It seems strange to say that Yuffie Kisaragi feels like she’s always belonged in Final Fantasy 7 Remake but… after spending more than eight hours with her in the PS5-exclusive Final Fantasy 7: Intergrade – Intermission DLC, Yuffie Kisaragi feels like she’s always belonged in Final Fantasy 7 Remake. This relatively bite-sized piece of DLC, selectable from the main menu at any point as a separate campaign, does a wonderful job of sewing the Wutaiian Ninja’s plot thread into the main story even though she didn’t show up until after Midgar in the original game. At the same time, it introduces us to a completely new and exhilarating style of combat, offers up a bunch of meaningful and rewarding side activities, and tells an impactful side story that explores the Wutai/Midgar conflict in much deeper detail than ever before.
The star of this DLC is obviously Yuffie herself, and she’s just as playful, childish, and energetic as any classic Final Fantasy 7 fan could ever hope for her to be. As great as Cloud, Tifa, Barret, and Aerith are, Yuffie’s optimism and sheer unshakeable confidence is a breath of fresh air, and getting to watch her interact with notable characters from the main game is always a joy to behold.
Balancing out Yuffie’s loud and boisterous personality is the much more soft-spoken and level-headed Sonon, a new character who serves as Yuffie’s partner in their undercover operation to steal Midgar’s secret materia. There’s a really great chemistry between them, and despite not getting more than two chapters to develop it, a real bond forms between the two of them in time to make the emotional high points of the story especially resonant. It helps too that the performances across the board are outstanding, and maintain the high level of quality that the main game establishes.
Final Fantasy 7 Remake ripped the original from its turn-based JRPG roots and basically transformed it into a full-on action game, and with Intermission, Yuffie’s high-speed, hyper mobility-focused combat style takes that transformation even further. To start, she’s got her shuriken, which can be used with basic attacks to do a quick combo that has her darting in and out, and performing air combos just by mashing the attack button. At any point you can press triangle to throw her shuriken, which changes all of her basic attacks to ranged ninjutsu. From there you can press triangle again to zip to wherever the shuriken is lodged and continue the up-close assault.
Yuffie’s high-speed, hyper mobility-focused combat style takes that transformation even further.“
Yuffie’s combat is so active and fun that when I first started playing I often found myself forgetting that I was building up my ATB meter in the process, which is obviously not ideal, but fortunately spending that ATB turned out to be just as much of a thrill. Like the main game characters, Yuffie can be equipped with all sorts of materia that allow her to cast spells, execute special techniques, or boost her stats. Since this is a truncated campaign, Yuffie starts with most of the standard materia already in her inventory, but you’ll still have to find many of the really useful ones, like Magnify, which lets your spells do AOE damage; AP Up, which increases the amount of AP gained for linked materia; and First Strike, which lets you start each encounter with your ATB meter filled.
Sonon also fights alongside Yuffie for most of the DLC, and while you can’t directly control him, you can give him commands and equip him with materia that allows him to fulfill whatever role you need. The pair also get a unique mechanic known as synergizing, which let them group up and use coordinated attacks to deal big damage and greatly pressure opponents. They can even use both their ATB meters at once to activate synchronized versions of Yuffie’s special attacks. The downside is that, while synergized, Sonon’s ATB meter gain is drastically reduced, so you’re encouraged to go in and out of synergy fairly regularly.
The expectations around Final Fantasy 7 Remake are sky high, and it mostly manages to deliver. Its combat is top notch, its enemy variety kept me constantly entertained, and seeing this snippet of story fleshed out with real emotional arcs and the previously hidden humanity behind Midgar filled me with pure joy. The boring RPG filler and Kingdom Hearts-esque convolution that was inserted in between did stop my ear-to-ear grin from being constant, but never long enough to kill the mood completely. That leaves this remake as one that still delivered on letting me relive (part of) a classic in stupendous fashion, while also standing as a great RPG all its own. – Tom Marks, April 6, 2020
Read the full Final Fantasy 7 Remake review
As if all of that isn’t enough, Yuffie can also elementally charge her ninjutsu to target weaknesses without having to dip into her MP supply, she can almost completely negate damage from any target with an expertly timed block, and she can use a special dodge to restore her ATB if timed correctly. All of this adds up to what essentially feels like a Platinum Games character dropped into Final Fantasy 7 Remake, and it leads to some of the most fun and challenging combat encounters in the entire game.
The main story of Intermission is pretty short and can be completed in about four hours, but if you rushed through it at that pace you’d really be doing yourself a disservice because the side activities are a cut above your average side quests. First off, there’s Fort Condor, which has its origins from the original FF7 as a kind of defense minigame where you had to place units on a hill to stop enemies before they reached the top, at which point you’d have to fight them. Intermission’s version of Fort Condor instead plays out like a dueling deck-building card game. You face off against an opponent and use cards to summon units on the map which move forward as they attempt to destroy the opposing team’s Condor tower at the other end of the field. Your ATB meter slowly fills as the match goes on – since cards each have their own ATB cost, you have to consider whether you want to put down a weaker card immediately, or take the risk of waiting until you’re able to afford a more powerful card that may be able to stay on the field longer.
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Under the hood of the minigame is a rock, paper, scissors dynamic where red units beat green units, green units beat blue units, and blue units beat red units. There’s a bit more to it than that though, with certain units being able to fly and avoid taking damage from melee-only units, others that work as stationary turrets, and others still that rain down inaccurate but damaging mortar fire. The final wrinkle is that you can influence the flow of battle yourself by casting spells that can either buff your units or damage the opponent’s.
Intermission’s side activities are a cut above your average sidequests.“
It’s not the deepest game in the world, but it’s fun building up your deck by finding new boards out in the main game, and buying new cards with the currency you earn from winning matches. It also provides Yuffie with an excuse to interact with returning side characters, which is always fun to watch. Not to mention that some of the later duels can prove to be quite difficult, and building a deck that can counter some of their strategies is immensely satisfying.
Beyond Fort Condor, there’s also a very fun and very challenging box-destruction minigame that puts your skills with Yuffie’s shuriken to the test, a new summon to battle in Ramuh, a number of combat simulations that are unlocked upon beating the story and provide further incentive to continue leveling up Yuffie and Sonon, and a hard difficulty mode that is also unlocked upon completion. All in all, it’s a pretty respectable amount of worthwhile content with meaningful rewards that’s been keeping me busy long after completing the main quest.
Final Fantasy 7 Remake: Intergrade’s Intermission DLC is a short but substantial chunk of content with an extraordinarily fleshed out new style of combat, fun and worthwhile side activities, and – most importantly – Yuffie. The Wutai ninja is witty, funny, adorable, and brings a lighthearted energy to the dreary setting of Midgar that feels like a breath of fresh air. It is still ultimately just a DLC, and it’ll likely only keep you busy for a day or two, but if you’re a fan of Final Fantasy 7 Remake and looking for more, this is an Intermission well worth taking.?
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