Character Spotlight: Marvin Branagh - Resident Evil™ 2: The Board Game

We’re certainly getting through our character highlights now, and only a handful of survivors remain. Last time around we saw Claire Redfield, one of the most popular characters in the entire Resident Evil™ series.

As ever, we’ve been paying attention to who you guys wanted to hear about next – and this week we’re going to be discussing a slightly less well-known character, although one nonetheless very familiar to veterans…

Sorry, But It Looks Like Your Party’s Been Cancelled

Poor Marvin...

Poor Marvin...

Anyone who’s ever played Resident Evil™ 2 will remember Marvin Branagh, even if his name escapes them at first. A stoic individual who never shied away from duty, when the outbreak began Marvin was one of the few police officers to survive the massacre in the streets outside. Thinking on his feet, he organised his colleagues and barricaded the RPD building as quickly as possible, but it soon became obvious that their efforts wouldn’t be enough.

As the undead broke into the building and the number of safe areas dwindled, Marvin and the remaining survivors broke off into search parties, trying to find a way out. They succeeded – but not before almost being overwhelmed, their flight only possible thanks to Marvin remaining behind to cover their escape.

By the time Claire and Leon caught up with Marvin some hours later, he had been mortally wounded in the struggle against his infected adversaries. His breathing laboured and unable to stand, he still steadfastly ordered the pair to search for other survivors instead of wasting time with him. As they reluctantly left he had the foresight to lock the door behind them, knowing he would soon turn. The survivors returned just in time to witness poor Marvin finally succumb to his wounds, and haphazardly lurch to his feet…

Don’t Worry About Me – Rescue The Survivors In The Other Rooms! remorse! remorse!

Although Marvin has a relatively small role to play in Resident Evil™ 2, our team was probably more excited about giving him a second lease of life than any other character in the game. His story of heroic sacrifice is a powerful one in the Resident Evil™ universe, and his tragic fate all the more horrifying when witnessed up close. Whatever role we wanted Marvin to take, we knew we’d definitely have to cast him as a stalwart ally and give hints to his untimely end.

Despite this, Marvin eventually came quite late in the development cycle, after we’d reached a place where we were happy with most of the other characters. This actually worked out rather well, however. Because we already had a solid idea of what the capabilities of the other survivors were, it was easy to see the roles we were yet to fill – and Marvin had tank written all over him!

Let’s start with the basics. Firstly, Marvin’s inventory size of six is decidedly average… which is about where the simple stuff ends. Everything else about Marvin pushes the boundaries. Take his weapon proficiency for example. A trained police officer, the only weapon Marvin isn’t comfortable wielding is the bowgun, making his weapon proficiency the best bar none and lending him extreme combat flexibility.

Next up, let’s look at his evade score of one dice. This isn’t so great, making him definitely below average when it comes to avoiding enemies. We’re sure you can see the thematic reason, it makes sense Marvin would be a survivor who prefers to shoot his way past his foes rather than rely on dodging past them. But don’t write him off yet, because his first special ability more than makes up for this lack of agility.

Steadfast is an incredibly powerful ability which allows Marvin to roll the encounter dice whenever he is hit by an attack. If the result is five or six? Marvin shrugs off all of the damage. Doesn’t matter if it’s a zombie bite, the T-00 Tyrant’s heavy fist, or one of Birkin Stage Three’s huge claws, Marvin can tank the hit and keep going. And what’s better still is this ability is always active, meaning it even works outside of Marvin’s activation. Marvin is one tough guy, to quote Kevin Ryman.

Coupled with this is another ability which most readers will remember from the days of the Kickstarter, called Heroic Sacrifice. Simply put, this ability means that if Marvin is overcome by his wounds and dies, the game doesn’t end in failure for the survivors like it would with any other character. Marvin’s videogame character is all about throwing himself to the wolves (or zombies!) to ensure that his allies can make it to safety; we felt very strongly his Resident Evil™ 2: The Board Game rules needed to reflect that.

Marvin Branagh is another of our stretch goal survivors who pushes the gameplay boundaries of what players can expect. We’ve seen him do some truly heroic things on the tabletop, and a big reason for this is because his rules allow players to really roleplay the character, facing down hordes of enemies while their allies make it to safety.

So, only one question remains - how do you unlock him during campaign mode? That’s easy. All you have to do is make it back to his office during Scenario 3A and revive him before he turns… if you happen to have a spare can of first-aid spray that is.

Let us know if you’re looking forward to playing Resident Evil™ 2: The Board Game as Marvin. We know that our staff and playtesters certainly are!