A key part of the Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade package is a new DLC episode, INTERmission.
This episode is largely separate from the main game of Final Fantasy VII Remake, and can be jumped into at any time, regardless of whether or not you’ve completed the rest. You’d of course be wise to have played it first, however, as it relies on you not only having knowledge of the game’s mechanics, but its story and lore. If you don’t already know what Shinra Corporation is, for example, you’re going to be rather lost.
Episode INTERmission introduces a host of new characters into the mix, the main being Yuffie. You’ll likely know Yuffie if you’ve played the original Final Fantasy VII – she’s an optional party member. But now, she’s front and centre as the playable protagonist in her own short story. I say short; Episode INTERmission will take you just over three hours to run through it, but there’s plenty of optional activities to take part in if you want to elongate your time with it.
Being part of Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade and therefore only available on PS5, Episode INTERmission looks fantastic. I’ve spoken in more detail here about how great the game looks; playing at 60fps makes a world of difference, and with improved textures and fidelity, Midgar has never looked better. Combat – which you’ll be doing a lot of, especially in this Episode’s second chapter – is fast, fluid and fabulous thanks to the higher framerate; landing an attack on an enemy before quickly sweeping away to the next has never felt more satisfying.
Yuffie’s weapon – a shuriken – makes combat with her even more dynamic and interesting. She can melee attack up close, or she can throw her shuriken to damage an enemy at range. Doing so allows you to keep mashing the attack button, causing additional damage, before returning the shuriken to Yuffie. Depending on the size of the enemy, this will see her sweep through the air, meeting her shuriken and the enemy off the ground, and laying some big aerial attacks on them.
Split into two chapters, Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade: Episode INTERmission is very much an episode of two halves. The first is largely set in Midgar’s slums and, in between some more linear missions, you’ve got the chance to freely wander around. The slums are a fascinating place, bustling with life and characters to interact with. It’s here that you’ll be able to play the new minigame introduced as part of the DLC: Fort Condor.
No RPG is complete without a random game for your character to play, right? Fort Condor is a strategic combat board game played one-on-one, with your goal to bring down the enemy’s base. You’ll have a number of units to place, each one costing a set number of attack points. The battle line starts in the centre of the board, but as your units push further closer to your enemy’s base, the line will move in your favour, until you’re victorious and have taken over the whole board. If you enjoy strategic combat you’ll get a little kick out of it – and it’s a nice nod to the location of Fort Condor from the original Final Fantasy VII.
The second chapter of Episode INTERmission sees Yuffie and her sidekick, Sonon, a brand new character for the franchise, infiltrate Shinra’s headquarters. That’s the whole reason Yuffie has travelled to Midgar: she wants to steal the ultimate materia the company is apparently working on. It won’t come without its perils of course, and much of your time inside Shinra’s building plays out like a series of battle challenges. There’s not much time (or space) for exploration, but there are a few environmental puzzles along the way, like hitting switches to open up walkways, or climbing up a grill to reach a higher level.
The highlights here are the boss fights – if you’ve played through Final Fantasy VII Crisis Core or Dirge of Cerberus you’ll likely recognise some faces. But even without prior knowledge, each boss encounter is exhilarating. As you’d expect from Final Fantasy, they’re exceptionally designed and provide a challenging but rewarding battle.
I’m not going to talk about story in much detail, but needless to say there’s a nice amount of narrative running through Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade: Episode INTERmission. Much of it revolves around Yuffie and Sonon, two characters who you’ll quickly come to care for, even if their stories aren’t allowed much time to truly shine. But Yuffie as a character is easy to love; she’s bubbly, over the top and a little wild, and her upbeat personality shines through in almost all situations.
Sticking around after the credits roll will give you a five-minute cutscene featuring Cloud, Barret, Aerith, Tifa and Red XIII which presumably sets the scene for the next game – but that’s all I’m saying.
Although Episode INTERmission doesn’t build much on Final Fantasy VII Remake‘s story, instead being mostly its own diversion, it’s an excellent excuse to revisit Midgar. Not that we need an excuse when it looks as fantastic as this. Yuffie makes an excellent protagonist; her combat is fast-paced and dynamic, and her straight-faced sidekick Sonon is the ideal antidote to her loveable but in-your-face personality. It may only be short, but there are plenty of side activities to keep you busy. Essentially, if you have Final Fantasy VII Remake and a PS5, then this DLC is not to be missed.
Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade: Episode INTERmission Review: GameSpew’s Score