It’d be nice if Ada Wong was having as much fun with Separate Ways as I am.
SW is a DLC campaign that serves as a solid follow-up/conclusion to this year’s Resident Evil 4 remake. It’s made up of old, new, and revised levels from both RE4R and the original RE4, with a few brand-new scenes and sequences that can stand alongside the best parts of RE4R.
Separate Ways is a great coda for Resident Evil 4 remake and a solid lead-in to whatever’s next for Resident Evil’s remake era. However, its biggest problem, though, is that you spend its entire 6-8 hour run time in control of Ada, and her English voice actor always sounds terminally bored. It was distracting in RE4R, where Ada only has a few minutes of screen time, but SW is her show from start to finish. It’s a weird, major flaw in an otherwise solid production.
Resident Evil 4: Separate Ways DLC Review – Here I Go Again On My Own
If there’s a single reason to pick up Separate Ways, it’s Ada’s grapple gun.
The rest of RE4R is a little more grounded and less campy than the original 2005 RE4, but SW throws that all out the window in favor of letting Ada be a low-stakes Spider-Man. You can use Ada’s grapple gun to cross chasms, reach rooftops, dive through windows, or pull her to a distant opponent so she can windmill kick them in the face.
Each boss fight lets you create at least one opportunity for a theatrical grapple attack, and with an easy-to-get upgrade, you can yank enemies’ shields out of their hands. Doing stupid grappling hook tricks is easily the best part of SW, and the only real problem is that you can’t do more of it. I’d play an entire game about using my zipline gun to superkick zombies in the jaw.
The rest of Separate Ways is a second dose of the same action you got with the remake. While the first couple of chapters feature a lot of recycled content — where Ada goes through several of the same locations as Leon but backward or from above — it eventually breaks out into some brand-new areas. This includes a few sequences and bosses from Leon’s campaign in RE4 2005 that didn’t make the remake, as well as a couple of exclusive subplots.
Ada has less health than Leon and never gets body armor, but she’s also explicitly using him as a distraction. As a result, you rarely fight as many enemies at once as Leon does. You get to start most fights from stealth or at long distances. Ada’s not made to take fights head-on, but she seldom has to.
What’s interesting about this take on Separate Ways, when compared to the original 2005 version, is its tighter focus on Ada herself. In SW 2005, Ada is primarily Leon’s guardian angel and spends most of the scenario trying to keep him alive. In retrospect, the name Separate Ways is half ironic, as Ada was just over Leon’s shoulder for a good half of the game.
In the remake, Ada is primarily concerned with her mission. There’s almost none of the will-they-won’t-they relationship drama that usually takes up most of a Resident Evil game or movie that has both Leon and Ada in it. Instead, Ada simply gets on with her own business.
It’s an interesting approach to the character. Capcom’s actively resisted giving Ada much of a personality or background besides “femme fatale for hire” for the last 20 years or so. However, SW feels like it could be a pilot project for Ada to take a more prominent role in the future of the series.
Unfortunately, that’s where you run into the aforementioned problem with her voice. There are a lot of scenes in SW that could’ve been memorable with the right performance, but Ada’s RE4R voice actress delivers most of her lines with a different variation on the same pleasant monotone.
Ada never comes across as realistically stressed or horrified or even worried about her own well-being. It gives many of SW’s most tense sequences the raw dramatic impact of a Resident Evil-themed ASMR video.
Resident Evil 4: Separate Ways DLC Review — The Bottom Line
- I’ve paid a lot more for a lot less content.
- A more forgiving difficulty curve than RE4R.
- The grappling hook never gets old.
- The voice director has a lot of explaining to do.
- You really feel Ada’s lack of body armor/health compared to Leon, even on lower difficulties.
- A couple of the puzzles are dumber.
If you liked the Resident Evil 4 remake, Separate Ways is deliberately more of the same. It trades some of the main game’s raw action for a greater emphasis on stealth, puzzles, and clever movement, which mostly works in its favor. The grapple gun alone is arguably worth the surprisingly low price of admission.
The biggest problem with SW is, for whatever reason, its voice acting. At a point in time when the last five or six core Resident Evil games have been remarkable for their talented vocal casts, Ada’s voice actress here rolls up its sleeves and does its best to get in the way. If you’re going to pick up SW — and if you’ve enjoyed RE4R up to this point, there’s no reason not to — then do yourself a favor and play in any language but English.
[Note: The writer purchased the PC copy of Resident Evil 4: Separate Ways used for this review.]
Resident Evil 4: Separate Ways DLC Review — Here I Go Again On My Own
The new chapter of the Resident Evil 4 remake puts Ada in center stage, where only one thing can hold her back.What Our Ratings Mean