Since its initial release on March 22, 1996, the Resident Evil series has become a pioneer in the survival horror genre as the video game series enjoys its 25th year. With the fairly recent release of Resident Evil Village, there could not be a better time to get back or start with one of Capcom’s most legendary series.
With 14 different titles spanning different timelines, the order of each game can become quite confusing, especially for those new to the Resident Evil series.
To fully appreciate the series to its greatest potential, here is your guide on how to play all the Resident Evil games in chronological order and which games you should look forward to the most throughout this journey of catching up or recollecting.
All Resident Evil games in chronological order
For those looking for a quick guide into the chronological order of these games, here are all 14 Resident Evil games readily available in a short list for you to play. If you are interested in learning about what each title of Resident Evil has to offer and which ones to especially get excited about, keep reading.
- Resident Evil 0
- Resident Evil
- Resident Evil 3 (First Half)
- Resident Evil 2
- Resident Evil 3 (Second Half)
- Resident Evil: Code Veronica
- Resident Evil 4
- Resident Evil: Revelations
- Resident Evil 5
- Resident Evil: Revelations 2
- Umbrella Corp
- Resident Evil 6
- Resident Evil 7
- Resident Evil Village
Resident Evil 0
Release Date: Nov. 10, 2002
In-game timeline: July 23-24, 1998
Resident Evil 0 was released on Nov. 12, 2002. It is the prequel and the first entry of the series chronologically. You control the wrongfully convicted Billy Coen and Rebecca Chambers, the youngest S.T.A.R.S member. The game features the two characters as dual protagonists as you switch between their stories.
Release Date: March 22, 1996
In-game timeline: July 24-25, 1998
This game kickstarted the entire Resident Evil series and made way for the survival horror genre to shine. Resident Evil centers around S.T.A.R.S operatives Jill Valentine or Chris Redfield as they navigate an old mansion on the outskirts of Raccoon City. Whichever character you choose, the other will spend most of the game trapped in the cell. There are mostly no differences between which character you choose, but playing as Chris Redfield will allow the player to see Rebecca Chambers from the prequel.
Resident Evil 3 (First Half)
Release Date: Sept. 22, 1999
In-game timeline: Sept 26-28, 1998
The first half of the third game that appears chronologically in the Resident Evil series is Resident Evil 3. It takes place two months after the events of the original Resident Evil title and approximately one day before the start of the following entry on this list. The first half of the game shows Carlos Oliviera taking Jill Valentine to a church hideout after she was poisoned by Nemesis and hiding there for the next three days.
Release Date: Jan. 21, 1998
In-game timeline: Sept. 29-30, 1998
Two months after the events of the first Resident Evil and just 24 hours after the first half of Resident Evil 3, players control both Leon S. Kennedy and Claire Redfield as they escape the zombie-infested Raccoon City. Unlike other games, each character has paths they can take during their storylines, with unique partners and obstacles.
Resident Evil 2 was regarded as one of the best video games ever made when it was initially released and has sold more than six million copies.
Resident Evil 3 (Second Half)
Release Date: Sept. 22, 1999
In-game timeline: Oct. 1, 1998
Jill Valentine returns for the second part of Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, where she must escape Raccoon City with Carlos Oliviera before the U.S. government detonates a nuclear bomb all over the city. In this part of the game, their mission is also to defeat Nemesis and escape with a vaccine for the virus.
Resident Evil: Code Veronica
Release Date: Feb. 3, 2000
In-Game timeline: December 1998
Originally meant to serve as Resident Evil 3, Resident Evil: Code Veronica became a side-game for hardcore Resident Evil fans as a Dreamcast exclusive. In this game, Claire Redfield is searching for her brother, Chris Redfield, but is captured by Umbrella and imprisoned on Rockfort Island. Here, she must escape the prison infected with a T-Virus outbreak alongside former Umbrella employee Steve Burnside.
Resident Evil 4
Release Date: Jan. 11, 2005
In-Game timeline: Fall of 2004
Resident Evil 4 marks an incredible skip in the timeline of over six years since the events of Resident Evil: Code Veronica. Players take control of Leon S. Kennedy once again as the Secret Service Agent is tasked with saving the president’s daughter from a rural Spain village. The issue surrounding Leon is that the villagers are infected with the Las Plagas parasite, however.
Resident Evil 4 is a classic and known as the best Resident Evil title ever. If there is one title that you check out from this series, it is this one.
Resident Evil: Revelations
Release Date: Jan. 26, 2012
In-Game timeline: 2005
Classic characters Jill Valentine and Chris Redfield return to the series as they try and navigate the T-Abyss virus. Players are also introduced to the Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance, a new faction that is combatting the virus.
Resident Evil 5
Release Date: March 5, 2009
In-Game timeline: March 2009
Chris Redfield is back again after a four-year time skip, now tasked with taking down a black market bioweapon dealer in Africa. The ninth Resident Evil entry employs an exciting twist that will shock players once they reach that point. For now, we will keep this entry spoiler-free to not take away the shroud of mystery surrounding Resident Evil 5.
Resident Evil: Revelations 2
Release Date: Feb. 24, 2015
In-Game timeline: 2011
A standalone title from the Resident Evil series, Claire Redfield returns to the forefront where she is working with TerraSave, a bioterror prevention agency in this installment. Besides Claire Redfield, the series also marks the first time players can play as S.T.A.R.S. Alpha Team’s weapons specialist Barry Burton. Overall, it is a nice title that stands apart from the Resident Evil series, though not entirely necessary if focused on the plot.
Release Date: June 21, 2016
In-Game timeline: March 12, 2012, to Nov. 20, 2012
Umbrella Corp is far from being a favorite title amongst Resident Evil fans and is one of the few entries on this list to receive negative reception from critics. If there is a title you can skip in the chronological order playthrough of Resident Evil titles, it would be this one. Though, if you do choose to play this title, it is a perfectly fine game to play through. Just save it for a day when you have nothing else to do.
Resident Evil 6
Release Date: Oct. 2, 2021
In-Game timeline: Dec. 24, 2012 – Dec. 25, 2012
For those that skipped Umbrella Corp and possibly Resident Evil: Revelations 2, you were treated to an epic experience as the player had the opportunity to play as nearly every major protagonist from the game’s past. Overall, our past heroes come together to create one beautiful storm of chaos as they all aim to contain the new C-Virus.
While not the best title in the franchise, it is a must-play if you become invested in the Resident Evil franchise just to see what every character is up to.
Resident Evil 7
Release Date: Jan. 24, 2017
In-Game timeline: July 2017 – August 2017
Resident Evil 7 will introduce you to the new character Ethan Winters, an ordinary man searching for his wife in a creepy mansion somewhere in Louisiana. This is the first game to step away from the zombie mutant formula and approach the series through “mold monsters” as its central enemy. A lukewarm entry in Resident Evil, this game is a nice shift into something different and no spoilers, but another familiar name does make an appearance in the game later on too.
Resident Evil Village
Release Date: May 7, 2021
In-Game timeline: Feb. 8, 2021 – Feb. 10, 2021
Resident Evil Village continues Ethan Winter’s story while honoring the previous lore from other games. The mold from the previous game has created a new type of monster in this installment as Ethan must search through the world once again. Overall, Resident Evil Village is a wonderful entry in the franchise that has many fans of the series excited for the future.
Overall, do not worry about playing every single game in chronological order as each game can be enjoyed as its plot in the series, apart from Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3. The horror franchise has multiple side games that can detract people from the main story and plot when it could be spent moving on to games that have built up the series to be a class above other horror games.
With great Capcom writers at the center of this series and a certain scare factor that will make anyone tremble in front of the screen, Resident Evil is a game that most will enjoy. So wherever this series goes, make sure to grab some snacks and watch the series unfold.