A look back at Resident Evil games - History of the iconic horror series

A look back at Resident Evil games - History of the iconic horror series

By  Declan Barry - 27th Mar 2020

We take a look back at the main entries in Capcom's popular game series

A look back at Resident Evil games - History of the iconic horror series

When you think of iconic horror franchises, Resident Evil will always be in that conversation.

It’s so popular in fact that it’s one of Capcom’s best-selling video game series and the Japanese horror franchise has been credited with re-popularizing zombies in the horror genre. We’re going to run down the main-series games from Resident Evil to fill your 'braainssss' with knowledge about the franchise.

Resident Evil (1996)

Resident Evil was our first look at Raccoon City as well as protagonists Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine. Trapped in a mansion with zombies and other scary monsters, the members of the elite task force S.T.A.R.S. have to navigate through their eerie surroundings, with the Tyrant and a variety of other ghastly monsters jumping out to scare you at every turn.

The original Resident Evil introduced the fixed camera angle and tank-like controls, which would alter as the franchise progressed.

Resident Evil 2 (1998)

Following on from Resident Evil, the sequel introduced Leon S. Kennedy and the younger sister of protagonist Chris Redfield, Claire. Taking place two months after the first game, the zombies are back and hungrier than ever.

In this game, the pair must escape Raccoon City and terrifying new villain 'Mr. X'. New to Resident Evil 2 was the branching paths as characters' choices changed the storyline. Like the original, it received critical acclaim and surpassed the revenue of most Hollywood movies at the time.

Resident Evil 3: Nemesis (1999)

Taking place both before and after Resident Evil 2, Resident Evil 3: Nemesis puts the player back in the role of Jill Valentine. The first section takes place 24 hours before Resident Evil 2, and introduces a new villain – the Nemesis - who follows the player around and can move much quicker than 'Mr. X' from Resident Evil 2.

The second section takes place three days afterwards and continues the story as Valentine.

Resident Evil - Code Veronica (2000)

Based three months after Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, Code: Veronica follows Claire Redfield once again - but this time she's teaming up with Resident Evil protagonist, and her brother, Chris. It was the first real-time 3D Resident Evil game with dynamic camera movements and, due to this, many critics called it the best Resident Evil at that time.

Resident Evil Zero (2002)

Two new characters were introduced in Resident Evil Zero, S.T.A.R.S. office Rebecca Chambers and convicted criminal Billy Coen. Set inside an abandoned training facility for the infamous pharmaceutical company Umbrella, the pair are joined by the Tyrant who is determined to stop them exploring by any means necessary.

Zero introduced a new ‘character zap’ system that allowed players to swap between the two characters during play for the first-ever ever in the series, as well as a new item management where equipment was dropped. As opposed to being find in item storage boxes.

Resident Evil 4 (2005)

Taking the series away from the survival horror genre and more into action, Resident Evil 4 contained shoot-outs with a variety of firearms including a sniper rifle. The game also introduced quick time events as a new addition to the series.

The game focuses around Leon S. Kennedy as the solo hero, as he's sent on a mission to rescue the U.S. president’s daughter, who has been kidnapped by a cult. However, not everything is at it seems as the locals of the rural European village have been infected by a mind-controlling parasite.

These infected villagers, as well as various bosses, have the ability to transform - growing bladed limbs as well as increasing their strength. Resident Evil 4 became the first game in the series to also switch to a third-person, over-the-shoulder camera.

Resident Evil 5 (2009)

Resident Evil went to Africa for the first time in Resident Evil 5. Following on from the plot of Resident Evil 4, players took control of Chris Redfield as he discovered that, like Leon in RE4, the locals have been infected by parasites!

Unlike previous games in the franchise, players could play in two-player co-operative gameplay. It also broke new ground with motion-captured cutscenes and visual cameras that tracked character motion in real-time. Oh, and Chris Redfield can move huge boulders by punching them, who knew!

Resident Evil 6 (2012)

With three different stories, Resident Evil 6 was the largest campaign in the series to date. Players could choose between four protagonists, each with interwoven stories, including long-time characters Leon S. Kennedy and Chris Redfield.

Rolling and sliding were introduced for the first-time, which gave the player more control than ever when dealing with enemies, as well as options to remove their AI companion character and a stamina bar. Another new feature was the four-player co-operative mode, which improved upon the two-player offered in Resident Evil 5.

Resident Evil / biohazard HD (2015)

The 2002 remake changed up the puzzle systems, adding in new areas and an update to the story - as well as adding in defensive weapons, which really changed how you deal with the zombies. The 2015 Remaster took the 2002 remake and added an extra splash of graphical joy.

The game received a modern graphics update to bring the original Resident Evil game to a new audience, while keeping the same gameplay mechanics and story elements the same.

Resident Evil 7: Biohazard (2017)

The first full-length game with the new RE Engine, Resident Evil 7: Biohazard saw a return to the horror and exploration that the franchise was built up on. However, unlike previous games, the game used a first-person view as opposed to the third-person perspective that we were used to from recent entries in the series.

The game was also compatible with PlayStation VR, in case you were really brave to tackle the immersive game in virtual reality. Plot wise, Resident Evil 7: Biohazard followed a new character called Ethan Winters as he desperately searched through a dilapidated plantation for his missing wife, Mia. Unbeknown to him, reanimated monsters called 'Molded' lived in the house and they, as well as puzzles, stood in his pursuit to find Mia.

The game's main antagonists are the Baker family, a secluded farming family infected by a genetically-modified human named Eveline.

Resident Evil 2 / Biohazard RE:2 (2019)

A remake of the 1998 RE2, Resident Evil 2 / Biohazard RE:2 took the Resident Evil 7 RE Engine and re-imagined the classic game. With tank controls and the fixed camera angle replaced with a third person perspective, it bought new life to the old game and received ‘Overwhelmingly Positive’ reviews by Steam gamers.

Making a 'welcome' return was Mr X., the towering Tyrant who hunts you down inside the Raccoon City Police Department and throughout the game.

It also sold more than five million units, surpassing that of the original game!

Resident Evil 3 (2020)

With a new look for Jill Valentine, Resident Evil 3 is the second remastered Capcom game in two years. Following on from the success of Resident Evil 2, it combines the RE engine with a smarter AI for the Nemesis to make him more terrifying than ever!

Plus, a new 4v1 multiplayer mode called Resident Evil Resistance offers a unique new twist to the series, in which a Mastermind attempts to destroy four survivors with traps, zombies and other common RE enemies.

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