It’s time for Ask Kotaku, the weekly feature in which Kotaku-ites deliberate on a single burning question. Then, we ask your take.
This week we Ask Kotaku: Who are the best and worst Resident Evil heroes?
I’m a pretty light Resident Evil player, having spent a lot more time reading wiki dumps of all the dumb lore — and appreciating the music — instead of playing the games. I can’t make myself care about the newer faces in RE6 or the Revelations side games, so they’re kinda off my radar. Focusing just on the most popular guys and gals…
Chris Redfield bores me to tears. He’s even named Chris, one of the most boring names humanity’s yet devised (no offence to the be-Chrissed out there). I actually kinda like his earliest design seen in RE1 production sketches and character art, but he’s since just gotten more and more bland with every appearance. He was so boring that Capcom was like, whatever, let’s just completely redesign him for RE5, the one where he had plastic surgery, became a bodybuilder, and started punching boulders. I guess breaking rocks is cool, but it’s not much of a personality for yet another tough dude white guy. Sure, he always completes his mission, but…sorry, drifted off for a moment.
My favourite? On a mostly aesthetic level, I’d go with Jill Valentine, excluding her ill-advised Nina Williams cosplay in RE5. That original outfit with the pseudo-military garb and beret is iconic. Her revamp and overall performance in Resident Evil 3 remake were nice too. Yes, I do enjoy a good Jill sandwich.
The nice thing about a series like Resident Evil that’s been around for decades at this point is that there are just as many great characters as there are poor ones.
My favourite of the playable protagonists has got to be Sheva Alomar, who was introduced in 2009’s Resident Evil 5 as Chris Redfield’s backup. The survival horror series’ cast is incredibly white, so having an African woman elevated to the same level as a franchise mainstay (and play a prominent role in the adventure to boot) was fantastic. She’s also just really charming in a way that plays well with Chris’ overall gruff nature in that game. The fact that Sheva hasn’t returned apart from a footnote in an out-of-game info dump is criminal.
Sadly, I have to call out Chris as probably the worst of the major Resident Evil heroes. While he’s had some fun, silly moments (boulder-punching, anyone?), most of his appearances (as varied as they may be) are all just really, really boring. Arguably worse characters like Billy Coen (Resident Evil 0) and Jake Muller (Resident Evil 6) at least have some personality apart from being Tough Dudes. Chris is just there most of the time, which is a bummer considering how important he is to the franchise’s overarching story.
I don’t hate him by any stretch of the imagination, but I’m sure I’ll be groaning when Chris inevitably shows up as a playable character in Resident Evil 9 or 10 or whatever they end up calling these games from now on. Maybe, if my dreams come true, Capcom will end up partnering him with Sheva again to round out his rough edges.
My girl Jill Valentine has a place in my heart forever. She is such a badass. She’s who I want to be when I grow up. My girl is elite and cannot be brought down. In all seriousness, it’s characters like these that made me feel like gaming as a little girl could be for me too, despite what my parents might have thought. And seeing characters like Jill get to be the hero instead of just stand in the background made me feel so powerful. It’s the same feeling I get watching female wrestlers finally get their due and when seeing female athletes capture everyone’s attention. I don’t really care how cheesy that might sound cause it feels damn good.
And her chemistry with Carlos? Amazing.
Chris Redfield, on the other hand, can find a boulder to punch and get out of my face. He’s boring, he has poor instincts (especially in the latest Resident Evil Village), and can never seem to secure his coat. It’s reckless. Any number of bio-organic weapons could grab hold and he would be done with. Jill would never. She might have gone through the original Resident Evil 3: Nemesis in a tube top, but that was a wardrobe malfunction liability, not a safety one.
The best character is Leon Kennedy. Why? Well, have you seen his hair? Or his sweet jacket from Resident Evil 4? If you haven’t, go Google it, I’ll wait….OK. Now you get it? Looks aside, Leon is a cool dude who always gets the job done. I respect that.
As for the worst character, honestly just throw a dart at anyone who appears in Resident Evil Revelations 1 or 2. I love both games, but they’re filled with dipshits and arseholes. If I had to pick one though it would be Quint from the first Revelations. Annoying and bad at his job. And no sweet hair or jacket. He’s the exact opposite of Leon, making him the worst character in the franchise by my iron-tight logic.
Best and worst Resident Evil protagonists, hmm? That’s easy.
The Best: Lady Dimitrescu
The Worst: Ethan Winters
Oh, Lady D isn’t a protagonist? She is if you’re not a coward! Yes, Village was my first Resident Evil game. Why do you ask?
How About You?
Kotaku’s weighed in, but who are your (least) favourites? Does Chris deserve the hate? Have your say! We’ll be back next week to deliberate and debate on another nerdy issue. See you in the comments!