We’ve been blasting zombies in manors since the 90s, and in that time, Capcom’s released more than a couple of sequels. So there are plenty of places to jump in if you want to experience the stories, but that does mean it’s a little tough to know when the individual events transpire. So for any eager fans out there, we’ve put together this Resident Evil in order guide, so you know the chronological order of events dating back to the original breakout in Raccoon City. You don’t have to play the games in this order, in fact, it might be best not to, but if you want to know the way it all goes down, this guide should help.
Before we bust into our guide like Leon Kennedy busting into a zombie-filled police station and start to unload bullets of knowledge into your brains, be sure to check out our other great guides, covering things like the best Resident Evil games on Nintendo Switch, Resident Evil 2 safe codes, or the Resident Evil Village DLC release date.
Let’s dive into our Resident Evil in order guide.
Resident Evil 0
A prequel to the game that starts it all, Resident Evil 0 begins the story a few days before the events of Resident Evil. Starring Brave team medic Resident Evil’s Rebecca Chambers and death-row inmate Billy Coen, the narrative explores a train owned by the Umbrella Corporation, known as the Elliptical Express, that’s transporting a series of genetically modified leeches.
After a series of accidents, the train crashes, zombies start to terrorize the local area, and members of STARS are called in to deal with the threat. This game leads directly into the events that kickstart the entire series, and it explains a bit more about the infamous T-Virus. Though it’s the first chronologically, we recommend you play it after Resident Evil.
The classic, the original, and the reason I don’t go near windows at night. Resident Evil is a phenomenon and has been since its original launch in 1996, positioning the PlayStation as the ‘mature’ console, and convincing countless teenagers that they were edgy if they played it. While the fixed perspective is a little clunky, and the tank controls haven’t aged well, the original is still a belter.
If you want to play this game on Switch, you actually purchase the Gamecube remake of Resident Evil, still called Resident Evil. It updates a lot of the graphics and controls, making it much easier to revisit the story of Resident Evil’s Chris Redfield and our favorite Jill Sandwich. This is the best place to start, as it introduces players to the main characters of the series, the T-Virus, and every important concept you need going forward.
Resident Evil 3: Nemesis (First Half)
Like many of the entries in the Resident Evil series, you can play this game in the form of its remake for modern consoles. Capcom, please just let us download and play the original Resident Evil 1/2/3 as well! Resident Evil 3 starts out a few days before the events of Resident Evil 2, with Resident Evil’s Jill Valentine working as a mercenary who’s being relentlessly pursued by a gigantic zombie-like creature known as the Nemesis. A creature whose sole purpose is to destroy STARS.
Resident Evil 2
Taking place shortly after the initial release of the T-Virus, this game sees the town of Raccoon City fully overrun by zombies, just as Resident Evil 2’s Leon Kennedy turns up for his first day on the police force. Of course, he arrives only to find the police station and town to be full of undead ready to bite his head off. An awful first day, honestly.
Players can also play through the story as Resident Evil’s Claire Redfield (the younger sister of Resident Evil protagonist, Chris Redfield), in a story that runs parallel to Leon’s. Once again, we wish we could download the original version of Resident Evil 2, but if you have a Switch then there is a cloud version of Resident Evil 2 Remake. If you have any other way to play the game though, avoid the cloud versions.
Resident Evil 3 (Second Half)
Partway through the story of Resident Evil 3, Nemesis successfully infects Jill with the T-Virus. Then she wakes up several days later, bypassing the events of Resident Evil 2. So yes, it’s a little confusing, but Resident Evil happens both before and after Resident Evil 2!
Resident Evil: Code Veronica
Set in December 1998, Code Veronica follows Claire Redfield as she searches for her brother Chris Redfield in the Umbrella Corporation facility in Paris. Capcom originally designed the game as Resident Evil 3 before a shift in direction, this spin-off still features the gameplay of the core series, so you can consider it a mainline entry. It’s also integral to the story of the mainline characters, the Redfield siblings.
Resident Evil 4
While most of the early games take place around 1998 and the original Raccoon City outbreak, Resident Evil 4 jumps forward to 2005. Leon Kennedy is now a mercenary and must explore a remote eastern European village after the President’s daughter is kidnapped. Leon quickly discovers a sinister plot and encounters supernatural beings known as the Ganado, carrying a mutated form of the T-virus known as Las Plagas. Considered one of the best games ever made by many people (including me), if you don’t have time to play every entry, this is a fantastic place to jump into the series.
You can download the HD port of Resi 4 for Switch, but there’s also a remake that has just come to next-gen consoles. But personally, if you have access to a Wii or a Wii-U, I highly recommend that you set up your Wiimote and blast zombies in Resident Evil 4 for Wii. The motion controls make the game so much more fun, delivering the best version of one of the greatest games ever made.
Resident Evil Revelations
Arriving for the 3DS in 2012, at a time when some considered Resident Evil to be more of an action series than a horror title, Resident Evil Revelations promised to drag the series back to its horror roots by setting it on the confined location of an abandoned cruise ship. This entry stars Jill Valentine shortly after the events of Resident Evil 4, as she and her partner Parker Luciani are called out to explore the remains of the ship Queen Zenobia.
The game quickly reveals a terrorist plot, masterminded by a shady organization known as Veltro. The game also focuses o the story of Chris Redfield, as he explores the world chasing traces of other supernatural beings known as biological organic weapons (BOWs) being engineered and used by Veltro. This is another fantastic place to jump into the series, thanks to its great action, its beautiful graphics on Switch, and its fantastic motion controls!
Resident Evil 5
Jumping forward again, this time to 2009, Resident Evil 5 is set years after the previous entry, Resident Evil 4. This time around, Chris Redfield is sent on a mission to West Africa, who, alongside his new partner Resident Evil’s Sheva, must stop a plot to sell bio-weapons on the black market before they get into the wrong hands. Sadly, things go wrong, and Chris and Sheva must face off against a horde of zombies before long.
It’s not regarded as the best entry, but the cooperative gameplay certainly makes for some fun moments, and there’s plenty to do here as well. Surprisingly, Resident Evil 5 does contain some fairly important moments for the overall Resident Evil lore, so if you want a good idea of the story, you probably do have to play this one.
Resident Evil Revelations 2
An interesting and episodic entry in the series, Resident Evil Revelations 2 follows the antics of Claire Redfield once again, but intertwines this with Barry Burton’s quest weeks later to find his daughter. A bioweapon organization kidnaps Claire, and she’s flung onto a remote island filled with terrifying creatures, it’s a good backdrop for one of the gorier entries in the series, full of disgusting and dark areas to explore.
If you love the first Resident Evil Revelations, this is a bit of a departure, but it features a neat two-player cooperative mode where each player has two very separate move sets and roles. It also features motion controls on Switch (great news) and looks absolutely lovely, so if you want to play with a friend, this is a great entry to do so, and it’s a touch better than Resident Evil 5 if you ask me.
Resident Evil 6
The black sheep of the family, Resident Evil 6 was a mess on release and is responsible for a huge course correction, but it has its moments. The action-orientated entry follows several of the major characters from the series such as Chris Redfield and Resident Evil’s Wesker, in missions set across the world, but it’s the disparate story and lackluster mechanics that make this a letdown for many fans.
The Switch port works well and has motion controls, but this is a terrible place to start for new fans and can be a slog even for the most ardent Resi supporter.
Resident Evil 7
A fresh new start for the series, Resident Evil 7 jumps far into the future, bringing the timeline up to around 2017, and introducing the new protagonist known as Ethan Winters. Three years after Ethan’s wife, Mia, goes missing, he sets off on a mission to find her after she reaches out to him, which brings the protagonist to a spooky house in the backcountry of America, or, more specifically Louisiana. It features some very sinister Texas Chainsaw Massacre vibes.
Before long, Ethan finds himself being held captive by the Baker family, who are seemingly enhanced by some bioweapon, and the house itself has many more surprises in store. With a move to a first-person perspective and a focus on horror once again, this is possibly the scariest entry in the series, and a fantastic place to start if you’re not interested in the series’ history. There are some nods to the previous lore, but you can mostly go in blind.
Resident Evil Village
A direct sequel to Resident Evil 7, Village follows Ethan Winters once more, as he and his wife Mia, try to start a new life in a remote Eastern European village. Shortly after they have a baby girl, Rose, things… go bad, and Ethan must set off to try and find his daughter. While RE7 alludes to the series’ history, Village actively brings back certain characters and also recreates a lot of the vibes that Resident Evil 4 is famous for. Village also brings in some more supernatural elements, as Ethan faces off against werewolves, vampires, and one particularly infamous large lady.
As the most recent entry in the series, this entry is drop-dead gorgeous, and it’s available on Nintendo Switch as a cloud version. As always, if you have a stable enough connection to run a cloud version, this could be an acceptable experience, but our experience with cloud versions leads us to recommend playing it elsewhere if you have the chance. We also suggest that you don’t play this unless you finish VII, but it’s not a deal breaker as the intro brings you up to speed fairly quickly.
Alright, folks, that’s all we have for now, at least until a new Resident Evil game comes out, and with Capcom’s productivity, that day probably isn’t too far away. If you’re looking for something to play today, be sure to check out our list of the best horror games on Switch and mobile.