Review: Resident Evil 4 (2023) Separate Ways DLC

Separate Ways DLC

Back in 2005, when the original Resident Evil 4 got its first re-release on the PlayStation 2, a handful of new content was added to the package, including the side-story called Separate Ways, where players finally got to play as the mysterious spy, Ada Wong. This side story effectively lets players see what Ada was up to in the background while Leon was doing his thing in the Spanish countryside and fill in a few story and time gaps, effectively re-purposing a lot of assets from the main campaign into its own adventure.

Most fans were pretty satisfied with this game mode, even if it was just a more concise take on RE4‘s main locations and story beats, but when the remake of Resident Evil 4 was announced, fans were all wondering if we’d also get to check out what Ada was up to behind the scenes with the newly revamped remake storyline. Sadly, Separate Ways was missing from the original release of the remake earlier this year, but it was confirmed that Ada’s mode would be added as paid DLC, and now that this content has been released, we can take a look at how this lives up to and compares to the original Separate Ways campaign and also whether it’s worth paying for this add-on in the remake.

Separate Ways DLC

We won’t waste too much time here talking about the general discussion points about the RE4 remake engine and how the game fares in a general sense, (we have a full review for that) but we’ll focus on what’s different in this DLC and whether it’s worth your time and money as its own thing, even though you need to own RE4R to play it and it runs on the exact same engine.

First, in a general sense, there’s great attention to detail with everything in this DLC, as far as when every scene takes place and what else was going on in the main storyline during those times. Ada works her way around a good amount of the remake’s locations and scenarios, but all in her own way and her own style, nailing so many tiny little details, and sticks with them, further immersing you in the character and the world overall.

Separate Ways DLC

Even seemingly insignificant things like the lines of dialogue uttered by the taunting Ganados have been updated to reflect the female pronouns and word forms in Spanish, which is something I did not expect at all, and shows an insane amount of commitment to making Separate Ways feel authentic.

Tiny little details about Ada’s character model and outfits as well as the way she thinks, talks, and moves are very meticulously planned out and executed, making her feel like a real, fleshed-out character in a way that even Leon never really felt like he reached in RE4R.

As most players already know, the visuals of RE4R were a treat to behold in general, but it feels like there was just as much, if not more detail put into Ada’s character and scenarios here than there was in the main game. Being able to explore higher places with Ada’s grappling hook than Leon generally could make for some great vistas and alternate views that just weren’t possible in the main game, and they look great.

Separate Ways DLC

Her total badass character makes the whole thing exciting, whether she’s hiding in the shadows doing her espionage or fighting an epic battle against El Gigante or some of the game’s other giant monsters on her own, and it feels very refreshing the way the whole thing is handled. She never quite goes into the hammy cartoon-character corniness of Leon, maintaining a serious yet fun and sarcastic attitude throughout the experience and not spouting puns and one-liners through most of her story.

Separate Ways also doesn’t waste time with a lengthy tutorial or story introduction segment, since it assumes we’ve already done that in the main game, and it throws you right into the action and generally keeps up that speedy pacing throughout the entirety of the DLC, making it feel even more exciting and fun to play through.

Separate Ways DLC

Ada’s campaign also re-creates many of the scenes that were “missing” from the main game of RE4R in a way that will satisfy any fans who felt certain iconic scenes from the original game were mysteriously removed, and they’re a treat to behold. I won’t spoil which ones, but they’re all done well and in a way that fits Ada overall without feeling ham-fisted or forced, and it feels like this was planned to be this way from the beginning of RE4R‘s development.

Aside from bringing back some of the classic moments from the original RE4, Separate Ways also introduces a number of new elements, including new enemies, areas, combat mechanics, weapons, merchant missions, and many more things created specifically for this DLC, and it really makes you feel how much work was put in here.

All the new mechanics feel great to use and you’re frequently put in scenarios that make you utilize them to get through each subsequent encounter.

Separate Ways DLC

One of the other greatest parts of this DLC is that it generally leans into the spy elements of Ada’s character as well, and sets up most of the areas in a way that you can stealth kill a good amount of the enemies without being spotted if you plan everything properly. While the main RE4R had a great amount more stealth gameplay than the original RE4, Ada’s campaign feels like you could stealth through about 70% of the DLC by lurking in the shadows, and it makes for a very satisfying gameplay experience.

Separate Ways will take most players 4-5 hours on a first playthrough if they want to complete most of the main objectives and merchant missions, feeling nearly a similar length of many full-length horror games (including the excellent Resident Evil 3 remake) even though it’s just a DLC add-on. There are lots of unlockable challenges, weapons, costumes, and extras that are specific to the DLC, and that will make many players want to play it again right after completion. It feels good to have more content like that in 2023.

Separate Ways DLC

As for the question of whether it’s worth paying $10 for this DLC, it’s a resounding yes, if you’re a fan of RE4R or Ada in general, this feels like it really completes the overall package. On top of the several new characters and stages that were added to the Mercenaries mode to coincide with this DLC release, it finally feels like RE4R has reached more of the potential of what it could’ve been at launch.

If Separate Ways was available as a standalone game for the same price or included with the original RE4R, this would’ve been a near-perfect experience, but since you need to own a $60 game in order to play it, it’s a bit of a caveat. That said, it’s still an experience that any fan of the series shouldn’t miss.

9.5 out of 10 stars (9.5 / 10)


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