I’ll be upfront: Claire Redfield has always been my favorite Resident Evil character. She’s caring, strong-willed, and a total badass. She’s everything you’d expect from a good hero, and when we met Claire back in 1998’s Resident Evil 2, she was simply that, only defined by a few characteristics. Her red vest and motorcycle gave her a tough exterior, while her concern for her brother and quest to save Sherry Birkin showed a more sensitive side. The remake stays faithful to the original story, but it adds some extra layers to Claire’s personality. One thing I couldn’t get over as I played her campaign is just how these little additions, such as better bonding moments with Sherry and hilarious responses to being caught off guard by zombies and Mr. X, make such a difference.
In many ways, Claire feels closer to her Resident Evil Revelations 2 incarnation –composed and confident, ready to tackle the situation at hand and equipped with a killer one-liner. Who can forget her satisfying “Oversee this, bitch” quip? I’m glad that the Resident Evil 2 remake gave her just as many, if not more, great reactions. I love her shouting obscenities as she downs zombies, and saying things like “You can’t be serious” or “What the hell is that?” as her luck runs out. Leon does this to some extent too, but Claire’s responses have an extra hint of sass and frustration. It feels like you’re right there with her, having eerily similar thoughts. At one point, I made a mistake in the sewers, causing her to slide down the rushing water to an area I had previously been and damn, did Claire’s annoyed “You’ve got to be kidding me” reaction line up with mine.
This improved characterization goes beyond simple comments during combat and exploration; Claire and Sherry’s relationship is also enhanced and their interactions feel much more emotional and genuine. My favorite moment comes when Sherry asks Claire why she’s doing all this for her, and Claire mainly states, “Because I care.” You believe those simple words, because Claire’s proven it time and time again by stopping at nothing to ensure Sherry’s survival. I think this remake sells it better since we see it more in how Claire interacts with Sherry’s mom Annette and kidnapper Chief Irons. A nurturing and protective side that simply wasn’t as strong in the original emerges. Maybe it’s the desperation or sternness in her voice in these scenes, but more than better voice acting is at play here. These interactions hold more nuance and depth, and it allows Claire’s connection to Sherry feel much more personal and less about filling the “big sister” archetype she did when the game first came out.
Overall, Claire’s character is much more convincing, selling me on her feelings and motivations. This is necessary, because unlike Leon, who has a job to serve and protect, Claire’s journey is more personal. She doesn’t have to go to the lengths that she does for Sherry – she chooses to, and that says a lot about her as a person.
While the remake stays very true to this story arc, it amazes me how just a few changes such as extra lines and nuanced voice acting can make the impact so much stronger. It’s proof you don’t have to reinvent a character; sometimes it’s just about building off what’s there. The Resident Evil 2 remake gives Claire more depth and personality, and that in turn makes her that much more enjoyable to control. As a long-time Claire fan, I’m happy Capcom continues to make her character stronger at every opportunity.