Ive played all the numbered RE games and loved them but I have to say I've been revisiting them since I got the anthology edition and the memories of them don't live up to how they actually play. There are so many great things about the originals but after experiencing the new play style and format of 4-6 I would much rather play those. I don't think its fair to say that the later games are better than the original they're just different. I also think that after all the flak they're getting for 6 I wouldn't be suprised if 7 goes back to survivor horror. Who knows though. I think RE is awesome and I'll probably play any future RE game no matter what.
I still find the games fun. Playing old games is like watching the original movies over these damn remakes that keep flooding the industy.
Sure the voice acting sucks. (A---DA! A--DA!) Sure the controls are odd. (Rooootate...now...*chompchompchomp* SHIII)
But the experience is genuine. Most games today are just remake or HD money-grabs. I played RE2 for the first time last year and thought it was better than RE5. Every action felt deliberate and calculated in RE2 like a Hitchcock movie; whereas in RE5 it was like playing a Michael Bay attempt at horror.
I'll never forget when RE1 came out and we rented it. IT BLEW OUR MINDS!!!!! We stayed up all night playing it, drew out maps on note paper, brainstormed for ideas on what to do next, jumped for joy when we progressed in the game, marveled at the amazing graphics, and cherished every second of it (even the countless hours we spent going in circles or being lost or dying). No strategy guide, no internet for help...just us and this game that we were so enthralled in...true survival horror. I guess you really had to have been there. :)