Best Resident Evil Spin-Offs, Ranked

Resident Evil Outbreak gameplay

Best Resident Evil Spin-Offs, Ranked

Though the Resident Evil series maintains a surprisingly high bar of quality across nearly all of its mainline entries, the same doesn’t necessarily hold about its spin-offs. For a franchise that is rife with so much storytelling potential and full of interesting characters, it’s a shame that most of the Resident Evil spin-offs seem to forget these aspects that help separate it from other third-person action games. Resident Evil‘s place as one of the originators of the Survival-Horror genre makes it fertile ground for some compelling spin-offs, but, for the most part, the Resident Evil spin-off games are missing the mark. While there are certainly some outliers, making a ranked list of the Resident Evil spin-offs shows how far these games stray from the path tread by the mainline entries.

That said, there are a few standout highlights that continually reinforce the idea of a Resident Evil game that deviates from the series’ established conventions. Online cooperative survival-horror adventures, perspective-shifting non-canon 8-bit adventures, and some incredibly important lore dumps hiding behind middle-of-the-road on-rails shooting all rank high on this list for one reason or another. Mostly, the highest-ranking games on this list understand the core elements of what makes a good Resident Evil game, and that’s certainly more than what most of the games here bring to the table.

13. Umbrella Corps

Umbrella Corps box art

©Resident Evil key art

Where to begin… Umbrella Corps is a failure in nearly every aspect, but especially as a game that connects to the Resident Evil universe. Rather than replicate the semi-successful elements of games like Operation Raccoon City or even Resident Evil Outbreak, Umbrella Corps is a soulless third-person shooter that critically underutilizes the Resident Evil license. On paper, Umbrella Corps is a great concept – team up with friends and compete with other players as a member of the UBCS, the private paramilitary group that the Umbrella Corporation deploys to outbreak incidents of its biological weapons, and fight your way through a variety of maps representing iconic locations from throughout the Resident Evil series. In execution, however, Umbrella Corps leaves a lot to desire.

While it’s not a terrible game, it’s a barely serviceable competitive third-person shooter that eschews all of the elements of its franchise to deliver something bland. In a world saturated with competing online experiences and incredible video games, the worst sin that a title can commit is being forgettable, and Umbrella Corps is just that.

12. Resident Evil RE:Verse

©Digital Storefront Artwork

Similar to Umbrella Corps, Re:Verse feels less like a noteworthy online component for the Resident Evil series and more like an attempt on Capcom‘s part to cash-in on the current trends in online gaming. Released as the free additional online component for Resident Evil Village, Re:Verse is similar in design and gameplay flow to the popular asymmetrical multiplayer game Dead by Daylight. Where competing games like Dead by Daylight shine, though, are in their healthy online communities and wealth of content. Unfortunately for Re:Verse, the game’s launch would be significantly lacking in both, leading to a quick downfall of the title. Recent Steam charts even show that there aren’t enough active players to form a single match, rendering the game effectively dead.

11. Resident Evil: Resistance

Resident Evil: Resistance key art

©Resident Evil key art

Similar to Re:Verse, Capcom would release Resident Evil: Resistance as the free online component accompanying the launch of the Resident Evil 3 remake. Resident Evil: Resistance is yet another great idea on paper that fails to hit the mark in its execution. Up to four players take on the role of one of the game’s Survivors, civilians from Raccoon City who find themselves within an Umbrella research facility. On the other side of an asymmetrical multiplayer match is a player controlling a Mastermind — an Umbrella researcher who places enemies and traps in the Survivors’ way to prevent them from escaping.

The actual gameplay of Resistance can provide some fun, as long as the servers are working. Failing to have dedicated servers at the time of the title’s launch would lead to connection issues and players being unable to start or finish matches. Additionally, the inclusion of microtransactions in a free online component for a paid AAA game did not sit well with some players. These two issues would lead to player counts dropping off, resulting in the game dying just like Re:Verse.

10. Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City

Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City cover

©Resident Evil key art

What saves Operation Raccoon City from being yet another Umbrella Corps is the co-development of the project from Slant Six, the same studio behind the excellent SOCOM series on PS2. Like those games, Operation Raccoon City is a cooperative tactical shooter in which players must team up as either members of the Umbrella Secret Service or the United States Special Forces to respond to the zombie outbreak in Raccoon City. In addition to fighting against the many BOWs taking over the town, players must also work together to eliminate the enemy team in order to secure victory.

The mix of human and AI enemies makes for some compelling matches and a unique spin on the “tactical shooter” approach to a Resident Evil spin off, but ultimately the game is overshadowed by both other Resident Evil titles and other tactical shooters to be a weaker version of either.

9. Resident Evil: Dead Aim

Resident Evil: Dead Aim box art

©Resident Evil key art

Rather than call the third game in the series Survivor 3, the final entry in Capcom’s first-person light gun spin-offs goes by the title Resident Evil: Dead Aim. The weakest of the three Survivor titles, Dead Aim is yet another series spin-off that sees players fighting against zombies and other recognizable Resident Evil enemies using a first-person perspective and controlling the aiming reticle with either the DualShock 2 or a light gun. Like the first Survivor, Dead Aim tells its own original story, but that story is so off-the-wall bizarre that it will almost have you wishing that the game would just stick to the plot of a better, already-established Resident Evil game.

8. Resident Evil Survivor 2 – Code: Veronica

Resident Evil Survivor 2 - Code: Veronica cover art

©Resident Evil key art

Resident Evil Survivor 2 is, as one might expect, the sequel to Resident Evil Survivor and a retelling of the events of Code: Veronica. Thankfully, Survivor 2 would ship with its light gun functionality intact, resulting in a much smoother experience than its predecessor. That said, the fact that the game simply rehashes the events of a better game from a first-person perspective sees it fall slightly behind its predecessor, which at least tells an interesting and original story. The game’s main story and additional modes provide some fleeting fun, but this on-rails light gun shooter wears out its welcome fairly quickly without providing anything new to the series’ lore.

7. Resident Evil Survivor

Resident Evil Survivor cover

©Resident Evil key art

The first official Resident Evil spin-off, Resident Evil Survivor sees players take on the role of Leon Kennedy’s friend and private investigator Ark Thompson as he investigates an Umbrella research facility following the events of Resident Evil 2 and 3. In terms of its gameplay, Survivor is the first title in the franchise to transition to House of the Dead-style first-person light gun shooting. However, thanks to real-world events between the time of its beginning development and release, light gun functionality would end up being removed from the PlayStation version. As a result, the controls are extremely unintuitive and sluggish.

Survivor would eventually receive a PC port that would allow players to connect a USB light gun and play the game as intended, and the story of the title is nothing if not unique in terms of its wild amnesia subplot and incorporation of classic Resident Evil enemies. Still, the fact that this game lands where it does on this list says a lot about the general quality of Resident Evil spin-offs.

6. Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles

Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles cover art

©Resident Evil key art

The Darkside Chronicles is the follow-up to the superb The Umbrella Chronicles and delivers more of the on-rails light gun gameplay that the Wii facilitates through the use of the WiiMote. Similar to The Umbrella Chronicles, TDC sees players assume the role of iconic characters from the Resident Evil series to experience events from classic games and show new events unfolding from different perspectives. Darkside Chronicles mostly focuses on Leon Kennedy and the events surrounding both Resident Evil 2 and Code: Veronica, though the game does introduce a new chapter chronicling Leon and Krauser’s mission to South America before the events of Resident Evil 4.

Along with its predecessor, The Darkside Chronicles succeeds as an essential piece of Resident Evil lore and backstory for some of its most iconic characters, but otherwise is simply just a serviceable on-rails shooter. And, thanks to the fact that the stories that The Umbrella Chronicles covers are simply more interesting, The Darkside Chronicles falls behind as being the weaker of the two.

5. Resident Evil Outbreak: File 2

Resident Evil Outbreak: File 2 cover art

©Resident Evil key art

The main reason that the original Outbreak beats out its sequel is thanks to the amount of content on offer. While the first Resident Evil Outbreak is a full experience in its own right, File 2 is essentially an expansion released during a time when DLC wasn’t a thing. Still, the core gameplay of Outbreak is present in File 2, making it one of the better online cooperative Resident Evil games out there, spin-off or otherwise. Unfortunately, the title’s release near the end of the PS2’s lifespan would result in the game having a relatively short shelf-life, with servers officially shutting down in 2007.

4. Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D

Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D cover art

©Resident Evil key art

The Mercenaries mode from Resident Evil 4 and 5 would get its own standalone release in Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D for Nintendo 3DS. In terms of Resident Evil spin-offs, few modes are more perfect for their own title than The Mercenaries, and this game proves that there’s plenty of fun to have with the mode even without the promise of permanent unlocks for a single-player campaign. Players choose among several iconic series heroes and villains to fight waves of enemies in arcade-style score attack challenges, picking up powerful weapons and upgrading their loadouts along the way to create better and better scores and unlock better characters and weapons to use in later matches.

The latest Mercenaries mode comes courtesy of the Resident Evil 4 remake releasing last year, and if anything it proves that there’s still plenty of value in the idea of it receiving its own separate release. In fact, the gameplay is a perfect fit for a roguelike experience and it’s possible that fans might see its reintroduction as part of the online component for the eventual release of Resident Evil 9.

3. Resident Evil Outbreak

Resident Evil Outbreak cover art

©Resident Evil key art

A cult-classic among longtime Resident Evil fans, Resident Evil Outbreak is what games like Re:Verse and Resistance should have been. This cooperative multiplayer survival-horror title takes the classic Resident Evil gameplay and translates it successfully into an addictive online experience. Players assume the role of one of eight unique protagonists, each with their own loadouts and abilities. After choosing a character, the group needs to select one of the available scenarios and a difficulty level, with the difficulty continuing to scale based on the number of enemies the party encounters and the number of items they acquire.

Most would likely assume that the Resident Evil series’ gameplay wouldn’t translate well to an online format, but Outbreak still stands as the best attempt among several. The one major blemish the game has is not including voice chat, but otherwise both Outbreak and its sequel (number 5 on this list) are the two best games that adapt classic Resident Evil gameplay into a cooperative online experience.

2. Resident Evil Gaiden

Resident Evil Gaiden box art

©Resident Evil key art

History would end up being much kinder to Resident Evil Gaiden than most fans and critics were at the time of its release. While the game would initially be the subject of much derision, the years since its release have seen the title become something of a hidden gem within the Resident Evil series. In fact, several of the ideas that Gaiden implements are now the basis of their own successful indie survival-horror games, such as You Will Die Here Tonight or the upcoming Holstin. Gaiden sees players assume the role of two heroes in one of the franchise’s best and most unlikely team-ups, that of Leon Kennedy and Barry Burton, as the duo investigate an outbreak on a cruise ship.

The signature mechanic at play, and the same one that several newer survival-horror games are now adapting, is a perspective-shifting combat model where players traverse environments in a top-down, third-person perspective and then snap to an over-the-shoulder or first-person aiming when initiating combat. While the later games that replicate this aspect of Gaiden are arguably more successful in getting it to work correctly, Gaiden deserves some credit for being a unique outlier in the long list of Resident Evil spin-offs.

1. Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles

Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles cover art

©Resident Evil key art

The first of two on-rails shooters for Wii that take place in the Resident Evil universe, The Umbrella Chronicles is surprisingly one of the more important games in the franchise thanks to the gaps in the series’ lore it fills in. Players get to learn about the events taking place before, after, or during the events of Resident Evil, Resident Evil Zero, and Resident Evil 3 from different perspectives, helping to connect the lore of these early games to some of the later series entries. And, thanks to the WiiMote’s responsive motion controls, the Wii Resident Evil shooters are much more responsive and fun than the Survivor games releasing prior.

The gameplay is fairly competent in The Umbrella Chronicles, but what helps it to achieve the top spot on this list is the way that it deftly connects the dots regarding certain plot holes that exist in the series’ lore. Taking The Umbrella Chronicles at face-value as a game proves it to be fairly average. Looking at The Umbrella Chronicles as a Resident Evil fan, though, shows it to be a must-play experience to get the full impact of the mythology.

To top