If there’s one publisher that knows how to do it when it comes to remakes, it’s Capcom – even Resident Evil 3 serves as an exception to confirm the rule. A practice so decried by a fringe of players for all the creative and financial debates it generates, but which does not stop the Japanese house, determined to remake all the games from its favorite horror license for us since 2019 and the dusting off of Resident Evil 2. While waiting for the official announcement of a Resident Evil 5, which already seemed to be half-heartedly presented by the remake of RE4we are entitled before that to Separate Waysa short episode centered on Ada Wong’s missions in Spanish lands, taking place simultaneously with Leon’s adventures.
The labor of (Wes)heart
Which was a nice little addition to see the plot of Resident Evil 4 from a different point of view, and the opportunity to further explore the relationship between Ada and Wesker takes on a completely different dimension here. And for good reason, Capcom decided to apply the same treatment to this DLC as that of the main game, namely a scriptwriting and staging work so that Ada’s wanderings are no longer content to be nice little additions, but truly moments which will serve to deepen the plot or give a broader context to the adventure. Some major scenes will almost feel like they’re going through the main plot director’s cut.
The most obvious observation in this sense remains the treatment of the character of Luis. Already well reworked in the base game, the Spanish scientist is revealed in a new light through his relationship with Ada. More importantly, it is above all the much more oppressive presence of Wesker which brings salt to this Separate Ways revisited. A relationship already present in the Resident Evil 4 campaign, but kept in a much more superficial and much less concrete way. Direct contact with the tall blond with dark glasses, instead of the usual radio communications, adds a real spice to the overall atmosphere. The stakes are even higher with a new unpredictable side – in the same way that the remake of the original game brought its share of new features.
Beyond the purely storyline aspect, this Separate Ways revisited is also much more fluid in its unfolding. The chapters follow each other with much better narrative coherence than before. Ada will visit new places, fight new adversaries, be offered side missions by the merchant; considerably extend the lifespan compared to the GameCube cake for a total duration of around 5 hours. If Capcom did not wait until 2023 to offer good quality DLCs for Resident Evil, it must be recognized that bringing so many changes and attention to what was a “side” to make it something more central is a surprise that we didn’t really expect.
The devil is in the details
The other big surprise of this DLC is the care taken in Ada’s gameplay. What was almost a simple exchange of animations in the original becomes here an offensive tool in its own right. Ada can use her grappling hook to move across rooftops – very sporadically though: don’t expect to fly in all directions. It is mainly used to grab onto stunned enemies to get closer to melee in the blink of an eye – the better to deal them the deadly stiletto heel strike. An appreciable new mobility which energizes the character, far from the sometimes apathetic slowness of Leon. More discreet than the handsome blond, Separate Ways also gives us a lot more opportunity to play infiltration with a knife, while keeping the pure action of the title.
Separate Ways also seems to be an opportunity to spice up a little the difficulty which made us feel, even more intensely than in Leon’s adventure, the lack of ammunition. Fortunately, Ada is also capable of making her own bullets from scrap metal and black powder, which did not exempt us from going through the entire DLC with a keen eye on our reserves as the latter could quickly found herself dry. Boss fights being the main reason for these shortages, at the same time reinforcing the survival aspect of the game. Here again, we can only admire Capcom’s perfectionism in pushing the processing remake at its climax.