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Final Fantasy VII Remake – Intermission Review

Final Fantasy VII Remake – Intermission

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Release: //10/06/2021
Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Square Enix
Genre: PS5 ReviewsReviews
PEGI: 16+
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It’s been a 24-year wait, but Final Fantasy VII’s new piece of story DLC – Intermission – shows us exactly what Yuffie was up to before she joined our party. God, 1997 suddenly feels a long, long time ago.

Of course, it looks a bit better than it would have done 24 years ago – it’s probably one of the standout titles on PS5 today. It also continues one of my favourite things about Final Fantasy VII Remake – the increasing depth of the world.

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The original game barely touched on the war between corporate bad guys Shinra and independent Wutai. We see the aftermath of bits of it, and experience firsthand what impact it had on Wutai, but that’s about it. It was built on considerably for Crisis Core, but that’s not saying much.

So it’s great that Remake is building it up far more, and Intermission goes a long way towards that. This is a new way of seeing Midgar – and not just because it’s about as beautiful as it can be.

I’m always up for another trip to Midgar, and Intermission doesn’t disappoint.

Intermission Over

In the original Final Fantasy VII, Yuffie was an optional character you could find running around woodlands. She had a single sidequest, but had absolutely no role in the main story (because the developers couldn’t guarantee she’d be there).

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With the Intermission DLC, they’re righting that wrong. Her and her equally avoidable friend Vincent are going to be far more active in the Remake series. Their impact on the world will be felt.

Yuffie arrives in Midgar with a single mission – steal the Ultimate materia from Shinra. Along the way she meets members of Avalanche – the actual group, not the splinter cell we’re familiar with – and we get a different look at the events of the main game.

This all comes together in typical Final Fantasy style. It ends up big, bombastic and some people are just going to hate it. One thing is certain though: the DLC shows Final Fantasy VII Remake 2 is going to be as off-the-rails as the original.

For that reason, it’s easy to appreciate the little things they’ve brought from the original so successfully. Yuffie moves like a puppy who hasn’t quite got used to her legs. She’s both a talented ninja and a teenage girl, and that comes across clearly.

She’s arrogant, and across the course of the DLC that arrogance is tested.

Teaming Up

The cast of supporting characters aren’t quite as memorable as in the original Remake. One of them was called Billy Bob. That’s about as deep as it gets.

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There’s a single exception: Sonon. Sonon follows you for most of the DLC, acting as a partner in combat. You can’t control him directly, but you’re able to “synchronise” at any time, combining attacks for maximum damage.

This feels like a nice change to the original fight system, which is basically otherwise identical. Having only two characters and a slightly different way of playing means you have to approach things differently. This isn’t explained especially well, and players will die when they shouldn’t trying to figure it all out.

Of course, Yuffie attacks differently, relying on her physicality (and bloody giant shuriken) to defeat enemies. Bouncing around from enemy to enemy feels endlessly satisfying once it clicks.

Sonon feels slightly underdeveloped as a character, but not necessarily in a bad way. Ultimately this is a short DLC, and the focus is rightly on Yuffie, but choices made with him sometimes feel a tad obvious. Still, he’s likeable and that goes a long way.

That goes for much of the DLC. The story feels put together in such a way to feel big without actually changing anything. Yuffie was there, yes, but if she wasn’t it would have made no difference. The fact this exists at all shows she’s going to be far more important going forward than she ever was in the 1997 release. But optional character or optional DLC, the result is arguably the same. We won’t know the full impact of Intermission until Yuffie reappears in Remake 2.

A Moment’s Rest

The main story could probably be rushed by a first-time player in a few hours. That would be a major mistake.

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There’s plenty to see and explore within Yuffie’s journey, and it can all add up. Between the sidequests, an unlockable hard mode and any trophy clean up, you’re looking at probably 15 hours or so. Compared to the Kingdom Hearts 3 DLC, this feels like a bargain.

Some of the side quests are brought across from the base game, albeit with slight variations. The biggest addition is Fort Condor, a board game that plays, unsurprisingly, like the Fort Condor minigame in the 1997 release.

It’s been long enough since the tower defence craze that this actually feels quite fun. The learning curve can occasionally be a bit spikey, but that depends on who you challenge. For some, this will be the main focus of the DLC. It’s deep, there are collectables linked to it and an entire sidequest if you’re willing to put the time in.

For other players, it’s easily avoided.

Graphics and Sound

Final Fantasy VII Remake was already one of the nicest looking games around. This PS5-only release is even better.

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Yes, the best way to play is with the new 60fps mode. I don’t know if it’s my TV upscaling or my eyes not being well-trained enough, but the biggest visual difference between 60fps mode and the supposedly more graphically intense 30fps mode is how clunky the 30fps mode feels. Of course, being PlayStation exclusive means you’re forced into choosing one or the other. A PC release is much-needed.

But whatever you pick, you’ll have plenty of nice places to drool over. Textures in particular are mind-boggling. Skin is getting increasingly realistic.

Demon’s Souls was nice, but this feels denser, more real. It absolutely popped on my Oled TV.

Sound design is great as well. Performances are enjoyable, especially from Yuffie actress Suzie Yeung, and music continues to be a key part of the Final Fantasy VII world.

Final Fantasy VII Remake Intermission Review – Conclusion

This piece of DLC is going to have some incredible repercussions going forward, but that’s not what it’ll be remembered for. It’s a fun story, and a nice evolution of the Final Fantasy VII Remake formula. Not to mention, it’s one of the best-looking games on PS5.

For the cost, it feels really satisfying. It’ll remain controversial amongst players, but it’s best to get used to that before Remake 2 comes out.

I’ll take any excuse to return to Midgar. Thankfully, this one was well worth the price of entry.

 

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blank Mat Growcott has been a long-time member of the gaming press. He's written two books and a web series, and doesn't have nearly enough time to play the games he writes about.

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