Image: Nintendo Life

Reminder: This dynamic reader-ranked list is based on each game's rating in our games database. See something below that's not where you think it should be? Feel free to tap on the star and rate any game below out of 10 to exert your influence and potentially reorder the list in real-time.

The Resident Evil series has evolved so much over the years that even hardened fans find it hard to pin down a favourite. Which brand of Biohazard are we talking? Do you prefer old-school tank controls and fixed camera angles, or are your tastes more action-oriented? First-person or over-the-shoulder? Original or REmake? Regardless of the various individual flavours, the addictive mixture of cinematic terror and B-movie shlock and gore runs through them all. But which Resident Evil is the best?

Below you'll find the very best Resident Evil games (and, by extension, the worst) on Nintendo platforms, according to Nintendo Life readers. The original game hit the PlayStation back in 1996 and birthed the entire survival horror genre as we know it. While the series has had its ups and downs over the last couple of decades, we're living in a golden age of RE, and Switch has been lucky enough to receive a flurry of ports of Capcom's blood-curdling series.

REmake 2, REmake 3, RE7
The clouds are rolling in, soon... — Image: Capcom

Nearly all of the 'significant' entries have made it to a Nintendo platform at one time or another, and even the recent remakes of Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3, plus Resident Evil 7 and Resident Evil Village are available Switch in Cloud Version form.

Remember, the order here is governed by the User Ratings assigned to each entry in our games database, and is subject to real-time change even after publication. Think a game should be higher? Simply click on the star and score it out of ten to add your rating and potentially alter the ranking.

So, turn the lights off, turn the sound up and, perhaps, grab a sandwich as we uncover the best Resident Evil game ever. Read on, if you dare...

Note. In order to avoid repetition, we've included only one version of each game below, although we count REmakes as separate titles. If a port of the game is available to play on Switch, that's the one we've gone with. When that isn't the case, we've selected the most noteworthy version of the game for inclusion.

19. Resident Evil 3 - Cloud Version (Switch eShop)

Resident Evil 3 is a solid remake that aptly pays homage to the original RE3 by failing to live up to its immediate predecessor. While the core gameplay remains strong, with engaging gun controls and a new dodge mechanic that very much feels at home, Raccoon City itself feels disappointingly constrained and its star performer, the Nemesis, has been relegated to scripted sequences. The cloud-related hiccups we encountered here serve as a reminder that the technology is far from perfect, but even if it were, Resident Evil 3 is far from essential. We'd recommend it for the most passionate fans of Capcom’s survival horror franchise who are after another quick fix; everyone else should start with — and probably stick with — RE2.

18. Resident Evil 2 - Cloud Version (Switch eShop)

Resident Evil 2 is an absolutely essential experience for fans of survival horror. We’re not yet at the point where we can confidently recommend purchasing a cloud version of the game on Switch if you’ve got access to a native version on another platform (and as the old-school gamers we are, we may never reach that point), but given that we encountered next to no streaming-related hitches during our time with it, this is a more-than-acceptable choice if it’s the only one available to you. Fans waited years for a remake of Resident Evil 2, and it’s safe to say that the wait was well and truly worth it.

17. Resident Evil Village Cloud (Switch eShop)

Resident Evil: Village is an excellent continuation of the mainline Resident Evil series that pays homage to Resident Evil 4 while showcasing its own style and identity. The first-person perspective allows for some truly terrifying moments (though a third-person mode is also on the way in the Winters' Expansion DLC) and the boss encounters are some of the best in the entire series. Of course, running via the cloud means you'll likely come across some hiccups, along with some dodgy load times and potential slowdown. Our experience with this was pleasantly minimal compared to other cloud versions we've played, but be sure to test the demo for yourself. If you've only got access to a Switch, this is a pretty solid way to experience a great game.

16. Resident Evil 7 Biohazard Cloud (Switch eShop)

A Japan-only release until 16th December 2022, it may not run natively on Switch but technically this cloud-streamed version is available to play on the platform. After getting stuck in a rut of diminishing returns following the remarkable RE4, Resident Evil 7 gave the series the shot in the arm it needed, switching to a first-person view and providing a fresh protagonist and fresh setting in Louisiana.

After RE6, things were looking bleak, but RE7 proved there was plenty of life in this old, infected dog yet. Moving the needle back away from 'action' towards 'horror', it's available to play in VR on PS4, although we're not sure we could handle that level of immersion without making a mess of the sofa. In our experience, however, a mess on the sofa would be preferable to playing the Switch cloud version. This is a really great game, just not on Switch, unfortunately.

15. Resident Evil 6 (Switch eShop)

Considered by many to be the point where the mainline series stepped too far away from its survival horror origins, Resident Evil 6's four campaign threads weave together the stories of Leon S. Kennedy, Ada Wong, Chris Redfield, and Jake Muller. Variable quality between the four player characters' scenarios didn't help, and the game arguably suffered from stretching the RE4 template to breaking point after every other third-person shooter had already picked its corpse clean.

RE6 has its defenders — and there's certainly plenty of it to reappraise — but this is generally considered to be the mainline series' weakest point.

14. Resident Evil Gaiden (GBC)

Resident Evil Gaiden was an attempt to scale down the survival horror to Nintendo's diminutive handheld and took the franchise on an ocean voyage well before Resident Evil Revelations. Obviously, preserving the gameplay of the original on such modest hardware would have been a huge challenge, although that didn't stop Capcom from announcing a port of it for the Game Boy Color (check out The Cutting Room Floor for a look at that prototype). A straight port eventually got cancelled and replaced with this, a top-down game which abstracts the zombie combat with first-person elements involving a sliding bar half-inched from any number of Golf games.

Featuring returning characters Leon S. Kennedy and Barry Burton, the amusingly-acronymed REG is a decent stab at bringing the series' trademark tension to a portable, but after the pre-rendered beauty of the main games, its low-fi take diminishes the effect somewhat. With all the mainline games getting remakes, we'd like to see Capcom take another swing at this in a modern context. Everyone loves a bit of Barry.

13. Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D (3DS)

A portable spin-off of the surprisingly fun separate Mercenaries Mode which debuted in Resident Evil 4, Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D expanded the roster of playable characters and bulked out the score-chasing shooter into a full-priced standalone co-op game. Whether there was truly enough content to warrant the asking price was another question, and Capcom — arguably no stranger to pushing its luck when pricing certain software — might have done better by making this a cheaper, download-only title (or even a DLC tie-in with Revelations). However, the game was surprisingly addictive, and having something this good-looking on 3DS was a novelty at the time.