When the Resident Evil 4 remake came out, we all thought it was excellent and primarily delivered on honoring the exceptional original game. Some things were regretfully absent like how gamers could sneak some peeks at Ashely’s undies and Leon no longer groans “Women”, when he grows tired of their antics.
Aside from these minor disappointments, the overall experience offered a sprawling experience that delivered thrills and some of the best-looking visuals possible on eighth-gen consoles. While some sequences from Leon’s scenario got cut, the adventure at large was expanded and made to be more profound.
Little did gamers know, that the sequences that didn’t make it into the core game would be carried over into Ada’s side-story. While it was included in all versions of the real Resident Evil 4, post-Gamecube release, this dazzling remade iteration is a surprisingly affordable piece of DLC. What has changed in this remake? What has been added? Find out in this Resident Evil 4 Separate Ways review!
Resident Evil 4 Separate Ways
Platforms: Windows PC, macOS, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5 (reviewed)
Release Date: September 21, 2023
Price: $9.99 USD
The original Separate Ways was a bonus scenario in which players assumed the role of Resident Evil‘s Chinese femme fatale and experienced the events of Resident Evil 4 from a new perspective. It was a concise addition, introducing a terrible new area with a battleship equipped with deadly turrets.
While it provided some extra fun for gamers who picked up the original game on PlayStation 2 and beyond, it wasn’t the primary reason why anyone played Resident Evil 4. The majority of the game consisted of remixed existing areas with new enemy placements and offered Ada’s unique gameplay and weaponry. Despite its brevity, it left a lasting impression as a memorable part of the Resident Evil 4 package.
The remake of Separate Ways is a significant improvement over the original in every conceivable way. It introduces numerous unexpected twists that will catch fans of the original off guard, adding excitement to the experience. It also skillfully maintains a balance by incorporating elements that fans would expect and hope to see. This remake successfully combines tasteful and bold elements simultaneously.
Wesker and Luis are much more involved now and get significantly increased screen time. Both characters are more proactive in the story and get their personalities fleshed out further. Luis was already a fun and wisecracking swarthy Spaniard, but having more scenes of him interacting with calm and cool Ada is a delight.
The remake of Separate Ways brings about a significant improvement in Wesker’s role when compared to his appearance in the original game. In this iteration, Wesker’s character is much more dynamically integrated into the plot, and he actively engages with other characters throughout the story. This change adds depth to his character, providing players with a more engrossing experience.
What’s particularly intriguing about this revamped portrayal of Wesker is the inclusion of hints and foreshadowing, subtly alluding to events that will unfold in an inevitable Resident Evil 5 remake. His character is not only more present but also more intriguing, serving as a bridge between the past and the future of the Resident Evil series.
Wesker’s debut in the RE Engine makes him look tough and smoldering with calm fury. He kind of resembles a blonde youthful Mel Gibson and he doesn’t sound like a nasally Englishman anymore. His voice actor sounds very cold and sinister- like a very evil American, and feels more in line with his original appearance in the first game.
Regretfully, Lily Gao is still the weakest aspect of Resident Evil 4, and her trying to carry scenes in Separate Ways truly highlights how badly miscast she is. It wasn’t so bad in Leon’s scenario because Ada is barely in the game, but in Ada’s adventure, she struggles to sound natural and never sounds anything like the character.
Ada should sound breathy and sexy. She is supposed to be a femme fatale who is always calm, collected, and seems like she is always one step ahead of everyone. Gao sounds flat and unsure when she says her lines. There are some groan-worthy line deliveries and if it weren’t for how good Ada looks in the game, this would have been a terrible distraction.
Resident Evil 4 has received a remarkable visual overhaul, and it comes as no surprise that Separate Ways manages to maintain this impressive consistency. Many of the game’s environments have been recycled from the original but are presented in a way that aligns seamlessly with the established visual quality.
One standout aspect of this remake is the sheer frightfulness of the monsters. In the original game, the Black Robe creature was absorbed by Salazar during his transformation. However, in the remake, the Black Robe takes on a more prominent and menacing role throughout the Separate Ways storyline. Previously unseen foes like the U3 creature make a dramatic return in a surprising and brilliant way.
What truly enhances the remake’s appeal is the clever use of callbacks and their creative remixing. For instance, iconic elements like the ski lifts have been relocated to new settings, offering a fresh experience for players. The farm area, which was once a tranquil location, is transformed into an adrenaline-pumping arena for an epic battle against a giant.
Fans of the series are in for a treat as they discover the ingenious ways in which familiar elements are reinvented and presented with a renewed sense of excitement and intrigue. This remake successfully captures the essence of the original while adding layers of depth and novelty that will leave players thoroughly impressed.
Ada proves to be unique as a playable character compared to Leon. Her grapple hook was sparingly used in the original version, but in the remake, it has become an indispensable aspect of Ada’s playability. Not only are there more opportunities to use it to reach higher ground or to zip to enemies, but it can also be used to remove shields from enemy phalanxes.
While she does get similar weapons as Leon, Ada does have a few unique ones like her sawed-off shotgun and the blast cross-bow. Her post-game unlockable items are back too, like the machine gun that can be upgraded to have infinite ammo or the elite knife that can be ungraded to be indestructible.
Here sexy minidress from the Resident Evil 2 remake becomes available, as is the traditional Chinese dress that homages the original Resident Evil 4. There is enough content in this DLC that makes it feel like it earns that $9.99 price tag and will keep gamers coming back for more multiple times.
It is impressive that Separate Ways manages to be longer and more substantial than Resident Evil 3‘s remake, which was a full-priced game. Speed run times for Resident Evil 3 were typically under the 50-minute mark, but speed running through Separate Ways is around under two hours. Expect first playthroughs to last over four hours trying to complete all merchant requests and trying to stay alive.
Separate Ways is a welcomed and excellent addition to one of the best games of 2023. While it is too bad that it couldn’t have been a part of the package back when the core game was released, the wait has been worth it. Separate Ways is easily some of the best material that Capcom has produced since the real Resident Evil 4 and outclasses the original Separate Ways.
Resident Evil 4 Separate Ways was reviewed on PlayStation 5 using a code provided by Capcom Additional information about Niche Gamer’s review/ethics policy can be found here. Resident Evil 4 Separate Ways is now available for Windows PC (via Steam), macOS, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation 5.