Separate Ways Is a 6-Hour Reminder That Resident Evil 4 Remake Rules

Spoilers for the Resident Evil 4 Remake Separate Ways DLC ahead.

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When it comes to new game releases, it feels like 2023 hasn’t given us a chance to breathe. Since we hit the ground running with the surprise reveal and release of the excellent Hi-Fi Rush back in January, there’s been no slowing down in terms of games across the AAA, indie, and remake spaces, with Resident Evil 4 Remake hitting two of those categories back in March. And while I adored what Capcom did to one its most-beloved games ever, I had to quickly move on to covering the likes of Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, Tears of the Kingdom, and the rest of 2023’s historic slate. 

That’s why I was so happy that Separate Ways came along recently, and afforded me an opportunity to remind myself that Resident Evil 4 Remake absolutely rules, and is one of my favorite games of 2023.

In a lot of ways, Separate Ways feels like a greatest hits version of RE4 proper. Ada Wong’s six-hour journey makes stops along a lot of familiar places in the village, castle, and island acts of the game, albeit in a remixed and recontextualized fashion. The difference in her physical stature from Leon Kennedy is woven into her mechanics – while Leon is out here suplexing Ganado left and right, Ada uses her grappling hook to quicken the pace of her combat. This athleticism makes her feel different than Leon, even though the verbs are the same. 

Zipping to various contextual points in the level similar to Persona 5 Royal never gets boring, and adds a sense of verticality that changes how you tackle familiar arenas. And once upgraded, you’re able to use the grappling hook to remove shields from enemies, which completely alters how you deal with those particularly frustrating foes. This makes up for the fact that her arsenal is a bit slimmer than Leon’s, though it’s still a joy to run into our old pal the Merchant and realize that he had twice the amount of customers than I’d previously thought. Way to diversify that portfolio, Merchant.

The nature of Ada always knowing the next step of her mission means that her campaign is less scary than the already not-so-scary RE4 proper, but Separate Ways makes up for it in its brevity. No segment ever outstays its welcome, and the pace at which it tosses combat, exploration, bosses, set-pieces, and puzzles at us is refreshing. While I could’ve used a few more of the latter, I really dug these new devilish and completely impractical puzzles that are a staple of the RE franchise as a whole.

And while I’m not one who likes to judge a game based on a prescribed value of length-to-cost, the fact that this six-hour Resident Evil 4 Remake campaign is only $10 is an indisputably great deal. Especially so when you consider that 2020’s Resident Evil 3 Remake was a full-priced game with a similar length.

What’s more, when I got to the end of Separate Ways, I was left with a tantalizing tease from Capcom of what might come next. Obviously we’ll be getting a proper Resident Evil 9, most likely following Rose and Chris. And while there’s no way this remake train is stopping, the next step is one that we’re not quite certain of. Both Resident Evil 1 Remake and RE Zero visually hold up extremely well thanks to their pre-rendered backgrounds, though the latter’s lack of item boxes and reliance on you just dropping shit across the map could probably use a freshening up. But the classic game that makes the most sense – outside of just doing Dino Crisis, for the love of god – would be Code Veronica. Given that it’s far and away the lowest-selling mainline game in the franchise, it feels like it has the most room to surprise an entirely new audience.

Also, seeing that the Dreamcast game ends with Wesker getting hold of Steve Burnside’s body, there’s a parallel to the end of this new Separate Ways and his possession of Krauser’s corpse. Maybe Wesker’s just forming an army of familiar supersoldiers? Which would lead us to the next possible route Capcom takes, in giving the maligned Resident Evil 5 and 6 a redo. Maybe treating those two missteps as a mulligan and taking another stab at their ever-expanding stories could help create a cohesive path towards the current RE we know from 7 and 8.

Regardless of what Capcom decides to do next, I’m happy they absolutely nailed the landing on everything surrounding Resident Evil 4 Remake. From the excellent initial demo, to the game itself, to this final DLC campaign, I’m immensely impressed how well this whole thing came together, and can’t recommend it enough.

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Marty Sliva
Marty Sliva was the Deputy Editor of The Escapist. He's been writing and hosting videos about games, movies, television, and popular culture since 2011, and was with The Escapist from 2019 until 2023. In a perfect world, he'd be covering Zelda, Persona, and the hit TV series Lost on a daily basis.