Here is the full answer to whether the Resident Evil games need to be played in order, plus a recommended playing order.

Do the Resident Evil Games Need to Be Played in Order?

It’s been decades since the first Resident Evil came out, and despite the odd speed bump, the series is still going. But with around a dozen “main” games, a handful of remakes, and more spinoffs than you can shake a S.T.A.R.S badge at, it can all be a bit confusing. That, in turn, raises the question — do the Resident Evil games need to be played in order? Here’s the answer.

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You Do Not Need to Play the Resident Evil Games in Order, but Sometimes It Really Helps

You can jump into most Resident Evil games and not feel lost. In part, this is due to the way the series cycles between protagonists. You can pick up Resident Evil 4 and appreciate Leon for the sassy badass he is without having played Resident Evil 2.

There are nods to previous games that you might miss if you’ve not played previous titles, but you won’t usually feel lost or confused. We say “usually” because there are a few exceptions.

Firstly, there’s Resident Evil 6. A lot of Resident Evil 6’s story relies on your knowledge of previous events and characters, so it’s not an ideal jumping-on point.

Spinoff Resident Evil: Revelations 2 also ties into the legacy of a long-running series villain and features the return of a character who, after appearing in the first game, was largely absent for many years.

And we’d strongly advise you to play Resident Evil 7 before Resident Evil Village. The former introduces new protagonist Ethan Winters, and the latter concludes his story. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself wondering what his deal is, particularly in the game’s closing chapters.

But when you compare Resident Evil to a series like Yakuza / Like a Dragon, the order you play the games in isn’t massively important.

A Suggested Way to Play the Mainline RE Games in Order

However, if you do want to play the main, non-spinoff games in order, here’s the order we’d recommend:

  • Resident Evil (remake)
  • Resident Evil 2 (remake)
  • Resident Evil 3 (remake or original)
  • Resident Evil 4 (remake or original)
  • Resident Evil: Code Veronica 
  • Resident Evil 5 
  • Resident Evil 6
  • Resident Evil 7: Biohazard 
  • Resident Evil: Village
  • Resident Evil Zero

You might be wondering why prequel Resident Evil Zero is last on that list. That’s because, while it’s fun to play, it doesn’t quite fit in with the story of the first Resident Evil. It tries a little too hard to tie into the original’s events and, as such, ends up undermining them a little. Also, Resident Evil: Code Veronica feels like a side story at times, but it does include a significant plot point that feeds into Resident Evil 5.

So, if you were wondering if the Resident Evil games need to be played in order, the answer is that, no, they don’t. You may get a little more from them if you do, but it’s not absolutely essential. So that’s what you need to know on the topic of whether the Resident Evil games need to be played in order.


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Chris McMullen
Chris McMullen is a freelance contributor at The Escapist and has been with the site since 2020. He returned to writing about games following several career changes, with his most recent stint lasting five-plus years. He hopes that, through his writing work, he settles the karmic debt he incurred by persuading his parents to buy a Mega CD. Outside of The Escapist, Chris covers news and more for GameSpew. He's also been published at such sites as VG247, Space, and more. His tastes run to horror, the post-apocalyptic, and beyond, though he'll tackle most things that aren't exclusively sports-based. At Escapist, he's covered such games as Infinite Craft, Lies of P, Starfield, and numerous other major titles.