(Screenshot via Staff Writer Jesse Magnifico. Copyright: Capcom)
Staff Writer: Jesse Magnifico
Resident Evil 4 is a number-one fan and critic favorite of Capcom’s sci-fi horror series. The remake, released in March this year, delivers excellence with nuances small and large that only improve the original 2004 experience.
A review by Torch Business Manager Brendan Flaherty delves into the changes and enhancements in more depth.
Just like the 2004 version for PlayStation 2 and GameCube, Separate Ways follows Ada Wong’s espionage in the shadows of Leon Kennedy; the only difference is that her story isn’t automatically unlocked after completing Leon’s campaign in the remake.
For six months after the remake’s release, there was no side story starring the mysterious, scandalous woman in red.
Players have prayed for Ada to make her reappearance in signature Separate Ways fashion, and on September 21st, Capcom finally answered.
Costing $10 on all RE4 remake platforms (PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X/S), the mini-campaign brings another lens in unfolding Resident Evil 4’s captivating narrative.
Ada Wong secretly works for Albert Wesker, a corrupt virologist, to retrieve a powerful object known as the Amber. As she treads through the rural Spanish village infected with mind-controlling parasites, she runs into a familiar face: Leon Kennedy. She follows her mission while helping Leon from the sidelines, discovering the truths behind the village and the Amber along the way.
Separate Ways is a marvelous addition to Resident Evil 4’s storyline. There are plenty of times when Ada and Luis Sera, the Amber delivery man, contact Leon to assist in his search for and protection of the president’s daughter, and the player is left wondering how they are on his tail at the most convenient and coincidental times.
The DLC thoroughly explains why Ada and Luis go their frequent (forgive me) separate ways from Leon’s side. Several radio transmissions sent to Leon provide context and reveal how and why the duo ends up where they are at any point in the game.
The dots connect, and it’s satisfying to bear witness to.
Not only is Ada the star of the show, but Separate Ways co-stars Luis. The campaign is a big upgrade for his character development.
In the original version of Resident Evil 4, he dies extremely early with little appearance in the game, yet he proves to be a pivotal, important character. After his death, players discover his notes scattered throughout the castle and uncover his role in developing Las Plagas.
Thank goodness Capcom serves Luis justice in the remake, incorporating him into the story as a man who wishes for redemption and saves the lives of Ada, Leon, and Ashley.
Luis’s attempt to atone for his sins of working for Umbrella Corp. and creating Las Plagas is brought to the forefront in Separate Ways. He is desperate in this endeavor, going as far as rushing into his burning room to save the medicinal supplies that create the parasite suppressant.
Up to the very end, Luis is a man on a mission, not someone who slips away at the sight of danger as he is portrayed in Leon’s campaign.
Also, his charm and charisma complement Ada’s to the point that I’ve joked about them getting together. Capcom balances their banter and the seriousness of the moment well, which instills a palpable life for both them and the world around them.
They’d be best friends if the world wasn’t out to kill them.
Aside from general plot fixes and development, Separate Ways reels players back into the action-packed adventure that is, ineffably, Resident Evil 4.
The DLC treads in familiar territory with plenty of levels that feel fresh, with enemies and bosses that are reworked and rewarding, providing a unique experience from that of Leon’s.
I’m happy to see the gondola lifts section make a return, which is a big section in Leon’s playthrough in the 2004 version but doesn’t make the cut in the remake.
Engaging enemies and traversing the environment is livelier than Leon’s campaign, I have to say.
For crying out loud, she has a grappling hook! Capcom provides many opportunities for her to use this tool, and it never gets old. I love watching her swing to a platform and kick the bad guys square in the face as she swings across. She’s also extra because she backflips to kick the infected villagers.
Her moves just scream, “Ada Wong.”
The DLC demonstrates Ada is not some heartless monster who enjoys betraying and blowing up islands for fun. Sure, she is morally gray and is often portrayed as an anti-hero, but at least she has morals… Sort of.
She holds no allegiance to her employers, to say the least, meaning she operates on her own agenda when she feels the situation goes hinky. Ada is simply a girl boss working under her own autonomy, and Separate Ways doesn’t shy away from that.
Ada has always been her own boss, but there are certain mechanics and dialogues in the Resident Evil series that feel like Capcom is babysitting. In the RE4 remake and Separate Ways DLC, that changes.
It’s not Wesker straight up telling Ada what to do like he does at the beginning of the original: “Ring the church bell. That should quiet them down for a while.” How does he know that will draw the attention of the infected villagers if he’s sitting in his chair at Wesker HQ? Instead, Ada is tasked with retrieving the Amber by her own means.
It’s more of a “Get this thing for me; I don’t care how you do it” mentality.
The Separate Ways remake is more realistic and believable than the 2004 version.
I enjoy the semi-mystery surrounding Wesker’s intentions with the Amber (Resident Evil 5 follows this notion), requiring players to read between the lines of his words and the notes discovered about the Amber. Also, Craig Burnatowski, Wesker’s voice actor, fantastically captures the likeness of the original actor, Richard Waugh.
And most importantly, the DLC is cheap: $10 is nothing in the age of gaming.
For the length and quality of content Capcom provides in Separate Ways, it’s a laugh in the face at the 2020 Resident Evil 3 remake that takes nearly the same amount of time to complete (roughly 4 to 7 hours) but is sold for $40. RE3 encompasses the complex narrative of Jill Valentine and Carlos Oliveria, but regardless, players are receiving a bang for their buck with the RE4 DLC.
My only complaint is the quality of Lily Gao’s (Ada Wong) voice acting, and it’s minor. It qualifies as nitpicking, honestly.
In no way am I pleading for the reprise of the original 2004 actress or Resident Evil 2 remake’s Jolene Anderson, nor is this a call for nostalgia, but there are moments when Gao delivers lines flatly. Ada is distant and cool, and she speaks in a mixed tongue of business and innuendo, but there are times I beg for a touch of emotion.
For instance, the intro cutscene rolling in the title is delivered beautifully. Ada is soft-spoken, but there are hints of her greater intentions in her mission, etching into her voice. Other times, though, it appears as if the lines are delivered a tad too quickly and lack fear, concern, or umph.
Although some players have gone to the extreme of harassing Gao on her socials and sending death threats for her “terrible” voice acting to the point she has responded to the backlash, for one thing, that is too far, and two, Gao still does a superb job through and through. Her acting doesn’t destroy the Separate Ways experience altogether, nor does she distance the players from being in the moment.
Ada Wong is an aloof character, and Gao performs her best to bring Ada to life in that manner.
Separate Ways wonderfully builds upon Resident Evil 4’s compelling and captivating narrative.
Players delve further into the roots of Las Plagas and gain a new glimpse of Ada and Luis. Despite returning back to the Spanish village and trekking through some of the places Leon traverses himself, Capcom manages to create a fresh experience through it all.
To sum this up in three words: Buy it. Play it. Love it. You will.
If you already own Resident Evil 4, Separate Ways is $10. Make the purchase. Transfer the money. Put the card info in. It’s that easy. $10: that’s cheap!
You don’t want to miss out on an incredible side story starring the girl boss Ada Wong. Grappling across long distances, kicking baddies in the face in thigh-high boots and a red dress, she does it all in her iconic Ada Wong style.