Resident Evil is a Japanese horror game that involves the outbreaks of zombie viruses. The first game centers around a mansion rumored to be involved in cannibalistic killings. Among the first response team to what is known as the “Mansion Incident” in the Arklay Mountains is Jill Valentine. Jill was a member of the US military’s Delta Force training program where she became an expert in bomb disposal. Upon returning from service she later joined the Raccoon City Police department. In the first game Jill is a member of the elite Special Tactics and Rescue Service or (S.T.A.R.S) Bravo team. Among this team were her teammates Chris Redfield, Barry Burton, and team leader Albert Wesker. This task force was tasked to investigate the gristly murders within the Spencer Mansion and the disappearance of Alpha Team. Within the first game, and among the events of the first game, is the Jill’s suspicion of a traitor in their midst. It is later revealed that Wesker, the team leader, was actually on the insidious Umbrella corporation. The Umbrella corporation had accidentally released the virus responsible for the incident at the mansion and Wesker was sent to cover it up rather than investigate it.
Throughout the rest of the series she plays various roles. She is the main character in several entries in the story line. She returns to Raccoon City and is involved in the second outbreak of the T-Virus, and her continued investigation into Umbrella was temporarily put on hold once again. This is in spite of the constant threats to her investigation. She is someone who lets very little stand in her way. Even with all of this pressure and stress she is still a caring person. She cares about those that are with her and those that rely on her. She has dodged death dozens of times, and protected those that rely on her from death as well. In many ways she dodges the stereotypical roles of similar characters and even goes as far as filling the reverse role. Even the creator of the series Shinji Mikami “I don’t know if I’ve put more emphasis on women characters, but when I do introduce them, it is never as objects. In some games, they will be peripheral characters with ridiculous breast physics. I avoid that sort of obvious eroticism. I also don’t like female characters who are submissive to male characters, or to the situation they’re in. I won’t portray women in that way. I write women characters who discover their interdependence as the game progresses, or who already know they are independent but have that tested against a series of challenges.” The development team for Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, which was also overseen by Mikami, said Jill was deliberately designed to make her “beautiful for everybody” and appeal to both male and female gamers alike, as males would find her physically attractive and females would see her as a tough role model.”
In terms of criticism this attempt to make her wear more provocative clothing in later entries is somewhat sidestepped by the notion that she is no longer in control of her mind, as after being declared falsely dead in the 5th installment of the series, she has been placed in cryogenics and then is revived by Wesker and brainwashed to kill those she once cared about. Within this part of the series the concept of what some call the male gaze could be applied, however this is in an attempt by those controlling her mind to bring down the guard of those she is now tasked to eliminate. However she was also one of the best received, and is still one of the most iconic characters in the series. As quoted by Lara Crigger, “Within the Resident Evil universe, she’s invaluable to her Alpha Team; competent, clever and professional, she’s the resident bomb expert and, of course, the master of unlocking. But she also offers certain advantages to the player. While she can’t take as much damage as Chris can, she does have those two extra inventory slots, which, when you’ve discovered a cache of shotgun shells, can make all the difference. Jill is an asset, both inside the story and out; she’s not ‘good, for a woman’ but simply ‘good.’ And while Rebecca, Claire and Ada each have their individual strengths and weaknesses, like Jill they are all powerful and competent human beings.” Among her peers, she is a valuable member to the franchise and a great role model for those that need one. She isn’t just another piece of eye candy to be objectified, she is a smart, tough, and overall incredible character.