There have been a lot of Resident Evil characters over the years and even the subset of characters that actually lead a game is pretty large. With so many different characters, it’s probably really confusing to decide who you should root for to star in new games or, more importantly, who would be best to have by your side in the event of a worldwide bioweapon epidemic.
Keep in mind that metric does not just mean raw strength, though that is a factor. There are characters who are outperformed by the raw power of other protagonists, but are much better at hiding or making alliances that keep them safe. Not every problem can just be punched or shot, so having someone who can think around it is sometimes a good plan. But a lot of problems can indeed be punched or shot, so those skills are still weighed heavily.
This list also only encompasses the mainline games and their playable protagonists in the modes with the main gameplay and some story. Sure, Wesker would be pretty good to have around, but his Mercenaries appearances don’t quite allow him into this list.
Here’s roughly what this (very opinionated) tier list means.
- S-Tier: Just all-around a great choice. If you see this person in the zombie apocalypse, cling to them.
- A-Tier: Not the best choice, but honestly close. You’re very likely to make it.
- B-Tier: It’d be best if you could pair up with more than one of these people, but the odds are in your favor.
- C-Tier: Average. It’s basically a coin toss.
- D-Tier: Below average. You’re putting your life in your hands pairing with them.
You don’t have to like Chris Redfield to know he’s your best bet. He straddles the line between Super Soldier and Secret Agent and is just as comfortable performing clandestine assassinations as he is punching a boulder in half. You probably won’t get stimulating conversation, but you’ll live and maybe even thrive after.
Resident Evil’s original deuteragonist, Jill Valentine has shepherded a fair number of survivors to safety over the years. Her S.T.A.R.S. training seemingly did more for her than most of the team and she’s always willing to take down the biggest problem instead of just the immediate threat. She also has more inventory space, so even if she can’t punch boulders, she’s way more versatile.
While Chris has had the most physical growth in the series, Leon has had the most actual career growth. At one point a rookie cop, Leon was soon rescuing the First Daughter from bio-cults and eventually guarded the President himself. He might not be as powerful as some other Resident Evil protagonists, but he’ll get you to safety.
Power isn’t everything, though. While the above three protagonists would leave a crater where the problem used to be, Ada’s first priority is surviving. This expert in espionage would probably make you her primary mission and get you to safety as soon as possible. She doesn’t have a signature shotgun, but she does have a grappling hook, which seems more useful when avoiding enemies that have a hard time with verticality.
The younger Redfield only barely misses S-Tier for reasons beyond her control. Over the years, she has been saddled with a number of survival partners that drag her down a bit. She also doesn’t have the training many of the S-Tier protagonists do. That said, Claire Redfield has always proven herself more than capable and having to carry less capable protagonists around speaks highly of her ability to cart you around.
Hunk is hard to categorize. In theory, the Umbrella Security officer could go toe-to-toe with Chris Redfield in raw strength, and is considered by Resident Evil 3 antagonist Nikolai Zinoviev to be an equal rival. He also just kinda…isn’t really a people person. Hunk is just as likely to pick you up and use you as a weapon as he is to save you. If you do manage to endear yourself to Hunk, you have an emotionless golem that will level a city to keep you safe, but that’s not necessarily a guaranteed condition.
I really like Sheva, but I think even she realized by the end of Resident Evil 5 that this bioweapon Umbrella thing is some dumb nonsense. She hasn’t been seen since her appearance alongside Chris defeating Wesker, who I’m relatively sure did not even know her name. Sheva would absolutely have your back, but the scale might be a bit annoying for her to deal with.
The biological son of Albert Wesker, unlike a lot of the inexplicable superhumans on this list, Jake has an actual backstory about his incredible physical attributes. That said, Jake at his best is not nearly as powerful as his father, who was killed by Chris and Sheva and handled by others in separate occasions. You’re probably fine, but you’re settling a little here.
The newest non-face of Resident Evil is Ethan Winters, a seeming everyman who keeps getting himself caught up in life-threatening situations with monsters. Ethan shows amazing resilience in the face of, well, everything, but god he is bad at keeping people alive. He often bemoans the fact that everyone around him dies shortly before, you know, leaving them to die. If Ethan’s goal is to keep you alive, you’ll probably do fine, but if you’re just a side character in his life, don’t expect him to lend you too much of a hand.
I’m loathe to admit it, but ex-con Billy Coen is in almost every way the strongest character in Resident Evil 0. He may not be able to mix herbs, but it doesn’t matter because he mostly doesn’t need them. He has deadeye aim and the health of a small elephant. Which really does seem strange when you consider Rebecca is supposed to have the training here. Billy’s also just pretty untrustworthy, so you better hope nothing comes along as a better deal.
Sherry has training, but more importantly she has regenerative powers, like a blonde Wolverine. If Sherry acts as your shield, then you’re probably golden. But if you’re separated from her, she can’t really help you by taking a rebar to the gut. Sherry’s the very definition of “Well, better than nothing.”
There’s nothing either bad or outstanding about Helena. As Leon’s partner in Resident Evil 6, she holds her own against hordes of zombies, but doesn’t do any kind of particular job of standing out. She tends to have her own agenda and you might need to keep her eyes on the goal of, you know, surviving and escaping.
The youngest member of S.T.A.R.S. is sidelined in her own game. Opposite Billy Coen, Rebecca is mostly treated as an item carrier than a badass task force member. Hopefully one day she’ll get the redemption she deserves, but as of now, she’s not the first option you should pick. Boy, Resident Evil does not always do a great job with women, I’m discovering.
Mia’s entire tenure in the Resident Evil series has been marked by failure. She’s failed in her missions, she’s failed to escape from the consequences of those failures, and the less said about the beginning of Resident Evil Village the better for her. It’s great that she can handle a gun and she’s fought a good number of molded before, but this is not a win-loss ratio you want to be a part of.
Who? Chris’ partner from Resident Evil 6 is basically invisible. No one ever really thinks about him. If he were a snack, he’d be the snack you dropped under the seat and forgot about. Don’t count on this dude, unless you think he could theoretically get you an in with Chris and honestly I doubt Chris even remembers who he is.
That concludes the Resident Evil protagonist tier list. Remember, if you have a different opinion, that’s totally cool! Just put it in the comments below and we’ll consider all differences whenever we update our list.