Sony's latest State of Play treated us to our first look at Final Fantasy 7 Remake Intergrade, a shiny updated version of Square Enix's reimagining for the PS5. Bringing graphical enhancements, bonus features, and additional content to Midgar, Intergrade expands and improves on the initial release to give newcomers another reason to dive into the adventure, and longtime fans like me the perfect excuse to relive the adventure all over again.
If nothing else, the upgrade shows that the studio is ready to go all-in on Final Fantasy 7 in 2021, even if we've still yet to see or hear much of anything about the highly anticipated Final Fantasy Remake Part 2. Prior to the State of Play, rumors were already doing the rounds that we might see Cloud and the gang make an appearance during the showcase, but few saw a big surprise coming – the reveal of fan-favorite character Yuffie Kisaragi, who has been given a remake of her own ahead of her debut appearance in a new DLC episode arriving as part of Intergrade.
Yuffie has arrived
Seeing Yuffie Kurasagi jump (or rather fall) onto the screen wearing a Moogle cape during the showcase sent my heart soaring, and within minutes my social feeds lit up with outpourings of love and excitement for the returning character. I can hardly wait for my upcoming reunion with her in the Remake, but even if you aren't familiar with the character from the original game or the compilation, there's nothing quite as exciting as seeing a fresh face who holds the promise of letting you try out a different combat style in an all-new story mission that will offer a new perspective.
Packed full of personality, Yuffie is a Materia hunter and Ninja who wields oversized shurikens to deliver long-ranged attacks. In the showcase, you get to see Yuffie in action for the first time using the Remake's spin on the original combat system. With attack and throw actions, you can see Yuffie launch an enemy into the air to deliver a flurry of hits, and bombard a foe with damage by swirling her Shuriken at close-range. The Materia hunter can also use her Shuriken outside of battling to hit boxes for items. Most excitingly, though, she even propels off her party member Sonon's weapon to deliver some seriously slick-looking blows, and the sense of teamwork really shows as the pair work in tandem to defeat enemies.
In the original 1997 release of Final Fantasy 7, Yuffie is an optional playable character who can join your party, should you encounter her in the forest after Cloud leaves Midgar. I figured we'd see her in part 2 of Final Fantasy 7 Remake, so I was equal parts surprised and excited to see her introduced as part of a new mission set in the city. As many were quick to point out, there's no mention of this Yuffie episode coming to PS4, which suggests it will be exclusive to the PS5 version. PS4 players who already own the game will be able to get the PS5 upgrade for free when Intergrade releases on June 10, but you have to wonder if the DLC will make its way to the last-gen console for those who don't have a PS5, and what this might mean for future of the series.
Yuffie aside, there's plenty of other features coming to Intergrade that give you plenty of reasons to dive back into the adventure or try it out for the first time. To take advantage of the PS5, a host of graphical enhancements have been added to the Remake to give it a next-gen shine. Two game modes will be available to switch between, including a Graphics Mode that prioritizes 4K high-resolution graphics and a Performance Mode that focuses on delivering smoother action at 60 FPS. The lighting, environments, and textures have also been given an update to make Midgar look better than ever.
You'll also be able to get a deeper sense of immersion with DualSense support. Haptic feedback will now factor into battles which will no doubt make wielding the Buster sword and dealing kicks as Tifa all the more satisfying. Since the game is now fully optimized for PS5, you can experience the entire adventure with faster loading speeds too, so you won't have to wait too long at all to get back into the action throughout Midgar, and additional difficulty settings have been added to the Classic Mode for those of you looking for an additional challenge.
The real standout feature is the addition of a photo mode. I don't know about you, but on PS4 I took so many screenshots of the beautiful cast of characters throughout the Remake, and I couldn't help but lament the lack of photo mode at release. Now, I'll finally be able to set up the perfect shots and capture moments to my heart's content. The mode features a variety of different filters and options to create your own picture perfect snapshots, and I'm incredibly excited to fill up my harddrive with screenshots I've likely spent far too long framing.
From graphical improvements to additional content and the introduction of Yuffie, Final Fantasy 7 Remake Intergrade gives you all manner of reasons to get excited about reliving the adventure on PS5. Although honestly, as much as it pains me to write this, the photo mode alone is enough to get me back into the game for a second playthrough... the addition of a Yuffie-centric chapter of the story is just icing on the cake.
Catching up or want a refresher? Here's everything that was announced during State of Play February 2021.