Tag Archives: Character

The Problem with Lady Dimitrescu

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Lady Dimitrescu from Resident Evil Village could have been my absolute favorite character in the entire game. Instead, she became the character I came to hate the most. I’m so saddened by this, because I was so sure we were going to receive a deep and compelling character. I saw such a great promise in her. Now, I just feel that she was not the character I hoped she would be.

To be absolutely honest, I find her to be a flat our offensive character on principle. The issue is, as a villain she shouldn’t have been offensive in the very specific way she turned out to be.

Yes, her character design is absolutely the sort of representation we need in gaming. Women aren’t often portrayed as strong and assertive. At least, not nearly as often as we gamers might like.

I can respect her for that, but what I can’t do, is pretend she’s a good character when it comes down to dialogue.

Listen, she’s a man-hater, plain and simple, and the issue with her is that she could have been very compelling to have in Resident Evil Village with that mindset. However, it didn’t end up compelling, because the way she displayed that hate was just resolute mindlessness.

Lady Dimitrescu is many things, but she’s not supposed to be reduced down to a nitwit, and that’s ultimately what happened. When you listen to her speak for any length of time it becomes clear. Her insults are gender based more times than not, being prefaced with the word “man” in some way, shape or form.

Worst still, we know she has passed this ideology down to her daughters. Even they are very much obsessed with the concept of gender based ideologies, that just don’t have meaningful extrapolation.

Do we really need a reminder that our character has “man hands”? Does him being a man somehow lessens his complete and total existence? Is this really the best insult a person of such high bloodline and education can make? Is she really that lacking when it comes to turns of phrase?

Well, no, she shouldn’t be. She shows she can be far more than that. Yet, she doesn’t become more than that. That’s ultimately my problem with her…

Look, I get it, she’s a villain, but that’s the issue. She gets reduced down to a stereotypical woman angry at the male gender for seemingly no good reason. Lady Dimitrescu is supposed to be a very intelligent woman, thoughtful in her words and deeds. In short, she’s not a total and complete idiot. Yet, this is the best dialogue that they could come up with?

This is not the first time an issue like this has cropped up. It won’t be the last. A notable example is in Last of Us 2, showcasing a transgender character being horribly mistreated based on a performative interpretation of how they wished to be identified. A large contingent of the trans community, myself and Kreshenne included in that wide and diverse spectrum, took great issue with that.

Now Kreshenne hasn’t played Resident Evil Village, and and can’t speak to it meaningfully, but I have played it and I can speak to it.

I can’t in good faith have the issues that I do with the handling of Last of Us 2, unless I take those same issues with Lady Dimitrescu when referencing the male gender. It all comes down to the same problem. A complete and total lack of care when considering how best to handle the character.

Her hatred of men doesn’t help the narrative in any meaningful or heartfelt way. It only does damage. I don’t mind seeing difficult topics handled in games, but they must be handled with careful consideration, and Resident Evil Village failed to do that.

When you reduce insults and slander down to gender continually without any real need to do so, it is absolutely flat out bad writing. I don’t care what gender a character is, when insults are reduced down to that level, it makes everyone doing it look bad.

Lady Dimitrescu is not above this, and she really should be. She is tall not only in stature, but in personality and refinement. Even in combat, she fights with poise and grace until her final form. She is an aristocrat of the finest order, proud of that esteem, and her three daughters.

She is orders of magnitude above the other sorts of people our main character has faced before, and that alone should be intimidation enough. Yet, there is still something more. She hungers for more favoritism from Mother Miranda, and she’ll go to great lengths to get it.

She’s smart, cunning, and more powerful than she lets on. It is very heavily implied and shown that she is an intelligent woman. Apparently Dimitrescu maintained an almost feudal-like rule over the peasantry near her castle. Yet, for all of those amazing qualities, we see so little of them.

What little we do see is bogged down by her constant use of gender based insults. Unfortunately, we have no clear and obvious reason for her to hate men. Still, she treats the male characters she’s around with disgust and vitriol with no discernible reason for her to do this.

She doesn’t clearly voice a reason why she seems to look down on men, only that she does. It’s too heavy handed to place it aside. If you’re not speed running through the game, you’ll hear some of those insults more than once.

If you were like me, taking your time to play the game, you stayed in her domain long enough to hear those ideologies more than a few times. These ideologies coming from Lady Dimitrescu herself, and all three of her daughters.

Having one female character like that is one thing. Having four women in the same vicinity with that ideology is a bit problematic, don’t you think?

Lady Dimitrescu looks down to men like children, or the pure scum of the earth, some notable quotes are “Ugh, just another simple little manthing.” and “Stupid manthing! You won’t live long, even if you run!”oh, and let’s not forget the best one: “Oh, so gauche. What do you care for bread and circuses? The manthings suffering is assured, regardless.”

Look, here’s the sad part of all of this. She actually had the vast potential to be a far more compelling character. We see hints of it beneath it all. My absolute favorite line shows just how well educated she is, and just how cunning she can be when she says this:

“The man is of no real use to anyone else, and my daughters do love… entertaining foreigners. Furthermore, I can assure if you entrust the mortal to House Dimitrescu, my daughters and I shall deliver to you the finest cups of his slaughtered blood.”

There, see that? An insult, a threat, and a promise all encapsulated within the confines of her station and abilities. She can still see herself as a superior, but she does so in a thoughtful and meaningful way.

Now, that is a compelling villain. This is the sort of dialogue that shows just how prim and proper she can be, with that incredible ruthlessness we expect from her. It’s classy, it’s “well-to-do” as expected from an aristocrat. Above all it shows, her true grace and intellect as a ruler.

It shows how she was able to rule over the lands for so long, before becoming infected by the mold. It is characterization that is paramount for her, and we get too little of it.

We should have had more of that sort of dialogue. Grim promises, deeper threats to our livelihood, and a grace all her own. All of that from a ruler who doesn’t take idle shit from anyone.

Instead, a lot of her repetitious vocal lines fall under those before mentioned gender based insults, and that’s just sad. It diminishes her in a way that is well and truly a letdown, because she could have been so much more.

In attempting to defy stereotypes, Lady Dimitrescu become one of the worst ones a female antagonist could be. She became a mindless man-hater, with no real explicable reason for why that is, or what drives that deeper hatred of men in general.

We can’t assume she isn’t one. All we see is Dimitrescu talking down to her brother, or down to the main player character himself. There’s no other male for her to defy the precedent she sets for herself in a useful way.

It’s just so sad, because if those lines had been handled with just an ounce of care and mindful foreshadowing, she could have been one of the best villains to ever show up in a Resident Evil game.

As she is, only her looks will stand the test of time, her characterization will be too easily forgotten. That’s a real shame, isn’t it?

Well, that’s just my opinion. I know it will likely be an unpopular one, but that’s my view. In any case, this has been Kernook of “The Demented Ferrets”, where stupidity is at its finest, and level grinds are par for the course.

If you liked this, please be sure to check out some of our other related content. I’ll see you next time.

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Claire Redfield – A Remake Letdown

Since I just recently reviewed Resident Evil 2, a title that was released (1998) I thought it was prudent To discuss a character from that game and the personal impact that Clair Redfield had on me as a fan.

The reason I wanted to write this was because I grew up with this character, and now a younger cousin of mine is as well. I feel the need to reflect on this, because thanks to the remake a character I once really liked in this fandom has been tarnished significantly. These are the reasons why.

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As I said in my review of the retro title, Resident Evil 2 improved on the standard formula of the first game, but it didn’t forget what made it so well loved in the first place. It changed nothing that would hinder the experience, only enhance it. You can read the full review here.

Claire Redfield originally made her first appearance in the game. She’s come to the city looking for her older brother. By the time she gets there, he’s already gone to a safer location.

The city is infested with zombies, it isn’t safe. By the time she discovers that her brother isn’t in the city anymore, all hell has broken loose. She needs to leave too, and working together with Leon seems to be the safest bet. They agree to try and help a few survivors if they find any during their escape.

During Claire’s scenarios the player will be tasked with helping a little girl named Sherry Birkin. This is a somewhat key focal point for Claire’s main story. After culling the zombie horde and traversing a police station, sewers, and even an underground lab, eventually you escape the city with the Leon and Sherry.

If you’ve done everything right, you get a happy little ending that fades into the sunset. They’re you’re given a grade and score encouraging you to play again and get a better rank next time.

Claire promises to find her brother before the credits roll. Her story isn’t finished, and you’ll see her in later games.

The Resident Evil franchise has a knack for writing strong female protagonists, and there are no shortage of reasons why these characters are beloved by the fans of the games. That being said, Claire Redfield is probably one of my favorite characters in the entire series, at least as far as the retro titles are concerned.

In the early games, Claire is a little sassy, but all around sweet and sentimental. She’s got a kind heart, and a level headed optimism that plays a great counterpoint to Leon’s nearly blind obsession with doing the right thing.

While Leon almost fancies himself a hero in a police uniform, Claire is more down to earth about her ambitions and what she can be capable of. There’s a real soft side to her character that ultimately allows her to befriend Sherry Birkin. Through the events of the series, Claire sets herself on a path to help heal the wrongdoings and nightmares that plague the world.

I wish I could say I that liked the remake version of Claire Redfield just as much as her retro counterpart, but sadly this just isn’t the case. She’s a different character fundamentally and there are a few reasons why.

Claire Redfield is a far cry from her retro counterpart in the way she acts in the remake. Her personality and disposition are gritter, just like everything else. This version of her has a propensity to curse up a storm. She’s far more sassy and quick to fire off at the mouth, and there are times she’s flat out rude.

I don’t find these traits to be likable in the way she portrays them, and this isn’t to say she isn’t written well. She is very well conceptualized for this darker and gritter version of the game, but it’s hard for me to like her.

In fact, I hate this version of her character. Claire grows into having a certain amount of cynicism as time goes on in the franchise. After the series lore and the things she’s seen, that’s completely logical and understandable. Yet, this is tempered by the fact that she’s down to earth enough to recognize what she’s doing.

Now when I play Resident Evil games, I look for the charm and whit of the series. That was what the series taught me to do in my youth, and characters like Jill, Claire, and later in the GameCube era Rebecca were the ones that I heavily attached to. These women have diverse and complex personalities, which makes them incredibly easy to idolize. Young gamers need those idols. They’re no different than superheros in that way.

All of these characters become more cynical as time marches forward. However, to revamp Claire into this type of person from the start for the remake, is something that makes me not want to play the game at all.

I like the remake, but I’ve played it through about four times, and I’ve already gotten sick of it. Meanwhile, when I play the retro classic, I’m never sick of it. The reason for this is that Claire and Leon play off each other so well in the original version that I’m reminded of the journey these characters go on. As a gamer, I want to follow that journey.

Playing the retro games make me want to relive other great stories too, such as the ones in Code Veronica and Resident Evil 4.

There’s a real earnest side to Claire that gets buried under the grit and grime of the remake. She’s always been a tough person with a thick skin and the mindset to get things done.

She’s a real icon to younger gamers everywhere, and I’m offended that the remake just didn’t do their due diligence to keep what made her so awesome as a character in tact.

Although, that’s a more personal gripe than just being salty over a difference in characterization. Like I said, she is still very well written, but she isn’t exactly someone kids can look up to anymore, and that’s sad.

The thing is, I saw this first hand. So, maybe that soured my experience with the game a bit. For me, it’s the heart of the matter, though. It’s that I saw a true fan of this cool character become disheartened in a way I never expected.

You see, I have a few female cousins that are now just nearly teenagers. One of them loves the retro Resident Evil 2. She is enamored with Claire, just like I was as a kid. She even has a poster of the character on her wall. Actually, it’s my old one from a gaming magazine that I’d bought as a child.

She was so excited to play the new game, and I even let her come over and spend the night so that she could play it with me the night it released. So, there we were, a bag of Little Cesar’s crazy bread and a two liter bottle of soda in hand. The download completed, and of course we start up the game and play as Claire first.

We beat that play-through about fifteen hours later, after much death and plenty of slogging through every area of maps to the point of flat out stupidly at times. She really liked looking at all the little things they added, and when she had the controller she may have gotten a little too brave with kiting the zombies…

Yes, like I said, many game over screens occurred between the both of us. However, even though she kind of liked the game, she didn’t like Claire at all. When I asked about it, the response I got was confused and sad.

My cousin literally just… for a lack of a better term crinkled her nose and said “That’s not Claire. I don’t like her, she’s not very nice.”

Now I attribute that statement to the fact that the original game just doesn’t have talking when it isn’t in a cut-scene. The remake does. As you’re fighting monsters and exploring around, sometimes you hear a lot of not-so-nice things come flying out of Claire’s mouth. Her reactions to things are certainly realistic, but they do diminish those good attributes I spoke of above.

In the remake, she’s a lot less a hero in a biker suit. At least insofar as a young girl would be able to be inspired by. I realize my cousin she wasn’t the core age demographic for the game, but that has never once mattered when it came to the series before.

Recently, I discovered that it certainly didn’t matter as far as the remake for Resident Evil 3 was concerned either. She loved that one too, even when I absolutely didn’t.

The only game she hasn’t played in the franchise is Resident Evil 7. I think she’s just a little too young for that one. There are a few things in that game she just isn’t ready for. In my opinion, it’s a little too dark, and a little too edgy for her just yet. Every now and then, she still asks if she’s old enough to play it.

That’s the kind of fan I’m talking about here. It’s hard for her to dislike a Resident Evil game at all. She hasn’t asked to play the remake of Resident Evil 2 ever since the night of release. She doesn’t even want to play Leon’s side of it. She just doesn’t care.

That really put Claire as a character into perspective for me.

To say that my cousin was disappointed in Claire is a huge understatement. This is now thirteen year old girl is no Resident Evil slouch, either. Her first game was Resident Evil 1 for the PlayStation, full of campy dialogue and content that really can’t be called scary to a modern gamer. When she beat that, she wanted to play the remake for the GameCube.

I was a skeptic about that for sure. Back then, she was only eight years old at the time, and those monsters looked way more realistic. I didn’t think she would even get passed the first zombie encounter, to be honest. Still, I let her play it with me at her side. She proved me wrong.

This kid spent well over a month during the summer as an eight year old playing through the GameCube version of Resident Evil 1 top to bottom. That’s when I knew I had a real fan on my hands, so I unearthed everything I had from the series.

She survived through Resident Evil 2 for the PlayStation and liked it so much, I gave her my Nintendo 64 copy of the game. That way, she could have some version to play whenever she wanted. This is a girl that absolutely annihilated Resident Evil 3 for the PlayStation, and muddled through Code Veronica on my Dreamcast in a single winter break when we were up at a cabin a few years back.

When every little kid on the planet seemed to be Five Nights at Freddy’s, crazy that little girl was a zombie fan to the extreme. If I had a Resident Evil game in my collection, she was going to drive me absolutely crazy until I let her play it.

So with all of this being said, for me the night we played the remake of Resident Evil 2 I really wanted my cousin to like that game. For me, that would have been by far the best gaming experience I could ever have.

I wanted her to enjoy it just as much as all the others. When Resident Evil 6 could at the very least accomplish that much, I was pretty sure that the bar wasn’t all that high to reach.

Man, was I wrong.

All I wanted, was to to see the magic that a game could bring to a young die-hard fan. In a way, I guess you could say I wanted to re-live my own youth a little bit as well.

Every gamer eventually finds a title in a franchise that rips away the magic. A game that lets them down. For my cousin, that game was the remake of Resident Evil 2.

It’s a good game, it really is. Sadly though, it just can live up to the heart of the matter.