For almost 30 years, the Resident Evil franchise has been the premier name in horror gaming. It helped popularize the video game horror genre and has remained relevant through a series of industry changes. Most of all, though, Resident Evil has offered some of gaming’s greatest scares.
Which Resident Evil game is scariest, though? Out of all the great titles in franchise history, which game is the most terrifying? It’s a contentious topic, but in our minds, these titles represent the absolute scariest of the biggest franchise in horror gaming history.
*Note: If an entry isn’t listed on here, that means it wasn’t even in consideration.
9. Resident Evil 5
The least scary of the scary Resident Evil games, Resident Evil 5 suffers from an action-heavy approach. The game tries to instill enhanced feelings of dread through real-time inventory management, but you’re always just a little too capable for the game to truly terrify. Besides, many of its best scares are too similar to the best moments in Resident Evil 4.
Resident Evil 5 has a lot going for it, but it’s ultimately easier to recommend as an action game.
8. Resident Evil – Code: Veronica
Here’s a tough one to rank. There are some creative enemies and frightening scenarios in this game, but they’re compromised somewhat by this game’s slightly greater emphasis on spectacle over pure horror. This leads to more cinematic breaks in the action which somewhat compromise some of the story’s more disturbing moments.
Code: Veronica would certainly benefit from a remake because the original’s terrors are compromised somewhat by the baggage of its era.
7. Resident Evil Zero
Horror-wise, Resident Evil Zero is a real mixed bag. Its train areas are appropriately claustrophobic and the game’s emphasis on survival is admirable, but unlike the original Resident Evil, there’s just not enough going on here. Truly scary moments are few and far between, and the overall game lacks the level of polish and detail seen in the Resident Evil remake.
Resident Evil Zero is a fascinating piece of franchise history, but it’s too uneven to hold you in suspense.
6. Resident Evil Revelations
Resident Evil Revelations began its life as a 3DS title, but its console/PC ports really showcase the game’s horror. Yes, Revelations’ industrial setting is visually uninspiring, but there’s an increased emphasis on psychological horror here that benefits from the game’s limited resource system and well-executed choreographed scares.
Revelations is a departure from the Resident Evil you know, but it’s a fascinating take on this series.
5. Resident Evil 4
Resident Evil 4 ranks among the best games ever made, but it falls slightly lower on a list of the absolute scariest Resident Evil games. Yet, Resident Evil 4 is certainly the scariest of the action-heavy Resident Evil titles. The game’s enemies are absolutely terrifying (who will ever forget the first time they heard that chainsaw) and the story’s twists only add layers to the horror atmosphere.
Yes, the action takes away from the scares somewhat, but Resident Evil 4 is still genuinely terrifying.
4. Resident Evil 2 Remake
It’s tough to rank this undeniably scary game. We ultimately think that the scariest parts of Resident Evil 2 are done better elsewhere, but this title manages to create a feeling of constant dread that we’re not used to seeing in modern horror games of this style. From regular zombies to the terrifying Tyrant, you never feel safe in this game even as your inventory grows.
The original Resident Evil 2 was brilliant, but from a horror perspective, this outshines it in every way.
3. Resident Evil 3: Nemesis
Without the Nemesis, we can guarantee you that Resident Evil 3 wouldn’t rank quite so high. However, the near-constant presence of the Nemesis means that you spend the entirety of Resident Evil 3 waiting for him to appear which does little to minimize the fear of the actual encounters.
Resident Evil 3 replicates what it’s like to live within a slasher film. It’s a brilliant game that sets an almost impossible standard for the series.
2. Resident Evil Remake
Perhaps the most necessary big-budget remake of its kind, Resident Evil rescued everything great about the original game. More than anything, though, it is the horror of Resident Evil that stands out. This is a title that wraps you in a classic horror atmosphere and suffocates you with shock at the times you’re least prepared for them.
The Resident Evil remake is about as good as pure horror gets.
1. Resident Evil 7
Resident Evil’s move to stripped-down first-person gameplay remains controversial, but even the doubters can’t argue with how terrifying this game is. Resident Evil 7 casts you in the middle of an absolute nightmare and never lets you forget that you aren’t prepared to deal with comes next. Somehow, the game is even more terrifying (significantly so) in VR.
Is it the best Resident Evil ever made? Maybe not, but it is the scariest.