Ever since its 2004 debut on GameCube, Resident Evil 4 has been one of the highest points in Capcom’s long-running survival-horror series. Its fresh third-person camera perspective and more action-oriented gameplay meshed perfectly with the careful resource management and horrifying creatures the series was already known for. And now, following remakes of the second and third games, Resident Evil 4 has received its own stellar revamp that has only reinforced the game’s excellence.
But Leon and Ashley’s trip through a parasite-ravaged villa in Spain eventually comes to a close. So what to play next? As a monumentally influential third-person action game with an emphasis on shooting, virtually every third-person action game on almost all platforms since 2004 has aspects which you can trace back to RE4. So on one level, you could basically jump into nearly any decent third-person action game these days and find some similarities.
But after the excellence of Resident Evil 4 you don’t want to play just any old thing, you want something similarly great. So, read on for some other fantastic games to consider as a follow-up to that wonderful remake, including a few that might make for a welcome change of pace.
Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3 (Remakes)
If you want more: Modern Resident Evil remakes
Notable differences: Basically none
Availability: Windows (Steam Deck OK), Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, PS5, Nintendo Switch, Amazon Luna
If somehow you have not played the recent remakes of Resident Evil 2 and 3, you need to get on that. They’re both excellent recreations of the original late ‘90s survival horror classics and are what set all of our expectations for the Resident Evil 4 remake so high in the first place.
If you’re not sure which one to jump into, here’s what you need to know: RE2 is Leon S. Kennedy’s origin story, following his first day on the job as a new recruit in the Racoon City Police Department. Things, as you might imagine, go horribly wrong. But RE2 also features another protagonist with a whole other side to this legendary campaign in Claire Redfield, who arrives in Racoon City looking for her brother, Chris, one of the two protagonists of the original Resident Evil.
Resident Evil 2’s 2019 remake easily demands two full playthroughs, if not more. But if you want something a bit more brief, and maybe a bit more action-centered, the remake of Resident Evil 3 is also worth considering — though purists might argue that RE3’s remake is more of a reimagining, as 1999’s original Resident Evil 3: Nemesis contained various features that didn’t reappear in the 2020 remake. Here you’ll play as Jill Valentine, one of the protagonists of the first Resident Evil, as she attempts a heroic escape from the zombie-infested Racoon City.
If you haven’t played either of these games before and Resident Evil 4 really grabbed your attention with its world and gameplay, Resident Evil 2 and 3 are must-plays. And if you have played them before, maybe it’s time for another go.
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard and Resident Evil Village
If You Want More: Resident Evil’s universe, but in first-person
Notable differences: First-person perspective
Resident Evil 7 Biohazard: Windows (Steam Deck OK), Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, PS5, Nintendo Switch, Amazon Luna
Resident Evil Village: Windows (Steam Deck OK), macOS, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, PS5, Nintendo Switch
In 2017, the Resident Evil series surprised us all with a first-person horrorfest in the form of Resident Evil 7. Pairing back the Hollywood-style action of RE6, it managed to be both a return to form and a path forward. Its follow-up, Resident Evil Village, continued the story of Ethan Winters but upped both the scale and action.
Village hews a bit closer to the feel and pace of Resident Evil 4, but there’s no denying that stalking the halls of the dilapidated Baker residence in Resident Evil 7 is one hell of a memorable experience. Just, I dunno, maybe do it while the sun is still up? The scares and haunted feelings you’ll get from this one are a fright to behold.
Legacy Resident Evil games (and spin-offs)
If you want more: Resident Evil, any flavour
Availability: Varies dramatically by game
Resident Evil has been around for a while…nearly 30 years. It’s impressive that such a long-running franchise has been able to produce so many hits and genre-defining entries. To celebrate that legacy, why not consider going back and revisiting some of those classics, be it the original 1996 title (or its faithful 2002 remake) or even more polarising entries like Resident Evil 5 or Resident Evil 6?
As with many long-running series, there’s a lot to explore. The original three PlayStation games defined classic survival horror and have a very different pace. Since Resident Evil 4 the series has become far more action-oriented. That settled down a bit with what I’d argue was sort of a spiritual reboot with Resident Evil 7. The series has also had a number of spin-offs, with the Revelations series being one of the more notable side stories. There are even a few recent multiplayer games, which almost no one likes (probably skip those).
Just, maybe hold off on playing the original Resident Evil 4 so soon after the remake. Unlike, say, the original Resident Evil 2 and the 2019 remake of that game, the differences aren’t so stark as to make for a completely fresh experience.
Gears of War
If you want more: Third-person action in dark environments
Notable differences: Dramatically more action-oriented
Gears of War: Ultimate Edition: Windows (Steam Deck Not Supported), Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S
Resident Evil 4 proved that it was possible to have the accuracy of a first-person shooter without removing all of your peripheral vision. The over-the-shoulder camera perspective, now a virtual standard, was one of its main appeals in 2004. In 2006, Gears of War took the idea and slapped on some snappy cover mechanics inspired by 2003’s Kill Switch. In doing so it would go on to inspire at least another two generations of cover-happy third-person shooters.
Gears of War also has a pretty dark setting, and clearly takes several beats from Resident Evil 4. Gears’ Berserkers, for example, can’t see you, leading to skirmishes in which you have to lead the beasts out into a more vulnerable position by tricking them with sound. That ought to feel a little familiar.
But Gears has far more action than even the most explosive Resident Evil game. And it isn’t nearly as spooky, nor are you typically as vulnerable as your average RE protagonist.
In addition to the first game, you should also check out the more recent entries, Gears of War 4 and 5, as they’re solid third-person action games that deliver nice enhancements to the original formula Epic Games perfected back in 2006.
The Last of Us Part I and Part II
If you want more: Third-person survival horror
Notable differences: Dramatically more grounded setting and narrative, more fluid gunplay (especially in Part II)
Availability: Windows (Steam Deck OK), PS4, PS5
Resident Evil is an excellent survival horror series, but let’s be honest: The drama is often a little campy, and it’s hard to believe these events are actually happening in our own reality. If the challenge of making the most out of the resources available to you is your jam, and you enjoy a slow-paced, gritty shooter in which every shot counts, then The Last of Us is a solid followup to RE4.
TLoU’s third-person lineage can be clearly traced back to the original RE4, but with more slow-burn action, real-time crafting, and life-or-death challenges of marksmanship. TLoU’s premise is also way more grounded than the zany shenanigans of Umbrella Corp. and whatever alphabet virus they’ve let loose this time. Compared to Resident Evil, it’s fair to say that TLoU’s monsters aren’t necessarily the central appeal. The emotional twists and turns of its many protagonists and antagonists take centre stage, but there are a couple of excellent scares and dramatically vile beasts to shoot your way through, too.
If you’re on PC, however, as of early 2023, you’re going to want to hold off on trying the port as it’s, uh, a disaster.
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
If you want more: Third-person action games with dark settings
Notable differences: Focuses on melee combat, shorter runtime, more serious in tone
Availability: Windows (Steam Deck OK), Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, PS5, Nintendo Switch
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is a beautifully dark and riveting journey through the inner mind of its protagonist. Weaving a dark tale of loss and love through stunning visual and aural depictions of Norse mythology, the game features minimalistic third-person melee combat and mysterious puzzles. The camera perspective and dark themes resonate well with Resident Evil 4, but the artistic heights it manages to achieve are on a whole other level.
Describing Hellblade too much can genuinely spoil the experience. It needs to be played in its entirety, and only lasts a modest seven or eight hours. But every moment is worth it. In fact, bookmark this tab, and go play it right now, because you shouldn’t even risk reading a spoiler and ruining the delightful ways it unravels all the way through. When you’re done, go check out the dev diary documenting the creation of this exquisite game.
If Hellblade’s visuals call to you, it’s an invitation you should not turn down. Go play it, now.
Dead Space (2023 Remake)
Honestly, Dead Space is basically Resident Evil 4…in space! (I’m not sorry.) Dead Space arrived on the Xbox 360 and PS3 back in 2008 and was brought back via a faithful remake this year. A third-person survival horror experience, with the standard over-the-shoulder camera perspective that Resident Evil 4 sparked such interest in, Dead Space is dark, brutal, punishing at its higher difficulties, and delightfully gory.
But it isn’t just a cheap imitation of RE4’s perspective and style. Dead Space challenges your marksmanship by asking you to pick apart its reanimated dead with repurposed space-mining equipment, and features zero-gravity sequences and clever uses of sci-fi technology for its deadly puzzles.
Devil May Cry 5 (and other DMC games)
If you want more: RE Engine, Capcom games, monster-slaying shenanigans
Notable difference: Faster paced, melee combat, higher power fantasy
Availability: Windows (Steam Deck OK), Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, PS5
Resident Evil’s survival horror rests on the vulnerabilities of your characters. Little else communicates that better than the opening of Resident Evil 4. But if finishing Resident Evil 4 has you in the mood for a more epic power fantasy, one in which you can cut loose and stylishly dig into some nasty creatures, Devil May Cry 5 might make for a dramatically satisfying change of pace. It also runs on the RE Engine that powers the recent Resident Evil games. But that’s not the only connection between the two.
Kicking off another longtime Capcom franchise, the first Devil May Cry entered development originally as the first attempt at a follow-up to Resident Evil 3. That original concept was remarkably different from what Resident Evil 4 would eventually end up being, but many of those ideas and aesthetic goals would live on in 2001’s first Devil May Cry for PS2.
Aside from the controversial and mostly unloved second game, you can’t go wrong with any of the Devil May Cry chapters. Opinions diverge on the quality of 4, as well as the controversial 2013 reboot simply titled DmC (which you should play, because it’s a solid and entertaining action game with a bone-crushing soundtrack). But if you just want a safe bet, Devil May Cry 5 has been universally well-received by most series fans, and it’s so quintessentially Devil May Cry, while still being quite inventive and expansive on its own, that it’s kind of a Greatest Hits of that series.
It’s surprising how fresh Resident Evil 4 remains, even after so many years and multiple ports and re-releases., Its influence is so vast, its progeny so numerous, that the real question is: What are ya buying, stranger?
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