Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade (PlayStation 5) Review

By Neil Flynn 03.02.2022 3

Review for Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade on PlayStation 5

The history of Final Fantasy VII is well documented by now. Developer Square (now Square Enix) had recently turned away from making games on Nintendo based hardware in favour of the new behemoth in gaming, Sony's PlayStation. JRPGs were not overly commonplace outside of Japan in the '90s, outside of a few other titles such as Phantasy Star, and that is why in 1997 there was such a big buzz about Final Fantasy VII, with the marketing featuring much of the beautifully rendered CGI cutscenes, which were utterly breath-taking for console gamers at the time. Couple that with a fresh gameplay style that hadn't really been seen that much before in the West, and it is clear as to why there was so much intrigue behind it. Over 20 years later, and it appears that Final Fantasy VII has received the gentrification treatment for a new generation, but has Square Enix cut corners to cash in on the nostalgia, or does Final Fantasy VII Remake make it truly worthwhile remake?

Note that Final Fantasy VII Remake is the name of the main story, with the PlayStation 5 upgrade being titled Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade which also includes the DLC side story Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade: Episode INTERmission. Here's a look at it.

Truth be told the original Final Fantasy VII didn't make too much of an impact on the one writing this. Sure, it is one of the most notable, recognisable, and flagship games of the original PlayStation, but for some it's also rather slow, has awkward pacing, and has turn-based strategy battles that aren't very appealing. Nonetheless, the alure was always there, the characters from Final Fantasy VII have become immortalised, more so than any other in the series, with two characters making it into Nintendo's All-star fighter, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Intriguingly, Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade brings a rather aging game into the 21st century with aplomb, mixing up the previously static active time battle (ATB) style to a real time ATB system, as well as giving the graphics a huge, fresh, lick of paint.

A fresh lick of paint is a true understatement, as on PlayStation 5 the Performance mode enables 60fps, with some sacrifices made to the graphical fidelity. Alternatively, players can opt for the Graphics mode which prioritises 4K graphics with more detailed textures, but at a slower frame rate. Personal preferences will differ, and in this case Graphics Mode was the preferred set up, which is odd as a faster frame rate is usually preferred, but play around with both to see what is ideal for your playthrough. Loading times was a pure bug bear on the original PlayStation, having to load cut-scenes and battle sequences, in any game, which was a painful affair. The PlayStation 5 goes a step further by completely improving the load times significantly from the PS4 version, almost eliminating them completely, although there are tricks from the developers to hide loading screens such as the in-game walking cutscene, or sliding between a narrow passageway in a path, which can be quite timely to execute, especially when there are quite a few of them dotted around Midgar.

Screenshot for Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade on PlayStation 5

The audio experience has also been a magnificent marvel to experience while playing through Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade, as the score ranges from upbeat fight music to mellow and emotional tones, which consistently hits the story arcs just in the right way. Voiceover audio can be in Japanese or English, and it is strongly recommended to go with the Japanese audio and English subtitles if a true experience is wanted. The English voices can fall so flat that it is unbelievable, but the power and expression in the Japanese VO is incredible that it makes this option a no-brainer.

This has a rather linear gameplay path. The world of Midgar has a tonne of invisible walls and non-scalable objects blocking pathways, keeping the player in the confines of the area. At first it feels that this is ok, as progress keeps shuffling players to brand new areas, which continues to keep things fresh, but at around the half way point the same areas are reused extensively, causing backtracking and a constant to and fro that feels it was only inserted to extend the overall length. NPCs roam the word of Midgar, chatting away in the background and interacting with one another. There is a sense of life in one aspect, but step outside of the towns and slums and the world can feel lifeless, and at times there is a sense that structures were reused as corridors and facilities can look quite samey.

Luckily, this has such a stellar combat system that similar looking hallways and areas can be marginally forgiven as they serve the purpose of battles. Unlike many RPGs of the past, the real-time battle system means that it is possible to fight enemies while still being able to roam around, and there are no loading screens to a static fight screen. Instead, players can run around hitting enemies and monsters while simultaneously avoiding enemy attacks either by running or rolling out of the way or blocking attacks. At the same time, an ATB metre is rising and once the metre has filled it is possible to unleash a much more powerful attack ranging from physical moves to elemental magical spells and more. There are a large range of enemies to encounter and the boss fights are lengthy but incredibly fulfilling once the final blow has been dealt.

Screenshot for Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade on PlayStation 5

Every good RPG comes with a decent story, and this is no different. There are some story elements which err on the side of Japanimation a tad, thus those that aren't too familiar with anime may find the dialogue strange and, at times, disturbing, and the damsel in distress trope might be somewhat overused. In a nutshell, the story revolves around a government-styled energy corporation, Shinra, who is absorbing the life force of the planet. A renegade environmentalist group, known as 'Avalanche' is trying to stop the company from abusing the planet's natural resources by toppling their entire infrastructure which would fundamentally change life in their world as they know it. In the middle of this is a former SOLDIER, Cloud Strife, who has been hired as a mercenary by Avalanche to help them carry out their acts of environmentalism and restore the balance between the planet and the people who dwell there.

There is a large cast of NPCs, tertiary characters and main playable characters, although this only really puts a strong emphasis on four of them. For first timers it can take a few hours for the plot and the characters to really make an impact, or to even really understand what is going on, but stick with it and it can start to unpack in an interesting and thoughtful way. One key thing to note is that, like the PlayStation 4 version, Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade is only Part 1 of the remake, and this in itself is a very small proportion of the plot from the original PlayStation classic, even though it took over 45 hours to see the credits roll. At this rate, remaking the entire game could take quite a few entries to cover the entirety of the original Final Fantasy VII. To read a full deep dive into Final Fantasy VII Remake then, check out Cubed3's review of the PlayStation 4 version.

Screenshot for Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade on PlayStation 5

Every good RPG comes with a decent story, and this is no different. There are some story elements which err on the side of Japanimation a tad, thus those that aren't too familiar with anime may find the dialogue strange and, at times, disturbing, and the damsel in distress trope might be somewhat overused. In a nutshell, the story revolves around a government-styled energy corporation, Shinra, who is absorbing the life force of the planet. A renegade environmentalist group, known as 'Avalanche' is trying to stop the company from abusing the planet's natural resources by toppling their entire infrastructure which would fundamentally change life in their world as they know it. In the middle of this is a former SOLDIER, Cloud Strife, who has been hired as a mercenary by Avalanche to help them carry out their acts of environmentalism and restore the balance between the planet and the people who dwell there.

There is a large cast of NPCs, tertiary characters and main playable characters, although this only really puts a strong emphasis on four of them. For first timers it can take a few hours for the plot and the characters to really make an impact, or to even really understand what is going on, but stick with it and it can start to unpack in an interesting and thoughtful way. One key thing to note is that, like the PlayStation 4 version, Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade is only Part 1 of the remake, and this in itself is a very small proportion of the plot from the original PlayStation classic, even though it took over 45 hours to see the credits roll. At this rate, remaking the entire game could take quite a few entries to cover the entirety of the original Final Fantasy VII. To read a full deep dive into Final Fantasy VII Remake then, check out Cubed3's review of the PlayStation 4 version.

Screenshot for Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade on PlayStation 5

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade is a stellar product, one that has a magnificent soundtrack, superb voice acting, wonderful graphics, and a battle system that is totally moreish. The plot is initially quite zany, but stick with it, and the characters and events certainly do grow to be one of the finer video game stories developed. On PlayStation 5 it loads incredibly fast, almost wiping out any load times at all, and having gameplay look so good at 60fps will delight many. The path that is trodden feels incredibly linear, at points repetitive and reused, not that this is a crime. It is easy to spend over 50 hours on the first run, including the DLC, and this isn't even the entirety of the original game which shows a great value. Fans who already played through the PlayStation 4 version may not get too much out of this experience, but for newcomers this is certainly a must play.

Developer

Square Enix

Publisher

Square Enix

Genre

Real Time RPG

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

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

I really hate when companies do this naming for games.  So all it is, is the ps5 version with the dlc included? I was under the impression it was like pt2 or something. Leaves me with a bad taste towrds the company.

Naming convention is very confusing indeed. Essentially it is Final Fantasy VII Remake on PS5 with the INTERmission DLC included. (The name of this package is known as Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade)

INTERmission DLC is exclusive to the PS5 version of the game as far as I am aware, although I think the upgrade to the PS5 version for all PS4 owners of the game is free with PS Plus. 

However the free upgrade doesn't give you the DLC for free, you'd still need to buy that if upgrading!

 

Flynnie said:
Naming convention is very confusing indeed. Essentially it is Final Fantasy VII Remake on PS5 with the INTERmission DLC included. (The name of this package is known as Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade)

INTERmission DLC is exclusive to the PS5 version of the game as far as I am aware, although I think the upgrade to the PS5 version for all PS4 owners of the game is free with PS Plus. 

However the free upgrade doesn't give you the DLC for free, you'd still need to buy that if upgrading!
 


Yeah, the free upgrade just gives you the base game but with the PS5 settings. I think the DLC is £12 or something?

I guess the naming convention is odd but nothing they didn't do with Kingdom Hearts. The "intergrade" refers to it being an upgraded port without being a new game. The PS5 version is called Intergrade with or without the DLC. Incidentally the DLC ending leads directly into part 2 so it's quite important. That and it's a really fun couple of levels

( Edited 07.02.2022 16:19 by Sandy Wilson )

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