There’s really not much more that can be written about the Final Fantasy VII Remake. It’s been out for over a year, and was even a PlayStation Plus giveaway a couple of months ago, giving anyone who wanted to play it a chance to check it out and relive one of the most influential games ever made. Now, the game has been pushed to the PlayStation 5 with the new Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade, which also includes a new two-chapter side-story featuring everyone’s favorite Wutai ninja, Yuffie Kisaragi, which is arguably the selling point here.
Now, I was originally apprehensive about the remaster when it was first announced that Square Enix was splitting the massive narrative into chapters, and this full-priced game would only encompass the first third — at most — of the epic story. Everything about Final Fantasy VII Remake smelled like a cash grab, but then Square Enix shocked the world with one of the best action RPGs of a generation (and my game of the year pick for 2020), making the wait for the next chapter almost unbearable.
Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade hopes to make the wait a little better by giving fans another reason to run through Midgar — even if you’ve already secured the platinum trophy — simply put, the game looks and plays so much better on the PlayStation 5.
Character models look sharper than ever, the game runs at 60FPS, lighting has been revamped, and load times have been cut down. This is obviously the definitive version of the Final Fantasy VII Remake, and the best part is you can upgrade from the PS4 version for free, provided you purchased it last spring and didn’t pick it up through PlayStation Plus. Square Enix is even selling the Yuffie-centric INTERMission story as a stand-alone purchase for $20, should you already have the full game on PS5 and don’t want to purchase the whole package again. In other words, you have options.
Yuffie’s two-chapter story is short but sweet. The infectiously adorable Yuffie plays fast with both a ranged attack with her shuriken weapon class and a melee attack using ninja skills. The two attacks can be strung together in a combo for more damage, and learning her moves and abilities is a blast. The DLC really fleshes her out as a character, giving her a hinted-at-backstory. You also have the chance to get to know more about her as a person, and not just a character that you may or may not have come across in the 1997 original game.
Yuffie is joined in this concurrent side story by a new character named Sonon, who plays a tank role, holding enmity so Yuffie can deal massive amounts of damage to everything from common rats to massive Shinra mechs. Yuffie and Sonon have past ties that are revealed in the story, and even Sonon is given a satisfying story arc that has some good emotional beats. Sadly, you can only control Yuffie, as Sonon can only be used for synergy attacks, though he can be manipulated through materia placement and skill-building to not only serve as a tank, but also act as a healer, making him an invaluable asset to the 7-10 hour mini-adventure.
The INTERMission story takes place shortly after the Avalanche attack on Reactor 4, and ends as Plate 7 falls, to give you some narrative context. Yuffie and Sonon are trying to break into Shinra headquarters to steal the ultima materia, and there are some appearances from some familiar faces and familiar locations. INTERMission also adds some minor distractions, like the Fort Condor tower defense minigame, which you play by challenging NPCs around the slums, and a new summons in the form of Ramuh, which can be acquired from Chadley’s VR program.
The Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade INTERMission chapter is incredibly fun but annoyingly short, and without any idea of when the next full chapter of the Final Fantasy VII Remake is coming, I wish it was a little longer. Beating the story does unlock a new extended ending for the main core FF7R characters, and also introduces a few other characters from offshoot games like Dirge of Cerebus and Crisis Core, which is cause for excitement for dedicated fans.
Admittedly, the only real complaint I have with Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade is how Square Enix all but ignored the adaptive triggers and haptic response of the DualSense 5 controller. Even Final Fantasy XIV Online makes use of these features, making the decision to omit it here a real head-scratcher.
Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade is the definitive version of one of the best games ever made, and the inclusion of a new story chapter makes it that much more worthy of the title. In 2029, when the second half of the remake finally comes out, Square Enix will have (hopefully) figured out how to incorporate the DualSense 5 controller a little better, but by then, we might be talking about the DualSense 6, and the game will be uploaded to and played solely within our minds, so it may not matter anyway.
This review is based on the PlayStation 5 version of Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade. A copy was provided to us by Square Enix.