Capcom recently announced Project Resistance, a team-based Resident Evil spin-off game that pits a group of survivors against the zombies and big bads the franchise is famous for. Whilst this new game looks all kinds of fun, it’s true that past Resident Evil spin-offs have been fairly hit and miss in terms of quality.
More experimental than games in the core series, the spin-off games have a history stretching back to the turn of the century and have dabbled in a surprising number of different genres. Whether any of them are worth revisiting before Project Resistance hits beta testing in October is, of course, up to you – but to help you decide we’ve put together a list of every console Resident Evil spin-off released so far, and how it fared on our review scale.
Every Resident Evil Spinoff, Ranked
Click through the gallery above or scroll down the page to see the full list!
Umbrella Corps (2016) – 3.8
Umbrella Corps is a multiplayer-based shooter, and, while it’s the most recent spin-off in the series, it’s also the worst of the lot. Though there is a small single-player component (set after the events of RE6) that features fan-favourite Umbrella grunt HUNK (or at least a character with very similar abilities and fashion sense), it’s the multiplayer feature that was designed to be this game’s selling point.
Oddly, Umbrella Corps seemed to be heavily inspired by games like Call of Duty and Fallout rather than other Resident Evil titles, with fast-paced shooter gameplay and frenetic battles involving numerous combatants. Unfortunately, clunky controls, poor animations, outdated graphics, and lacklustre sound design drastically affected the experience. Additionally, many critics felt as though the game moved too far away from the roots of Resident Evil and what made the franchise great. Thank goodness the sublime RE7 came out 18 months later to cleanse our palates!
Resident Evil Survivor (2000) – 4.0
Resident Evil Survivor was the very first Resident Evil spin-off game, originally released on PS1. Pulling liberally from the big book of storytelling cliches, it follows an amnesiac protagonist struggling to rediscover his identity amid a zombie outbreak on the mysterious Sheena Island. Moving to a light-gun shooter format and played entirely in first-person, Survivor was certainly the sort of experimental departure from the mainline games spin-offs are supposed to be.
Unfortunately, awful voice acting, mediocre graphics and dodgy off-rails shooter controls marred the experience. On top of this, the US release of Survivor wasn’t compatible with any light-gun peripheral, meaning this light-gun game had to be played with a PS1 controller. As you might expect, this didn’t do Survivor any favors.
Resident Evil Gaiden (2001) – 4.0
Co-developed by Capcom and British company M4, Resident Evil Gaiden was released on Game Boy Color. The story follows Barry Burton as he boards a zombie-infested cruise ship in what marks the beginning of RE spin-offs’ apparent obsession with boats. Visually, Gaiden is perhaps the most unique game on this list, featuring a top-down 2D aesthetic that, frankly, didn’t really suit the survival horror tone of the franchise. However, a more interesting aspect of the game was the core battle mechanic which sees Gaiden shifting into first-person mode upon Barry’s contact with zombies.
To shoot those pesky zoms you’ll need to press fire as a reticle moves across the screen from left to right at varying speeds. Combat is essentially a rhythm-based minigame in which you time your attacks to deal maximum damage. Surprisingly, this was actually a lot of fun and is a mechanic we’d love to see employed in other zombie games, despite the fact that everything else about Gaiden was pretty terrible.
Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City (2012) – 4.0
Operation Raccoon City was another spin-off that stepped away from survival horror and firmly into action. The game followed a group of Umbrella soldiers sent into Racoon City to keep Umbrella from being blamed for the t-virus outbreak, on top of various other confusing objectives. It also included a few shoe-horned character appearances from franchise favourites that surely aren’t quite canon.
Though praised for the teamwork elements that fuel both playable scenarios, Operation Raccoon City was strongly criticised for featuring poor level design, bland gameplay and being very buggy. Online features and a multiplayer “Heroes” deathmatch mode didn’t really add much either, with Operation Raccoon City lauded as one of the worst Resident Evil games by franchise fans.
Resident Evil Outbreak: File #2 (2004) – 6.5
Billing itself as an expansion to the original Resident Evil Outbreak rather than a proper sequel, Outbreak: File 2 continued the story that the original started, featuring the same characters still trapped in Racoon City. The game offers up five new scenarios, but most importantly the first scenario, “Wild Things”, sees you fight a zombie elephant!
However, awesome as that may have been, Outbreak: File #2 received mixed reviews upon release. The game was commended for building on the world that Outbreak created, and there were some quality of life improvements, but terrible AI, disappointing level design and location fatigue (from so many RE games being set during the Raccoon City incident) tainted the experience. A planned sequel was apparently scrapped due to File 2’s poor sales.
Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D (2011) – 6.5
Released on 3DS, The Mercenaries 3D let players test themselves against the clock while attempting to take down as many classic RE enemies as possible. Based on The Mercenaries minigame introduced in RE3, the arcadey gameplay is set in closed-off arenas featuring different locations and famous characters from the RE franchise.
Whilst The Mercenaries was an undeniably enjoyable and addictive shooter, it was criticised for its lack of depth. Considering that there was no story mode, the lack of customisation options and playable characters to unlock was a severe disappointment. As an example, you can play as Claire Redfield or HUNK, but not Leon – what were they thinking?!
Resident Evil: Dead Aim (2003) – 6.9
Resident Evil: Dead Aim puts us back on a boat. The final Gun Survivor game (that was the series’ title in Japan, which also included a Dino Crisis crossover), Dead Aim made its mark on the franchise by employing a multi-perspective camera angle. During gameplay and exploration, a third-person perspective was used, but as soon as the player raises their gun, the camera switched to first-person mode. Set on an ocean liner, the Spencer Rain, the ship has been taken over by an ex-Umbrella employee known as Morpheus. Morpheus is holding the world hostage with t-virus infused missiles, and it’s government task force member Bruce McGivern’s job to stop him.
Despite a pretty cheesy premise, the ocean liner’s tight, gloomy corridors offers one of the more atmospheric settings on this list. Dead Aim is a game that manages to meld traditional survival horror and arcade light-gun dynamics reasonably well, and with the right set up the controls were nowhere near as frustrating as its predecessors’. It’s mostly an uninspired plot that lets Dead Aim down – essentially a check list of every Resident Evil cliché going.
Due to the success of the original Revelations game and its various ports, an episodic sequel in the form of Resident Evil Revelations 2 was released three years later. Revelations 2 features Claire Redfield and Barry Burton as its main characters, and bridges the gap between RE5 and RE6.
Most of the game takes place on the spooky Sushestvovanie Island (quite a mouthful) as Claire and then Barry investigate a mysterious facility, all whilst an “Overseer’ attempts to thwart them at every turn. Brilliantly, the game attempts to turn Barry into a gun-toting action hero, complete with cheesy one-liners and a cutscene where he walks in slow motion away from a giant explosion. Go, Barry!
Resident Evil Outbreak (2003) – 7.6
Set during the same period as RE2 and RE3, Outbreak sees a handful of strangers trying to survive long enough to figure out how to escape Racoon City. Notably, Outbreak marked the T-virus infecting the internet in what was Capcom’s first attempt at online co-op survival horror. Each player controls a survivor with unique skills, and you must work with other players to make it through five zombie-infested and puzzle-strewn scenarios.
However, with no voice chat and poor AI if you’re playing offline, Outbreak was a frustrating experience when trying to coordinate with other players or play solo. Outbreak certainly had some good moments, and it was fun to experience the Racoon City disaster from a new perspective, but ultimately Outbreak was more a proof-of-concept for online cooperative play than anything else.
Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles (2007) – 7.9
The Umbrella Chronicles was released on Nintendo’s Wii as an on-rails light-gun game that revisited some of the franchise’s biggest moments. Loosely following the stories of RE0, RE1 and then RE3, the gameplay was fast and frenetic, and worked perfectly with the Wii Remote and Wii Zapper peripheral. There was even a new story included, which saw Chris and Jill infiltrating a secret Russian Umbrella facility.
A much more successful light-gun game than any of the Gun Survivor games, Umbrella Chronicles was praised for its solid gunplay and stacks of unlockable secrets. Its biggest flaw was that those critical hit headshots were so dang hard to pull off!
Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles (2009) – 8.1
Like The Umbrella Chronicles, its sequel The Darkside Chronicles is another on-rails light-gun game. Once again, the main story retells events depicted in previous Resident Evil games, most notably RE2 and Code: Veronica.
With four varied scenarios to play through (including some new material for Leon and Jack Krauser), the gameplay is much the same as in Umbrella Chronicles except for one key aspect: in an attempt to make the first-person experience feel more realistic, a shaky-camera mechanic was added. Sadly, trying to make precision shots whilst the camera juddered all over the place was nothing short of a nightmare, one that badly tainted an otherwise solid experience.
Resident Evil Revelations (2012) – 8.5
Resident Evil Revelations garnered widespread acclaim when it was released on 3DS. Following Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine as they board an abandoned cruise liner (yes, another boat), Revelations has the pair fighting marine-inspired monsters and try to get to the bottom of a new bio-terrorist threat, in a story that’s actually pretty good. There are even flashbacks to other areas and stories that keep the gameplay from getting stale.
Home console ports eventually followed, with improved graphics and an awesome new Raid Mode – a fast-paced, arcadey minigame that sees you clear enemies from small maps. Commended for its eerie setting, clever sound design and incredible graphics (by 3DS standards), Revelations won most RE fans over immediately and is easily the best spin-off game the series has to offer.
*Honourable Mention* Resident Evil Survivor 2 – Code: Veronica (2001)
Only released in Japan and Europe, Gun Survivor 2 saw Claire Redfield locked inside an Umbrella Prison on Rockfort Island. Survivor 2 is basically a first-person, light-gun compatible rejig of the far superior Resident Evil – Code: Veronica, originally released on Dreamcast. The main difference is that each area in Survivor 2 features an arcade-style timer, and if you don’t find a key and escape in time, Nemesis (bizarrely out of place lore-wise) is released to hunt you down.
Survivor 2 also featured a Dungeon Mode which is arguably better than the main game. Dungeon Mode had you facing off against enemies and bosses, building combos and filling up a gauge to pass the mission. However, unresponsive controls mixed with terrible partner AI and a lack of plot in the main game meant that Survivor 2 did not review well, despite its impressive graphics (for the time).
So, what’s your favourite Resident Evil spin-off game? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to check out our listing of every Resident Evil review ever or our (mostly) complete history of the Resident Evil series!
Rebecca Stow is a huge fan of any game that tells a compelling story or scares her senseless. If there’s a story-driven title or new Resident Evil game on the horizon, chances are Rebecca will be playing it and almost certainly writing about it – you can follow her on Twitter @Rebeccastow97.