Resident Evil 4 Remake Separate Ways DLC Review

As fantastic as Resident Evil 4’s remake is, one of the most conspicuous absences from its original release was Ada Wong’s side story – it was such a key part of the HD version of the original game, after all. Thankfully, in this age of delays and over-hype, we haven’t had to wait too long for Capcom to complete the story, and the quality and replayability of this version of Separate Ways has been well worth the wait.

Originally designed as a way of differentiating the PS2 port of RE4 from the GameCube original, Separate Ways was an interesting, if somewhat inessential addition to the game. Billed as filling in the gaps between Ada and Leon’s interactions, the result was entertaining, but I never really felt that it hung together in its own right. To a degree this is still the case – I certainly wouldn’t recommend anyone playing this DLC standalone or without experience of the main story – but the changes made here do result in a more coherent adventure, albeit one that is by definition parasitic.

Mechanically and graphically, Separate Ways benefits from all the same enhancements that the remake brought to the main game, and by and large Ada feels not that dissimilar to Leon as a player character. She is perhaps a little more nimble and has different melee attacks, but the general controls and combat style are much the same. The main point of departure here is in her signature grapple gun, which is used both as a traversal mechanic and a way of covering the distance between her and stunned enemies. The verticality this adds to familiar areas of the main game is particularly refreshing and does make me wish for a more fleshed out adventure starring the enigmatic spy.

What really stands out in Separate Ways, aside from how cool Ada Wong is as a character, is how much the RE team has nailed set pieces. The shorter runtime of this adventure means that there is very little fat or downtime here, with the story going between epic moments without pausing to catch breath. There are still a couple of chapters of hunting for objects, but the main focus is on the deliciously meaty combat. Ada has fewer weapon options than Leon, but the upgrades and merchant encounters are maintained. I found the shotgun to be far less useful than in other games, in part because the ability to stun enemies and grapple close to them for the killing melee blow felt so satisfying. A crossbow that fires explosive bolts is the main addition here, not to be confused with the Bolt Thrower Leon had, and is fun to use against groups. It did, however, take up a huge amount of space in the inventory so I mostly kept it in storage.

My initial playthrough of Separate Ways took around four and a half hours, with a few silly deaths and area restarts to find missed collectables, while a second rapid run through was a little over two hours (annoyingly, just nine minutes over the challenge target). There are a lot of cutscenes and scripted comms chats that fill out the story, but can be skipped on replays, making this another title perfectly suited for speed running – an aspect that Capcom is really succeeding with through recent Resident Evil games.

While some fans bemoaned areas and encounters from the original that weren’t featured in the remake, many of these have found their way into Separate Ways, though not always as an exact replica. A prominent boss battle and several memorable setpieces appear here and actually feel perfectly at home in their new location. I would love to play a version that switches between Leon and Ada on the fly rather than treating their stories as totally separate entities (making me hopeful for a remake of Resident Evil 0 at some point).

Alongside the central story, the DLC brings new characters and content to the Mercenaries Mode, although these are free additions to the game as a sweetener for all players. Ada and series antagonist Wesker are welcome extras, although I still feel that this mode feels a little underdone.

Separate Ways is a fantastic addition to Resident Evil 4 Remake and really cements its place as one of the series’ best. Add in some unexpected nods to wider aspects of Resident Evil lore and you have a DLC that works both as extra content to the main game and wider fan service too. If you enjoyed the RE4 Remake then this DLC is pretty much an essential purchase.
  • Ada is a cool protagonist
  • Fantastic setpiece moments
  • Secondary characters given a chance to shine
  • A couple of annoying boss fights
Written by
Just your average old gamer with a doctorate in Renaissance literature. I can mostly be found playing RPGs, horror games, and oodles of indie titles. Just don't ask me to play a driving game.

1 Comment

  1. Its brilliant – just like the remakes 2/3/4. Ada is becoming one of my fave characters from the world of Resi. Shes badass!

    Wonder if we will see a Resi 1/5/6/ and maybe 7 overhaul. Think they should as they’re such good games.

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