The original Resident Evil 4, released in 2005, is a horror classic often included on lists of the greatest games of all time. Earlier this year, it enjoyed a full remake from Capcom that received practically universal acclaim from critics and players alike, but it was missing a crucial piece of the story from the original game. Announced during Sony's latest State of Play event, the parallel story of Ada Wong, Resident Evil's most enigmatic woman, is coming to Resident Evil 4 (2023) as the Separate Ways story DLC.
Ada plays a crucial role in Leon Kennedy's quest to rescue the president's daughter in Resident Evil 4, but much of her story is shrouded in mystery. After completing the original game, you could go back and experience her half of the adventure. Now, the Separate Ways DLC will let you do the same in the Resident Evil 4 remake, with all the visual, performance, accessibility, and quality-of-life improvements the remake includes. I got the opportunity to preview 11 minutes of the upcoming DLC, just enough to scrape together my initial thoughts ahead of its release on Sept. 21, 2023.
Disclaimer: This preview was made possible thanks to a short preview video provided by Capcom. The company did not see the contents of the preview before publishing.
The action you know, but faster
Resident Evil 4 began transitioning the survival-horror series to more action-oriented gameplay, giving players more guns, more upgrades, and more ways to dodge and even parry enemy attacks. It's also much more liberal about handing out ammo. The Separate Ways DLC looks to take that even a step further, as Ada has access to her iconic grappling gun; this allows her to quickly and effortlessly scale heights and reach areas of the map entirely inaccessible to Leon in the base game.
It opens new avenues of combat, too, as Ada can almost instantly close the gap between her and a stunned enemy to deliver a brutal melee strike, which can also be useful for evading a powerful foe or avoiding being cornered. All the great parts of RE4's gameplay are here, including hunting for secrets, collecting pesetas and treasure, looting containers, crafting ammo and meds, and battling a vast assortment of grotesque and terrifying enemies. Now, though, it just looks faster.
Everything great about the Resident Evil 4 remake is here, but faster.
It's a simple addition to the formula that should make the Separate Ways DLC noticeably stand out from the base game, making it more interesting than just its additional story content. That's enticing on its own, though, as we get to see what Ada is doing when she's not on the screen with Leon, and how influential she really is to the story. The charismatic Luis Serra and Ada's ambitious boss Albert Wesker also make appearances in the DLC, divulging secrets and revelations you simply don't get in Leon's extended story.
A lot of this will be new to veterans of the original Resident Evil 4, as Ada's tale was included in the game from launch as additional content for finishing the campaign. There are plenty of people who will be experiencing it for the very first time with Separate Ways remake, but even long-time Resident Evil players may be in for a treat — Capcom has every opportunity to improve over the original.
NOTE: The screenshots in this preview were captured off a preview video provided by Capcom, so they're not the highest quality images. Still, it's a good way to get an idea of what to expect from Resident Evil 4 (2023): Separate Ways.
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The potential to be better than ever
Resident Evil 4 (2023) is far from a graphical facelift for modern gaming platforms. It's a true, proper remake, and Capcom took full advantage of that opportunity to attempt to improve the original masterpiece. There are countless quality-of-life and accessibility improvements, of course, but the Resident Evil 4 remake expands on the combat and gameplay with new weapons and abilities, expands on the content with new enemies and set pieces, and expands on the story with a more serious tone and more informative, clear cutscenes.
Resident Evil 4 has more content than ever before, even without Ada's additional content found in the original. It stands to reason that the Separate Ways DLC will continue this trend, and I'm confident players will be incredibly happy with what they get. We may get extended sequences and story content, more environments and fights, an improved balance between horror and action (one of the biggest, most subtle improvements in the RE4 remake), and even more presence from both Luis Serra and Albert Wesker.
The little I saw of the Separate Ways DLC makes me very excited to play.
From the 11 minutes I saw, Separate Ways looks just as incredible as the rest of Resident Evil 4 (2023). It's clear that Ada's story enjoyed the exact same remake treatment as the base game, which is exactly what players wanted (and expected). The gameplay looks like a perfect evolution over the base game; Ada's adventure finally makes RE4's story feel complete; crucially, Capcom is also delivering the final content piece to the Resident Evil 4 remake. Sorry, I don't think Assignment: Ada is making a comeback here, but at least the Mercenaries Mode is being updated for free with both Ada and Wesker as playable characters.
Resident Evil 4 (2023): Separate Ways releases on Sept. 21, 2023 for Xbox Series X|S, Windows PC, and PS5. It'll cost $9.99, a reasonable price for what should at least be 3-5 hours of additional content on top of the main game, even if its runtime matches the original version. The free Mercenaries Mode update will be released at the same time.
The cinematic cutscenes and gameplay I saw of Separate Ways make me overly excited to play. It's exactly what I needed to redownload the RE4 remake and maybe take a short break from completing Starfield (I'm so not even close to finishing it). Resident Evil is one of my all-time favorite horror game series, and Resident Evil 4 (2023) is hands-down one of the best Xbox games of the year — finally getting Ada's story and having the chance to play as her is the perfect way to make it even better.