The Resident Evil series has always been one of plot twists, plot holes and unexplained events. Sometimes, effort is made to make sense of them all, but not often. But what did get players going was Ada’s return and involvement in Resident Evil 4. Thankfully, Separate Ways is the answer to that. Well, some of that at least.
Absent from the GameCube release, Separate Ways was introduced in the PlayStation 2 version (at no extra cost, I might add) as a playable story. Featuring the enigmatic, whose-side-is-she-on Ada Wong, it attempts to fill the gaps that we don’t see during Leon’s rescue mission.
It did a good job of it back in the PS2 era, but will it replicate that charm this time around? More so, is it worth the sub-£10 asking price for it? Let’s find out.
Damsel In This Dress
There will be spoilers in here for Resident Evil 4’s main game. Either refresh your memory here, or better still, go and play one of the best remakes available.
So, we’re all pretty familiar with Leon’s adventure to save the President’s daughter by now. If you’re not, no excuse, you’ve had almost twenty years. Anyway, it was always suggested that Ada Wong didn’t die at the end of Resident Evil 2 (considering the drop), with fans having that confirmed when she appeared in RE4. In the main story, however, she flits in and out to help/distract/warn Leon at certain key points.
In Separate Ways, we get a fleshed out scenario focused entirely on the nimble secret agent. The focus here is nothing to do with the young Graham daughter, but the retrieval of the precious Amber. Not a friend of Ashley’s, but a prop from Jurassic Park that is the key to all of this Las Plagas nonsense.
And who wants it? The sinister, I-wear-my-sunglasses-at-night Albert Wesker (with oddly-sounding voice) of course, probably for “complete global saturation” again. Glib as it sounds, that’s all we ever learn. Wesker’s quick to chastise Ada at every corner, even turning up at several points to remind her to get on with it.
See You At The Crossroads
How this manifests in Separate Ways is pretty easy to deduce: Ada’s mission runs concurrent to Leon’s progress. Not literally act for act copying, but retracing familiar footsteps from the main game. Starting in the village/fishing bay areas and progressing to the military compound island by the end, as it were. See, I did say there’d be spoilers.
It also fleshes out more of Luis Sera’s story, which is a bonus. In the main game, Luis comes across as a suave somewhat-double-crosser, looking for a redemptive arc. Whilst there’s no major difference in that, we get a bit more of his humane side when he actually cares for Ada at certain points. I won’t spoil that bit, but that he actually doesn’t screw her over is rather nice.
To add to the immersion, the story runs parallel to other key points: Krauser kidnapping Ashley (again), the Lord Saddler confrontation and defending the villa from one of those El Gigante trolls. Ever wonder why Leon and Luis didn’t get crushed by one of those at the point? Now you know.
And whilst there’s no confrontation with the diminutive Salazar, direct or otherwise, it does shed light on where his other hand seemingly disappeared to in the main game…
Separate Ways, Same Method
In terms of actual gameplay, there’s really not a lot to report on in terms of change. The game still plays exactly as Leon’s does: controls are still the same, inventory management is like for like, and that’s pretty much all she wrote on that one.
The only real difference is in the weaponry, and even then some weapons are duplicates of Leon’s. Seems the merchant is selling it to us wholesale. Ada’s starting arsenal is a handgun and a TMP (a submachine gun), but soon expands with a shotgun and the DLC’s unique piece, an exploding-bolt firing crossbow.
Again, as in the main game, these can all be upgraded, sold and traded for better ones as time progresses. Treasure hunting is still key, again changing very little from Leon’s quest. There is, however, some added verticality to spice things up.
Over Your Head
Whilst gameplay is practically the same in Separate Ways, Ada does have some impressive tech on her side. Makes you wonder why Leon was equipped with so little, but here we are. One of these tools manifests as a context-sensitive footprint tracker, whilst the other is a bit more versatile.
It’s a grappling hook, used in both traversal and combat. The former is pretty linear, mostly used in plot progression on certain obstacles. Occasionally in combat it’ll be used to “vault” over enemies, but otherwise it’s an extra step in continuing the story.
In combat, besides leaping enemies, it does have several uses. Firstly, it can be used to initiate melee attacks from a distance, which saves ammo. Secondly, it creates a temporary window of invincibility when flinging through the air, and lastly, when an appropriate charm is attached to the attache case, it can tear shields down.
This is especially useful as shields are often ammo sponges, so I’d suggest that investment. It’s pretty nifty as inclusions go, a well incorporated use of Ada’s spycraft and adding something different from Leon’s heavy feet.
If You Need Something Done Right…
I wasn’t really going to go deep into it, as it’s separate from Separate Ways, but it’s worth mentioning the new additions to the Mercenaries mode. I say separate, it’s not part of the paid DLC that is Ada’s story.
Anyway, the additions here are that both Ada and Wesker are playable, after a time. They’re not playable straight away, but don’t worry, they’re not hidden behind paywalls either. Hey, at least Capcom are learning on some fronts.
The reason I’m mentioning it in the review is that if you are on the fence, you can see how Ada plays and it won’t be a big shock when it comes to Separate Ways. Anyway, this little aside over, let’s conclude.
Joining The Separate Parts
In summary, Separate Ways is… well, it’s essentially as it was back in the PlayStation 2 days. Except, as one would expect, better and fitting to the extremely well-done remake. Again, I scored the remake well, and wouldn’t expect anything less from a companion piece to Resident Evil 4.
It’s got seven chapters in total, and a decent length to it (it’s longer than the Resident Evil 3 remake, for one). There’s only a smattering of trophies/achievements, but there’s plenty of in-game challenges for in-game currency to unlock rewards. These vary from speed runs, not chatting to the merchant, knives-and-gun-only runs and the like.
In short, it’s worth it to any fans that want the complete Resident Evil 4 experience. It’s not essential to see Ada’s perspective of the main game, but it’s another ten hours of solid gameplay that fleshes out my personal current second favourite remake (Shadow of the Colossus is number one, if you wondered).
Capcom once again listening to fans, Separate Ways is a perfect accoutrement to the well-handled Resident Evil 4 remake. It’s linear, sure, but it hits all the right beats to make players want to go back to Leon’s presidential daughter rescue mission. Albeit from a higher perspective.
Resident Evil 4: Separate Ways is available now on PlayStation 4 & 5 (reviewed on latter), Xbox Series S|X and PC. The main game will need to be purchased and installed to run the DLC.
Disclaimer: In order to complete this review, we were provided with a promotional copy of the game. For our full review policy, please go here.
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