DLC Review – Resident Evil 4: Seperate Ways
This year’s Resident Evil 4 Remake was a towering achievement. Not only matches up to the legendary GameCube original, but surpasses it in just about every way. It provided the franchise’s best gameplay, excellent storytelling, and improved level design, but it was missing one thing: Separate Ways. It was teased during the main story, but didn’t ship with the game. Now Resident Evil 4: Separate Ways is finally here and has been given the same treatment as the main game, doing much more than a simple graphical touch-up.
Set parallel to the events of Leon’s story in the base game, Resident Evil 4: Separate Ways follow Ada Wong’s path through the Los Illiminados cult. Whilst Leon has been tasked to rescue the president’s daughter, Ada has been tasked by Albert Wesker to infiltrate the Spanish village to retrieve “the amber” from Luis Sera. As Ada witnesses the scale of the operation, her morals are put to the test.
In this DLC we see a side of Ada that the mainline games have never really explored. She’s a character that is conflicted by her actions and proves she is more than a cold heartless spy working purely for money. One of the weaker parts of the remake has been redeemed here; Ada feels much more like a fully-fledged character. This has been a major trend with the franchise, especially Resident Evil 3. However, the voice acting is still very much wonky. Whilst there can be some good line delivery on occasion, the majority is still just flat and boring.
It’s also really nice to see the other characters get a little bit more spotlight. Luis Sera is a major player in this one, and it’s great to see more of him. The story itself won’t provide much in the way of new story beats, but what Resident Evil 4: Separate Ways does is much more closely tied to Resident Evil 5 making the franchise feel a little more cohesive. Maybe that’s what’s next for Capcom? Personally, I’d rather have Code Veronica or something new entirely. Resident Evil 5 is still a fairly modern title and doesn’t necessarily need a remake, however, if the second half gets a massive overhaul, I’d be all for it.
Resident Evil 4: Separate Ways ,much like the main game, brings elements from the original, but vastly improves on them with some big changes. You will be spending a lot of time trekking through the same area Leon has, with a touch less exploration than in the base game. It’s a tighter and much more controlled level design. It’s fairly linear, with some minor exploration in fairly familiar environments. Much of Ada’s campaign is going through Leon’s zones in reverse, with a few new zones mixed into them.
However, Resident Evil 4: Separate Ways does things to mix these up greatly. It feels completely fresh throughout with interesting encounters, but the new areas really shine through with some fantastic design. The merchant returns as well with a few additional requests to complete and in terms of replay value, this is just as strong as the base game offering. This five-hour DLC has higher difficulties and tons of additional unlocks, whilst expanding even further on the Mercenaries mode.
The gameplay is pretty much identical to the main game as well. Ada has all the same moves as Leon. So if you like the core gameplay loop, then this is absolutely worth the purchase, but it’s not without it’s own gimmick. Ada’s grappling hook is a key part of the gameplay. A lot of the time this is just a nice flavourful way to get from point A to B in a linear fashion. However, it can also be used in combat. You can use it as a melee attack after stunning enemies and closing the distance rapidly. Although, its best uses are in large combat encounters, such as the El Gigante boss fight, which allows you to dodge around the environment. It also gives much more freedom in how to approach encounters, even some more sections can be bypassed entirely through stealth.
Whilst the remake was pretty much perfect, there were a few things missing from the original release. This greatly improved the game’s pacing, as some of it did feel out of place originally, but one particular cut item felt a bit strange. Remember the second Black-Robed Verdugo who briefly shows up in Leon’s story? Well, he has been promoted to Ada’s main adversary, and what they’ve done here is probably one of my favourite bosses. He’s not the only thing that was from the 2004 original that’s back now either. The infamous laser hallway has been brought up a few notches, whilst that weird castle drill section has a slight puzzle element to it.
Everything is pretty well thought out and fits in much more with the spy theme. I don’t want to spoil the big surprises, but fans of the original will love what has been done here. There’s tons of fan service in the best of ways. As a whole, this has been well worth the extended wait and price. Mercenaries got expanded on as well with Ada and Wesker appearing as playable characters with their own playstyle.
Resident Evil 4: Separate Ways does everything a smaller DLC should be doing. It expands the story in an interesting way, whilst delivering the same high-quality cinematics and gameplay. There are some reused assets for sure, but they are used in such a creative and interesting way that it’s not a detriment to the experience.
Final Verdict: 8.5
Resident Evil 4: Separate Ways is available now on PC, Xbox Series X|S, PS4, and PS5.