Title: Resident Evil 4: Separate Ways
Release Date: September 22, 2023
Reviewed On: PS5
Genre: Horror Adventure
The Resident Evil remake effort has been nothing short of brilliant from developer Capcom. The team has utilized the RE Engine to deliver a retelling of this insanely obtuse and genre-changing series. The release of Resident Evil 4 earlier this year showed us that they can even take one of the most beloved entries and capitalize on its ridiculously campy dialogue, action set pieces, and repetitive shopkeeper.
With Resident Evil 4 being one of the best releases in 2023, I’m happy Capcom decided to release the Separate Ways DLC sooner rather than later. What was once included in the PS2 release of Resident Evil 4 has come back as premium DLC to add more context to the narrative. Suffice it to say, the experience holds up, but I could never really connect with Ada’s new direction.
Resident Evil 4 Separate Ways has players assume the role of Ada Wong, the undercover agent for hire who is on a mission to secure a special material called Amber for Albert Wesker. She’s teamed up with our favorite hero Luis Navarro, who gives her the run around as much as he gave Leon. The narrative follows the base campaign but in a compact size. You’ll move through some of the main areas from a different perspective. This also leads to some unanswered questions and even a new ending that is different from the original.
The changes to the story did a great job of piecing the entire narrative together without changing some of the core beats. However, the dialog is perhaps the worst part of the entire experience. Ada’s voice actress just sounds so unimpressed with every event. I could compare it to a robot, and the tone never changes, no matter what is happening on screen. She is constantly at a monotone volume, even when facing the final boss. I don’t understand what direction this performance we given, but every time she spoke, I just wasn’t feeling the performance at all.
Regardless, the experience lasts around 7 hours depending on how quickly you get through levels, which are compact in size but house a lot of items and treasures. It’s as if everything has been doubled up, so you’ll be able to afford anything you want, even though the experience is shorter. Purchasable weapons are kept at a minimum, so you don’t have to feel bad about upgrading your weapons, and I never felt like I didn’t have enough ammo. Well, unless I was fighting a boss. There’s a troll boss that stops spawning ammo, so if you don’t kill him by the time you run out, just restart the fight.
That said, the campaign gives you chances to simply run past most enemies if you want. You can get past several tough enemies by simply avoiding them, but you’ll lose access to the valuable items they drop. The experience is thrilling thanks to Ada’s new grappling hook that adds verticality to levels and can even be enhanced to remove shields from enemies. Its usage in battle is paramount to saving ammo since multiple headshots will stagger an enemy, allowing you to swing across the environement and kick them along with anyone around them.
There are a few new boss types to fight against as Ada tries to complete her mission. This drive of hers is confusing at times since it appears she’s just here for a mission, but she sometimes goes out of her way to help Leon. I believe that’s just who she is, though, and by now, I’ve accepted this. Her movement is swift, and the game encourages you to be sneaky through these stages. It becomes a completely different experience when compared to Leon’s story, which I was definitely happy about.
I really enjoyed just how fast the experience felt, even though it was longer than I expected. The additional unlocks provide means to jump back in and get a better score or try out the expanded Mercenaries mode. I’d say playing on Normal difficulty is a pretty easy experience, so if you want a challenge, unlock Professional Mode, and good luck.
Resident Evil 4 Separate Ways is a must-play if you wish to fully understand this insane narrative. While the voice-over never gets better, the experience ends up being truly worth it. If you want more Resident Evil 4, you’ll get all of that and more in this DLC. The jury is still out on whether it should have been premium DLC, but for the amount of content here, I feel like it adds to the greatness of Resident Evil 4.
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