in which they were released. The series has a complex storyline that spans several decades and involves multiple characters, organizations, and viruses. Playing the games in chronological order can help you understand the overarching plot and how everything works together.
Resident Evil 0
Resident Evil 0 is a prequel to the original Resident Evil game. It follows the story of Rebecca Chambers, a Special Tactics and Rescue Service (STARS) member, and Billy Coen, a former Marine. The game takes place in 1998, before the first game’s events, and explores the origins of the T-virus outbreak.
Resident Evil is the first game in the series and takes place in 1998. It follows the story of Jill Valentine and Chris Redfield, members of the STARS, as they investigate a series of bizarre murders in Raccoon City. The game introduced many of the series’ iconic elements, such as zombies, typewriters for saving progress, and limited resources.
Resident Evil 2
Resident Evil 2 takes place two months after the events of the first game and follows the story of Leon S. Kennedy and Claire Redfield, Chris’s sister. The game introduces new enemies, such as the Lickers and the Tyrant, and expands the lore of the series. The game was recently remade and is available on modern platforms.
Resident Evil 3: Nemesis
Resident Evil 3: Nemesis takes place around the same time as Resident Evil 2 and follows the story of Jill Valentine as she tries to escape Raccoon City during the T-virus outbreak. The game introduces the titular Nemesis, a relentless bioweapon that pursues the player throughout the game.
Resident Evil: Code Veronica
Resident Evil: Code Veronica takes place three months after the events of Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3: Nemesis. The game follows the story of Claire Redfield as she searches for her brother Chris, who the Umbrella Corporation has captured. The game introduces new characters, such as Steve Burnside and Alfred Ashford, and expands the series’s lore.
Resident Evil 4
Resident Evil 4 takes place six years after the events of Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3: Nemesis. The game follows the story of Leon S. Kennedy as he investigates the kidnapping of the President’s daughter by a cult in Spain. The game introduces new gameplay mechanics, such as over-the-shoulder aiming, and is considered a classic of the series.
Resident Evil 5
Resident Evil 5 takes place ten years after the events of Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3: Nemesis. The game follows the story of Chris Redfield as he investigates a bioterrorism incident in Africa. The game introduces co-op gameplay, allowing players to team up with a friend to tackle the game’s challenges.
Resident Evil 6
Resident Evil 6 takes place in 2013 and follows the story of multiple characters, including Leon S. Kennedy, Chris Redfield, and newcomer Jake Muller. The game features multiple campaigns and gameplay styles, ranging from classic survival horror to action-packed set pieces.
Resident Evil 7
Resident Evil 7 takes place in 2017 and follows the story of Ethan Winters as he searches for his missing wife on a creepy plantation in Louisiana. The game features a first-person perspective and a new setting and tone for the series.
Release order of Resident Evil games
If you prefer to play the Resident Evil games in the order they were released, the order differs slightly from the chronological order. However, playing the games in release order can give you a sense of how the series evolved over time and how the gameplay and storytelling changed.
- Resident Evil
- Resident Evil 2
- Resident Evil 3: Nemesis
- Resident Evil: Code Veronica
- Resident Evil 0
- Resident Evil 4
- Resident Evil 5
- Resident Evil 6
- Resident Evil 7