Survival horror has evolved in incredible ways and grown into one of the most popular and addicting video game genres. Many different series have made their mark on the genre and helped push it forward, but the Resident Evil games have always been front and center of it all.
Instalments in Capcom’s famed horror series differ in many distinct ways, with one of the most notable being the characters. Several entries have introduced a new hero or set of heroes to fight against whatever bioterrorist threat is taking over. And at this point, there have been many Resident Evil protagonists, but some of them are better suited to fight monsters than others.
Updated March 24, 2023 by Ben Jessey: The new Resident Evil 4 Remake is wowing both fans and critics. Once again, you get to step in the shoes of Leon Kennedy for arguably his most exciting adventure. During it, he is fighting against the odds, but he is skilled enough in combat to survive.
This begs the question, is he the most skilled protagonist in the series history? For this list, we tried to answer that question by ranking them all. Yet, more have appeared on the scene since then, so we need to add them to the piece.
13 Rosemary Winters (Resident Evil Village And Resident Evil Village: Shadows Of Rose DLC)
As the offspring of Ethan and Mia winters, Rosemary isn’t exactly ordinary. In fact, she has some special powers. This is evident during the Shadows Of Rose DLC when she has to make her way through a strange and dangerous realm that contains plenty of monsters.
Most of the time, however, she uses guns instead of special abilities to keep herself alive. She does a decent job surviving, but there’s no proof that she’s exceptionally skilled. She’s at least not as skilled as other Resident Evil protagonists.
12 Ethan Winters (Resident Evil 7 And Resident Evil Village)
The most recent addition to the long-line of Resident Evil protagonists is Ethan Winters. During RE7 and most of Village, he seems like an ordinary guy. Yet, one of Village’s plot twists reveals that he’s more monster than man, which explains why he’s almost indestructible.
The fact he’s an unusual being means he could be one of Resident Evil’s strongest protagonists. However, he’s still not overly skilled as he hasn’t had an abundance of combat training. Instead, he succeeds in his missions because of his impressive resolve.
11 Rebecca Chambers (Resident Evil And Resident Evil Zero)
Rebecca Chambers is one member of S.T.A.R.S. that doesn’t get a lot of attention. However, she’s a vital part of the earlier chapters in the series, and she’s shown her face in the spin-off games.
Chambers is present in the first title, but she’s not a playable protagonist until Resident Evil Zero. Despite being a member of S.T.A.R.S. Bravo Team, Rebecca is only an 18-year-old rookie in both of her main appearances. However, the young woman holds her own and is instrumental in the destruction of the Leech Queen from RE:0.
10 Billy Coen (Resident Evil Zero)
Resident Evil Zero is an outlier in the franchise that’s gained more appreciation over time. During the game, Rebecca Chambers teams with Billy Coen, an escaped death row inmate. While Billy’s innocence is slowly revealed throughout the game, he still has a painful and violent past.
As a former marine, the convict is a trained combatant, but he doesn’t quite have the level of skill some other Resident Evil main characters do. Still, escaping execution and surviving against James Marcus’s many monsters is no easy feat.
9 Joe Baker (Resident Evil 7: End Of Zoe DLC)
In RE7’s End Of Zoe DLC, a new protagonist joins the series. He is a hermit called Joe Baker, who is the brother of Jack Baker. During the DLC, his main goal is to protect and cure his niece, Zoe.
Along the way, the former Marine shows his skills as he fights through a bunch of mold creatures and other beasts. He even manages to get the best of his brother Jack, which is no easy feat. It’s still unclear what his full skillset is, considering you only see him in action for a short DLC.
8 Carlos Oliveira (Resident Evil 3)
Carlos Oliveira is a Resident Evil hero who’s restricted to the third mainline game in the series. Yet, he still makes a strong impression and gives Jill Valentine plenty of support.
Carlos is a mercenary from a South American guerilla organization before Umbrella recruits him to join their UBCS division. The man specializes in the maintenance of weapons, and his knowledge on the subject means he often knows what firearms are best to use against a bio-weapon. Plus, Carlos is a very tactical fighter.
7 Claire Redfield (Resident Evil 2, Resident Evil – Code: Veronica, And Resident Evil: Revelations 2)
Because of her good heart and badass nature, Claire Redfield is among the best characters in the series. But she rarely gets as much praise as Jill, Chris, or Leon. So, she is one of the most underrated Resident Evil characters ever.
During her first game, she’s just a regular civilian, albeit one that’s been trained by famed S.T.A.R.S member Chris Redfield, aka her brother. And years later, when working with the human rights agency known as TerraSave, her proficient weapons and combat skills are still top-notch. She uses her talents to survive outbreaks and protect non-combatants in the process, like Sherry Birkin and Moira Burton.
6 Barry Burton (Resident Evil, Resident Evil 3, And Resident Evil: Revelations 2)
Barry Burton is one of the most beloved secondary characters in the series. However, he also plays the role of a protagonist in Revelations 2. In all his appearances, he proves to be a great protector of people. He looks after Jill in the early games and takes care of Natalia during his protagonist stint.
He doesn’t generally kill the biggest and deadliest foes, which is why he can’t be considered as skilled as some of his allies. That being said, the man did earn his place in the S.T.A.R.S Alpha unit, and they only let the best join.
5 Ada Wong (Resident Evil 2, Resident Evil 4, And Resident Evil 6)
The Mysterious Ada Wong joins the series during the second game, and the character gets more fleshed out with each subsequent appearance. Eventually, she becomes a main character in Resident Evil 6.
Ada doesn’t have police or military training like many other Resident Evil protagonists, but she was trained to be a spy. She’s handy with crossbows and grappling guns, plus in hand-to-hand combat, she’s as dangerous as Leon or Chris. Her greatest asset, though, is her ingenuity, as she’s able to get herself out of the most perilous situations.
4 Leon Scott Kennedy (Resident Evil 2, Resident Evil 4, And Resident Evil 6)
After making his debut in Resident Evil 2, Leon Kennedy becomes a vital character in the series and shows up in many of the franchise’s most important entries.
He begins as a rookie Police Officer, but by Resident Evil 4, he’s one of the President’s most trusted agents. The hero even embarks on a one-man mission to Spain to rescue the President’s daughter. During the assignment, he virtually single-handily extinguishes the evil cult, Los Illuminados. In the preceding years, he continues to be a major force in the world’s response to the seemingly constant bioterrorism threats.
3 Jill Valentine (Resident Evil, Resident Evil 3, Resident Evil: Revelations, And Resident Evil 5)
Jill Valentine has been a fixture of the Resident Evil series ever since the original game. From the start, she is one of the most skilled members of the elite S.T.A.R.S Alpha team.
Yet, her talents continue to grow with each new game as she continually overcomes the most deadly adversaries. Jill’s greatest triumph is when she kills the seemingly unstoppable Nemesis. Although, the woman is perhaps at her strongest when she’s under Wesker’s control in RE5, as it takes two BSAA agents to take her down.
2 Chris Redfield (Resident Evil, Resident Evil: Revelations, Resident Evil 5, Resident Evil 6, And More)
Few Resident Evil main characters have been around as long as Chris Redfield. And even though he’s very accomplished upon entering the series, he still becomes more competent over time.
The muscular man was a former U.S Air Force pilot before he ended up becoming an important figure in S.T.A.R.S.’s Alpha team. Later he continues to fight bioterrorism as one of the founders of the BSAA. It takes a very talented individual to earn the positions that Chris has. Plus, he can punch boulders into rubble.
1 Jake Muller (Resident Evil 6)
Resident Evil 6 is a divisive but ambitious title that includes four main protagonists. One of the lead characters is Jake Muller, who’s the illegitimate son of series villain Albert Wesker.
Throughout the game, Jake exhibits many of the same superhuman skills as his father. As a result, Muller is advanced in every way from speed to strength, and few can challenge him in a one-on-one battle. Unlike his Dad, though, he uses his talents for good as he fights bio-weapons in less fortunate countries.