Like seconds of a good meal, add-ons for video games can sometimes be more of a good thing, sometimes just more of the same, and sometimes just too much. Thankfully, it’s the former category that we find Resident Evil 4: Separate Ways, an add-on for the recent and excellent remake of Resident Evil 4.
for the PlayStation 2 version of the game, and later integrated into the PC and Wii versions, Resident Evil 4: Separate Ways shows us what Ada Wong was up to while Leon S. Kennedy was busy trying to save the President’s daughter.
It’s a story that runs concurrent to the one in the main game, though unlike in the PS2, Wii, and PC editions back in the day, it’s not incorporated into the existing game; instead, it’s a stand-alone add-on you access from the main menu.
As for the gameplay, Resident Evil 4: Separate Ways, like every good add-on, is mostly more of the same, but adds some new stuff as well. Hence why you spend a lot of time shooting weird villagers in the face, then even more time gathering supplies that include ammo, healing herbs, and cheap looking baubles.
Resident Evil 4: Separate Ways also…
has some of the variety that made the original R.E.4 so great. Like when you get to use a cannon to take out some trebuchets tossing fire-covered boulders at you.
More importantly, Resident Evil 4: Separate Ways boasts the same great controls and reworked perspective that made the main game one of this year’s best, and the model by which all future remakes should be judged (for more on the main game, check out my full review).
That said, Resident Evil 4: Separate Ways is not just a short version of the main game. As I mentioned earlier, it adds some interesting new mechanics that makes this feel slightly different, though still within the same vein.
it’s decidedly more action oriented. Which isn’t to say it doesn’t have some situational puzzles, just that it doesn’t have nearly as many of them relative to its length.
More importantly, Ada has something Leon does not: a grappling hook, which works much like Batman’s in the Arkham games and Aloy’s in the Horizon ones (complete with the little bit of air grabbed at the end). Granted, it doesn’t work everywhere — it’s not like Spidey’s webshooters in Spider-Man and Miles Morales — but it does help her reach places Leon never could.
It also, at times, can be use in combat. When an enemy has been stunned — say, because you shot them in the face a bunch of times — you can use the grappling hook to quickly bring you towards them like Master Chief does in Halo Infinite. Though you don’t always need it. If Ada is close enough, she can just leap forward and kick them.
Just be careful,
as both moves can backfire on you if you use them against someone who’s stunned but in a group of people who are not similarly disoriented…as I found out when I grappled my way into some guy’s chest, knocking him and a friend down, only to get grabbed from behind by some old lady.
Ada can even can even knock someone down when using the grappling gun to traverse, assuming, of course, they’re standing right where she lands. And they’re not paying attention.
Which brings me to something else different about Resident Evil 4: Separate Ways. While Leon can kill people in the main game if their backs are to him, it didn’t happen that often. But Ada has much more luck in this regard. On several occasions (usually, the beginning of a chapter), the villagers were all facing away from where I came in, giving me a good five / ten minutes to sneak up behind them and stab them from behind. Sure, it never lasted, but it was fun while it did.
as much fun as Resident Evil 4: Separate Ways may be, it is rather short. Which isn’t to say it’s not worth the $10 you have to pay for it — it absolutely is — just that it won’t take you longer than a couple hours to complete. It’s just not as hefty as, say, the add-ons for Fallout 4 or some of the Borderlands games. But then, it clearly didn’t need to be. Like the main game, it’s just the right length to be more of a good thing without becoming too much.