Star Ocean The Second Story R: Claude or Rena - which protagonist should you choose?

There's a huge cast of characters in Star Ocean: The Second Story R, the new remake of Star Ocean 2. That's demonstrated right from the start of the game, when the experience opens with a choice between two protagonists - Rena and Claude. But which should you choose? This page is here to help you decide.

Should you choose Claude or Rena as your Starting Protagonist?

As previously mentioned in the opening, there's a huge cast of characters in Star Ocean: The Second Story R, with a lot of different options for people that can be recruited and join your party. Regardless of that, two characters will always be present, however - the dual leads, Claude and Rena.

First off, the most important thing to know: Your choice of starting protagonist does not change the core story of Star Ocean 2. In fact, whichever character you choose, you'll quite quickly recruit the other. Choose Claude and you'll meet and join up with Rena early on; choose Rena and Claude will join the party in no time. 

This also means you shouldn't worry too much about the pair's fighting styles - as you'll have them both from early on. 

At the onset of Star Ocean 2, you'll be faced with a choice between Claude and Rena - two potential lead protagonists. But which should you choose?

Broadly speaking, the answer to who you should choose beteeen Claude and Rena is a simple one: go with your gut. The differences are so minor that there is no 'best' starting protagonist - it's a more personal choice of which protagonist you'd like to get to know better first. There are subtle differences in their stories - Claude's tale will give you a greater handle on the overall state of the world, while Rena's story focuses a little more on the personal.

Really, the game is built to be experienced both was, on two play-throughs - thus giving you the full depth of the story.

This doesn't mean the protagonist choice doesn't matter, however. There are still subtle differences which might influence your choice, which we outline below. While quite a few things have changed in this new version, this isn't one of the version differences - it's always been this way, so you can apply this advice to the PS1 and PSP versions too.

Differences between the Claude & Rena Protagonist Routes

No matter which of the two lead characters you choose, you'll quickly recruit the other - this is both their story, after all.

First off, it's worth noting that whoever you choose will remain your 'lead' character all game, which means that when Claude and Rena split up, your perspective will stay with whoever you chose at the start. 

This can lead to some different scenes, and it means the timing of some story reveals will be earlier or later depending on your choice - though we must again stress that none of this is story-altering, and everything is equal in the end.

Second, Claude and Rena have very different combat styles. Claude is a classic RPG hero - a strong person with a sword. Rena is a healer, and so initial battles with her can be trickier. However, you quickly will have access to both of them anyway. On this front, however, Rena may make more sense as a second-play through.

Rena is a natural mage, but she's still a perfectly viable choice of starting character in Star Ocean: The Second Story R.

But third, and perhaps most importantly, there are a couple of exclusive characters that can only be recruited on each 'route' - one each. This is detailed in full in our Star Ocean 2 Character Recruitment guide, but the long and the short of it is as follows:

  • If you pick Claude, you'll be able to recruit Leon, who specializes in magic.
  • If you pick Rena, you'll be able to recruit Dias, a powerful physical fighter.

As you can see, even this is balanced. Pick the magic-leading Rena and you get an extra physical fighter; pick the sword-swinging Claude and you'll get an extra spell-slinger. It's balanced - so let your heart guide your final decision. 

Once you get started on your adventure, consider hitting up our Star Ocean: The Second Story R guides section. We've got help with a bunch of mechanics, including a lengthy and comprehensive Private Actions guide, help with Pickpocketing, where to find all 36 Unique Spots, and even how to get all 99 endings - and that's just for starters.