Developer: Square Enix
Publisher: Square Enix
Platform: Reviewed on PS5 (also available on PC)
Release Date: 10/06/21
Time Played: 4 Hours
A remake of Final Fantasy VII has been clamoured for by fans for over a decade. This wish was finally answered (well, sort of) in 2020 with the release of Final Fantasy VII Remake. This was a mostly faithful retelling of the Midgar section from the original, with new content, a new combat system, as well as story repercussions. While waiting for the next part to arrive, a DLC was released alongside the PS5 upgrade that would focus on everybody’s favourite ninja, Yuffie.
Episode INTERmission is a relatively short addition that encompasses wholly new story events, a revamp of a mini-game from the original, alongside some fresh combat mechanics that improve interactivity between party members. But how does this stack up to the main game, and is it worth your time? Let’s find out!
INTERmission takes place during the events of the main game, roughly around the time Tifa goes to Don Corneo’s mansion. We take control of Yuffie, an agent/ninja from the nation of Wutai. She’s there on a mission to infiltrate Shinra’s headquarters to steal a legendary materia that’s rumoured to have been made. In order to pull off this daring heist, she must team up with fellow Wutai agent, Sonon, as well as other allies. After retrieving the necessary ID cards to get up to the plates and through Shinra security, Yuffie and Sonon fight their way through the headquarters to complete the mission. It’s a fairly compact storyline that hits plenty of emotional and epic moments.
Yuffie is such loveable character, a bubbly and enthusiastic personality who can also be serious when needed. It always made me laugh whenever Sonon called her boss, as she’s not your stereotypical ‘boss’ character. Speaking of whom, Sonon is the perfect partner to balance out Yuffie’s more playful persona. Plus, the few bits of backstory we get of him do hit you in the feels, and his motivations in the DLC feel appropriate. Head of Shinra’s weapons development, Scarlet, makes a return as the primary antagonist. It’s a great choice, as she was charismatically evil in the main story, and left me wanting more. The story as a whole works really well, where the more compact nature benefits the pacing, as opposed to the main game’s frequent, bloated filler. Not only that, but this new story content fits really nicely into the lore. In comparison, the drastic additions made in main game’s story felt so awkward, forced and out of place. It’s well handled here.
On the other hand, the sublime, action-combat is as thrilling here as it was in the base game. The main difference here is that you only have two party members and can only actively control Yuffie. You can, however, still issue direct commands to Sonon through the action menu. To make up for that shortfall in control, new mechanics have been added to compensate. By pressing L2, Yuffie and Sonon can link up and perform basic attack combos together, but also more powerful versions of their skills when they both have an ATB segment to spare. It’s a cool feature that can lead to devastating blows to the enemy. Yuffie’s style of combat is varied. She can get up close and personal with foes, but can also throw her weapon, allowing her to perform ninjitsu abilities from afar before rushing in to retrieve her weapon. Once you get comfortable with it, you’ll be dishing out varied combos to great effect. Boss fights are as epic and multi-layered as before.
In terms of side activities, there are a few quests to complete which are as dull and forgettable as you’d expect. However, there’s once activity I thoroughly enjoyed, the Fort Condor mini-game. This acts as strategy game where you must deploy various different troops/machines in order to destroy the enemy stronghold, while defending your own. It’s reasonably in-depth for an activity you might not even bother with, and even if you do, you won’t be spending that much time with given the DLC’s length.
In terms of presentation and music, Episode INTERmission is brilliant on both accounts. For music, there’s really not much else I need to say other than it’s Final Fantasy. The series is legendary in part because of its iconic soundtracks. It is no different here. The graphics are mostly top-notch, character models particularly. However, it still has the same problem the main game has where textures can look appallingly, low-quality at times. It’s not that frequent, but present enough to make you question why. It’s also moments like this and the overall similar visual make-up that makes me so confused as to why this was a PS5 exclusive? This would 100% have been able to run on a PS4 given the Remake itself was originally built for that console and this version is hardly different. It’s a baffling decision that alienates fans who haven’t managed to upgrade to the PS5 yet. They supported the Remake on the console it was made for, but are unable to experience what is essentially DLC for a PS4 game.
Episode INTERmission is a good little adventure that adds interesting new plot threads as well as extra backstory for Yuffie. I had a real blast playing as Yuffie and making use of her unique, agile style of combat. Coming it at around 3-4 hours depending on how much side activities you do, this is a succinct story worthwhile for fans of the PS4 Remake…if you’ve managed to find and secure a PS5 that is.