Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade is out now on PlayStation 5 – and it makes the best RPG of 2020 even better. The upgrade brings the game up to 60fps (fps), adds a photo mode, and improves on some less flattering textures (the final door looks like a door, instead of a large pixel). Most significantly, Intergrade delivers a few extra hours of gameplay in the form of its INTERmission episode.
The DLC is a four-hour adventure starring Yuffie, the 16-year-old ninja from the 1997 classic. Like most DLC, there’s plenty of familiarity with new content. It makes smart use of available assets, recycling enemies and locations from the main game. There are some new bosses and a surprisingly deep Fort Condor minigame, but INTERmission is mostly a victory round around Midgar through a new pair of eyes.
That change of opinion makes a big difference. Yuffie is a refreshing change of pace from the fledgling Cloud, with childlike enthusiasm and lightning-fast attacks. Though what really makes her stand out as a main character is much more subtle: It’s her character image.
From the very beginning of INTERmission, we knew we were having a very different type of hero. We are immediately introduced to Yuffie, dressed in an oversized moogle outfit, as she gazes out at Midgar majestically. The scene quickly turned into an everyday comedy. A flock of pigeons flew by, knocking Yuffie off the cliff. Limbs fly in all directions as she tries to recover from a free fall. The moment becomes momentarily graceful as she regains control and lands perfectly on a tattered roof like a gymnast. There’s a moment of calm before one final punch: She dashes through the building like Wile E. Coyote.
Those Looney Tunes moments are present throughout the adventure, with Yuffie tumbling around Midgar with a combination of ninja grace and teenage clumsiness. While Cloud carries a weight of self-respect, Yuffie always looks as if he’s exploding as he explores Midgar, and that energy is contagious.
It’s not just in the cutscenes. There are few animation details that even in the most mundane moments will keep you entertained. As she raced across a string of narrow platforms, she spread her arms to her sides as her Moogle hat fluttered in the wind. She climbs down the nets by jumping from step to step instead of carefully finding her place on each step.
That enthusiasm is evident even in something as simple as sitting on a couch, which acts as rebound points in the game. As Cloud sits on a couch, he lazily leans back against it with obvious fatigue (or maybe just indifference). Yuffie, on the other hand, threw herself on it like its beanbag chair, kicking her feet with glee.
All of those details sound petty, but they help sell the DLC’s thematic elements. In an initial conversation, Yuffie chats about a bar full of drunken adults who constantly complain about the kids not understanding the value of hard work and the death of society.
“Ugh, how could they not see that surname who destroys it!? ‘ she complained.
It was a defining moment in INTERmission that made it stand out from the Rework, do it again adventure. While Cloud’s story is full of big themes revolving around the idea of fate and destiny, Yuffie’s story is more personal. The film is about a child trying to make a difference in a bleak world without sacrificing his playful energy. As a result, the way we interact with Midgar is much different this time around. It’s still the same old-fashioned scene we came across in the original, but Yuffie refuses to be knocked down by it. The world is still her playground.
Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade only adds depth to the already bustling Midgar. Updated visuals give it more detail than ever, making it well worth revisiting. INTERmission just adds to that experience by letting us experience the world through a character who is truly happy to be there, rather than people dying to escape. It’s a surprisingly playful piece of content for a game about ecological disaster.
Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade Now available on PS5. The INTERmission episode can be purchased separately for $20.