Separate Ways was originally an unlockable side campaign in the original releases of Resident Evil 4 after the Nintendo GameCube version, and now it is set to return to the Remake as a story DLC.
In Separate Ways, you play through segments of Resident Evil 4 Remake as Ada Wong, a secretive femme fatale in red on a covert mission to retrieve samples of the parasitic Las Plagas for her employer.
Much like the original incarnation of Separate Ways, players get to experience the events of Resident Evil 4 once again, watching the horror of Las Plagas unfold from Ada Wong’s perspective, revealing missing details and adding more context to the overall narrative.
We were fortunate to be invited for a hands-off preview by Capcom where we got to watch Ada Wong in action. Without further ado, here is what we learned.
Right into her Clandestine Mission
The preview wasted no time jumping into the action, showcasing Ada Wong’s iconic Hookshot, a grappling hook that allows her to traverse onto previously unreachable high vantage points. By pressing a button when a prompt shows up while looking at a high vantage point, Ada can quickly fire her Hookshot and travel to the targeted location.
Returning players to some previously visited places from the main game such as the Salazar Castle, Ada got to scout out for information from a high vantage point and get a clear view of the dangers she will encounter. However, the Hookshot is not only limited to traversal and exploration, which we will get into in detail later.
As with any of the Resident Evil Remake games, Capcom managed to evoke a sense of familiarity yet still create different experiences on how a sequence played out when compared to the original versions.
In the Remake, Ada gets to embrace her identity as a spy with the return of the main game’s rather simple yet effective stealth system where she can sneak behind unsuspecting enemies to backstab and dispose of them.
Hookshot & Acrobats
The tension escalated quickly in the demo when an alarm began to sound and mad zealots started to swarm Ada, showcasing the familiar combat already established in the main game including the ability to parry incoming attacks with her knife, the core feature of Resident Evil 4 Remake.
After successfully stunning enemies by shooting their heads, hands, or legs, Ada got to display an array of impressive melee attacks such as a variety of acrobatic flourishes, somersaults, and kicks, as well as the return of her Fan Kick from the original game.
The inclusion of the aforementioned Hookshot is what sets Ada apart from Leon in terms of gameplay. While in the original games, the Hookshot is strictly limited to exploration, now in the Remake, Ada gets to utilize it for combat.
While in a distance away from a stunned enemy, Ada can shoot her grappling hook and zips towards them to execute a powerful kick and this can be done from the target’s front or their back, allowing her to quickly close her distance.
More Traversal Options
Of course, the increase in traversal options also opens up routes that allow Ada to explore levels differently and engage with enemies who are otherwise hidden in high places such as those that were operating the catapults during the castle gate sequence.
This scenario posed quite a challenge in the main game as Leon had to keep Ashely safe while dealing with catapults raining down explosives and hordes of zealots swarming in.
On the other hand, Ada has the option to traverse to these high places and face these enemies at closed range without needing to rely on precise aiming with a sniper rifle at a far distance.
While traversing to certain high ledges, Ada can also perform a follow-up kick to any enemies standing by the edge, knocking them away so she can land safely.
Against El Gigante
Closing out the preview was a boss battle against a returning enemy from the main game, the El Gigante, where more of the Hookshot gameplay is shown in action. Given how expanded the Hookshot mechanic is now, the ability to fire the grappling hook changes up the battle against the giant monster where many more tactics open up.
Normally in the main game, Leon is stuck on the ground in a small arena and is forced to rely on precise aiming to stun the monster through repeated hits to the head before its parasite pops out from its back to serve as its main weak point.
When using Ada, however, players can use the Hookshot to quickly travel to cabin rooftops to get better aiming angles against the El Gigante, completely changing how they can approach the battles with the added space.
Since Ada’s Hookshot is swift, she can even evade incoming attacks by zipping to different locations or even any stunned enemies, whereas Leon can only run around to avoid some of El Gigante’s deadlier attacks.
The demo then closes off with Ada displaying her acrobatic skills against the El Gigante, swinging around using her Hookshot and slicing the parasite at the monster’s back in a cinematic sequence, completely different from how Leon would have approached the beast in the main game.
While the hands-off preview is brief and mostly focuses on combat, there are still many details that can be noticed throughout.
As Ada goes through the deadly places under control by the insane zealot group Los Iluminados to retrieve a sample of the “Amber” for her employer, she must utilize the various weapons at her disposal to survive the onslaught.
While many weapons seen throughout the gameplay are the same ones that Leon uses in the main game such as the SR MR1903 sniper rifle and the Tactical Machine Pistol (TMP), Ada does have her own unique arsenal such as the return of her signature crossbow that shoots out explosive bolts or the special shotgun from the original game that has a vertical foregrip on the pump.
She will also meet with familiar features from the main game like the side Merchant Requests that give Ada various optional objectives such as to hunt down blue medallions for more rewards. Speaking of the Merchant, while we did not see her interact with him, Ada is seen collecting the Spanish currency Pesetas, the same money used to make purchases from the Merchant.
Given the positive responses to the changes made to the gameplay and story in Resident Evil 4 Remake, there is surely a set expectation walking into Separate Ways. While the footage shown was short, Capcom seems to be portraying Ada with more depth, expanding her character and adding more dialogue for her to add context to the world around her.
From Leon’s knife parries in the main game to Rosemary Winter’s special abilities in the Shadows of Rose DLC for Resident Evil Village, to the now expanded Ada’s Hookshot, Capcom also seems to be emphasizing certain mechanics to provide characters some individuality and made them stand out from one another.
From what we have seen, Capcom has succeeded at shining the spotlight on Ada and making her different from Leon and even other playable characters in the Mercenaries mode, adding more depth and thrill to her gameplay and showcasing her agility as a covert spy.
Fans need not wait long to play Ada Wong as the Separate Ways DLC for Resident Evil 4 Remake will be released this week on 21 September 2023, alongside a free update for the Mercenaries mode that adds both her and Albert Wesker as playable characters.