I can’t think of many games throughout my life that I’ve enjoyed more than Resident Evil 4. When I decided to take the plunge on my first ever horror game as a teenager I had no idea that Leon and his adventures would make such an impression on me, and earlier this year the remake did not disappoint. It was missing one element though (two if you include the slightly delayed mercenaries mode, I guess): the bonus Ada Wong campaign. Well over half a year later Capcom has answered our prayers and brought everyone’s favourite bombshell back as the protagonist in Resident Evil 4: Separate Ways, and it was worth the wait.
Separate Ways in the older versions of Resident Evil 4 was originally a fairly short bonus episode that saw Ada on a mission to help out Leon. Ada’s role in the main campaign was shrouded in mystery, and this extra hour of “zombie” shooting gameplay gave a glimpse into her motives. For the most part though it was incredibly forgettable, and everyone I know played through it once and then never again. This time around Separate Ways is anything but forgettable.
Clocking in at significantly over five hours, Separate Ways isn’t just a bonus mission but a full fledged campaign. Following Ada from the initial moments in the village to the final boss, you’ll get to see what she was up to for the entirety of the main game. This means making your way through a host of familiar (and a few less familiar) environments, killing a whole lot of angry cultists, and of course spending a bit of time with my floppy haired boy Leon. I must admit that Ada doesn’t quite have the slightly idiotic charm of our original protagonist, but getting to spend some extra time with Luis certainly balances that out.
Separate Ways should only be played after completing the regular campaign, and because of that you’ll be pretty familiar with what’s in store. After a busy few months playing other games I’d forgotten quite how satisfying the over the shoulder shooting was though, and was incredibly grateful to have an excuse to go back to this fantastic game. From guns that feel delightful and pop heads like a breeze, to that oh so satisfying inventory management, it’s all there waiting for you in Separate Ways in a more bite size package.
Because Separate Ways is about a third of the length of the main campaign, the pacing and variety is absolutely wonderful. You never spend too long in a specific area, and because of that there’s never more than a couple of encounters with each type of enemy. It’s a perfect greatest hits of Resident Evil 4, but with a few rather notable differences.
The main one of these is Ada’s grappling hook, which is useful for getting around and in combat. You can’t just shoot this handy tool wherever you please, but certain points are available to zip between which is really helpful and ensures that aforementioned faster pace. In combat though it’s even more useful, allowing you to unleash a melee attack from far away while shoving away anyone else in your path. There was nothing more upsetting than missing out on a cheeky roundhouse because you couldn’t reach a stunned enemy in time as Leon, but Ada simply doesn’t have that problem.
The grappling hook is used in a variety of incredible set pieces too, including a familiar boss fight that is made all the more entertaining thanks to that extra level of manoeuvrability. There’s simply never a dull moment in Separate Ways, with a variety of puzzles, high pressure chase sequences and even the return of some areas from the original release of Resident Evil 4 that were absent in the remake.
Getting to see parts of the game from a different perspective is fantastic for Resident Evil 4 megafans too. Watching Leon mouthing off to a big baddie from a rooftop is just not something I expected to ever see, and having fights at previously peaceful locales is a nice change of pace. With slightly different weapons and even more Merchant requests to complete it’s got everything you loved from the main campaign but with just enough new stuff to make this an essential bit of DLC to play.
Although not technically a part of the Separate Ways DLC, it’s worth mentioning that alongside the release of it there has also been an update to Mercenaries mode. Now featuring both Ada and Wesker as playable characters, this arcade-y score chasing delight has even more to keep you busy. If you missed out on Mercenaries mode after your first playthrough then you should definitely make it a priority now, because it’s an absolute blast.
I knew that I’d enjoy playing Separate Ways, but I wasn’t expecting it to be quite such an essential piece of DLC. For over five hours of sensational new Resident Evil 4 content the £7.99 price tag is an absolute steal, and it even has extra difficulty modes and challenges to complete too. If you loved Resident Evil 4 as much as I did then buying Separate Ways is simply a no brainer.
A brilliant mini campaign packed with content
The grappling hook is fantastic
The alternative story perspective is interesting
Great value for money
Ada doesn't quite match up to Leon