When we reviewed Final Fantasy VII Remake last year, we loved it. Square Enix took a game that everyone loved and remembered and gave us something new, while also taking the risk of shaking things up a little bit in the process.
This week, the PlayStation 5 version of the game, Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade released, along with the INTERmission DLC staring everyone’s favorite Wutaian ninja, Yuffie.
Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade and its INTERmission DLC was developed and published by Square Enix and launched on June 10th, exclusively for PS5.
Welcome to Midgar… Again
The main story that takes place in Final Fantasy VII Remake is here in Intergrade. You’re put into the shoes of Cloud Strife as he helps a splinter cell of an eco-terrorist group known as Avalanche. You’ll be introduced to a handful of characters, many of whom see more screen time then they did in the original Final Fantasy VII as the story in Midgar is fleshed out to a full-length game.
Additionally, the INTERmission DLC, which will be the focus of this hands-on, will allow you to jump into the shoes of Yuffie Kisaragi as she arrives in Midgar in order to steal Shinra’s “ultimate materia.” She meets up with the true Avalanche group and connects with Sonon Kusakabe, a staff-wielding ninja who trained under her father back in Wutai.
This new story, which takes place over the course of two chapters, weaves in and out of the main story just enough to give players a good idea of where it takes place in the overall plot, while also giving us the opportunity to see some of these characters once again. Additionally, as we’ve seen in some of the trailers that have already been released, the story also offers a peek at some characters seen in the original FF7 compilation, specifically, Dirge of Cerberus. We’ll let you find out the details of that for yourself.
Go Ninja, Go Ninja, Go!
As cool as Cloud is, he’s not a ninja. Yuffie on the other hand is, in fact, a ninja, and because she is a ninja, she can do ninja things as she explores the environment. Is there a fancy grate that helps to clear a gap? Let’s jump on up and run on it! Boxes in the distance that are out of reach? Throw your weapon at them from a distance to get some extra items, or even use it to hit distance switches to solve puzzles. It was nice to see these small changes to gameplay during my time with INTERmission. Including these things definitely gave me the feel that the developers are playing with some ideas as fans eagerly await news on the sequel.
Since this content is more or less its own thing, they’ve introduced some more unique elements to the battle system. Previously, you could take control of any of your party members, using their actions when their ATB gauge fills up. Here though, you only get to directly control Yuffie. Because it’s just the two ninjas, the game introduces a synergy mechanic that lets the duo team up for combo attacks which, honestly, feel overpowered… and amazing as a result. In fact, that’s one of the things I noticed when starting out this new content: Yuffie is a lot of fun to play. She can easily fly around the battlefield by throwing her weapon, and then zipping over to the enemy.
In addition to these changes in combat, this DLC also reinvents Fort Condor as a board game. What felt like a bit of a chore in the original FF7 is now a fun 1v1 miniatures board game, somewhat reminiscent of Final Fantasy XIV’s Lord of Verminion. The game features the traditional triangle of strengths and weaknesses, which means that you need to look at what units your opponent has and plan your loadout accordingly. I wish Fort Condor had a bigger presence in the game overall. I found the game fun, but not particularly challenging in the short time I had with it while completing the side quest that revolves around it.
A Happy Turtle
The visuals for Final Fantasy VII Intergrade have received a boost for the PlayStation 5, advertising things like new lighting and better textures. Though, having been about a year or so since I experienced the original running on the PlayStation 4, I can’t say that I really noticed any visual differences, other than fixing the door. The game looks great, but it’s certainly not the quality we’re seeing from games made specifically for new hardware, which makes the exclusivity of the DLC to this PS5 version quite disappointing. The more notable improvements are the very noticeable 60FPS and near-instant loading times.
The soundtrack remains to be one of the highlights of the entire package, and INTERmission’s new additions do not disappoint. For being only being two chapters of gameplay, the DLC has a surprising amount of new music which will be sure to please fans of the original. I loved hearing how the Final Fantasy VII themes for Yuffie and her home of Wutai were woven into some of these new tracks. There’s also a heavy metal song about a bar called the Happy Turtle… in fact, there are several different Happy Turtle arrangements found throughout the game. There’s also a mention of Yuffie being a teenage ninja… anyway…
Hums the Chocobo Song
Ultimately, Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade is a better version of Final Fantasy VII Remake. While some of the improvements may not seem noticeable, the ones that are, are great. Saves from the PS4 can be saved and imported into this new version using in-game options, so you can carry over your progress and trophies if you decide to jump back into the game.
Coupled with the new INTERmission DLC, fans get to live in the city of Midgar for another four hours or so and play with another character as we eagerly await news on when we can experience the rest of Remake’s story in future releases.
Review copy provided by Square Enix for PlayStation 5. Images taken by reviewer.