Resident Evil 4 – How to Casually Unlock Everything in 7 Playthroughs

The game’s main story is designed to be replayed several times in order to unlock all extra content. This guide outlines the easiest and laziest plan to achieve that over 7 playthroughs, even if perhaps not the quickest or the most optimal.

First Run (Assisted)

The goals for your first run are:

  • to get acquainted with the game and combat;
  • to learn the areas and the puzzles for subsequent playthroughs;
  • to find and shoot all 16 Clockwork Castellans;
  • to complete all side quests in the village (the first area);
  • to amass as much gold as possible by the end;
  • to get, if possible, Luis Sera and Leon w/rocket launcher charms.

Assisted is the best place to start in the remake. Ironically, it is not only the most newbie-friendly difficulty, but also one the most reminiscent of the original experience. You see, the difficulty mostly influences how bullet spongy the enemies are. On Assisted, they take a single headshot to stagger, but crank up the difficulty and they start taking up to 4, drastically changing the flow of combat. The less resources you waste – the more you’ll have for the next playthrough.

Many unlocks in the game require completing the story with S+ rank, which is only achievable on a fresh save. A New Game+ (where you can carry over your upgraded weapons) works only for certain unlocks, so we’ll be taking care of them first.

In addition to hunting down as many treasures as you can, be on the lookout for charms you can get through the Shooting Range. They are random for every playhrough and as such you’re not guaranteed to see them right away, but ones we need are Luis Sera (+20% weapon resale value) and Leon w/rocket launcher (20% off rocket launchers).

The amount of gold you need for your second run is glorious 2 million ptas, down to 1.6 million if you have Leon w/rocket launcher charm. That’s the amount of gold you’ll need for the infinite rocket launcher. If you didn’t get the charms or see that by Chapter 16 you’re too far away from the goal – just buy a regular rocket launcher instead and hold onto it for a while.

Completing all side quests in the village is needed in order to have 30 spinels by the time you enter the second area, castle. So make sure to learn how to do all of them so you don’t waste too much time on the subsequent runs.

Make sure not to overwrite the save you get after completion – in case you don’t get a lot of money (especially if you don’t have Deluxe Edition for its Extended Map) you’ll be able to do the Assisted New Game+ run instead before moving to the next step.

Shooting all Clockwork Castellans unlocks Primal Knife. Its final, exclusive upgrade makes it unbreakable. However, the main boon is that as a bonus weapon, the knife (same as other bonus weapons) will be available for any playthrough, including fresh saves, and you’ll be able to sell it for 25.000 – in the early game that’s nothing to sneeze at.

Second Run (Professional A)

You start this run as New Game+ from your Assisted save. Now, one thing to realize is in RE4make difficulty is more balanced around your gear than your skill, so to make things easy on Professional (which is otherwise brutal) we’ll need overpowered weapons.

You have two goals for this playthrough:

  • buy the infinite rocket launcher as early into the run as possible (depends on how well you did with the treasures)
  • complete the run with A rank (under 7 hours)

Basically, this is your first “speedrun”. The timing of 7 hours is generous, but one thing to realize is a lot of game time is spent managing resources, collecting treasures etc. So in order to be able to successfully speedrun you will need weapons with infinite ammo, removing the need to manage resources from the equation.

If you don’t have enough gold for an infinite rocket launcher early, you can still do fine on Professional with your fully upgraded guns from your previous run.

Completing the Professional A run will unlock the Chicago Sweeper – a machine gun that gets infinite ammo as its final, exclusive upgrade, thus enabling your first true speedruns.

You will also be able to unlock the Armor costume for Ashley. It makes her invulnerable to any kind of damage, while enemies also can’t carry her away anymore. You will need the Armor to succeed on higher difficulties. While it is technically a Hardcore A rank unlock, it will be unlocked retroactively in the Professional run as well.

Completing the Professional run will also unlock the Gas Mask. This is mostly a cosmetic unlock though. While it provides the ability to use aim assist on any difficulty, it’s pretty irrelevant for the PC players.

Third Run (Standard S+)

This is our first S+ run. The rules are simple – for S+ runs you need to start a fresh save, so you can’t do New Game+ and bring your upgraded weapons.

However, you will still have whatever you’ve unlocked so far. Make sure to equip Armor costume to Ashley before starting the run (every run from this point assumes she’s wearing Armor). You are free to sell your Primal Knife for easy 25.000 ptas, but stick to the Chicago Sweeper.

In order to get S+ on Standard, you’ll need to finish it in 5 hours.

Here’s how we’re gonna do this. First, make sure to complete all side quests in the village – you should have at least 30 spinels after the Mendez fight. Then, as soon as you enter the castle area, you’ll be able to trade it for an Exclusive Upgrade Ticket – this is something that gets you access the weapon’s final upgrade without having to upgrade it all the way before. For Chicago Sweeper, that upgrade is infinite ammo.

Get the upgrade, then sweep through the game.

The unlock for this run is Deer Antlers, an accessory that greatly increases your damage with knives. While niche, this can be very useful during Krauser and El Gigante fights.

Fourth Run (Assisted S+)

After what we accomplished so far, this run would be trivial, except for one caveat – to get S+ on Assisted, you’ll need to finish in 4 hours. So it’s a good chance of honing your speedrunning skills.

The strategy is the same – do side quests in the village, trade spinels for the upgrade on Chicago Sweeper, sweep through the run.

Wolf Tail is your unlock for the Assisted S+ run. It greatly increases you melee (aka kick) damage. As such, it’s very useful on higher difficulties in the early game when the enemies are bullet sponges and your ammo is scarce.

Some players report that completing S+ on Professional unlocks all previous cosmetics retroactively, while it seems Standard S+ doesn’t do that for Assisted S+ unlock.

One reason I recommend doing Assisted S+ after Standard S+ is you’ll be able to make use of Wolf Tail to greatly boost your knife damage. The Assisted AI is probably the only one that allows to make extensive use of the knife offensively. You will also be able to knife a Garrador for a challenge no problem.

Fifth Run (Professional)

Okay, time to take a break from speedruns. This run will be slow and methodical. And the reason for that is:

  • you need to start a fresh save for this (just like S+ runs);
  • you can’t use the bonus weapons you’ve unlocked so far;
  • the completion time is irrelevant here.

The rationale behind this run is while infinite Chicago Sweeper is good for S+ on Standard and Assisted, its damage and spread make it suboptimal for Hardcore and Professional runs. So to remedy this, we are getting the Handcannon.

We can’t have an infinite rocket launcher and we can’t have bonus weapons. So how are we gonna survive on Professional? Well:

  • by looting all the treasures and doing sidequests, beating enemies with the sheer economic power;
  • by making use of accessories we previously unlocked to tip the scales in our favor;
  • even though we can’t use bonus weapons, we can still sell them, and that’s 50.000 in the early game.

One cool thing about accessories is unlike costumes, you don’t have to commit to them for the whole run and can switch them “on the fly”. So you can use Wolf Tail for most of the run, swapping it out for Deer Antlers for Krauser and El Gigante fights.

Professional might be the hardest difficulty, but one huge boon it offers is the ability to fully upgrade your weapons from the start. Combined with 50.000 gold from selling bonus weapons, it means you can greatly boost the damage and firing rate of your pistol to offset the increased enemy bullet spongyness.

Not gonna lie, this will probably be the hardest run of them all. But as you get more gold and further upgrade your gear, you slowly start to overpower any opposition.

Sixth Run (Hardcore S+)

Back to speedruns. To get S+ on Hardcore you’ll need to finish in 5 and a half hours.

This run is needed for 3 reasons:

  • to learn how to handle Handcannon in combat – aiming’s all over the place;
  • to unlock the Chicken Hat;
  • as a final rehearsal before your Professional S+ run.

The strategy is the same as before. Side quests into Exclusive Upgrade Ticket, but now you’ll enjoy infinite Handcannon rather than Chicago Sweeper.

Chicken Hat you unlock for this run considerably decreases damage received, which will be a boon against the more obnoxious enemies and bosses.

Seventh Run (Professional S+)

We’ve come this far. The time to finish is the same – 5 and a half hours. However, there’s no autosave and you’re only allowed to save up to 15 times.

This is Professional, and you don’t have all the time in the world to farm treasures. And you can’t sell the Handcannon, because you’ll need it for the usual strategy.

This means the early game will be a bit brutal. This is why you should use Wolf Tail, Deer Antlers and Chicken Hat to give yourself an edge. Once you get to the castle for your Handcannon, it will be easy, especially with all your experience.

Another thing is parry on Professional is only limited to perfect parry – it will be harder to pull it off. One advice I can give is watch not the enemy but the interface and wait for a “space” button to briefly appear – that’s your small parry window.

Here are my suggestions for the 15 saves, you can do whatever works best for you:

  • After recovering your gear
  • Before Del Lago
  • Before cabin siege
  • After siege
  • After Mendez fight
  • Before battlements El Gigante
  • Start of Chapter 10
  • Before Verdugo
  • Before Krauser 1st fight
  • Before Salazar fight
  • Enter facility 1
  • Before wrecking ball
  • Before ruins (Krauser 2nd fight)
  • Start of Chapter 15
  • Before Saddler fight

Cat Ears is the ultimate unlock that gives you infinite ammo (technically, infinite reloads without consuming ammo).

From this point forward, you can clear whatever challenges you still have left and have fun with whatever weapons you had no opportunity to try before.

Volodymyr Azimoff
About Volodymyr Azimoff 13573 Articles
I love games and I live games. Video games are my passion, my hobby and my job. My experience with games started back in 1994 with the Metal Mutant game on ZX Spectrum computer. And since then, I’ve been playing on anything from consoles, to mobile devices. My first official job in the game industry started back in 2005, and I'm still doing what I love to do.

10 Comments

  1. One quick question that I have, if I sell DLC weapons on a run, are they offered again when launching new game plus on the same run ? Also is it possible to get treasures again on a new game plus run if I missed some inside of the Village for example ?

    • The merchant has a buy back tab with any weapons you ever sold him. So in case of weapons found in the world like Red9 or LE5, there won’t be another copy spawning there in NG+, but there will be a new treasure in those spots instead, like a gold bar and some such. All treasures respawn every run. But if you want the achievements associated with treasure maps you’ll have to grab all treasures from respective area in a single run. Only the Castellans are account wide and can be completed over several playthroughs.

  2. 440k for my second playthrough, buying the rocket launcher seems to be a long way to go.
    Even selling my stuffs, I got 1.2m

  3. Saving this to review after my first playthrough (on like CH11 or 12 on hardcore) , thanks for this!

  4. Thanks! I was gonna go NG+ Hardcore to get Rank A and Ashley armor, but reading your article I guess I can go straight to Professional NG+ directly from my first run in Hardcore mode and retroactively get Ashley armor. I hope that works. GG’s

  5. I don’t have a handcannon, I intend for pro S+ and I want to use upgraded typewriter and before that I should loot as many treasures and complete side quests in village

    • how do you think won’t it be harder to play with typewriter instead of a handcannon is S+ pro run?

      • But author wrote about this. While doing S+ Professional with Chicago is not impossible (and then using Cat Ears to cheese the Handcannon run) my take is it got too low damage with too high spread to ensure a comfortable run on Professional. Assisted and Standard it works because the enemies are not as bullet spongey.

  6. Doesn’t the Handcannon invalidate a S+ run on Professional? If I recall you can only use the Primal Knife or the Chicago Sweeper, but the Handcannon is not allowed.

    • No, this is a common misconception in the community. In fact, these are two separate runs. You can’t use bonus weapons to unlock the Handcannon, but you CAN use bonus weapons for any S+ rank.

      I literally did my Professional S+ with infinite Handcannon, so there’s that.

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