Sheva Alomar (シェバ・アローマ, Sheba Arōma) is a fictional character in the Resident Evil horror video game series by Capcom. She was introduced in 2009's Resident Evil 5 as a native African operative of the Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance (BSAA) and a new partner of the series' veteran Chris Redfield. The character was met with mostly positive reception, but has not yet returned for any further installment of the series.
Sheva Alomar made her first and only game appearance in Resident Evil 5. According to the character's backstory, Sheva's parents died when she was eight years old in what appeared to be a factory accident. She was then taken in by her uncle to live with him and seven other children. Eventually, Sheva ran away and was found by a truck driver who took her in and looked after her, but unknown to Sheva, he was part of a rebel militia group. She later joined the group and soon learned that the factory was actually the location of a final test of one of Umbrella Corporation's bio-organic weapons (BOWs); with the help of the local government, Umbrella destroyed Sheva's village and all inhabitants after the test was complete. Sheva remained with the rebels through her childhood. When she reached the age of 15, she was contacted by U.S. operatives to sabotage Umbrella's attempt to sell a BOW. With Sheva's help, the deal was stopped and Sheva was offered a chance to start a new life in America. Sheva accepted and, within months, she was speaking fluent English and enrolled in a university two years later. After graduation, her benefactor recruited her to join the Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance (BSAA). While Umbrella had dissolved years before this, Sheva's hatred of Umbrella and all others like them led her to join the BSAA. Sheva was assigned to Josh Stone's unit for eight months for training, in which she excelled and was chosen to become an operative agent assigned to the BSAA's West African department.
In Resident Evil 5 itself, Sheva acts as the player's ally (and an optional second player character in the co-operative gameplay mode) working with the BSAA agent and former American special police officer Chris Redfield. She gets partnered with Chris at the start of the Kijuju mission as his new partner, following the apparent death of Jill Valentine. During the events of the game, Sheva helps Chris to defeat the Tricell corporation's Kijuju conspiracy and the Uroboros plot. In the end, Sheva and Chris together destroy the series' villain Albert Wesker.
Described as a "new major protagonist", she has existed already during the early development phase of Resident Evil 5. However, her face and story background changed several times while she underwent much of redesign and re-imagining as Capcom searched for the right look "to combine two qualities, feminine attraction and the strength of a fighting woman." Rejected in-game models of Sheva have been created for some of the prior game ideas that involve her being a civilian, a guerrilla, or a military commander. Her character model was based on Australian actress Michelle Van Der Water, but her voice acting and motion capture were performed by American actress Karen Dyer.
In the game's live-action trailer, Sheva is played by American actress and journalist Naja Hill. Sheva's in-game voice and motion actress Karen Dyer posed for the 2009 calendar while dressed as the character in her various costumes.
Pre-order bonuses for Resident Evil 5 included a sand globe with Sheva and Chris. In 2009, two action figures of Sheva were released in the RE5 series by NECA and Hot Toys. Some more items were released only in Japan, such as an action figure by Square Enix and a resin kit by SomaliCraft.
Sheva was largely acclaimed. Already in 2007, UGO.com ranked Sheva as the seventh-top "videogame hottie" of all time, declaring that "RE5 may not be out yet, but we've seen enough of Sheva to know that she's got some serious acrobatic chops to go with all the zombie-slaying she'll be dishing out next year." In 2009, GameDaily featured her in several Babe of the Week galleries, including "Girl Power", "Brunettes" (describing her as both gorgeous and tough), and "Babes We're Thankful For". In 2010, Dave Meikleham of GamesRadar included her and Chris among the gaming's seven "most violent double acts", while Sarah Warn of AfterEllen ranked her as the "17th-hottest" female video game character. In 2012, Complex ranked her as the fourth-best black character in video games, as well as the "ninth-hottest" video game character overall.
PlayStation: The Official Magazine opined "Sheva isn't just beautiful, she's smart and tough" and her addition "is probably the highlight of the Resident Evil 5 experience" while giving her 2009's Outfit of the Year award for one of her alternate costumes (a half-naked tribal garb). GamesRadar's Matt Cundy found her attire to be one of the most practical in the series so far in 2012, adding that "the absolute antithesis of vulnerable, Sheva is a walking fortress that is equal parts kick-ass and intimidating feminine sexuality," and Lisa Foiles of The Escapist included Sheva (as well as Jill and Ada) among her five examples of actually practical female hairstyles in games.
However, not all reception was positive. IGN's Jesse Schedeen called Sheva a "walking bag of useless", stating their preference for the comeback of Rebecca Chambers. Schedeen also opined Sheva was "just dumb as a rock when it comes to fighting zombies," asking for more of Jill Valentine. Sheva's in-game AI was also lambasted by ScrewAttack, who contrasted her with Alyx Vance from Half-Life. Brazilian GameHall's Portal Play Game ranked Sheva as the 20th-best-looking video game woman in a 2014 listing, but also noted her as "extremely annoying" during gameplay in Resident Evil 5. Nevertheless, that same year IGN's Chris Reed included her among the eleven most useful sidekicks in video games, opining that "unlike many AI companions, she's great at getting out of the way when you're moving and shooting, but she's quick to offer assistance when you're running low on health or ammo. What's not to like?"