Final Fantasy 7 Remake: INTERMISSION Review (PS5)
Genre: Action RPG
Release Date: June 10th,2021
Platforms: Playstation 5
*Game provided to me by Square-Enix
''You're that ninja''
Final Fantasy 7 Remake Intermission is an action adventure game that spans over two chapters giving you a deeper look into the character named Yuffie. Taking the high octane action of Final Fantasy 7 Remake, Square-Enix attempts to give us the story of what was happened during the time of Cloud and crews adventure, only this time from the perspective of the young and loud female ninja from Wutai, Yuffie. But does this D.L.C. do a good at that or does it just feel like a cash grab to continue to ride on the F.F.7 cash cow train. Only one way to find out. So on to it!
Play as Wutai ninja Yuffie Kisaragi as she infiltrates Midgar and conspires with Avalanche H.Q. to steal the ultimate materia from the Shinra Electric Power Company. In what starts out as a simple enough mission, soon turns into something much more dark and devastating. Joined by her partner in crime, Sonon, both he and Yuffie begin their mission to show Shinra that the Wutai and Avalanche are not to be trifled with. But they may have bit off more they can chew.
The adventure of Yuffie and Sonon takes place during the events of the mako reactor 5 bombing that saw Cloud, Tifa and Barret attempt to destroy another reactor, just like they did Mako Reactor 1. While Yuffie has just arrived in Midgar, Cloud has already fallen down into Aerith's church and Tifa and Barret are returning empty handed without him. If you're looking for a deep long reaching story here with this D.L.C, then I think you may feel a tad bit disappointed since Intermission is more about how Yuffie plays and controls over anything else, at least at first. But that's not to say there's NO story to be had, that couldn't be further from the truth. The narrative of her first arriving to Midgar and walking the same steps of the heroes of Final Fantasy 7 remake, actually feels a bit surreal. When you first play F.F.7. remake your perspective was always from the viewpoint of Cloud Strife, but now here in Intermission, you're looking from the outside in on those events and its actually pretty crazy walking through the familiar streets of the slums and seeing things from a totally new vantage point and noticing characters from the main game standing around talking to each other, like Biggs/Wedge/jessie and being able to interact with them as someone not from the main cast is actually really cool. Although Jessie IS a bit of an ass, seriously, what the heck Jessie? but ya, It reminded of how I geeked out the first time I played Dragon Ball Xenoverse and had my created character interact with Goku and the other characters. It felt like I was at Disneyland or somethng!. But you want to know how this game actually plays right and how it holds up next to the main game, isn't that right? well you're going to love to know that it actually has BETTER combat than in F.F.7 Remake, at least in my opinion.
The core mechanics in Intermission are the same as they are in the base game of Remake for the most part, but with a much faster paced style and certain changes. Square still being your melee attack, pressing X to enter tactical mode and slow down time so that you can strategize what ability or spell to use next, upgrading weapon skill trees using A.P. points that you gain from battles in order to strengthen your character with special attributes that gain you higher H.P, higher M.P, additional materia slots, thievery that allows you to mug opponents in order to steal items off of them and even attack power. Much like In remake, each character has multiple weapons to unlock and find, as well as upgrade however you wish to. Materia here in this title also remains unchanged. Find materia spread out through each area or buy some from the shop, however you acquire it, you will be able to equip it to fit the needs of yourself as Yuffie or Sonon. But this is where we come to the downside a little bit, not a big one, but still a little bit of a downer. Previously you were able to control multiple characters at once, up to 3 to be exact, but now here in Intermission, its all cut down to just one playable character, Yuffie herself. Sonon here in Intermission acts more as a companion character in the sense that he's not playable, but he can still be given commands by pressing R.2. and thankfully for all our sake, his A.I. control is pretty competent and he's actually a big help rather than a pain in the neck, unlike SOME other games. Praise be to Yevon for that. Wait, that's the wrong game, oops. I think the main take away really from the combat style is the actual speed itself thanks to the upgrade this game now has on the Playstation 5. Now running at a smooth 60 F.P.S., all movements feel lighting quick, buttery smooth and makes using her attack combinations that much more enjoyable.
Using your weapon of the 4 point shuriken can feel like a bit of a strategy mini game if you treat it like such. For instance certain enemies will be weak to specific elements such as fire, lighting, wind, etc. But using the weapons elemental ninjutsu, you're able to switch to an attack element that an enemy is weak to and hit it with a barrage of attacks from medium and long range distances. This strategy also works by pressing Triangle and throwing your giant shuriken long distances and as soon it makes contact with an enemy, hastily spam your square button to unleash various amounts of damage in quick succession. This will raise your A.T.B. meter up extremely fast, which allows you to chain combination of attacks like Art Of War that unleashes a blistering melee attack to overwhelm your opponent, Windstorm which gusts a large tornado of wind and elemental jutsu, all of these in cooperation with each other can make combat feel so fast paced, you just might disorient yourself. It feels so damn good. The great thing about this upgrade to the combat is that it actually shows the developers listened to us. We had gripes about the aerial combat not being up to par, considering a lot of enemies were flying enemies in Remake and jumping up in that game just felt extremely clunky, but here, it feels so smooth and natural. We also had wished that characters would be able to do combo attacks that compliment each others abilities, but sadly that wasn't the case in remake. Cloud, Tifa, Barret and Aerith were not able to do attacks on conjunction with each other, but now in Intermission when both you and Sonon have a slot on your A.T.B slot filled, by pressing L2, you're able to charge a synchronization sequence that allows you to select synergized art of war and synergized windstorm, both attacks in which Sonon actually participates in the attack with you and you do a double team move. Now THATS what I'm talking about. I absolutely loved it. Please make this a main focal point in Remake part 2. I need more of it in my life.
That's about it for the combat really. Linkable materia to raise magic and other stats, A.P. to bolster weapons, double team cooperation attacks for faster and more intuitive combat. It seems like more of the same from the last game, but with the improvements to its framerate, for fast game play and an amazing fight style for Yuffie. Sometimes less is more. There are just enough tweaks and changes that make an already bad ass combat system even more addicting in itself. Now I know you're wondering about what I said earlier about how there really isn't any major story. Well that's both a yes and no. You won't have a grand epic story like Remake as that game ran 18 chapters and this one only runs two. Overall this game is going to run around 4-10 hours to beat, depending on the content you complete in it and that may seem like very little, however, if you are a fan of getting to know characters, small details that make up the world and easter eggs of not only events that occurred in remake, but teases of what's to come in part 2 of the games remake, which I will dive into at the end of this review, then you will be pleasantly surprised. What remake got right was the character interactions and the small details that showed the developers love and affection toward this franchise and they show the same amount of detail in Intermission as well, including keeping the continuity of Remake intact. For instance as you run about the slums, if you try to enter Tifa's bar, the whispers blow you away. Why is this? well this is because in the original F.F.7 timeline, Yuffie did not meet the gang till WAY later in the journey. You aren't supposed to meet them yet and doing so now would completely change the course of history, which is what the whispers are trying to prevent. Its nothing big, but its the subtle things that make me excited to see the devs thinking that far ahead. Yuffie herself is also bursting with life and energy. In the original F.F.7. she is a bit brash and even hyper at times and thinks very highly of herself. Here in intermission she's roughly the same, a loud and over the top teenager who's ready to face any challenge and beat up everyone in her way. Her enthusiasm and joyful attitude is pretty infectious and it made me smile a lot while playing. One of the funniest on going gags in the game is her handing out Wutai's world famous Da-Chao beans, except they're literally rock hard and nearly break everyones jaw, just like the X-Ray kills in Mortal Kombat. She's like man every one is a wuss!. The only person who can even eat them besides Yuffie is her new buddy Sonon, who she becomes very close to by the end of this game. Like brother and sister.
But once again, the developers know were going to get attached to these characters, just like we did for Biggs,Wedge and Jessie and what do they do to us? they make us feel the pain and suffering of both Yuffie and Sonon. Sonon is still getting over the trauma of his sister that was killed in front of him by Shinra and now he wants revenge and ends up sacrificing himself to save the life of Yuffie , who he now considers to be like his sister, he will not let the same fate come for her. See folks, this is why you don't go to deepground with Nero and Weiss around, bad things happen, just look at how badly Dirge Of Cerberus turned out. Oof. but back on topic, this causes Yuffie to absolutely lose it and completely breakdown crying. As shes running away from Shinra H.Q. still devastated at seeing her friend die, she arrives just in time to see the sector 7 plate collapse down to thousands of people below, witnessing the fire and the death after what she just went through, she completely breaks down in a sorrow heartbreaking scream of pain. Good lord this hit hard. The voice actress was so damn good that you really felt she was feeling the same pain as the character. I was floored and ill admit it, I got teary eyed and it made me feel so damn bad for Yuffie. Her carefree spunk in that instance, now gone. Cut to some time later and she's now off solo venturing into the world and eventually will meet Cloud and the crew on her next journey.
When you are done completing the main game story you can take part in some pretty fun stuff. Such as playing games of Fort Condor with Roche, the crazy soldier from Remake that fought Cloud or the shinra manager that was scared of Barret. Fort Condor is an attack and defend type of mini game that is a nice little throwback to the mission you take on in the original F.F.7. where you defend the condor on top of Fort Condor from getting attacked. Its an amusing little game and kind of addicting too. You're also able to go around the slums and find Happy Turtle Flyers for extra goodies and even complete V.R. missions once again for Chadley where you fight Ramuh and gain the materia to summon him. So much to do after you're done, 10 hours will definitely not be enough play time for this game, I guarantee it. Hell just standing around and listening to the music is even fun!
Where are we heading next:
Ok. I was gonna end the review there but my brain since beating this game has been all over the place. I need somewhere to vent and this is where its going to be. The ending of this game shows our main group of Cloud,Aerith,Tifa,Red 13 and Barret on their way to Kalm after they left Midgar at the end of chapter 18. My opinion here is that remake part 2 is going to immediately pick up from Cloud's backstory from the original F.F.7 where he tells the gang his entire backstory of him and Sephiroth. However, I think its gonna jump straight into the action with showing Cloud and Sephiroth in the truck preparing for their mission or as they arrive in Cloud's hometown Nibelheim. I feel this would be the best route. Not only to give new players a glimpse of the history us long time fans know about already, but it can also act as a tutorial to learn any new combat mechanics and techniques they wish to implement in the new installment as well. But, the biggest thing here is the cutscene that takes place after their trudge towards Kalm. We are greeted to a shot of Aerith's church and who do we see? Zack Fair! he's alive and made it back to Aerith's church to see her. Both Zack and Aerith dated in the events of Crisis Core and he's been gone around 5 years. In the original timeline he dies and never makes it back to her, which was so painful to watch, but now in this timeline, he's alive, finally, he is able to see her once more. So he's pacing wondering what he's going to say to her an decides screw it, I'm Zack Fair, I'll just be me, so excitedly he pulls open the door and exclaims ''IM BACK''. Only to find a church full of devastated civilians and crying women and children. He's shocked and utters out ''Aerith?'' as the music drains out. On the surface this might just look like ''Oh she's just out with Cloud and company on their adventure''. But that's where you're wrong, I feel something more traumatic has happened here.
Aerith is not out on an adventure with Cloud, why is that? because in the timeline where she meets Cloud and the gang, Zack died and gave his hopes and dreams to Cloud, who then became a merc and kicked off the events of the original F.F.7. Without Zacks death, Cloud never becomes that person and those events never happen. So where is she? my opinion? Aerith in this timeline is now dead. That's right, its the good ol butterfly effect. By defeating the whispers, aka plot ghosts, they changed multiple timelines. The only thing keeping Aerith alive, which you see in Remake, are the plot ghosts, who'm save her many times from death due to it not being her fate yet. But now with the plot ghosts being defeated, they no longer exist and in the Zack lives timeline, there are no plot ghosts to prevent her death. Save Aerith in one timeline, the cause and effect is shes dead in another. Mind blown. Symbolism is also very strong in showing this with the sad aerith theme playing in her church, as well as the wilted flowers, which they never wilt, as long as shes around and alive, but now... they're dead or near death. How did she die if she did die, I'm not entirely sure yet. It wasn't by the sector 7 plate fall since that has yet to take place. Guess we'll have to wait and see to find out. But it's definitely got me super excited about where were going next.
At the end of the day, Final Fantasy 7 Remake Intermission offers up more questions than answers to where we are going next, but the one thing we truly do know is that the game play is addicting as ever. Being able to use combination attacks with party members or chain together multiple attacks with synergy as you throw your shuriken and use elemental jutsu for a juggling attack for a decent amount of damage, it never gets old. Sure I wished the game could've been a little bit longer, maybe some more side quests to do that take you around more areas of the slums or giving us a playable second character, but overall those are just small gripes in the grand scheme of things and I can't really think of anything I can say I legit hated or disliked about this D.L.C., other than that fact that they brought in Nero, Weiss and Deepground. Ugh, Dirge Of Cerberus. Man, please don't make them a mainstay. They were the lowest parts of the compilation of F.F.7 series. But I will embrace and play it no matter what so it's whatever square bear. So with all my whacky theories and thoughts out of the way, I guess you can say my verdict here is clear. GameNChick says BUY NOW