The remade Separate Ways DLC is everything you’d expect from Capcom at the top of its game. It takes what was a fairly traditional mid-2000s expansion – think plenty of reused assets and a limited storytelling budget – and turns it into a cohesive mini-campaign that often feels as polished and cinematic as the Resident Evil 4 Remake itself.
If you’re unfamiliar with the original, Separate Ways explains what Ada was up to on the periphery of Leon’s adventure, with most chapters incorporating their interactions from the base game, and explaining away a few plot holes.
Having survived the events of Raccoon City – presumably by way of her grappling hook – Ada is back and searching for an amber sample that contains a powerful fossilised form of Los Plagas. She’s now working for former S.T.A.R.S. chief and Umbrella researcher Albert Wesker – last seen skewered by a Tyrant near the end of the Resident Evil 1 remake. It’s a premise that originally felt more like a tease for what would come next, rather than a compelling story in its own right, but this remake does its best to spice things up and improve the narrative flow.
Some examples include Ada being infected early on and pursued by one of Salazar’s insectoid guards, providing a new boss fight and logical motivation to assist Luis on his quest to desperately undo his past mistakes. Talking of Luis, he gets a decent amount of screen time alongside Ada, given the bulk of her quest is searching for him and saving him repeatedly. Perhaps most significantly, her pursuit of Krauser is completely altered, introducing a new monster and plenty of additional lore.
To handle all this expanded and updated content, and to create a more coherent flow between chapters, the Separate Ways remake extends several missions from the original and inserts a few new chapters to boot. To keep things fresh and entertain fans of the original, many of these incorporate scenarios stripped from Leon’s campaign, including a giant drill, a boss fight, a gondola ride, and a deadly laser security grid – just not always in the places you’d expect them.
It’s still a focused and linear experience at 6-7 hours for a first playthrough. There are fewer key hunts, simpler puzzles that don’t require much backtracking, only a handful of merchant quests, and a limited selection of weapons to purchase and upgrade. The one potential downside to this design is that despite several new areas, you’re ultimately retreading even more familiar ground and combat scenarios than the original.
Talking of combat, Ada’s grapple gun is the biggest differentiator between her and Leon, allowing her to avoid combat entirely at times, dodge around during boss battles, and pull off offensive moves like ripping off shields or launching into a melee strike from a distance. That said, it’s primarily used to transition between areas swiftly and – in addition to an eye lens for tracking clues – explains why she is always one step ahead of Leon.
When you are forced into combat or go up against a boss, Ada exudes confidence and is better equipped from the outset. I found myself playing more aggressively from the start – quite unlike the desperate and scrappy fights that dominated the first two acts of Leon’s campaign. That said, the basics are the same: stealth kills can thin the ranks; you’ll want to aim for the head or knees to open up crowd-clearing melee attacks; dodge or parry when a prompt appears; while bosses have obvious weak-points you need to target.
A recurrent boss fight with hallucinations was about as novel as it got but the core combat loop is still satisfying and you’ve got the usual assortment of unlockable challenges, weapon and outfit unlocks, and four difficulties to play through.
Visually, and I guess obviously, Separate Ways looks just as good as the base game given it shares so many locations, the cinematic flair in cutscenes, and environmental assets for a few new locations. It does play around with the time of day and weather where it can, but most of the action plays out after dark. What felt most novel was the new soundtrack, which features several upbeat tunes that wouldn’t feel out of place in a spy movie.
I’m almost loath to bring this up given the abuse she took from so-called fans, but my biggest gripe with Separate Ways is Ada’s inconsistent delivery. You might argue that her voice actor is trying to capture the persona of a seemingly heartless operative, but she often comes across as staggeringly bored. In-game quips are the worst offenders but her delivery in several cutscenes leaves a lot to be desired, especially alongside a flamboyant Luis whose voice actor sounds like they’re having a ton of fun.
That said, it improves over time and while Separate Ways still plays it too straight for my liking, it feels far more playful than Leon’s campaign.
Now aside from some issues with voice work and some chapters that go on for a bit too long, the Separate Ways remake is still a great DLC that demonstrates how you can turn an enjoyable but disjointed classic expansion into a coherent, high-quality mini-campaign. Even if you were annoyed it wasn’t included as part of the remake, this is easily one of the highest-value expansions you’ll find for less than a fifth the price of the base game.
Resident Evil 4 Remake: Separate Ways was reviewed on Xbox Series S|X using a code provided to gameblur by the publisher. It is also available on PC and PS4/PS5.
Resident Evil 4 Remake: Separate Ways DLC (Xbox Series) ReviewResident Evil 4 Remake: Separate Ways DLC (Xbox Series) Review
- More REm4ke action with little downtime
- It incorporates scenarios removed from Leon’s remade campaign
- More cinematic storytelling than the original expansion
- Great value at a low price (even if you think it should have been part of the RE4 remake)
- Ada’s voice actress still sounds bored more often than not
- The expanded content means retreading even more old ground and combat scenarios