• Resident Evil Village set a new standard for action and difficulty in the franchise, challenging players with tough boss fights and memorable moments.
  • The Resident Evil 4 Remake surprised fans by increasing the difficulty from the original game, providing a challenging yet satisfying experience.
  • Resident Evil Outbreak File #2 offered a brutal co-op survival horror experience, with nightmare mode and time limits adding to the challenge.

The Resident Evil franchise has had a lot of entries, between the mainline games in the series, the remakes, spin-offs, and prequels, the franchise has become a massive multimedia world phenomenon. While there may be a few games that Resident Evil fans would like to forget due to their design, there are plenty of others that are brilliant but just plain difficult to win.

From remakes that up the difficulty to games that completely reinvented the idea of the Resident Evil franchise, there are a lot of ways in which the difficulty of the franchise has reared its head in these survival-focused games that sometimes make surviving as difficult as it would be in a real zombie apocalypse.

Updated April 13, 2024 by Chris Harkin: Though there have been no further releases in the Resident Evil franchise in the last few months, the debate over which games in the franchise are the hardest is always ongoing. The further complications from the many different reboots the franchise has experienced in recent years have changed the perspective of certain games, with some of the remakes being harder than the originals, and some easier.

The franchise shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon though, meaning that there will be plenty of updates to this article in the future as the hardest Resident Evil games continue to change.

11 Resident Evil 5

GameFAQs Difficulty Score: 3.08/5

Resident Evil 5
March 5, 2009

Survival Horror

In Resident Evil 5, Chris Redfield takes his government agent status to West Africa, where he and his partner attempt to stop a bioterrorism weapon from being sold on the black market. Taking many cues from the action-packed style of Resident Evil 4, one of the major difficulties that came from the fifth mainline entry in the franchise was the huge lack of ammunition and supplies.

Not to mention that there was a similar challenge in Resident Evil 5 to that of Resident Evil Outbreak, the challenge of trying to keep a computer-controlled partner alive in the form of Sheva Alomar, Redfield’s new partner. While this wasn’t the most beloved entry in the franchise, it did produce a memorable level of difficulty for fans.

10 Resident Evil 7: Biohazard

GameFAQs Difficulty Score: 3.14/5

Jack Baker from Resident Evil 7, wielding an axe against Ethan.

Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
January 24, 2017

Survival Horror

Resident Evil 7 was a complete overhaul and reinvention of the franchise. While it was praised for stripping back the action of some previous installments and focusing on the survival horror aspect, it also changed the game from any previous entry by setting the game in first-person. This allowed for a whole new level of terror to be added throughout the game that players hadn’t experienced in the franchise before.

The lack of prowess in combat that the player character had compared to previous games made for a whole different style of play. It was difficult to navigate at times, and the family of Texas Chainsaw-inspired mutants made for intriguing adversaries as players led Ethan through their plantation, searching for his missing wife. Resident Evil 7 was a much-beloved entry and a return to form that fans had waited for, but that doesn’t mean it was in any way easy.

9 Resident Evil Village

GameFAQs Difficulty Score: 3.18/5

Alcina Dimitrescu

Resident Evil Village
May 7, 2021

Survival (dupe) , Horror

The most recent main series release outside the remakes, Resident Evil Village was a roaring success for the franchise. Not only was it a great example of many traits from earlier installments, such as puzzles, fascinating enemies, and the importance of finding secret items, but it also increased the level of combat from previous entries.

The higher focus on action was one of the main ways in which Resident Evil Village managed to challenge players. Difficult boss fights and memorable moments combine to create an entry that has done a great job of moving the franchise forward, ensuring it doesn’t rest simply on the laurels of remakes from the glory days.

8 Resident Evil 4 (2023)

GameFAQs Difficulty Score: 3.28/5

leon preparing to fight mendez from re4

Resident Evil 4 Remake
March 24, 2023

Survival Horror

The most recently released remake in the franchise goes back to Leon Kennedy’s mission to save the president’s daughter. Surprisingly, the difficulty of the remake is even greater than that of the original, which was already not considered an easy game.


All Resident Evil Games in Order

Resident Evil has been around for 27 years, and with almost 30 games under its belt, it can be confusing for new fans to know where the story starts.

Players have been stunned by the remake, which many have praised for being challenging without getting frustratingly hard. The real challenge is in surprises since players don’t know what they’ll face around each corner, especially making the first playthrough incredibly difficult due to being unable to plan.

7 Resident Evil Zero

GameFAQs Difficulty Score: 3.32/5

Resident Evil Zero Poster

Resident Evil Zero
November 12, 2002

Survival Horror

Resident Evil Zero details the events preceding the first game, and this prequel was a fascinating experiment. Not only did it take on whole new characters and a new setting with the abandoned Umbrella training facility, but it also provided quite a change in the mechanics for players who had become accustomed to the other games in the franchise.

Besides continuously having a character controlled by the AI around to hinder and irritate players, adding to the level of difficulty of the game, players also had to switch between the two main characters as they had different abilities for puzzle solving. This was a slightly awkward mechanic that helped add to the difficulty a surprising amount.

6 Resident Evil 3: Nemesis (1999)

GameFAQs Difficulty Score: 3.33/5

Jill Valentine coming out of a safe room

Resident Evil 3: Nemesis
November 10, 1999

Survival Horror

In an example of an original that was harder than the remake, the third main entry in the Resident Evil franchise was a fascinating and fast-paced journey as Jill Valentine tries, concurrently with the events of Resident Evil 2, to escape Raccoon City after a wider outbreak of the T-Virus.

Players found themselves being brutally chased by the Nemesis, confused because this entry was so completely different from any other game in the franchise. The complete chaos, constant boss chasing after Jill and difficulty of completing runs due to lack of items was exacerbated by the higher difficulty options players could dare to take on, which were made much easier in the remake.

5 Resident Evil 2 (2019)

GameFAQs Difficulty Score: 3.37/5

Resident Evil 2 Robert Kendo with a gun on Leon

Resident Evil 2 (2019)
January 25, 2019

The original Resident Evil 2 wasn’t a particularly difficult game, so the 2019 remake shocked gamers by not being in any way a direct one-to-one version of the old game. Instead, the remake was more of a rebuilt version of the story that the old version had, without sticking to the same controls or exact story. Characters, events, and mechanics were all shifted dramatically.


Resident Evil Games Ranked By How Long They Take To Beat

The Resident Evil franchise is the face of the horror game genre; however, which of the series’ games takes the longest to beat?

Coming out in the wake of Resident Evil 7, gamers were shocked by the mixture of the seventh entry’s style with the difficulties involved in the second game. Difficult zombies, brutal puzzles that turned into real head-scratchers, and the always monstrous Mr. X lurking at every turn transformed the second entry into a remade, revamped nightmare that blew the minds of many gamers as they found out just how tricky a Resident Evil game could be, despite not being a particularly long game.

4 Resident Evil – Code: Veronica

GameFAQs Difficulty Score: 3.42/5

Resident Evil Code Veronica Poster

Resident Evil CODE:Veronica
February 29, 2000

Survival Horror

Another lesser-known entry in the franchise, but one that has become infamous among die-hard Resident Evil fans due to their obsession with the intricate difficulties, Code: Veronica is considered by some to be the closest to being a mainline game out of the spin-off games in the franchise as it follows Claire and Chris Redfield months after the events of the second and third games.

Resident Evil – Code: Veronica made ammunition and supplies hugely challenging, it kept save points rare in certain areas, and it was filled with enemies such as bander snatches which proved to be the consistent undoing of many frustrated players. Code: Veronica may not be as well-remembered as other games in the Resident Evil franchise, but it will keep its place as one of the most difficult challenges the survival horror franchise has seen.

3 Resident Evil (1996)

GameFAQs Difficulty Score: 3.64/5

Resident Evil (1996)

Resident Evil
March 30, 1996

Survival Horror

The game that started it all was truly challenging. The first Resident Evil game tells the now-familiar story of a group of STARS agents heading into a mansion where they discover the dead have come to life and must be stopped before they escape into Raccoon City and beyond.

The puzzling and claustrophobic nature of the first Resident Evil made it, both at the time and in multiple remakes since, a truly difficult experience. One of the biggest influences on returning the zombie genre to popularity in the 90s and helping craft the modern survival horror game, Resident Evil was the highest-selling game for the PlayStation console when it was first released.

2 Resident Evil Outbreak

GameFAQs Difficulty Score: 3.77/5

Promo art featuring characters from Resident Evil Outbreak

Resident Evil: Outbreak
December 11, 2003

Survival Horror , Action-Adventure , Third-Person Shooter

Resident Evil Outbreak was released in 2003, with the selling point that it was the first in the Resident Evil franchise to feature multiplayer support and cooperative gameplay. These points helped the game sell, and the controls that were similar to the 2002 remake of the original Resident Evil were also a big help.

However, fans have complained of the difficulty with certain aspects of the game. Without a second player in-game, players had to play alongside a rather useless AI. This made a lot of the game more difficult, and when added to the general atmosphere, which included a lot of poison and bleeding effects to add to the difficulty, Resident Evil Outbreak became a pretty difficult game overall.

1 Resident Evil Outbreak File #2

GameFAQs Difficulty Score: 3.83/5

Tyrant C resident evil outbreak file 2

  • Platform(s): PS2
  • Released: April 26, 2005 (North America)
  • Developer(s): Capcom
  • Genre(s): Survival Horror

Similarly styled and featuring even more difficulty than the first Outbreak spin-off game, Resident Evil Outbreak File #2 was a brutal experience. This was one of the early versions of the co-op survival horror experiences which have become incredibly popular online today.

Players could work together, choosing from eight different characters and five different scenarios, to try and make it through while completing a variety of tasks and special actions. The biggest difference in gameplay and challenge from the first Outbreak game was the addition of the nightmare mode, giving players an entirely different level of difficulty to strive against. Time limits were also included, meaning that most scenarios had to be played through several times so players could learn where all items were beforehand.


The Scariest Resident Evil Games, Ranked

Few game franchises match the sheer awe and horror exhibited in the chilling Resident Evil titles. But which in the series were the scariest?


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