Our number three spot is taken by what is often considered the best of the original trilogy and you’d be hard-pressed to argue against that point. Taking everything that made the first game so enticing and lifting it to incredible new heights, Resident Evil 2 is the definitive example of a sequel should be done. It improves upon the original in every way possible, throwing new curve-balls, mechanics and terrifying monsters at you with every new area you visit.
Set long after the events of the first game, you play as either rookie cop Leon Kennedy or university student Claire Redfield. Both who happen to land smack-bang in the middle of a virus outbreak and must band together with some other stragglers to escape the city. Gameplay wise it didn’t change a whole lot from the first game, it merely refined it to a point of near perfection. The graphics were more detailed, the number of enemies onscreen at once was increased and both character’s scenarios have last effects on one another, depending on which order you play them in. Compared to its predecessor, Resident Evil 2 is a much mechanically and narratively dense game. It provides all the thrills and shock horror moments that you’d expect. Only this time around they’re much more nuanced, completely disorientating the player and subverting rules that were instilled in us from the first game.
The original may have kick-started the genre, but Resident Evil 2 is the one that really defined it. Tighter gameplay, a better story (and voice-acting for that matter) really sell the immersion, making you genuinely care for our two protagonists and really want to see them get out alive. Capcom are currently in the midst of producing a remake of this for current gen systems and I for one cannot wait. Even as it approaches its twentieth birthday, this is still a real standout title. Not only one of the best games in the series, but one of the best games on the PlayStation, period.