Initial release date: June 10, 2021
Developers: Square Enix, Square Enix First Development Division
Publisher: Square Enix,
Series: Final Fantasy
Platform: PlayStation 5
Composers: Nobuo Uematsu, Masashi Hamauzu
Genres: Action role-playing game
Link to Purchase
Standard Edition: https://amzn.to/3vFqCJl
"Review Copy Provided by Square Enix"
2020 was an interesting year when it came to gaming as we had quite a lot of games release that were effectively just either remakes or remasters of games from decades past and while many of them had a substantial amount of hype behind them; not one of those remasters and remakes had the level of hype behind them that Final Fantasy VII Remake. Final Fantasy VII Remake had half a decade worth of build up and hype as fans were expecting it to be a from the ground up remake of the 1997 original, what we got instead was not technically a remake but a full-on sequel and continuation of The Compilation of Final Fantasy VII.
FF7R was a critical and commercial success that was loved by the masses and was one of the bestselling games of 2020 yet one of the main complaints of the game was that the game had some incredibly low textures in the environments and on the PS4 Pro, Slim, and OG the game clearly pushed the consoles to the limits and often had them sounding like they were about to blast off into space and take us to the moon. When the PS5 was released, there was tons of speculation of if there was going to be a definitive version of the game released for that platform with improved performance and not long after we got an announcement that it was underway, and they were adding more content to the game with an all new DLC featuring Yuffie Kisaragi. The question now that the game has released is does Intergrade and more so does INTERmission warrant a second playthrough of this classic? Let’s find out!
Considering that this is more of a extended directors cut, the story of the game is entirely the same as the 2020 remake with the biggest exception being that they weaved in the Yuffie DLC into the main plot in a way that makes the story flow with it as if Yuffie was always planned to be in the original Remake. If you want to get a full detailed review on the main game, then click HERE for my review of the base game. Episode INTERmission is effectively 2 chapters long and should take you no more than 5-6 hours to complete before you jump back into the main story. It takes place after the events at the Sector 5 Reactor and has the player jumping into the role of Yuffie and seeing what unfolds in Sector 7 all the while meeting new characters such as Sonon who is Yuffie’s sole unplayable party member and also running into Dirge of Cerberus main villains Weiss the Immaculate and Nero the Sable.
When it comes to the INTERmission sections where you control Yuffie; she plays as both a ranged and close ranged fighter and is universally an all-around fighter with the fact that she is nimble and has access to her Ninjustsu skills. Sonon may not be controllable directly, he can be given directives via the menu to utilize his abilities and items while also having him synergize Yuffie to help keep the pressure up on your enemies. The one annoying aspect of Sonon aside from not being able to play as him is the fact that his ATB fills up incredibly slowly and if you play this game on Hard then be prepared to approach every encounter with some form of a thought-out strategy.
INTERmission’s dungeons take full advantage of the fact that you are playing as Yuffie and are completely tailored to her and her ninjutsu and shuriken’s which are used to activate switches and the like.
The new minigame added are Fort Condor which brings the original minigame up to speed by modernizing it and streamlining it.
The graphical upgrade and performance going from the PS4 original to this PS5 upgrade is truly astounding and made even better with the fact that this is effectively a free upgrade (sans Intermission DLC) if you own the original game.
The game is now able to run in 4K HDR with Ray-tracing at 30FPS or in a performance mode which runs the game at 1080P with HDR and Ray-tracing at 60FPS. While I do like the option of viewing this game in 4K with all the bells and whistles, I personally stick to performance mode because once you play this game at 60FPS it becomes insanely hard to go back to playing this at 30FPS as the game has a dramatically different feel that is truly best experienced in performance mode.
The new cast is phenomenal in their roles and especially the new voice actress for Yuffie that takes over for Christy Carlson Ramono as Suzie Yeung really nails the role of the young and naïve materia hunter. The delivery of her optimism is both gutsy and profoundly believable and goes to great lengths to give dimensions to the character that we haven’t really seen since Dirge of Cerberus.
Other than that, there isn’t much for me to talk about in this section.
I can’t think of a downside other than I wish I could’ve played as Sonon and that I WANT PART 2!! Many may lament that this is only the first Act of the original and is going to be an episodic take on the original story but honestly its beyond that is this game is the effective start of a Marvel Cinematic Universe-esque universe that is going to bring in A LOT and reference more and if the subsequent entries are anything like this then please GIVE ME MORE!
Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade is a welcome upgrade from one of 2020’s best games and delivers with significantly improved performance and graphical fidelity while Episode INTERmission gives you a sample of what will potentially be an amazing new ally in Yuffie with her gameplay being vastly different from the other characters and the game take full advantage of her unique playstyle and introducing a lot of cool new characters and reintroducing 2 MAJOR characters. With this being the definitive version of FF7R You simply cannot go wrong with this game and if you have a PS5 then this is a MUST OWN!