Resident Evil 4’s remake earlier this year was a high bar for the franchise. It reinvented what is widely considered to be one of the best games of all time, with new mechanics and gameplay, super up-spuffed RE Engine visuals, but managed to keep what made the Gamecube classic so good at the same time. It’s recent nomination as one of the Games of the Year at The Game Awards is a testament to that, but there was one striking omission back in March – the Ada Wong focused side story Separate Ways. That has now been remedied, but was the multi-month wait worth it?
Well, first things first, this remake of the story that was originally included from the PS2 port onwards benefits from all the bells and whistles that RE4 proper got; while mostly reusing locales from the main game, there are a few additional areas that Ada visits as her story plays out in tandem with Leon’s, including one late game chapter that shows off a bit more colour and high tech furniture (and a new boss that we’ll get to in a sec). It looks and plays brilliantly basically, Ada getting to show of what made her such a super spy in the first place.
Unlike Leon, she’s not so firmly planted on the ground, with her grapple hook able to get her across gaps in the terrain, or – much more interestingly – be used in combat. Here, she can quickly zip to stunned foes for a powerful roundhouse kick or knife stab, or even whip away enemy shields (using the associated case decoration ornament). She’s a competent fighter anyway, but this extra twist to the gameplay means we’re not quite as cornered as Leon could find himself at times.
Across the seven chapters in Separate Ways, we kind of get a greatest hits of big moments from the main campaign, including seeing how that iconic village bell ring scene plays out from her perspective, as well as her side of things for the penultimate fight at the end of the game. It can have the feeling of rushing through some important moments, but as an addition to Leon’s story it’s a welcome alternate perspective (and really, since when has RE needed to explain some of it’s more left field story beats).
It’s not all second fiddle to Leon though, with Ada getting her fair share of new, previously unseen foes for her to tackle. For the first half of the campaign we’re plagued by a big bad motherfucker who is quite something to finally defeat. I must admit I was surprised to have dealt with it only to have another few hours of game to go through, but Capcom make good use of other main villains to progress our tale and give Ada a headache or two before Leon finally finishes them off.
Late game, we’re introduced to another new, almost invincible foe that feels a bit rushed. One second we’re being told they can’t be killed except with one very specific weapon, the next we’re leading them down a corridor that just so happens to be filled with said weapon, with very little interaction or peril in between. There could have been an entire chapter where we were pursued but this creature it feels, but as it is it’s all over and done with quickly.
As a result, we get through the entire thing in roughly five and a half hours, which is great for us in terms of being old and not having quite as much time these days to game, but there could have been a slight fleshing out of some of the aforementioned moments. Generally, the pace of Separate Ways is brisk, not really wasting much time in stopping to assess what’s going on and instead just ushering us forward constantly.
Again though, this forward momentum is aided by some of the best 3rd person combat out there, with encounters gradually ramping up in terms of variety and challenge. Some of the later sections, with the tougher Ganados, prove to be quick tricky indeed, even with Ada’s grapple enhanced combat and handful of upgraded weapons. The merchant returns, and we’re able to buff up her guns and knife, but as with everything else, this is far faster to do, so by the end we’d pretty much maxed out a couple of weapons that we used often. As ever, we can start a new run with this kit too, which thanks to the shorter run time in tempting indeed. Maybe a good way to spend the Christmas break…
All in all, Separate Ways is a brief, but worthy addition to Resident Evil 4’s excellent remake. What it skips over in length, it makes up for with meaty combat, and offering an alternate glimpse into the events of the story that once again intertwined Leon and Ada’s paths.Become a Patron!
This game was reviewed based on the Xbox Series S/X release played on Series S|X. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. The reviewer purchased the title.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.