Remaking Resident Evil 4: The Revitalization of Separate Ways
In the PS2 version of Resident Evil 4, Separate Ways was nothing more than a bonus feature, an afterthought to give the port its own unique offering. Despite making appearances in subsequent re-releases, it never quite stood out and remained a mere distraction. With this remake, however, Separate Ways has undergone a complete reimagination that addresses its past shortcomings and now stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the base campaign.
What sets Separate Ways apart from being an unnecessary extra is its own story, complete with cutscenes and new areas. While Ada’s journey overlaps with Leon’s in certain ways, it also grants players the opportunity to explore slightly different stages, ultimately establishing Separate Ways as a distinctive experience. Additionally, these new locations not only expand the game’s world but also shed light on how Ada was able to keep a watchful eye on Leon without him suspecting a thing.
Capcom skillfully utilizes these original areas to create unique encounters within Separate Ways. As with the base game, battles are rarely straightforward, often featuring clever hooks. For instance, players may find themselves blasting bugs that lurk beneath the water’s surface or shooting infected armor sets in a cramped room while dodging crossbow shots. The various encounters alternate between scary, action-packed, and balanced, showcasing the incredible variety at the heart of Resident Evil 4. Furthermore, several of these encounters are remixes of sections from the original game, adding a touch of nostalgia and demonstrating Capcom’s ability to subvert expectations.
Ada’s movements and shooting mechanics are just as fluid as Leon’s, but she possesses a unique advantage: her grapple gun. This tool allows players to swiftly move towards distant enemies, performing fan kicks on them and their nearby allies or zipping to designated grappling points. While Ada’s increased agility adds depth, the grapple gun does not disrupt the game’s delicate balance or make Separate Ways overly easy. Furthermore, grappling points are not excessively abundant, ensuring that the mechanic remains fresh and exciting.
The ability to upgrade Ada’s arsenal in Separate Ways allows for a more streamlined difficulty curve. While seemingly a minor addition, it provides players with incentives to explore, seek treasure, and grow in power alongside their adversaries. The upgrade economy has always been a strength of Resident Evil 4, and its absence in the original Separate Ways contributed to its lackluster nature. Coupled with its own set of unlockables, Separate Ways now offers a more comprehensive experience that fully embraces the essence of Resident Evil 4. Emulating the success of the main game is a complex endeavor, and the upgrade system and unlockables are vital components of that puzzle.