Welcome Back to the Horror Classic
Back in 2005, Capcom redefined the concept of the horror survival genre with Resident Evil 4. The game made the horror experience more user friendly while introducing the series to a new generation of gamers. It would go on to inspire a new era of horror games while growing to become a staple of every console generation.
A staple of the original was Separate Ways, a companion experience that focused on Ada Wong’s story. Given Capcom’s recent trend of remaking and re-releasing their classic titles, it was only fitting that Separate Ways be included as part of the overall Resident Evil 4 experience. Those who played the original will be happy to know that it was worth the wait.
Return of Las Plagas
Separate Ways DLC acts as a companion story that parallels the events of the main game but from an alternative perspective. Ada Wong has been dispatched to the area to recover a sample of Los Plagas. The mission becomes complicated when Luis Serra Navarro is compromised and detained by the Los Illuminados cult. Luckily for her, Leon S. Kennedy is also in the area looking for the President’s daughter. Sensing an opportunity, she uses Leon’s mission as a means to complete her own while throwing off the unnecessary heat.
On the surface, the story of the Separate Ways remake remains faithful to the classic narrative: Ada is working behind the scenes to complete her mission while also helping Leon. The real changes lie are how the remake updates the original’s storytelling style to fit modern sensibilities. The original reflected the pop culture of the 2000s, with an emphasis on being edgy. In contrast, the remake grounds the story more in reality (to the best of its ability). Everyone’s story is also better fleshed out and with greater agency plus depth beyond being background characters.
Separate Ways was a unique experience as it wasn’t a mini-game or bonus content. Instead, it was its own game that worked in parallel with the events of the main story. The remake is no different as it doesn’t reuse the same stages but instead alters familiar settings while adding new ones. At the same time, it opens up sections that were inaccessible in the main game.
Limited resources such as ammo, health, and inventory space remain crucial factors that add tension. The ability to mix gunpowder to create additional ammunition gives players more flexibility in how they approach combat. Combat has become more fluid and intuitive, allowing players to adapt to the situation with their tactics. This is more true in regards to the combat knife and grappling hooks as they are versatile in combat. Fans of the Merchant will be pleased to know that he’s also present and provides Ada with valuable upgrades and gear at strategic points.
One aspect that classic Resident Evil fans will appreciate is the return to tradition. Puzzles and mazes are more challenging when compared to the main game while requiring players to put their critical thinking skills to the test. It’s not all about testing players, some of the cheese that defined the original Resident Evil 4 also makes a return.
As with the main game, most of the issues come down to the shift in tone. The premise is still cheesy no matter how serious the remake became. Separate Ways attempts to bring some of that cheese back but it doesn’t mix well with the remake’s new serious tone. Does this mean that the Separate Ways remake falls short? Absolutely not as it’s a minuscule issue compared to the overall experience.
Are You OK, Ada?
The original Separate Ways was an essential part of the PlayStation 2 version of Resident Evil 4, itself hailed as a staple of the era while praised for reinventing the horror survival genre. The remake follows that tradition while also attempting to include some of the defining elements of the original. This is not a reskin of the main game but its own experience.
Separate Ways DLC successfully recreates one of the best companion pieces while also bringing back some of the series defining elements. Fans will be delighted to once again take on the role of Ada Wong and work behind the scences. Overall, it’s another reason to come back to the Resident Evil 4 remake.
Disclaimer: FortySeven Communications provided the game used for this review.
This review is the critique and thoughts of one writer. If you want to see how other critics felt then check it out on OpenCritic.
8Bit/Digi is an independent media outlet that provides insight into the gamer community of the San Francisco Bay Area.
Resident Evil 4 - Separate Ways DLC (PC)
- Serves as a companion story to the main game.
- A creative reimagining of the iconic game.
- Improved combat mechanics and gameplay elements.
- Redesigning of familiar levels while introducing several original ones.
- Brings back some of the cheese from the original.
- The cheese does not mix well with the game's more serious tone.