There are some absolutes in Resident Evil canon. For instance, any virus that starts with a letter is something you don’t want to mess with. Another is that Ada Wong is one badass lady. Originally part of the Resident Evil 2 cast, this double agent returned in the fourth game and played a key role in the story. Her part was so important that a separate mode was made available after finishing Leon’s side of the story, where events in the game played out from another perspective.
Called Separate Ways, it was a fun diversion after being done with Resident Evil 4 proper, but for the most part, it was more of the same style of gameplay. Now, with Resident Evil 4 Remake being a thing, fans have been clamoring Capcom for a redesigned version of the extra mode, and last week it was finally made available. Coming in as paid DLC this time around, Separate Ways is an integral part of the Remake experience, bringing in fresh gameplay quirks that make it much more than a side incursion, not to mention it fills in important aspects of the main game’s story.
Once again starring Ada Wong, your mission is to retrieve a sample of amber from the same Spanish countryside that Leon S. Kennedy tore through the main campaign, with events taking place simultaneously to his adventure. The gist is that Wong has her own set of toys to play with, and thanks to some amusing new skills, is a much more mobile agent of destruction in service of Albert Wesker, the franchise’s main baddie. She’s also in cahoots with Luis, who in the Remake has gotten a much more sizable role in the story.
Given that this reinvention of Separate Ways is pretty short, amounting to around five hours of content spread across seven chapters that take place in both familiar and somewhat new locations from the main story, time is of essence and very little of it is wasted on fluff. You start out smack dab in the middle of a boss fight as Ada squares off with a monster that pursues her throughout a large chunk of the DLC’s story before starting her retrieval mission.
Without going into spoilers, this version of Separate Ways goes in another direction when compared to the original, and although Wong still gets to interact directly with Leon in a few spots, it’s much more of her own thing now. And thanks to things like a grappling hook very akin to Batman’s and an electronic gadget tied to Ada’s contact lenses, which is hilariously also something we’ve grown to know and love in the world’s greatest detective’s videogame escapades, it helps keep the gameplay in this new spin of Separate Ways as fresh as it can be.
Ada’s “detective vision” helps her solve puzzles and figure out her path when the environmental design isn’t obvious, and well, the grappling hook is as cool as it always is, allowing her to reach new heights from where she can strike upon enemies more silently, keeping with the theme of her being an agent on the field and acting as quietly as she can while investigating and trying to discover the location of her main objective.
Now, for someone like me who’s reviewing a piece of content after getting it for free, it might be easy to claim that it’s obligatory for anyone who has remotely enjoyed Resident Evil 4 Remake, but it is indeed quite different and varied from what you find in the main campaign, and enough of an excuse to shell out the cash for this. Not only that, but its approach as DLC is as quality as anyone could expect to see as part of the core game as they come, and that’s something rare, especially when talking about extra paid content and the usual throwaway quality of those.
With that said, Separate Ways is a fantastic reinvention of what was already a neat idea turned into its own thing, with its unique flavor and highly engaging approach to changing the core gameplay that was played up to current day, post Resident Evil 2 Remake standards. Capcom’s been on a run with their games lately and this is no exception. Yeah, it’s still a bit of a bummer that it’s paid DLC, but it’s one that is well worth getting as it’s well above average among similar expansions to other notable games.