A year has come and gone since the launch of Final Fantasy VII Remake – it’s almost a fever dream, in a way, who could have expected 2020 of all things to birth the release and revival of one of history’s greatest RPGs. Certainly, it arrived in this world to great applause – from both us and others abroad. This arrival signaled the importance of Final Fantasy VII‘s continued legacy, one that remains incredibly active today and into the future.
That future edges ever near with the release of Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade – an updated experience exclusively for PlayStation 5 that improves on the original in every way. Armed with 4K visuals and 60FPS action, this expanded and shined up take ramps up the experience with the addition of new content featuring fan-favorite character Yuffie Kisaragi. Under the banner of FF7R Episode INTERmission, Square Enix has provided us with an eyes-on, hands-off preview of what to expect when the game drops on June 10th.
Check out our footage below:
Following the footsteps of Final Fantasy in the modern era, FF7R Episode INTERmission aims to expand the existing Final Fantasy VII Remake experience with a new adventure. It’s a solo mission this time with players taking control of one world-class ninja – Yuffie Kisaragi, who’s travelled to Midgar to steal the ultimate materia from the Shinra Electric Power Company.
INTERmission will introduce new faces to the world of FFVII, along with new takes on gameplay elements and a different perspective on the overarching main story.
Fans might be wondering when exactly this new content takes place. Simply put, it coincides with the main events of Remake – following the destruction of Mako Reactor 5, Wutai decides to make its move and infiltrate Midgar.
It’s here that Yuffie and her fellow ninja operative Sonon take up a dangerous mission to steal Shinra’s most powerful materia. With the support of Avalanche Headquarters, they’ll dive deep into enemy territory to exact revenge and restore the glory of their homeland. With the wheel of fate turning, unforeseen consequences are found within.
To that end, the preview introduces Yuffie as she’s made her way into Midgar. First she must meet up with Avalanche contacts – navigating tricky terrain and monsters that lay in her path.
“Before you stands a rare bloom: the single white rose of Wutai… the one-and-only Yuffie!”
Yuffie Kisaragi hails from Wutai on the far western continent, and is an elite ninja operative who wields a large throwing star and considers herself a beautiful materia hunter. After her homeland becomes occupied by Shinra following a brutal war, she is ordered by the Wutaian government to infiltrate Midgar as part of a special mission: to steal the most powerful materia Shinra owns. For Yuffie, it’s an opportunity to return glory to her once-proud home. Character Voice: Suzie Yeung (English) Yumi Kakazu (Japanese)
Sonon Kusakabe is a warrior from Wutai, who trained under Godo Kisaragi – Yuffie’s father. He has first-hand experience with Shinra’s expansion across the globe and the devastation left in its wake, which has led him to foster a deep resentment of the company. Sonon is assigned to Yuffie during her mission to Midgar and acts as her subordinate. His grounded nature is a foil for his superior’s more energetic antics. Character Voice: Aleks Le (English) Yoshimasa Hosoya (Japanese)
Avalanche’s main Midgar branch is featured prominently in INTERmission. Like Barret’s cell, they’re planetologists opposed to the Shinra Electric Power Company and its use of mako energy and the ill effects it’s having on the Planet’s own life force. However, this cell is less about blowing up reactors and more about freeing the people of Midgar from Shinra through more peaceful means. In cahoots with the Wutaian government and Avalanche HQ, they assist Yuffie and Sonon with their mission.
Zhijie who acts as Avalanche HQ’s intermediary with the Wutaian government and is from Wutai himself. He’s street smart and quick on his feet, which has helped him get to know the undercity well. Zhijie serves as Yuffie and Sonon’s guide to the back streets when they arrive in Midgar. Character Voice: Griffin Puatu (English) Akira Igarashi (Japanese)
Nayo was born and raised in Midgar’s undercity, and is the group’s watchdog. After Avalanche and the Wutaian government agree to operate together, she takes it upon herself to ensure that Yuffie and Sonon have the clearance they need to infiltrate the plate above. Character Voice: Ashley Boettcher (English) Akane Fujita (Japanese)
Billy Bob is a laid-back carefree Dude who has lived his entire life in the Midgar undercity and is actually with Avalanche HQ. He’s the oldest and most experienced member of the group and has a penchant for heavy drinking. For Billy Bob, there’s no better way to collect important information circulating through Midgar by doing a bit of recon at the bar. Character Voice: David Goldstein (English) Kenichi Hoshino (Japanese)
Polk is the group’s baby brother; the youngest and the newest, which means he’s doted upon and picked upon in equal measures. While he’s dedicated to furthering Avalanche’s cause, his current passion is Fort Condor, a tabletop game that’s all the rage in Midgar’s undercity. Character Voice: Daniel Amerman (English) Nobuyori Sagara (Japanese)
Old Snapper is a shell-bound sign spinner working for the Happy Turtle bar and challenges Yuffie to find six flyers hidden around Sector 7. Fans of the original Final Fantasy VII will likely remember the Turtle’s Paradise sidequest to track down the establishment’s flyers scattered throughout the world. It seems he also has a use for “Condor Coins,” though how they’re obtained is still a mystery.
“Put the claws away, Boss. Least while we’re in Shinra territory.” – Sonon
Gameplay & Combat
As you might expect from a ninja, Yuffie flits about the battlefield with her giant throwing star. Up close, she can slash enemies with a press of the Square button, the default Attack command. Hold down Square and Yuffie will continue to attack, moving out of range where she can follow up with her Triangle button ability: Throw. Once it’s airborne, Yuffie can use a long-range Ninjutsu ability with the Square button or Retrieve her weapon with another tap of the Triangle button – though the throwing star will return automatically after a set amount of time.
Yuffie’s ability Art of War buffets an enemy with blows, and all subsequent attacks deal increased damage. Windstorm creates a gust of wind that damages nearby enemies and launches them towards you. Elemental Ninjutsu will use and temporarily enhance fire, ice, lightning, or wind ninjutsu. (Notice how the icon next to Yuffie’s nameplate will display her current elemental affinity.) Each of these abilities consumes 1 ATB charge. Banishment, when used, will buff other abilities used afterwards and comes in three ascending power levels. It can even be elementally-charged with Elemental Ninjutsu.
Naturally, Yuffie can equip and use materia – we see her with Steal and Assess which can be found in the main game. She can also use her “Bloodbath” Limit Break to unleash a flurry of blows that deal a large amount of damage.
In the field, Yuffie uses her throwing star to smash destructible boxes. Like Barret, she can target them from a distance. Her ninja training also allows her to traverse her environment with an acrobatic flair.
Sonon eventually accompanies Yuffie in battle, and while you can’t directly control him, Yuffie can issue commands and Synergize with Sonon to pull off powered-up versions of her own abilities. You can accomplish this by having the requisite ATB charges available and pressing the L2 button to perform a synergized attack; Yuffie and Sonon’s nameplates will glow when synergy attacks can be performed.
Additionally, he also has his own set of abilities: Twirling Lunge will set upon a foe while spinning, significantly increasing the stagger gauge. Fighting Spirit will have Sonon continue to target a single enemy to deal increased damage. Other abilities include “Swirling Storm.” His “Dance of the Dragon” Limit Break delivers myriad blows with his staff, dealing a large amount of damage.
Just like the base game, INTERmission will include Summon Materia, specifically Ramuh. The “Lord of Levin” can be summoned by equipping his materia, and allowing the Summon gauge to fill to completion. Then, from the command menu, you can summon Ramuh to deal massive lightning elemental damage. His Voltaic Lance ability will conjure lances of electricity to hit nearby enemies for a short amount of time. Judgment Bolt, Ramuh’s ultimate attack, is a wide-ranging storm that rains down lightning bolts on the battlefield.
“Get wrecked!” – Yuffie
In the original Final Fantasy VII, Cloud and company visited Fort Condor en route to Junon. It’s here they discover a resistance group opposed to Shinra’s mako reactor occupying the nesting grounds of a giant condor. You could take part in a mini-game where you are tasked with defending the summit by placing units on a battlefield to defend against waves of Shinra troops.
In INTERmission, Fort Condor is a tabletop game inspired by Shinra’s military campaign that’s become popular in the Sector 7 undercity, where Polk introduces it to Yuffie. It’s functionally quite similar to the original game, albeit with a few more bells and whistles. Essentially, you want to place the right types of units to push back oncoming waves of enemies to secure victory.
First off, you’ll select a board, which pre-determines the amount of ATB you’ll have as well as the materia you can use. ATB charges determine the rate at which you can deploy units to the battlefield. Once placed, units will automatically march toward the front lines in an attempt to push the enemy back. Units come in three types: vanguard, ranged, or defense.(Think rock-paper-scissors.) You’ll want to select units that can exploit your enemy’s weaknesses. Aforementioned materia can be used once per game and are quite powerful, but you can only use them once per battle, so you’ll want to deploy them wisely.
You’ll be able to challenge other NPCs to matches, and even win a rare orb of materia by challenging and defeating the Fort Condor “grandmaster.” That’s the rumor in Sector 7, anyway.
“You look about ready to die of boredom. Wanna play Fort Condor?” – Polk
INTERmission is aiming to tell a story that we didn’t see in the original game, and one that the Remake sought to expand. Avalanche and Wutai are greater, more prominent actors in the events of the planetary crisis, and we’re given more time to inspect and explore the goings-on outside of Cloud and company’s vicinity. It’s a welcome addition in the sense that these characters and their story isn’t just some errant sidequest – they’re integrated organically into the story the remade FFVII is trying to tell.
Gameplay is also expanded here – offering up a number of elements suitable for Yuffie’s solo adventure. Unlike the main game, your reliance on both Sonon and her strike a decidedly different approach to the existing battle system and its their synergy that carries through the core of combat.
The visuals have been polished to a new shine not seen in the PS4 version of Remake. Midgar looks better than ever wrapped in next generation improvements – from lighting, textures, effects – the whole package is tuned for the better. The icing is of course the 60 frame per second enabled in Performance Mode and the difference is quite drastic.
Other bits of note include new music sprinkled throughout. Those in charge have deemed fit to dip their toes into a variety of genres judging from the few pieces heard in the preview. The English voice acting also continues to be a solid experience.
Rounded out, it feels like Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade and INTERmission are set to be the definitive experience.
For those looking to get their hands on FF7R Episode INTERmission, you’ll need one very important thing: a PlayStation 5. Unfortunately the game won’t be available on PS4 as it’s designed to shift players over to the next generation. However, if you find yourself with said PS5 and already have a copy of Final Fantasy VII Remake you’re golden. Just grab the upgrade patch and buy INTERmission from the PlayStation Store. As a reminder, anyone with the free version that was recently available on PlayStation+ will not be eligible for that upgrade.
If you’re a newcomer, there’s an all-in-one option available to you too – just simply grab the PS5 disc or digital version.
Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade is due out on June 10. FF7R Episode INTERmission will be available as a separate purchase for $19.99.
Disclaimer: Footage provided by the publisher, Square Enix. Captured on PlayStation 5 in Performance Mode.