Final Fantasy VII Remake’s tone typically slides between mild, humorous moments and darkish, tragic drama. But from the primary moments of Intermission, the DLC mission added to the sport with its Intergrade PlayStation 5 improve, it is clear this new episode is usually a comedy. In jumps Yuffie, one of many unique recreation’s non-obligatory characters, and instantly her harmful espionage mission to infiltrate the evil Shinra Corporation in Midgar is performed like a child goofing off. It’s a vibe that basically works for the DLC, buying and selling on the truth that Remake continues to be nice about establishing enjoyable, eccentric characters.
Taking place in the course of Remake’s story, in the course of the portion wherein Cloud is separated from his compatriots, it follows Yuffie as she embarks on a mission to steal a secret Shinra weapon on behalf of her homeland, Wutai. Though the mission is harmful, Yuffie approaches it with all of the seriousness of a child taking part in pretend–even although she’s on her method to first meet with Midgar’s Shinra resistance motion, Avalanche, after which sneak into the headquarters of an organization that not too long ago concluded a full-scale warfare together with her house.
The bother with Intermission is that this aspect story does not really feel important to something happening. Sure, the DLC is offering context and backstory for a personality that followers of the unique Final Fantasy VII know will present up later within the story, however Yuffie’s mission is essentially about her wandering round areas we have already seen, floating previous however barely interacting with Remake’s forged, and collaborating in minigames to waste a while. Yuffie’s a enjoyable character to spend time with, even when you do not have historical past together with her from the primary iteration of Final Fantasy VII, however it all comes off as a tease for one thing higher down the street in FF7 Remake’s subsequent installment. And after the remarkably deep and excellently realized model of the story that’s Remake, Intermission looks like precisely that: a half-measure to fill time whereas we look forward to the true present.
That’s to not say Intermission is not enjoyable to play most of the time, although. When Yuffie is in fight, which is fairly rattling typically, she’s a blast to play. Like all of the characters of Remake’s essential forged, Yuffie has her personal distinctive fight fashion that distinguishes her from how everybody else has performed so far. As a Wutai ninja, she packs a throwing star that is good as each a detailed-vary melee weapon and at lengthy ranges. The choices let you management the gap as you battle enemies–you can get in near wail on them, bounce again to create a niche, then throw the star for distant harm that Yufife follows up with elementally charged “Ninjutsu” assaults that hold her out of hurt’s manner. Tap the Triangle button and you’ll retrieve your thrown star, not by drawing it again to you, however by sending Yuffie to it, permitting you to rapidly shut gaps and use enemies to maneuver across the battlefield.
Yuffie’s fight is all about controlling area and touchdown combos, and the string of melee assaults, star throws, and Ninjutsu let you completely lay into enemies for lengthy barrages that may knock them off their ft and make them simple to dispatch. Once you get a rhythm down, there are occasions when it may be virtually too simple to dismantle foes with all of the choices Yuffie has on-hand, particularly as you add extra weapons and materia to the combination. She’s a quick-paced fighter who might be devastating if you string her assaults collectively, and it is a variety of enjoyable to deftly combine all of her assaults collectively to dominate the battlefield.
Partway by way of the primary chapter, Yuffie is joined by Sonon, her accomplice on the mission and a barely older Wutai operative. In fight, Sonon acts as one other means by which Yuffie can construct out combos. You cannot management him, however you may set off “synergy,” which has Yuffie and Sonon executing capability assaults for large harm and added results. It’s a cool, if pretty easy, system that gives one other instrument for fight, whereas protecting the give attention to Yuffie and her particular fashion.
It’s within the dynamic between Yuffie and Sonon the place we see shades of Remake, and Intermission at its greatest. Because Yuffie is technically the senior ninja regardless of her age, Sonon defers to her, whereas bouncing between exasperation for her overconfident, simply-wing-it antics, and attempting to offer her somewhat useful recommendation. For her half, Yuffie takes all of it in stride. She is aware of how nice a ninja she is, however she additionally by no means lets go of that air of excitedly performing “cool” for whoever occurs to be trying in her course. She’s a child of unbelievable expertise who’s nonetheless determined to be taken significantly, whereas Sonon is a protecting older brother kind searching for a center floor between annoying overbearance and dangerous overindulgence.
While the dynamic between Yuffie and Sonon is an fascinating one, it does not get examined or pushed a lot. That’s as a result of the DLC neither covers an particularly very long time, nor places the pair in particularly impactful conditions (you may wrap up the principle story in 4 or 5 hours, longer if you happen to resolve to do some aspect content material). The first chapter sees Yuffie and Sonon serving to an Avalanche member keep away from getting captured by Shinra by wandering by way of a sanitation plant within the undercity; the second has them working across the Shinra constructing. There are not any actual twists or turns and there is not a lot in the best way of battle apart from the mission itself and the robots Shinra dispatches to attempt to cease you.
The similar goes for what the story provides to the general story of Remake. Intermission plops you in the course of Sector 7 in the course of the tumultuous time earlier than the story’s midpoint, however you largely simply get just a few strains that flesh out the backstory of the squad of Remake. What’s extra fascinating are the bits wherein Yuffie and Sonon have idle discussions concerning the political state of affairs in Midgar and the remainder of the world, in addition to their ideological similarities and variations to Avalanche and its anti-Shinra operations.
Those little tidbits are the place what Intermission provides to the story appears helpful. It offers these little appears into each Yuffie’s character and the bigger political panorama of Final Fantasy VII Remake, in a manner that helps you perceive the world somewhat higher. But these small objects are fairly few and much between, and whereas the character-constructing for Yuffie is good, it isn’t tremendous clear why we’re revisiting this cut-off date or these locations, or what revisiting them provides to the sport general.
There’s an enormous swing on this feeling proper on the finish of the DLC, the place Intermission begins throwing deep-reduce FF7 characters into the combination. It appears fairly clear that the concept right here is to carry the broader FF7 universe, fleshed out in spin-offs like Crisis Core and Dirge of Cerberus into the principle storyline, however the DLC does not present any context for what is going on on or, crucially, who these persons are. Again, it performs into the concept Intermission looks like a tease for the place issues are going afterward, once we’re prone to get a extra full have a look at a few of these parts. For now, it largely provides confusion, particularly if you happen to’re not overly conversant in all that additional FF7 lore, and makes for some lower than satisfying moments because the DLC wraps up.
Apart from the principle story, Intermission additionally provides some aspect content material to maintain you busy, however it largely appears to exist to pad the runtime. There are just a few new fight challenges and minigames, like Whack-A-Box (wherein you break bins by hitting them, incomes factors earlier than a timer runs out) and Fort Condor, a type of mild technique recreation. Fort Condor is the massive new merchandise in Intermission, mixing the spirit of chess with the creature summoning of Magic: The Gathering, within the broadest sense. You get a collection of characters you may place on the board, who then march towards your opponent’s aspect and attempt to destroy their three forts. Your opponent may drop characters, and who wins a battle will depend on a rock-paper-scissors system that determines which varieties of characters get the higher hand. Its simplicity makes it very simple to choose up and play.
Fort Condor might be enjoyable, particularly as you add new items and boards to your repertoire, which provide you with quite a lot of choices to your assaults and defenses, and the flexibility to make use of some magic spells throughout a match. But it is all fairly simplistic, finally. You do not management the character, you simply select the place to place them, and the technique is all about what items you employ and when. Boards that allow you to get items out quicker and in larger numbers are inclined to win, and there is simply not a variety of brainy choices or strategic pondering that may assist you to win out if you happen to occur to have the flawed set of items of a selected matchup. With solely a handful of matches to play throughout your first run by way of the story, it additionally will not hold you busy for very lengthy.
Altogether, Fort Condor, the story of Intermission, and all the opposite content material within the DLC endure from the identical drawback: They really feel exceedingly skinny. Not that an add-on chapter to a recreation must be particularly huge, however Intermission is a DLC that largely takes place in one of many hub areas of FF7 Remake, and but lacks significant character interactions or aspect quests to flesh out its world. Hanging out with Yuffie and Sonon is enjoyable, however when you have run-ins with quite a lot of essential characters in key moments, the entire thing brings little to your understanding of the story of Remake as a complete.
In the tip, Intermission is a pit cease, a fast jaunt into the fuel station minimart of Final Fantasy VII to refuel, seize a snack, and prepare to attend some extra. With its enjoyable fight and quirky character moments, it’s going to possible remind you of what you want about FF7 Remake–but it will not be sufficient to carry you over.