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Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade INTERmission review: A tease for what's to come

The latest Yuffie DLC is a somewhat unnecessary trip back to Midgar, however, gameplay changes and a lovable protagonist might make it worth it for hardcore fans.
Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade INTERmission review: A tease for what's to come
A once completely missable character in the original Final Fantasy VII has turned into the star of her own DLC with the release of FFVII Remake Intergrade Episode INTERmission as Yuffie Kusaragi takes players back for one more trip down the Midgar slums that might feel derivate and easily skippable for some, but serves as a perfect introduction to the upbeat Wutai ninja alongside welcomed gameplay adjustments and a short but sweet emotional story.

The story of INTERmission takes place at a pivotal point during the main campaign of FFVII Remake, introducing Yuffie as a Wutai undercover agent looking to break into the Shinra headquarters in search of the "ultimate Materia" enlisting Avalanche's help, the eco-terrorist insurgent group seeking to stop Mako misuse. Alongside a small group of Avalanche enthusiasts, Yuffie receives the guidance of Sonon Kusakabe, a more down-to-earth, calm, fellow Wutai ninja who'll help her infiltrate Shinra HQ.

The premise of the DLC is relatively simple and doesn't work as a complement to the main story (for the most part), in fact, you shouldn't feel too worried about not having previous knowledge of Yuffie, as INTERmission makes a wonderful job of getting you acquainted with the quirky, overly-energetic and often naive ninja that gives us a new perspective into what's life like in the Midgar slums.

yuffie intermission(Picture: Square Enix)

INTERmission also delivers brief moments of interaction with characters from the main storyline, with Yuffie's outlandish behaviour meeting its match throughout Sector 7 with some special appearances that I'd rather not spoil, as you're tasked with completing a couple of side quests that serve as padding for the DLC.

Up for some Fort Condor?

Once you reach Sector 7, the area opens up for you to freely explore, running into familiar faces, vendors, and the introduction of the revamped Fort Condor, a real-time strategy minigame that can be engaging at times but frustrating and painfully slow as well.

The minigame works with a rock-paper-scissors type of system, with each of the three units available (ranged, offensive, and defensive) having pros and cons. You'll be able to find both boards with specific strategies, ATB bars, or Spells at your disposal, and individual pieces to complement each.

Perhaps the highlight of the entire quest is the people you'll come across as you rise through the ranks of the latest and greatest craze that's taken over Midgar as well as seeing Yuffie bump heads with them in the process.

Wutai's finest in action

yuffie_main(Picture: Square Enix)

As fun as it is seeing Yuffie take shots at the smelly almost lifeless Sector 7 slums making "weak Midgar jaws" experience the toughness of Da-chao beans, INTERmission shines when it's time to press some buttons, fill ATB bars, and make use of the new combat mechanics the DLC offers. 

Yuffie's combat style seems intentionally designed to tackle one of the biggest criticisms the main game received, as she's able to freely engage enemies in the air with her trusty Shuriken, tossing it at airborne threats and either following up by lunging forward or utilizing her elemental Ninjutsu to tap into their weaknesses in an efficient manner.

The Ninjutsu works wonders to maintain a nice rhythm in combat, as INTERmission restricts you to only Yuffie as a playable character and Sonon as a supportive NPC that can receive commands on the fly, limiting the amount of Materia customization compared to what the main game offers by allowing users to control up to three party members.

Undeniably, the greatest and most promising change is the Synergize mechanic, which allows Yuffie and Sonon to synchronize attacks by spending ATB bars delivering a flashy and powerful combined attack. This also extends to unique Limit-Breaks that sadly due to the DLC's length and harsh requirements to pull them off, many players might miss out on them entirely.

On top of this, Square brought its A-game in the music department, with Shotaro Shima's rearrangements of Nobuo Uematsu's iconic soundtrack brimming with whimsicality and enthusiasm.

Overall, the more action-packed sections of INTERmission are well designed, hitting a decent mix of exploration and encounters with a surprisingly wide variety of enemies and boss fights along your journey.

There is some noticeable padding going on during some portions of the exploration, with the game coming up with a somewhat reasonable excuse story-wise for it to happen, but it never shrugs off the feeling that things could be moving at a slightly better pace and you're only being held in place to stretch the experience against your will. 

Something worth noting for fans who haven't played FFVII Remake since its initial release or aren't as familiarized with the battle systems is that INTERmission cuts some corners in this regard and doesn't give you any sort of tutorial to get you back in the groove of things aside from presenting all the new mechanics in place. 

yuffie dlc(Picture: Square Enix)

Exploring Shinra HQ is fun in and of itself but what elevates the DLC even further is how likable the relationship between Yuffie and Sonon is. As we've said, INTERmission's story is nothing to write home about, but the little nuances and character development that ends up occurring throughout the final portion of the game will take more than a few by surprise.

Verdict 

FFVII Remake Intergrade Episode INTERmission (talk about a mouthful) isn't a "must-play." The story can feel derivate until some out-of-the-blue revelations occur as you're reaching the end, and the new gameplay implementations are barely explored due to the relatively short length of the DLC.

However, if you're looking for a bite-sized return to Midgar accompanied by a very enthusiastic, lovable main protagonist, and a tease for what's in store once Remake Part 2 (or whatever its name ends up being) rolls around, then you'll find plenty to enjoy with INTERmission.

8/10

 

Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade and INTERmission are now available for the PS5.