Note: This article has been translated from Italian by ChatGPT and may contain errors.
If there’s a narrative style I like, it’s one where we’re shown a story from different perspectives. A bit like the concept behind Resident Evil 6, but also Resident Evil 4 Separate Ways. Just like in the original, this DLC puts us in the shoes of Ada Wong, showing us her adventure parallel to Leon’s. Since I really enjoyed this version of Ada, spending 9.99 euros to be in her company seemed like a fair price to me. So, how does the red-dressed agent fare?
Do the pieces fit?
No. Let me explain: Separate Ways is not a perfect fit with the main adventure of Resident Evil 4. If Resident Evil 2, concerning the discrepancies between Leon and Claire, was a disaster, so much so that it was necessary to think of dealing with two disconnected universes, Separate Ways does a decidedly better job and is partly convincing. However, two types of incongruities remain: environmental and temporal. The first concerns modifications to locations that do not match what Leon faced. While some might have some form of justification, others seem rather forced. It’s obvious that developers had to intervene, perhaps blocking off areas to make them inaccessible, but when, for example, you find an open door that should be closed for a Leon puzzle, it’s easy to frown. Or again: when you find an area full of resources when Leon theoretically would have already plundered it. Of course: for the sake of gameplay, you try to overlook it and move on. Then, who knows, maybe Leon passed through without causing any damage.
The second point: it was also present in the original and concerns the fact that at certain points, Ada takes either too much or too little time to reach certain narrative points. For example, in the final boss fight, Leon needs the rocket launcher launched by Ada, but in Separate Ways, we take much longer to reach that specific point compared to what happens with the blonde guy. Yes, okay, fine, it also depends on how you play, and being a video game, it’s clear that it’s not mathematically possible to do a perfect job, but in some cases, I still noticed inconsistencies that, in my opinion, could have been handled a bit better.
UPDATE: I replayed the DLC, and going forward in a more normal and swift manner, this latter “defect” is noticeably less evident. The timing seems to coincide a bit better. In essence, it very much depends on how you play.
Better than the original?
Let’s get to the positive points: the original Separate Ways never blew me away. In my opinion, this new version is superior in every way. I would even venture to say that they dared even more compared to the remake of the main game. I don’t have very vivid memories of the original Separate Ways, but the impression I got is that they added and changed numerous sections. And some cuts made to the main game, we now find them here. The environments initially seem the same as seen in the remake, but the further you go, the more space there is for new sections. I liked the boss fights, and a section that I hated in the original, on the island, has become much more fun to play. In short, the experience flows pleasantly, and even if the story is just a pretext, looking at Resident Evil 4 from Ada’s perspective is still interesting.
The gameplay is very similar to that with Leon: the game is what it is. The addition of the grappling hook is not so impactful, but together with a few other new elements, it adds a touch (just a touch) of diversity. At the end of the day, I feel like promoting the puzzles as well. Apart from one recycled from the remake and another semi-recycled (but presented in a nice variant), the others are simple but nice. However, I found the experience very action-oriented and not very horror-focused. The remake doesn’t create much tension, but here we’re close to zero. As far as I’m concerned, though, it’s not a big problem. There are still some situations that are quite tense on paper.
Ada Wong: Almost a Full Mark
I’ve never liked talking about economics, but all in all, Resident Evil 4 Separate Ways is worth the money. Walking through a good portion of the adventure, it took me four hours to complete the seven chapters it consists of. Probably, if you go fast, an hour and a half/two will be enough to reach the end credits. Beyond relative considerations about longevity, Separate Ways is a good DLC: interesting, engaging, fun, and enriched with new sections and boss fights. Despite a few things that bothered me a bit, stepping into Ada Wong’s shoes was definitely enjoyable. And another thing not to be underestimated: Resident Evil 4 Separate Ways is fully dubbed in Italian. It wasn’t a given. In short: Separate Ways is a good way to revisit Resident Evil 4!