As I make my way through Sector 7 in Midgar, I realize that I haven't stopped smiling since I started up Final Fantasy 7 Remake Intergrade. Yuffie's spirited energy and can-do attitude are infectious – a breath of fresh air, particularly after spending so much time with Cloud in the main game. That goofy grin remains plastered across my face as I begin to explore this world from a new perspective on PS5, marveling at the sharper textures of Yuffie's Moogle cape and the crisper detailing as residents of the sector swarm to join me in commenting on her attire. Final Fantasy 7 Remake was always a good looking game, but its release on PS5 has elevated it entirely.
If you've already played Final Fantasy 7 Remake on PS4 and are wondering whether it's worth another playthrough on PS5, the new Intermission episode does enough to make it all worthwhile. Yuffie's likeable personality, satisfying fighting style, and agile nimbleness all work together to make the new adventure in her shoes an absolute joy to experience from start to finish. And as soon as I hit the credits for the Intermission expansion, I feel all the more excited about the prospect of what lies ahead in the highly anticipated Final Fantasy 7 Remake Part 2.
Final Fantasy 7 Remake Part 2 will start immediately after Intergrade ends, Square Enix has confirmed, so you'll want to play the new InterMISSION episode before then to get caught up.
Just as Cloud and the gang all have their own fighting styles, Yuffie also has her own distinctive combat skills that make her a powerful adversary against any Shinra soldiers or big nasty creatures. Not long after the expansion begins, I quickly get the chance to try out Yuffie's moves in combat. Armed with her oversized shurikens, the Wutai ninja is seriously fun to fight with. Throwing her weapon and launching an enemy into the air, I hit a poor foe with a barrage of blows before testing out some of her abilities. The elemental ninjutsu ability is particularly useful, since you can change up the power to exploit your enemy's weaknesses. As satisfying as her combat is solo, it steps up another level when Wutai soldier Sonon joins the fray.
In Intermission, Yuffie sets out to try and get her hands on the Ultimate Materia from the Shinra Electric Power company. Joined by Sonon who was trained by Yuffie's father, the pair make quite a formidable team with new synergized moves. While you can't control Sonon directly on the battlefield, you can still direct him to perform his special abilities and deliver powerful blows in tandem with Yuffie. It's endlessly satisfying to watch Sonon swing his weapon around as Yuffie catapultes off of it to deal a heavy hit. There are also new Limit break moves that are equally as fun to watch unfold. Yuffie's Bloodbath move, for example, sees her pull off some slick twirls and dives as she spins her shuriken to deal a wave of damage.
One of the best and most satisfying fights comes at a later stage in the expansion, when I go up against the huge robotic Gigantepede. The mechanized centipede-like enemy is a big boss battle that's quite the spectacle. With different stages, the giant insect machine latches onto a grated wall nearby after I deal enough damage. It begins to crawl vertically before throwing missiles in my direction – this is where Yuffie's shurikens really come in handy, since I can make use of her long range hits as I dart and dive from the lasers beaming towards me. From moving up on high to transforming into a massive drill, the fight keeps me on my toes, but when I do emerge victorious, I feel a rewarding sense of accomplishment.
The big battles don't stop there, though. Intermission is full of exciting fights to really hone in on Yuffie and Sonon's skill sets. Making use of the new summon and his mighty big beard, Ramuh, also adds some additional flair to the action – his impressive finishing blow sees him form a mound of rocks and send out a shower of lightning bolts.
Off the battlefield, the dynamic between Yuffie and Sonon is the heart of what makes the experience of Intermission so enjoyable. Whenever Yuffie's endearing clumsy side shines through, Sonon's reactions bring in some humorous moments that you just can't help but be completely charmed by. Because of her young age, Yuffie is often underestimated by the world around her, but you really get the sense that Sonon can see just how skilled and strong she is. I really came to care about the pair, and I quickly got invested in the story of the expansion.
When I wasn't getting stuck into combat and laughing at Yuffie and Sonon antics, I also actually spent a lot of time in the new minigame Fort Condor. I'm all about the little games you play within games. Just like Gwent in the Witcher 3 and Orlog in Assassin's Creed Valhalla, I could hardly wait to jump into the new addition in Final Fantasy 7 Remake Intermission. Throughout sector 7, you encounter a host of challengers at different levels who are up for a round of Fort Condor. And better yet, they just so happen to be some familiar faces from the main story with Cloud. From Johnny to Jessie and the ever eccentric motorbike-riding Roche, Yuffie gets to go head-to-head with a host of Cloud's acquaintances in a bid to try and defeat the grandmaster.
Fort Condor takes place on a virtual board with a variety of different units at your disposal. Each unit has an ATB level or cost that goes in line with the meter at the top of the screen to show you when you can place them on the board. There are different boards you can use, and each has its own set of Materia that can make use of to give yourself a boost, deal some damage, or heal. Once I got the hang of it, I really got into the tactical element of the game and couldn't stop myself from playing against every opponent in one fell swoop.
As I approach the end of the expansion, Final Fantasy 7 Remake Intermission leaves me with an overwhelming yearning for Part 2. It successfully reminds me of just why I love and enjoy the experience of playing Final Fantasy 7 Remake overall. With loveable characters you really come to care about – even in the short time you spend with them in Intermission compared to the main story campaign – and action-packed missions that keep you invested, the expansion really is an entertaining ride from the moment Yuffie arrives in Midgar right up until the very end. And without wanting to spoil anything overly much, I really like the way the expansion establishes Yuffie's place in the game for the future of Final Fantasy 7 Remake. I can hardly wait for the next installment to immerse myself in the adventure all over again, and see where Yuffie's path takes her next.