In Episode Intermission, Yuffie Kisaragi, self-proclaimed Wutai ninja extraordinaire, lastly makes an appropriately pompous entrance and joins the anti-Shinra fray. Yuffie’s ninjutsu and shuriken-centric talents are an invigoratingly frenetic addition to Remake’s deep, real-time fight system. New supporting characters make temporary appearances and assist convey the Slums, and the sectors past it, to life. And though Intermission’s abbreviated plotline by no means actually lands the mark, it finally serves as a robust introduction to a beloved protagonist whereas hinting at what’s to return in further Final Fantasy VII content material.
Intermission’s loop is just about the identical as final 12 months’s Remake: scour visually arresting hub areas for treasure chests, arbitrarily positioned Materia orbs, and elective task-givers (with the additional benefit of Fort Condor, a brand new table-top minigame). Yuffie’s two chapters take you again to the Slums and Shinra Headquarters. In between the 2 main places, you’ll additionally traverse meandering passages in never-before-seen factories and junkyards. These moments, nevertheless, play out just like the linear, monster-infested locales from the bottom sport. Despite spending most of my time in recycled environments, gossip from close by NPCs and appearances from acquainted faces like Johnny and Chadley made Final Fantasy VII’s world really feel alive. I all the time discovered it good to overhear pockets of residents touch upon my in-game feats as I accomplished missions round city. This additionally helps floor Yuffie and her tight-lipped companion, Sonon, within the bigger story. Even although Cloud, Tifa, and Barrett, aren’t the celebs of this present, their momentous actions – e.g., the Reactor bombings – nonetheless inform Intermission’s story beats.
With the assistance of fresh-faced Avalanche operatives, Yuffie infiltrates Midgar to retrieve a top-secret, omnipotent Materia. However, this overarching objective typically fell to the wayside as a result of the aspect content material was much more attractive to chew on. Still, I didn’t thoughts this as a result of reconnecting with outdated friends like Jesse and Wedge in Fort Condor or slaying wild beats repeatedly with Yuffie and Sonon’s flashy flurries was the place the expertise actually got here collectively.
Combat is Intermission’s bread and butter. The minute I took management of Yuffie, I used to be enamored together with her eye-popping agility – long-range shuriken throws remodel into close-combat combos within the blink of a watch. Afterimage results fill the display screen because the whimsical ninja pierces her foes in mid-air whereas conducting high-altitude flips. Yuffie’s acrobatic barrages are reflective of her flashy and eccentric persona. She’s additionally fairly resourceful as her default weapon can change components on the fly, which helps alleviate any menu parsing that you’d usually do to equip Materia. Thankfully, I by no means wanted to step away from the motion to arrange for enemy weaknesses, making fight extra streamlined and fixed. Because of this, I solely ever outfitted different weapons to max out their proficiencies; the early-game 4-Point Shuriken was simply too precious to sideline.
Synergized assaults – tag-team talents that may solely be activated if each Yuffie and Sonon have no less than one ATB cost – really feel like miniature Limit Breaks with their very own dazzling cinematics and substantial harm numbers. I can’t bear in mind a single time the place I didn’t attempt to benefit from this function, and I typically wished that Remake applied one thing prefer it. Watching Yuffie straddle Sonon’s workers, whereas bringing that ultimate blow down on a boss by no means obtained outdated.
Fort Condor, an entertaining respite from the extreme battle sequences, is a tower-defense mode the place troops beneath three distinct courses (attackers, vanguard, and ranged) conflict to take out enemy outposts. Each class has a particular weak point, and by customizing your roster earlier than a match begins, you may create optimum builds that prioritize completely different playstyles. There is one caveat: spawning reinforcements drains an AP bar, which not solely prevents overcrowding, however highlights split-second choice making.
I loved inserting bases on the board to spawn decrease price models in order that I wouldn’t need to micromanage each section of a given match. Baiting enemy troopers in direction of one aspect of the map and sending speedy attackers to barrage deserted outposts was satisfying, particularly on greater difficulties. With solely a handful of rivals, Fort Condor nonetheless seems like a tagged-on function. Similarly, I want that there have been extra boards and models to buy from native outlets. Fort Condor jogs my memory of The Witcher 3’s Gwent and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla’s Orlog, and I hope to see extra of it applied sooner or later.
Episode Intermission is dropped at life by its bubbly, albeit goofy, foremost character. I cherished how Yuffie’s persona got here by within the myriad ways in which she interacted with every setting – i.e., sliding down poles or flinging her shuriken at far off mechanical switches to resolve environmental puzzles. Exploration and fight are bolstered by an eclectic rating that sports activities jazzy trumpets in addition to roaring guitar riffs. And the extent of element that the Graphics Mode brings to flowy clothes, strands of hair, and different textures by no means ceased to amaze me. I want that Intermission’s narrative was just a little longer in order that I may spend extra time attending to know its small solid however Yuffie rises to the event. I can’t wait to see how she matches into what’s subsequent for Remake.