Resident Evil 4 (2023): Separate Ways DLC review — It's just more RE4 for $10, and that's great

Ada's missing story pieces and a grappling hook make the remade Separate Ways great fun.

Screenshot of Resident Evil 4 (2023): Separate Ways.
(Image: © Windows Central)

Windows Central Verdict

The Resident Evil 4 remake is finally complete with the release of Separate Ways, and it's exactly what you'd expect — more RE4, but this time with more Ada. Missing story pieces, expansions over the original, and the addition of a grappling hook are all worthwhile additions that make the Separate Ways DLC a brilliant addition to Resident Evil 4 (2023).


  • +

    Added and expanded story pieces complete Resident Evil 4

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    Ada's grappling hook is an awesome gameplay addition

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    Plenty of content (and replayability) for just $10

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    The Separate Ways DLC got the exact same remake treatment as RE4


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    Sizeable parts of the DLC are just rehashes of RE4 content

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    I wish I could use the grappling hook just a little bit more

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Ah, the Resident Evil franchise. One of the most famous horror series of all time, now spanning decades of mainline entries, strange spin-offs, repeated failed attempts at multiplayer, and now a growing line of excellent remakes reimagining classic RE titles. Resident Evil 4 (RE4) was the latest classic to be remade, releasing earlier this year to critical acclaim and commercial success. It's a brilliant retelling of a truly legendary game, but it did feel a little incomplete at launch...

That's because it lacked the Separate Ways DLC, which was included in the 2005 original's base game and accessible after completing the main story. Capcom has now rectified this omission, with the missing pieces of Ada Wong's story now enjoying the same remake treatment as Resident Evil 4 — complete with expanded story elements and gameplay. It's an excellent addition to the main game, and is exactly what any RE4 fan will be looking for.

Disclaimer: This review was made possible by a review code provided by Capcom. The companies did not see the contents of the review before publishing.

RE4: Separate Ways — Visuals and performance

Separate Ways has you revisit familiar locations, and they're just as gorgeous and moody as ever. (Image credit: Windows Central)
Resident Evil 4: Separate Ways

Price: $9.99
Publisher: Capcom
Genre: Action-horror
Install size: 13.7GB (+ 85.5GB base game)
Playtime: ~6 hours
Release date: Sept. 21, 2023
Platforms: Xbox Series X|S, Windows PC, PlayStation 5
Xbox Game Pass: No
Reviewed on: Xbox Series X

If you played Resident Evil 4 (2023), then you already know what to expect here. The Separate Ways DLC is functionally identical to the base game in both visuals and performance — that is to say, it looks incredible and plays buttery smooth. Morbid, detailed lighting, decrepit environments oozing with gore, refuse, and the hordes of infected roaming the countryside. Performance is rock solid at a consistent 60 FPS, but you can trade some of those frames for improved visual fidelity and even ray-traced lighting and reflections.

Similar to the base games, character models don't always look as incredible as the surrounding world, but that's an extremely minor nitpick on what is otherwise a stunningly rendered, terrifying world that perfectly sets the mood for RE4's action-horror gameplay. Whether you're exploring dank forests, dry cliffsides, or claustrophobic interiors, the game is a visual showcase. Ada does get some minor interface elements for her grappling hook and IRIS (more on that later), but other than that Separate Ways looks and plays like Resident Evil 4 (2023), and that's a good thing.

Resident Evil 4 (2023): Separate Ways

Resident Evil 4 (2023): Separate Ways

Revisit the island of the Los Illuminados as Ada Wong, a highly skilled mercenary on a top-secret mission. Separate Ways is a fantastic addition to the Resident Evil 4 remake, and a must-play for any RE4 fan.

Buy at: Microsoft (Xbox) | CDKeys (Steam)

Also see: Resident Evil 4 (2023) at Amazon

RE4: Separate Ways — Story and characters

In typical Resident Evil fashion, Separate Ways starts out a little goofy with Ada and Luis, but it quickly becomes serious. (Image credit: Windows Central)

The Separate Ways DLC is, at its core, all about Ada Wong, the mysterious and highly skilled mercenary/spy that we first met in RESIDENT EVIL 2. Ada embarks on a highly secretive mission under the employ of the cold and calculated Albert Wesker. This brings her to the island of the Los Illuminados ahead of Leon Kennedy and his quest to rescue the President's daughter. Ada's mission, though, is far less noble.

Ada's presence on the island and her involvement with the charismatic Dr. Luis Serra will be known to anyone who completed the base game. After all, Ada makes multiple appearances during the game, playing a pivotal role in Leon's mission and even saving his life on multiple occasions. However, the details of Ada's time on the island are lost in the base game, as are the specifics of her mission. This is where Separate Ways comes in — filling in the gaps and providing a ton of new information from the perspective of Ada.

Ada's expanded story fills the gaps in Leon's, but there's a lot of shared information.

The remade Separate Ways is actually expanded over the original though, with more screentime from both Luis Serra and Albert Wesker. There's more context, more information, and more setup for what comes next in the Resident Evil franchise. Overall, it's all very well done, with Ada's distanced teasing and professional nature contrasting neatly with Leon's newfound sassy confidence and Luis' charisma mingled with a buried desire to do something good.

After you roll the credits on the Separate Ways DLC, much of the unanswered questions from the base game now have answers, creating the same effect we got from RESIDENT EVIL 2 when playing as both Claire and Leon. I won't spoil anything new revealed during Ada's story, but suffice it to say that Ada Wong is a more complicated individual than her brief appearances in Leon's life would suggest. Luis' character being a little more fleshed out also makes his story more impactful, while added appearances from Albert Wesker raise the stakes of Ada's mission.

Of course, you're also replaying a sizeable amount of the story you've already seen. Ada and Leon's stories occur in parallel with multiple intersections, so you're bound to see the same scenes and learn the same info. What makes it worth it is the changed perspective or added context from Ada, and how it all connects together through her actions.

RE4: Separate Ways — Gameplay and content

The grappling gun opens up a lot of avenues for traversal and combat. (Image credit: Windows Central)

Gameplay-wise, Separate Ways is once again very similar to the base game. However, Ada does have a few more tools in her arsenal that vary the gameplay over Leon's story, preventing things from feeling too "same-y." For one, Ada's iconic grappling gun is a prevalent part of RE4: Separate Ways, with Ada able to use her grappling gun to traverse the map (often skipping difficult segments that give Leon trouble), close the distance to melee enemies, and even rip the shields away from certain enemies (if you unlock the ability).

Ada also has the IRIS, a complicated acronym that I honestly can't remember. All you need to know is that, at certain points in the game, an advanced implant in Ada's eyes can help her track footprints or find other clues to help her progress. The IRIS plays an even smaller role in the story than the grappling gun, but it is a cool mechanic when it does come into play. Finally, Ada has access to a slightly different arsenal than Leon, with accelerated access to those guns thanks to the shorter runtime of the DLC.

Beyond that, Ada plays very similar to Leon. Sure, she has plenty of different, slick animations, but the core gameplay experience here is almost identical to RE4. When it comes to content, there are also a lot of similarities. Ada does see a bunch of new environments, puzzles, and some unique enemies and bosses, but she also visits a lot of the same locations that Leon does. She often takes different routes and almost always comes at different times than Leon, but there's plenty that will look familiar to players of the base game.

Separate Ways has a lot of similarities with the main game, but Ada has a few new tricks up her sleeves.

Still, it took me a little over six hours to finish the Separate Ways DLC (taking my time to look for secrets and such). You can rush through the game in around four hours, probably, but you'll be missing content. Like the rest of Resident Evil, there's a lot of replay value, too, with unlockable content and achievements only available by playing the DLC multiple times.

If you play Separate Ways immediately after playing the main Resident Evil 4 campaign, the similarities may be more noticeable to you. If you're returning to the game because of Separate Ways, it's not likely to bother you. Either way, there's plenty of content here for just $10, and plenty of reasons to play for basically anyone who enjoyed Resident Evil 4 (2023).

RE4: Separate Ways — Accessibility

Playing as Ada is just as easy as play as Leon, with all the same options and settings. (Image credit: Windows Central)

I make a point of highlighting accessibility and approachable game design with every game I review, but there's not a lot to say about the Separate Ways DLC. That's because you're looking at the same options, features, and game design as Resident Evil 4 (2023). There are still presets for various potential disabilities and impairments, a number of ways to customize your control experience, audio settings, and more.

It's far from the most accessible game I've ever played, but it's certainly a marked improvement over the original. If you were able to play RE4, you should be able to play Separate Ways without any issues. This also applies to approachability. You have various difficulty levels, and the game does a decent job highlighting interactive objects and naturally pointing the camera at your next objective. Controls are relatively intuitive, too. You can still only save at certain safe points, but the autosave function grants you checkpoints on a fairly regular basis.

RE4: Separate Ways — Should you play it?

Ada's story is tightly woven into Leon's, and being able to see that half makes RE4 feel complete. (Image credit: Windows Central)

You should play this if ...

You love Resident Evil 4 (2023) and want more of it

The Separate Ways DLC adds a lot to the RE4 story, and is more of the same game we know and love, but with some new gameplay mechanics, environments, enemies, puzzles, and more. If you love the RE4 remake, you'll love this.

You should not play this if ...

You're very sensitive to replaying content

If you're someone who absolutely can't stand to revisit the same content in games, then Separate Ways may be frustrating. There's plenty of new stuff here, but there's also revisited cinematics, locations, enemies, and more. This is the same story as before, it's just from a new perspective.

When I previewed Resident Evil 4: Separate Ways, it was pretty clear what I was getting myself into. This is more Resident Evil 4 (2023), but now we get to see matters from Ada's perspective. Yes, there's more content, more gameplay mechanics, and more challenges to complete, but it is fundamentally Resident Evil 4. For 99% of players, that's absolutely perfect. There's a fantastic amount of content here for just $10, and it's a ton of fun for anyone who enjoyed the base game. It's great to see more of Ada, even if her outfit is highly impractical for her job.

Of course, Separate Ways does go over a lot of the same story and scenes we saw in the RE4 remake. Ada's added gameplay mechanics sometimes don't feel like they play a big enough role, either. Finally, it's hard to forget that the Separate Ways DLC was included in the original Resident Evil 4, while here it's a paid add-on. None of this stopped me from having a blast, though. Resident Evil 4 (2023) is easily one of the best Xbox games of the year, and Ada's Separate Ways DLC is the perfect way to add to it.

Zachary Boddy
Staff Writer

Zachary Boddy (They / Them) is a Staff Writer for Windows Central, primarily focused on covering the latest news in tech and gaming, the best Xbox and PC games, and the most interesting Windows and Xbox hardware. They have been gaming and writing for most of their life starting with the original Xbox, and started out as a freelancer for Windows Central and its sister sites in 2019. Now a full-fledged Staff Writer, Zachary has expanded from only writing about all things Minecraft to covering practically everything on which Windows Central is an expert, especially when it comes to Microsoft. You can find Zachary on Twitter @BoddyZachary.