Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade (PlayStation 5) Review

By Steven Mattern 15.07.2021 2

Review for Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade on PlayStation 5

Developing games is a really tough challenge, and remaking them is even harder. In 2020, Square Enix was up to the task with Final Fantasy VII Remake on the PlayStation 4; the first title in a series of games remaking and reimagining the 1997 classic, which Cubed3 later recognized as 2020's Game of the Year. Now, Square Enix has released a native PlayStation 5 version of the game with improvements and a side story focused on Yuffie. Does Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade justify a return to Midgar, or is it best to leave the City of Mako behind?

Along with a graphically enhanced main game, Intergrade comes a piece with downloadable content dubbed Episode Intermission, which is exclusive to Final Fantasy VII Remake on PS5 for 6 months after release. Cubed3 hopes that PS4 owners can play this story once this deal ends because there's little reason to say "this cutscene or sequence could not have been possible on PS4." Perhaps this is a message from Square, saying that the Remake will move on from the PS4 entirely? Only time will tell.

The 7-8 hour side campaign follows Yuffie, a Materia hunter, as she explores Midgard in hopes to infiltrate Shinra. Yuffie is notorious for being an optional side character in the original FF7, who perhaps didn't have a spot in many players' parties. Episode Intermission attempts to give her a chance to shine, and does so to great effect.

Screenshot for Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade on PlayStation 5

Yuffie has a shuriken blade so naturally, she plays differently from the four other playable characters in the main story. Players will likely prefer to play her over Aerith, and especially Tifa, who admittedly has a very unique combat style. One of the best things that sets Yuffie apart besides her fantastic and high quality animation, is that she can throw her weapon out, making her basic attacks ranged with elemental damage. This makes it far easier than using Magic materia to hit enemy weaknesses and keeps the combat fast and snappy. So, MP and Ethers are less of an issue for the duration of this episode which is appreciated. In addition, she has her own suite of skills unique to her as well as her partner Sonon in Intermission.

Gameplay-wise, Intermission tries something different with Sonon. He is indeed a member of the party who can equip a set of materia on his weapons and gear, just like any other party member in Remake thus far. However, he is not controllable. The AI has complete control of him, unless you issue commands or link up with Yuffie so they can perform combined attacks and skills together. This is a creative alternative that doesn't require extra development time that would be used to make Sonon playable. The AI does a fair job in the thick of it, sometimes better than how the AI performed in the base game. Previously, AI controlled companions built up the ATB Gauge rather slowly to encourage switching between members on the fly. Since Sonon cannot be controlled but does use ATB, this can cause concern. However the rate at which he gains the resource is reasonable making him a good partner in combat alongside Yuffie.

Screenshot for Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade on PlayStation 5

Narratively, he fits well. He is one of the several original characters introduced in this episode and he fits right in. He has a great personality, drive and reason to be on Yuffie's mission; giving some weight to the story. This is needed since his somber and reserved tone was needed to balance out Yuffie's boundless optimism and go-getter attitude. Overall, the duo is a fine pair.

An element of the story that prospective fans might be concerned about is how Intermission weaves in elements from the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII. This time, some elements of Dirge of Cerberus were adapted, as hinted in trailers, and went pretty well. The characters introduced were a bit too fantastical and almost felt shoehorned in, but do a fine enough job at adding stakes to the protagonists' journey and they don't overstay their welcome. That's what this FF7 Remake series does best so far: bring some of the weird elements from the game's history outside of the original and fit them neatly into the broader narrative without being overbearing.

Screenshot for Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade on PlayStation 5

Episode Intermission does have a mini game called Fort Condor, a light real time strategy attack and defense game. Each loadout consists of blue, red, and green units applied to a rock/paper/scissors type system. Defend your towers and take down at least one of your opponents and the match is won! There is a surprising amount of units to collect and buy at a merchant with Gil. It's a fun minigame mode but it does break the pace and the rewards for doing it aren't very substantial. However, strategy and tower defense fans should give it a try!

On the topic of graphics, the main game shares the same graphic improvements and options on offer as seen in Intermission. Textures and models are vastly improved, with graphic fidelity options typically seen in other PlayStation 5 games. There's a native 4K mode that locks at 30 fps, and a Performance mode targeting 60 fps that targets just above 2K resolution (1440p). Other than pixel count and framerate, the graphic settings are identical, so a locked 60 fps with a slightly softer image was a no-brainer. While the game plays great at 30 fps like on PS4, playing at 60 fps is a sublime experience. And for owners of the PS4 version of the game, the graphical and framerate improvements for the main game are free on PS5.

Screenshot for Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade on PlayStation 5

Cubed3 Rating

9/10
Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade is a complete package, telling the story of Midgar from two different perspectives. Both the main campaign following Cloud and his journey, and Yuffie's own adventure, are well told with tight and responsive gameplay along with an impressive graphical update. These tales each leave exciting questions to be answered, and this reviewer can't wait to see what awaits Cloud and his friends beyond the City of Mako.

Developer

Square Enix

Publisher

Square Enix

Genre

Real Time RPG

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

One thing interesting is in the original a huge 'wow' moment was leaving the tight confines of midgar finding there was a whole 'world'/worldmap out there. I suspect this feeling wont be replicated.

Sandy (guest) 16.07.2021#2

I love where they are going with the adjusted content and the way they handled midgar. I think if we are lucky the wow factor of leaving midgar won't be totally lost. Either way part 2 will be a blast!

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