The Resident Evil 4 remake is such a frustrating game. It’s clearly one of the best releases of the year and yet according to our own Game of the Year rules it is not eligible for our Top 20 of 2023, as we never include remakes or remasters. We made an exception for Final Fantasy 7 Remake as, despite what the name implies, it’s a completely different game to the original, but Resident Evil 4 is essentially the same experience as in 2005, modernised for current consoles. And it is fantastic.
Many people, including us, felt the idea of a remake was doomed to failure, considering the gameplay of the original relied on controls that didn’t allow you to move and shoot at the same time, which would feel extremely old-fashioned today.
The end result wasn’t flawless – the more modern controls rob the game of some of its uniqueness and yet conversely it is sorely in need of a dodge move – but it still managed to reclaim the original’s position as one of the best action games of all time. And now there’s more of it.
We’re not as familiar with Separate Ways as we are the rest of Resident Evil 4, as it wasn’t part of the original GameCube release, and that’s the one we’ve played the most. Instead, it was added to the PlayStation 2 version and has turned up in most other versions since.
Not to be confused with the much shorter Assignment: Ada, which was in the GameCube version but is not represented in the remake, Separate Ways casts you as anti-hero Ada Wong, in a parallel story that intersects with Leon’s mission on several occasions.
Ada is trying to recover a sample of Las Plagas from Luis, who she’s promised to rescue if he can deliver the promised valuable. However, while the main campaign follows the original pretty faithfully, only leaving out a few of the more fantastical set pieces, the remake version of Separate Ways plays a lot looser with the original concept.
Not only do you start out in the castle, rather than the village, but Ada’s very first encounter is with an insect-like boss called Black Robe who becomes a recurring villain and infects her with the same virus as Leon and Ashley. This results in a number of other story changes, although the central conceit is still the same, in that you get to see how Ada influenced the course of the original plot and gain some insight into her reasons for doing what she does.
Ada’s philosophical musings aren’t profound, but the new version of Separate Ways feels much more like a distinct story, rather than just an abridged remix of the main campaign, that is ultimately still focused on Leon. Seeing many of the most famous set pieces from Ada’s point of view is great fun and while there aren’t many new locations the DLC does manage to add in at least a few that were left out the first time round.
In terms of abilities, this sticks very close to the original, with Ada being slightly faster on her feet and packing a grapple gun, which basically turns her into Batman. Not only is she better at stealth than Leon but she can swing around on the grapple to access higher locations and use it to shoot herself towards enemies, feet first, just like the Arkham games.
Separate Ways isn’t as long as the main campaign, but it’ll still take at least four hours for most people to beat, and probably at least six if you don’t purposefully ignore all the side content. It’s extremely well-paced too, just like the main game, as you move gracefully from one set piece to another without it feeling rushed or incoherent.
Ada starts off with more weaponry and items than Leon, including a handy sub-machinegun, but she can still collect money and treasure to trade with the merchant (who, despite having a few new lines of dialogue, insists on calling her ‘mate’, which sounds weird). There are also unique challenges, including blue medal hunts and trying to find the Ganados that stole Leon’s coat, which help to flesh things out further.
For the surprisingly low asking price, this is well worth diving back into Resident Evil 4 for, especially as Ada and Wesker avatars were released for The Mercenaries mode at the same time. They’re free, and available to everyone, drawing a line under what is one of the best video game remakes ever. Despite what most fans imagined when it was first announced, 2023’s Resident Evil 4 is just as good as 2005’s and Separate Ways is a key part of its appeal.
Resident Evil 4: Separate Ways review summary
In Short: A very welcome slice of DLC that is just as enjoyable as the main game and helps flesh out a fan favourite character with their own unique abilities and agenda.
Pros: A much more distinct experience than the original version, with Ada having her own story, gadgets, and nemesis to contend with. The same top notch graphics and action as the base game.
Cons: If you purposefully avoid any distractions, you could beat the story in less than four hours. Relatively few new locations and it really could do with a dodge button.
Formats: PlayStation 5 (reviewed), PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X/S, and PC
Release Date: 21st September 2023
Age Rating: 18
To submit Inbox letters and Reader’s Features more easily, without the need to send an email, just use our Submit Stuff page here.
For more stories like this, check our Gaming page.
Sign up to all the exclusive gaming content, latest releases before they’re seen on the site.