This is a Final Fantasy 7 Remake Intergrade Intermission Review with no significant spoilers. However, there will be some minor spoilers for the main Remake game and the original Final Fantasy 7.
Yuffie Kisaragi takes the stage for Final Fantasy 7 Remake Intergrade Intermission, a lengthily-named DLC that shamelessly dangles the PS5 carrot in front of existing players. After finally snagging an elusive PS5, I couldn’t help myself. It may be an overly complicated, frustrating process to upgrade to the PS5 version, but I ended up pleasantly surprised by the couple of new chapters that followed.
Having enjoyed Final Fantasy 7 Remake so much in the first place, it was great to be literally dropped back into Midgar and straight into the action. The awesome, energetic battle arrangement inspired me to promptly hurtle through the debris and take on some monsters, getting to know Yuffie and her battle style in the process. The music features tributes to Yuffie’s original theme, as well as Wutai’s – these are a little subtle and when the penny dropped I only loved it more.
Final Fantasy 7 Remake already did a great job of depicting the main characters, and Yuffie is no exception. She looks absolutely perfect, and whilst hardly being the most developed character of the original, is expanded upon superbly. Her peppy, can-do attitude is infectious and endearing, even when she strays into overconfidence and her clumsiness leaves her unstuck. Thankfully, she’s also got the ninja skills to bring situations back under control and save the day.
Yuffie’s youthful exuberance is balanced nicely by Sonon, an original character with a far more reserved demeanour that comes across as calm rather than cold. He’s a likeable brotherly figure with a backstory that adds some further depth and prevents him becoming a mere bystander to Yuffie’s own arc. The pair bounce off each other well, although Sonon cannot actually be directly controlled in battle.
This isn’t the end of the world, since Yuffie shines during combat. Her nimble athleticism allows her to skip and dodge around the screen whilst attacking from range or at close quarters. She’s got some interesting abilities, including a dodge move that costs ATB but charges it back up if pulled off, offering a great option for avoiding damage altogether.
Moreover, her trusty shurikens can be charged with one of the four elements regardless of which materia you have equipped, making it viable to strike enemy weaknesses even if you go into a tough battle with the wrong setup. She can also synergize with Sonon, linking the Wutaians together to increase strength and unlock some further ninja skills in the process.
One of her latter abilities gradually increases its power with each ATB ability expended. Using three other ATB abilities boosts it once, and six other ATB abilities grants maximum power which can also be charged with an element. As such, Yuffie is perfectly capable of dishing out serious damage along with her rapid flurry of light attacks.
The enjoyable agility and variety of Yuffie’s playstyle reiterate how difficult it’s going to be to narrow down a party of three when we eventually get a choice. The individuality of the playable party was one of Final Fantasy 7 Remake’s greatest strengths, essentially forcing you to try out everyone’s different approach. I originally found Tifa the most fun character to control due to her speed, but Yuffie certainly rivals her.
Intermission’s main story thrust is an infiltration mission where Yuffie must team up with Avalanche and break into the Shinra Building to steal some huge materia. Chronologically it fits in between the Airbuster battle and Sector 7’s destruction, though largely stays separate to these events. Yuffie’s exploits actually take her through Sector 7 slums where we nearly bump into Barret and Tifa but the Whispers stop her entering Seventh Heaven!
Around here, we can indulge in a spot of Fort Condor, a tactical mini-game inspired by the original. It remains to be seen how the location itself will be represented in future, but I thoroughly enjoyed this smaller-scaled version. It’s reasonably easy to pick up whilst still offering a solid amount of tactical depth and variety. Yuffie can take on plenty of familiar faces, where a host of different troops, spells and boards must be utilised to destroy the enemy base within the time limit.
Hojo got his fair share of time tantalising the party during the latter chapters of Final Fantasy 7 Remake, and Intermission’s materia hunt inevitably passes the torch to Scarlet. If you liked some of the more, err, flattering aspects of Scarlet’s character design, you will enjoy many of the cutscenes here. She’s at her domineering best as an antagonist who revels in the toying of her opponents, putting Yuffie and Sonon through their paces in a thrilling dungeon segment with some solid challenges.
Another bright note is the handful of terrific boss encounters, though the abrupt mid-battle cutscenes can still interrupt things at inopportune times. It’s frustrating to waste some of your best moves, but this issue didn’t arise as often as it did during the main game. Regardless, the spectacle of these battles remains an impressive high point that demand you to pay attention to your tactics whilst honing your general skills.
Honestly, Yuffie’s plot can feel a bit superfluous in the grand scheme of things, but like the main game things all get a bit weird as it reaches its climax – in a good way, I think. The camp, playful tone of the opening hours becomes far more serious, pushing Yuffie outside her comfort zone and setting up some interesting motivation that will likely serve her character well in future instalments.
On the downside, Intermission is over all too soon. My playtime from start to finish was almost bang-on seven hours, including all sidequests. I felt a little short-changed that one of these hours was spent wandering around the very same Sector 7 slums as the main game. So much of Midgar remains unexplored, and it was disappointing we didn’t at least get to see another sector. Even one of the sidequests – collecting Happy Turtle flyers – may be a cool throwback to the original but these are the exact same streets we hunted for missing cats in Chapter 3.
Furthermore, much of the time spent in the Shinra Building is in a dungeon that closely resembles Hojo’s Drum in Chapter 17. This isn’t necessarily a large criticism, since lots of encounter gauntlets break things up, invariably providing great fun whilst testing your adaptability to different enemy types.
More cynically, Intermission actually makes me disappointed we didn’t get a playable Red XIII. The developers are on record stating they felt it would be unfair to bring him in for few chapters only, but this is roughly the same length as Intermission. Yuffie’s exploits in the Shinra Building would have actually been a brilliant time for them to cross paths – perhaps helping encourage Yuffie to team up with Cloud and company later on.
The DLC doesn’t come particularly cheap, and overall I expected a little more for the money – especially when its exclusive nature is purely there to tempt people into shelling out on a brand-new console. Whilst it is nice to benefit from the PS5’s considerable speed improvements, there is no reason whatsoever why Intermission couldn’t have been released on PS4.
Ultimately, Final Fantasy 7 Remake Intergrade Intermission is a very good thing in a small package, but currently comes at a medium-sized price. I sense there is still considerable time to wait until the next instalment of Final Fantasy 7 Remake, and Intermission may have whet my appetite too much, too soon. With all of this in mind, you might be better off waiting this one out for now, allowing for a price-drop or perhaps further PS5 availability.
There is an extension to the main game’s ending after completing Intermission, and this can be watched online in complete isolation. It doesn’t even spoil the modest plot of Yuffie’s quest itself, and further reignites a strong desire for the unknown journey to continue in the next part of Final Fantasy 7 Remake.
It was admittedly cool to spend a brief period of time back with the main party, but this is Yuffie’s moment. She can clearly hold her own amongst the excellent Final Fantasy 7 cast, offering something a little different both as a fighter and a character. If she ends up stealing our materia again, it’s going to be hard not to root for her.