Capcom sure understands how to breathe new life into its survival horror classics through the remake treatment and the Separate Ways DLC for Resident Evil 4 Remake is one good example.
Originally an unlockable side episode in the original Resident Evil 4, Separate Ways follows Ada Wong as she gets enshrouded into the turmoil of the Los Iluminados cult during her mission. The story of Ada runs parallel to the overarching narrative of the main game, adding more details to the events happening around Leon.
The remake of Separate Ways goes beyond just repackaging the old. Much like any of Capcom’s remakes, the campaign is given substantial twists while keeping its core intact. While the original reincarnation is mostly a remix of the main game, the newer version deviates in many aspects.
For one, not only did Capcom change some familiar places in unexpected ways, but they have also given Ada her own unique set of adversaries to face, as well as new locations to explore.
No Time to Waste, Hookshot Time
Given that the groundwork has already been established in the main game, Separate Ways wasted no time shifting into high gear. Kicking off the campaign with a dread-filled boss battle while arming Ada Wong with more weapons from the get-go.
This is exactly the formula that Separate Ways follows, putting action to the forefront and contrasting itself with the slower horror-focused main campaign. One contributing factor that allows for the breakneck pacing of Ada’s campaign is the inclusion of the Hookshot, a grappling hook that enables traversal to previously inaccessible high places.
Fitting to her profession as a spy, the Hookshot is not only a traversal tool for Ada but also a weapon. As Ada delivers precise shots to enemy weak points and stunning them, she can zip toward them to execute a roundhouse kick from a distance. This single element sets her apart from Leon, painting her to be the more agile fighter.
With her enhanced maneuverability, Capcom has also given some combat set pieces with a new stroke of paint, providing more tactical options that involved her Hookshot. For example, Ada can deliver a roundhouse kick immediately after grappling hook herself to ledges, knocking enemies away for a safe landing. Later in the game, Ada can even use the Hookshot to pull shields away from certain enemies, exposing them.
Another memorable example was a fresh rework of the battle against the humongous El Gigante, a recurring enemy boss from the main game. While the fight in the original campaign is purely ground-based, the arena is decorated with cabins and barns in Separate Ways, allowing Ada to travel from rooftop to rooftop to gain more accurate aims.
Though, admittedly, I do wish there were more stages and boss battles that further utilize Hookshot as a main tactical tool.
A Nod to the Original
While Resident Evil 4 Remake has garnered universal praise, it is without its fair share of criticism, especially concerning the absence of multiple combat set pieces that were originally in the 2005 release.
However, for Separate Ways, Capcom had meaningfully incorporated some of these previously thought-to-be cut content. These set pieces are now structured in places and times that make more sense and add to the narrative.
This is especially true of a certain returning boss who was cut away from the main game and had sparked many online fan debates. This time around, this specific boss was given an overhaul in many aspects, from visuals to abilities. Capcom has especially given needed attention to the lore of the creature, expanding its backstory and freshening up the story with intriguing new details.
Aside from said boss, many combat set pieces returned with fresh takes such as the return of the infamous laser room, now given a proper context of its existence, as well as the waterways with its new deep backstories.
Of course, the ever-charming Merchant made a return, allowing Ada to purchase and tune her arsenal of weapons, some of which completely unique to her such as a crossbow that shoots explosive bolts or a special pump shotgun.
The Merchant’s catalog not only includes the things you would expect but also unlockable charms that were previously tied to the shooting range in Leon’s campaign. These charms each provide unique passive effects to Ada, allowing room for some level of customization.
Assignment Ada, Complete
In general, Separate Ways is a largely linear and condensed experience when compared to the main game. While the entire run is much shorter than the main story, it still provides a stellar amount of content and replay value. This is especially true with the difficulty options, ranging from the story-driven Assisted mode to the nightmarish tough Professional difficulty, aimed towards players who seek a challenge.
On top of all that, the DLC also provides fans with plenty of unlockable content, from cosmetic choices such as iconic classic costumes to various equipment armed with effects, as well as a list of achievements.
All in all, Separate Ways continues to prove that Capcom has a strong understanding of what makes a good remake, striking a balance between deviating from the original and still staying true to the essence of the source material.
While there are some elements that fans can nitpick all day, Separate Ways is still an amazing add-on to Resident Evil 4 Remake, serving as a great extension to an excellent survivor horror.
Separate Ways DLC is now available for Resident Evil 4 Remake and for our review of the excellent main game, you can read here.