First, I want to say that the only context for any Resident Evil game I have is the Resident Evil 4 remake and the DLC. I’ll be mostly talking about Separate Ways. So, I’m sure there’s a lot of missing context that I don’t have yet since I’m new to the franchise. That being said, I wanted to talk about Ada Wong in Separate Ways and how she’s portrayed in the DLC versus the full game.
Resident Evil 4 Remake
In the full game, Ada is scarcely seen throughout the night that the game takes place. She comes off as standoffish and even hostile when she and Leon first run into each other. She points a gun at his back and makes him drop it before they get into a brief knife fight and stop. However, throughout the game, Leon communicates with her via comms, and they give each other tips roundaboutly. Ada even comes by with keys for a boat and takes him to where he needs to go next to find Ashley.
She’s distant and vague towards Leon, and obviously, they have some history in Raccoon City that I’m not aware of yet but will eventually. I still enjoyed her as a character but didn’t give her too much thought compared to Ashley and Luis.
Separate Ways DLC
However, once the DLC came out on September 21st this year, and when I finally got around to playing it, it changed my perspective on her. In general, it was enjoyable to play as her and how versatile she is compared to Leon, with her grappling hook aiding in some of her combat and how she travels. Her Iris mechanic for locating footsteps and fingerprints was also a cool feature, and she also has a few funny lines during combat like Leon, such as “Bring me a challenge.”
The thing that solidified my intrigue in her character was how helpful she was behind the scenes. You rarely saw her in the main game, but with the DLC, you actually see that she’s never that far from Leon. In the beginning fight in the town square, she’s the one who rings the bell that gets them to stop attacking Leon. She was using him as bait in that scene and others to advance herself, but she did end up helping him.
The big one is when Luis promises Leon he’ll get the suppressant for him and Ashley. We had no context of how he was retrieving it, and he had his usual bravado whenever he spoke to Leon. Still, from Ada’s perspective, you see how distraught he is when the plague villagers destroy everything, and Ada has to run after him to ensure he doesn’t get hurt. Ada is also the one who helps Luis figure out he can find all the ingredients for the medicine in the castle, and she gets them for him. It took some convincing on his part to get Ada to do it, but when he tells her she has the plague, too, she does retrieve everything.
In the end, though, she does care about Leon and Ashley enough to take on Saddler herself in one of the final boss fights. She shoots at Saddler when Leon is left powerless and tells him to run. She fights Saddler, but if you complete the main game, you know it’s not going to be a winning one since there’s one more massive fight where Leon defeats him. I also like that Ada gets a timed sequence where she has to fight through all the plague enemies to reach the rocket launcher and give it to Leon. In the main game, I assumed she disappeared since she had the vibes of someone who didn’t care too much, but you find out she’s fighting just as hard as Leon.
She also actively defies Whesker, the man she’s working for, to retrieve a sample of the amber. He gives her orders to blow up the entire island, and you see her going against said orders when he sets the timer in the communications lab. In the end scenes, you find out it only destroyed less than half the island. You also see the same scene in both the main game and her DLC when she finds out he wants to kill billions of people, and she holds the helicopter pilot at gunpoint to change course away from Whesker. So, despite being a spy paid to do this, she’s not mindlessly following orders either. She does care about what this job could lead things to.
Ada’s Voice Acting
There have been a couple of different voice actors for Ada throughout the franchise’s run so far. While I only know Ada from this game, I didn’t notice anything “off” about the voice acting, but there seems to be some discourse online about it being more flat in tone than her counterparts. Some fans felt the delivery of Lily Gao as this version of Ada Wong wasn’t well received.
However, I want to offer a different perspective. I think the flatness in tone works for this context. Ada shows herself throughout the DLC as a sly and stern character. Much like Leon, she saw some shit in Raccoon City and is likely traumatized like Leon. Leon still has a dry sense of humor about him but doesn’t ever smile and has a generally gaunt appearance. Perhaps Ada’s way of keeping her distance is both literal and in her voice. If she doesn’t show that she cares, she can’t get hurt like how I imagine she must’ve in Resident Evil 2.
Overall, though, I don’t have all the information about these characters like long-time fans do, so it just means more homework for me to explore earlier games, which is my next goal. At some point, maybe I’ll finish Resident Evil 2 and have a different take on Ada, but for now, I enjoyed her character and the nuances when you play her DLC. It was a different kind of challenge than Leon’s, and I’m glad I got to play it.