Resident Evil 2 has always been special, and part of it is because of the way it tells a story. A commonality between the original 1998 version and just released 2019 remake is that people get to see every side of the story. After you complete a run as either Claire or Leon, you get a chance to go through the part of the story you missed. Whether you feel more comfortable calling it side B or second run, the result is the same. Resident Evil 2 is good at making its campaign feel complete.
Editor’s note: While this will explain how to unlock the second run and The 4th Survivor modes, there will be no story spoilers below.
The first run for both Claire and Leon will seem rather similar. There are parts where the story diverges and different people experience different events. Claire’s story focuses a lot on Sherry, while Leon’s brings in Ada Wong. But while some plot points differ, there are places where the course can feel similar. If you choose either character and go with the first run, then you will see the exact same puzzles, go through places in the same way, and experience similar openings. The items are in the same position. It is once you finish one of these stories that you get a note saying the second run for the character you didn’t use has unlocked and get to see the rest of the story.
Resident Evil 2‘s second run begins by showing that the character you didn’t choose the first time around experienced a slightly different start, due to their position after Leon’s car is hit by the runaway truck. This means a whole new opening as this person tries to get into the Raccoon City Police Department. As a nod to maybe acknowledge that this character is doing things second or something else happened before your character got there, the puzzles will not be exactly the same and you will need to go to different places to get the items to solve them. I played as Claire in my first run, which meant I went through Leon’s second run immediately after. Along the way, I saw notes she had left for me. For example, the first one I saw was rather basic and next to some ammo. It read, “Leon, I hope you find this. The station’s done. Get out of here ASAP. Don’t worry about me—I’ll be alright. And don’t stress about my brother either. Just focus on getting yourself out of here alive.” Because she was already there before when I was there before.
Going through a second run also means seeing Resident Evil 2‘s full, true ending. I’m not going to get into spoilers here. However, this extra segment means things go on for a little bit longer after the ending. It also offers a little more closure. Plus, after unlocking it by going from one character’s initial campaign to immediately playing the other character’s second run, you unlock The 4th Survivor, the first Extra Mode.
With this Hunk mode, you get to face an incredible challenge. As with the 1998 original, this extra campaign puts you in the shoes of an Umbrella Security Service Alpha Team agent. Hunk managed to survive what happened in Raccoon City and is attempting to complete a mission for his employer. However, due to the nature of this run, it means you have to work with what you have to make it through and survive. What Hunk has in his inventory is it, and it basically challenges you to use everything you learned in the Claire and Leon runs, while allowing people to see what it would be like for someone else to be attempting to survive in Raccoon City during the events of Resident Evil 2.
Resident Evil 2 has always been about richness and details. The game does a good job of encouraging you to see both storylines and viewpoints. The first run gives you a solid foundation. The second run acknowledges that the other character is following after someone who had a head start, by altering item positions and offering extra notes, while also changing up the puzzles a bit to keep things challenging for someone who has immediately come back to see this other side. Then, if someone decides to go ahead and try The 4th Survivor after unlocking it, they can have an idea of another sort of escape. Each one adds to players’ understanding.
Resident Evil 2 is available for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.