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Friday, March 15, 2024

Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade "INTERmission"

Released as downloadable content for Final Fantasy VII Remake (but frustratingly not available on the PS4 version), INTERmission is a new chapter of the story starring a relatively minor character from the original version of FF7; namely, Yuffie.  Mostly set around the Sector 7 slums, it has Yuffie ally with a new character named Sonon as they attempt to steal Shinra's "ultimate materia"; a story that unfolds in about 3-5 hours of playtime.  Of course, like the main game there's also plenty of side content to undertake beforehand, with the majority of it going to a new minigame.  Loosely based on the real-time strategy minigame Fort Condor from the original FF7, it plays out as more of a MOBA style minigame this time, having you summon units to defend your three towers and destroy the enemy's (or at least deal more damage) on a three-minute time limit.  It's simple, but fun and surprisingly deep - you'll need to change up your team loadout and tactics quite a bit if you want to conquer every opponent in it.

Sonon is only available as an AI-controlled ally (though you can give him commands), but thankfully Yuffie has more than enough versatility to make up for it.  She can fight both in close-range by slashing with her shuriken, or toss it away and have it spin in place (damaging anything it touches) and fight from afar by using magical bursts, giving her quite a bit of versatility.  Her innate abilities are also quite varied, letting her effectively exploit any elemental weakness without requiring Materia or MP-consuming spells.  Her HP is relatively low, but she is extremely speedy and mobile, so avoiding damage isn't as problematic as you'd think.  Intergrade also introduces a mechanic that would become more refined in Rebirth, namely Synergy - she can Nonon can both spend an ATB bar to unleash powerful attacks, or even both spend a Limit bar at the same time to inflict massive damage.

INTERmission is what you'd expect - an interquel side-story in the form of paid DLC, with a few mechanics (and a major character) that would of course have more prominence in the next game in the series.  While not strictly essential to enjoy the experience it is quite fun, and it doesn't wear out its welcome; you're provided with some fun minigames and a decent enough side-story containing about 4-6 hours of content to enjoy.  Worth a pickup or a bundled buy for sure.

Developer: Square Enix
Publisher: Square Enix
Released: 2021
Platforms: PlayStation 5, PC