Several years ago, when FFVII Remake was revealed, amidst all the fanfare and shiny graphics, I was worried. Square Enix had declared the project was too big to make into a single release, so they chose to make the game episodic.
How often were the episodes going to come out?
How’ll our progress transfer over?
Will the first episode do well enough to warrant making more?
The Yuffie episode DLC may not have done much to alleviate these concerns. In fact, the way the upgrade and expansion were handled may have confirmed some of them. However, this little adventure has given me a fair bit of hope that there’s a lot of exciting stuff to look forward to.
Let’s get one thing out of the way: Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade takes an already gorgeous-looking game and made it look even more stunning. Playing the game on the PS5’s next-gen hardware with all its raytracing capabilities and upgraded frame rates is a treat for the eyes. I had to go back and play some of the base game to see the difference for myself. Whether you’re watching a cutscene, bopping down baddies, or just running around Midgar, Intergrade’s visual boost is more than worth the price of readmission. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
The Yuffie Episode DLC, or INTERmission as it’s called, is a tasty sampling of where things may be heading in the next big episode. I say “sampling” because the addon is on the short side, clocking in at just above 7 hours of playtime. When you factor in that Yuffie spends a significant portion of that time doing small errands and running around Sector 7, the price tag could have been lower.
On the other hand, Yuffie herself is a break of fresh air. Where base Final Fantasy VII Remake has you galavanting about with four characters who are almost always moping, the spunky ninja from Wutai is a fun protagonist to follow around. Her dopey energy and contagious enthusiasm had me hooked from the moment she showed up on screen. That isn’t to say that Yuffie is portrayed as a one-dimensional happy-go-lucky character, though. The aftermath of the conflict between Wutai and Shinra Corporation presents itself as a darker balance point, reminding us that the world of FFVII Remake is a place in turmoil.
I was hoping this would have been expanded upon further with the presence of Sonon, Yuffie’s unplayable companion. Unfortunately, he’s relegated to simply being there with not much development. Any discussion surrounding his background feels thin, as though he was a last-minute afterthought. The fact that his design looks fairly generic doesn’t help either.
Combat is definitely where it’s at in Intergrade’s Yuffie Episode. While there aren’t any changes to the formula, Yuffie’s unique fighting style works well with the active combat of FFVII Remake. Wutai’s finest is a versatile warrior that can fluidly go from nuking enemies from a distance to getting up-close and personal with them. Switching up her elemental infusions gives her a lot of flexibility on the battlefield and the variations on her signature giant ninja star can help you further customize the way she plays. The main blemish in INTERmission’s combat is Sonon being unplayable. Even though you can issue commands, you can’t switch to control him directly.
To reiterate, I feel the Yuffie Episode showcases a bunch of what we can possibly expect from Part 2 of Final Fantasy VII Remake. If her fighting style is anything to go by, we can expect that Red XIII and the rest of the missing cast will have some unique mechanics for us to toy around with. It may be short and have its weaknesses, but Intergrade and INTERmission are a fun time that feel every bit as solid and gorgeous as the base Final Fantasy VII Remake game.