Character Spotlight: Annette Birkin - Resident Evil™ 2: The Board Game

Last week we revealed the last of our core game characters, Robert Kendo. If you missed that update, don’t worry – you can find it here. We also previewed some of the tiles from the core game, so it’s definitely not one to miss!

This week we’re covering the penultimate survivor in the Character Spotlight Series, and the final character from the main game. Ladies and Gentleman, it’s time for Annette Birkin – Sherry’s mother, and the wife of the man responsible for the creation of the G-Virus.

Don’t Move! Identity Yourself…

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Annette’s tale is one of the great tragedies in Resident Evil™ 2. A brilliant scientist in her own right and lovingly devoted to William and his vision, her life was shattered when the Umbrella Security Service came for her husband’s research. In the aftermath of the raid, Annette could only hide in the depths and watch with growing horror as the virus spread into the city above, causing devastation on an unimaginable scale.

The only researcher to survive the initial outbreak, Annette immediately contacted her daughter and demanded she flee to the Raccoon City Police Department, where she would be safe. Her immediate concern for Sherry’s welfare resolved, Annette then had to consider her own fate. Firstly, she needed to escape the laboratory, where subjects had broken free from containment and her former colleagues roamed the hallways as reanimated undead.

By the time she reached the sewers, Annette’s nerves were frayed and she had grown increasingly paranoid. She feared Umbrella agents could be anywhere and knew they’d likely never cease their pursuit of the G-Virus or her family. Initially she was hostile to Leon and Claire when she encountered them, but Claire’s connection to Sherry broke the impasse. Discovering her daughter was missing convinced Annette to return to the laboratory in search of an antidote, in case Sherry should be infected.

It was a fatal decision. William Birkin still roamed in the depths, and after witnessing a confrontation between Claire and her husband Annette turned her back on the other survivors, still believing them to be spies. Annette attempted to reason with William when he next appeared, unwilling to accept that his mind had been totally lost to madness – only to be mortally wounded when he lashed out in a murderous rage. In the darkness she passed, her only comfort that Sherry would never see her mother in such a broken state.

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William, I’m Sorry. But I’ve Got To Put An End To G!

Although there could be an argument that Annette is one of the ‘bad guys’ of Resident Evil™ 2, we’re not so sure. Annette’s tragic story is one of devotion to the people around her, and her attempts to regain some semblance of control over a situation which left her severely traumatised. For these reasons, right from the start of the project we knew Annette would need to be a playable character. She was simply too complex to relegate to a Tension Deck encounter or an NPC – and we thought players should have their own chance to decide her fate during the playthrough.

Annette’s first ability is called Botanist, this allows her to heal an extra level when using a green herb. It’s a simple ability which gives her a more defined healer role and is intended to represent her extensive experience as a researcher, working on creatures such as the Ivy. This trait works when Annette is healing herself or another survivor and is definitely a real shot in the arm during later scenarios!

Her second ability is named Lone Wolf. Intended to represent Annette’s mistrust of others, it’s a little more complex than Botanist, and has two different effects. The first is a once per activation skill which allows Annette to reroll a failed evade roll – provided there are no other characters on the same tile. That’s obviously great – but the second part of this ability is less desirable, passively making her evade rolls one level more difficult if there are other characters on the same tile.

So, how does this relate to gameplay? Well, Annette is great at scouting ahead on her own, Lone Wolf reliably lending her a level of survivability not seen in other characters. This is further enhanced in conjunction with Botanist, meaning if Annette is injured she can quickly heal herself to full health once more. Working against this pragmatic approach, however, is Annette’s reduced weapon proficiency and inventory size of six, forcing late game interaction with other survivors – albeit in a much more vulnerable state.

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Playing Annette Birkin in Resident Evil™ 2: The Board Game is an experience that really puts the player in character, forcing them to reluctantly work with the group despite increasing the danger to themselves by doing so. Continuing in the dilemma theme, unlocking her during campaign mode is also a difficult decision. Annette can be unlocked after completing any Birkin boss encounter, roughly matching her appearance in cutscenes during the original videogame – but there’s a condition. If Annette is encountered during the A playthrough of the campaign, she won’t be available for the B playthrough. Ask yourself, when do you think she’d be most beneficial to the group, or when will you need an extra survivor in case one of you gets eliminated? 

The City of Ruin

We were blown away by your enthusiasm for the tiles we previewed last week and are back with more today as promised. These are also from the core game, and although generic tiles in the sense they could be multiple locations within the RPD building, are obviously a little more thematic for the overrun police department.

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We hope you like them!

Check in next week to learn more about our final character… it’s time for Tofu!