With Resident Evil 4 arriving earlier this year and proving itself to be an exceptional remake of an already exceptional game, fans were delighted to experience Leon and Ashley’s story of survival in its new form. That being said, most familiar with the game also knew it was missing something that was usually included in all re-releases of the original title outside of the very first release, the Separate Ways campaign that followed the story of Ada Wong. Rather than include it in the original release, Capcom has chosen to release Separate Ways as a piece of DLC for Resident Evil 4 and it certainly shows that giving this familiar storyline some extra time in the oven paid off as iit not only delivers satisfyingly fresh takes on combat but also new twists to Ada’s journey through the game.
Those familiar with the original Separate Ways, or even the remake of Resident Evil 4, will find that Ada’s journey here mostly follows the same story beats as Ada has been assigned with retrieving the precious “Amber” for an incredibly nefarious purpose by an extremely familiar client who makes themselves known quite frequently. What sets this version of Separate Ways apart is the fact that it allows Ada to have a story of her very own rather than being tied exclusively to what Leon is doing, giving her a chance to shine a bit more as a character as well as showcase more about what is happening around Leon as he tries to rescue Ashley from the Las Plagas.
While we won’t go into detail about the various new elements, especially since players should experience them for themselves, Ada almost immediately finds herself dropped right into the action as she faces off against her very own antagonist that pursues her through a majority of the DLC and sees her battling against the foe multiple times in new and familiar locations. Along the way she also encounters a slew of standard enemies including an El Gigante she must fight while zipping around rooftops and quite a bit more. She also has new and unique interactions with Luis, expanding on his character a bit more as well as uncovering new documents revealing extra backstory about the history of certain bosses, including a missing boss from the base game that has found its way to the DLC with a number of new modifications, working a separate enemy into the mix that, in the original release, was never properly utilized.
These new elements to the story and the aloof nature of Ada’s personality that evolves over the course of the roughly four hour DLC make it extremely appealing and a new way to utilize the characters while also expanding on and complimenting Resident Evil 4’s already amazing storyline. It is worth noting that things can feel a bit disjointed at times, as Ada’s journey through various chapters can see her suddenly jumping to new locations, including entirely new areas, without much explanation. This is partially due to how she is worked into the main storyline and the game must still follow those developments but it doesn’t stop it from feeling a bit disconnected, especially between a certain set of chapters.
In many ways Ada is just as skilled as Leon when it comes to defending herself as she has access to a wide-array of weaponry to take down enemies in the form of familiar pistols, rifle and SMG as well as a unique shotgun and explosive bow, as well as being able to defend herself with a knife that can parry attacks and help her get out of getting grabbed. She can even be fairly stealthy, with some encounters allowing players to move quietly and stealth kill most enemies in a location if they choose. Alongside these weapons though Ada comes with a couple of other handy tools, though one only comes up in certain circumstances.
The primary unique tool to Ada is her grappling gun. Ada can not only use this grappling hook to zip over to enemies that have been stunned, delivering powerful spinning kicks to enemies at a distance, she can also use it to quickly traverse an area or get out of dodge. These grappling hook points appear at set locations and aren’t everywhere though they often allow Ada to either completely bypass a fight that she doesn’t need to take part in, leaving random enemies in the dust, or quickly maneuver around a dangerous foe, taking advantage of her new location to deal plenty of damage or chase down a fleeing enemy.
While a fairly simple mechanic, Ada’s grappling gun makes her a speedy and unique feeling character compared to Leon and her tool can be upgraded a bit to make it even more useful. While the Separate Ways DLC does not offer the Shooting Gallery found in the base game, Ada can still purchase Charms from the Merchant that can be equipped to her upgradable attache case with one of these Charms allowing her to yank shields away from enemies, giving her even more useful tools to take down difficult foes. The other tool is more contextual and matches with Ada’s spy aesthetic as it is a special augmented-reality tool that allows players to see remnants of footprints and fingerprints to track down a target. These only appear at set times and are simply used for story purposes though needing to figure out a code for a door by fingerprints is a fun little mini-puzzle.
Separate Ways will see Ada traveling across many familiar looking locations from the main game at different times from Leon but she will also travel through new areas entirely, including a few from the original release that never were featured in the remake. This includes the return of a certain aforementioned boss that sees players battling against a new type of enemy with its own set of mechanics that are a bit on the predictable side. It is also worth noting that this boss fight from the original game has been modified to be simpler as well, lacking any of the puzzle elements found during the original release despite being extended.
Throughout the DLC players will be able to still locate various treasures and complete Merchant Missions to obtain Spinel that can also be used to upgrade and purchase equipment that can then be carried over to other playthroughs. Along these same lines players can choose from a few difficulties to start with, though Professional can only be unlocked after beating the game once, with each difficulty offering its own set of unlockables and challenges that are unique to the game and offer extra bonuses for players to strive for if they want to be completionists.
Audio & Visuals
Since Resident Evil 4: Separate Ways uses most of the base game’s locations and enemy types players will be familiar with most of the designs here and there though some of the updated monster designs for returning bosses and encounters are quite interesting and fitting. Zipping around using the grappling gun feels and looks impressive, especially as many of the cinematic melee attacks on boss enemies are wonderfully acrobatic and a few even delightfully over-the-top. Ada’s own design remains straightforward throughout the chapters though players can unlock extra outfits, including her signature dress, by completing a run of the game and going through it a second time.
The voice work throughout the DLC is solid, with Ada’s voice actress really coming into her own throughout the campaign, playing quite well against some of the more dramatic characters she interacts with, including a signature character that just can’t help drop a reference to one of his most famous lines in another game. The soundtrack features a fairly solid collection of background music as well though it really doesn’t seem much different from what was offered in the base game.
Resident Evil 4: Separate Ways offers an action-packed reinvented storyline that compliments the main game nicely while allowing Ada Wong to develop a bit more as a character as she fights through reimagined areas with fresh feeling combat thanks to her unique tools and takes on varied reimagined bosses in what ends up being a shorter but incredibly worthwhile expansion to an already amazing title.
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