The launch of the Nintendo Switch in 2017 carried with it the possibility of several AAA titles from third-party publishers making their way to the new hybrid console. Sure enough, within the first year of the console’s launch several iconic franchises would make their way over to Nintendo’s ultra-successful platform, including the arrival of the Resident Evil franchise in November of 2017. After debuting on the Nintendo 3DS and then receiving a port to the Wii U, Resident Evil: Revelations‘ place as the first game in the series on the Switch would prove to be fitting. Since then, however, most of the mainline games are now available on the platform.
Thanks to the Switch’s hardware limitations in comparison with Sony and Microsoft’s platforms, the newer games in the Resident Evil series are made possible thanks to Cloud streaming technology, though this does limit functionality in terms of being able to play these games without an internet connection. Still, having every mainline game in the series accessible under one platform (with the exception of the original PS1 trilogy) is a boon for fans of the franchise, and it’s almost a guarantee that last year’s Resident Evil 4 remake will make its way to either the Switch or its successor in Cloud format.
Resident Evil: Revelations (11/28/2017)
The first game in the series to arrive on the Switch is the 2012 classic Resident Evil: Revelations. Arriving at a time when many fans were beginning to express frustration with the series’ continual push into action-game territory, Revelations succeeds by firmly rooting its gameplay in the survival-horror genre that the series is built upon. Players take control of iconic series heroes Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine at various points throughout the game’s story, and the setting of a claustrophobic cargo ship lost at sea makes up for the misstep that is Resident Evil Gaiden.
Revelations launched both physically and digitally on the Switch alongside its sequel, Resident Evil: Revelations 2. The two games would even feature on a single cart in their physical format, though an additional download is necessary.
Resident Evil: Revelations 2 (11/28/2017)
The Nintendo Switch version of Resident Evil: Revelations 2 takes the previously episodic game and collapses it into a single, self-contained experience. Like Revelations, Revelations 2 is a decidedly more horror-leaning game than the mainline entries from the mid-2000s and even features some interesting co-op mechanics. Rather than have two players with similar abilities, Revelations 2‘s co-op has one player acting as support while the other is responsible for both defeating enemies and defending their partner. With the right co-op partner, Revelations 2 can provide some incredible cat-and-mouse scenarios in co-op that will have players on the edge of their seats.
Like Revelations, Revelations 2 is available both digitally and physically, with the physical version part of a package that includes both Resident Evil: Revelations titles. The game features iconic series heroes Claire Redfield and Barry Burton, and players get to experience two intertwining stories across the game’s several different episodes.
Resident Evil (5/21/2019)
The next batch of Resident Evil games to arrive on the Nintendo Switch would feature a trilogy of formerly Nintendo GameCube exclusive titles that were some of the most defining entries in the long-running survival horror franchise. 2002’s ground-up remake of the original Resident Evil (now available across several platforms as Resident Evil HD) would re-imagine the first game in the series with a complete audiovisual facelift and plenty of additional content that was cut from the PS1 release due to resource constraints. Many fans still consider the 2002 remake of the original Resident Evil to be the definitive game in the series and perhaps the most frightening.
The Switch release of Resident Evil would initially launch digitally in May of 2019 and eventually make its way to a physical collection alongside Resident Evil Zero as the Resident Evil Origins Collection. However, only Resident Evil Zero would actually feature on the cartridge, with players needing to download Resident Evil separately (and also needing space on console storage or a MicroSD card).
Resident Evil Zero (5/21/2019)
Initially arriving roughly 6 months after the launch of Resident Evil in November of 2002, Resident Evil Zero is the classic GameCube prequel to the series that establishes some incredibly important lore regarding the founders of the Umbrella Corporation, the building of the Spencer Mansion, and the events that led S.T.A.R.S. Bravo Team into the Arklay Mountains. Unique to the series is the requirement for players to actively switch between dual-protagonists Rebecca Chambers and escaped convict Billy Coen to solve puzzles, defeat enemies, and traverse Resident Evil Zero‘s many unique locations (including an excellent opening segment on board a passenger train).
Alongside the remake of the original Resident Evil, Resident Evil Zero would launch in May of 2019 and receive both digital and physical versions. The physical release of Resident Evil Zero as part of the Resident Evil Origins collection would see it be the only game to actually ship on the cartridge, with players receiving a download voucher for the Resident Evil remake that’s the other half of the package.
Resident Evil 4 (5/21/2019)
Often considered to be the best game in the franchise and one of the most important games ever made, Resident Evil 4 would originally launch as a GameCube exclusive in 2005 before eventually making its way to the PlayStation 2 and then virtually every platform under the sun. The Nintendo Switch port of Resident Evil 4 was practically a given considering the success of the other games in the series on the platform, and fans would get not one but three classic Resident Evil games launching on the platform in May 2019. Though it would initially only be available digitally, a physical release of Resident Evil 4 would eventually become available alongside Resident Evil 5 and 6.
Putting players back into the shoes of Resident Evil 2‘s Leon S. Kennedy, it’s up to the hero of Raccoon City to rescue the President’s daughter and uncover the secrets behind the mysterious Las Plagas parasite. Resident Evil 4 is famous for shifting the action to an over-the-shoulder third-person perspective that many games would later borrow thanks to its success, and its character progression and weapon upgrades introduce some light RPG elements into the series.
Resident Evil 5 (10/29/2019)
Originally releasing in 2009 for the Xbox 360 and PS3, Resident Evil 5 is the bombastic follow-up to Resident Evil 4 that retains its core design while also injecting an entire campaign playable in co-op. Unlike Resident Evil Zero, players do not single-handedly switch between both heroes but instead have either human or AI co-op partners to assist them during the game’s missions. Like Resident Evil 4, RE5 uses a mission/stage structure that separates each of the game’s sections into different chapters, and it’s possible to sell any treasures and upgrade weapons in-between each of them. Players take on the role of iconic hero Chris Redfield once again as he investigates a doomsday cult purporting to have access to an ultra-destructive bio-weapon, eventually coming face to face with his former partner and an old adversary.
Resident Evil 5‘s arrival in October 2019 would come just 5 months after the release of Resident Evil, Resident Evil Zero, and Resident Evil 4, prompting the compilation of the title into a multi-pack featuring the 4th, 5th, and 6th games in the series. Like the Resident Evil Origins collection, the Resident Evil Triple Pack would only feature one game on the cartridge (Resident Evil 4) with the other two titles receiving download codes.
Resident Evil 6 (10/29/2019)
Initially releasing in 2012, Resident Evil 6 is one of the most notorious missteps in the entire series. Rather than featuring the same elements from RE4 and RE5 that had proven to be successful with fans, Resident Evil 6 leans into full-blown arcade-style action gameplay and abandons many of the series’ traditional horror leanings in favor of something more similar to a Call of Duty campaign. Resident Evil 6 may feature the most playable protagonists of any game in the series and three distinct campaigns, but the amount of worthwhile gameplay shared between them is somewhat minimal. After the disappointing sales and reception of RE6, the franchise would take several years off before a succesful relaunch.
Resident Evil 6 would arrive on the Switch the same day as Resident Evil 5 and immediately be available for digital download through the Nintendo eShop. It would also eventually receive a physical release courtesy of the Resident Evil Triple Pack, though its inclusion is only as a digital download voucher and it is not on the actual cartridge.
Resident Evil VIllage Cloud (10/28/2022)
Following the release and reception of the excellent Resident Evil: Village, the game would make its way to the Switch as the first of several modern Resident Evil games. Capcom’s use of Cloud streaming technology would make it possible to bring the latest games in the series over to the relatively weaker Nintendo Switch, allowing fans the opportunity to experience the game as long as they have a consistent and reliable internet connection. Village picks up where Resident Evil 7: Biohazard left off and continues the story of new protagonist Ethan Winters. After his daughter goes missing, Ethan embarks on a trip through the European countryside in a twisted carnival of horror and discovers some new and exciting lore for the Resident Evil canon along the way.
Since Village‘s release on the Switch is only possible through Cloud streaming, the game is only available as a digital download and does not have a physical release on the console.
Resident Evil 2 Cloud (11/11/2022)
The next game to arrive on the Switch courtesy of Capcom’s Cloud streaming technology is Resident Evil 2‘s excellent 2019 remake. Following the release of the original Resident Evil‘s remake in 2002, many fans would clamor for a remake of the second game in the series featuring the debut of Leon Kennedy and Claire Redfield. It would take more than a decade, but that game would eventually arrive in 2019 and completely blow fans away thanks to how it reimagines one of the PS1’s timeless classics. The Switch version of Resident Evil 2 is the same version that is available on all other modern consoles and PC, albeit with the caveat that players must have a persistent online connection to play.
Resident Evil 3 Cloud (11/18/2022)
One week after the launch of the Cloud version of Resident Evil 2, Capcom would bring 2020’s Resident Evil 3 remake over to the Nintendo Switch. Originally conceived as a large-scale DLC for the Resident Evil 2 remake, Resident Evil 3 reimagines the conclusion to the series’ PS1 trilogy, Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, using the same engine and mechanics as the Resident Evil 2 remake. Many fans would take issue with the content cut from the remake, while others would express that the remake now features better pacing thanks to less bloat in its middle section. Regardless, Resident Evil 3 is an excellent survival horror title that throws the iconic Nemesis into the mix as a persistent threat throughout the adventure. Like the other Cloud Resident Evil titles, the game is only available digitally and requires online connectivity to play.
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard Cloud (12/16/2022)
The most recent game to arrive on the Nintendo Switch courtesy of Cloud streaming is the series relaunch that breathed new life into the franchise, Resident Evil 7: Biohazard. Though the game eventually makes it clear how its events connect to the rest of the series’ lore, the initial hours of Biohazard make it feel like a reboot of sorts for the franchise, introducing a new protagonist, new enemy types, and a brand-new first-person perspective. As it turns out, games that were already unnerving in third-person become absolutely terrifying when using a first-person perspective. Like the other Cloud Resident Evil titles on Switch, Resident Evil 7: Biohazard is a digital-only title requiring players to have an internet connection to successfully launch the game.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Resident Evil character renders.