Final Fantasy 7 Remake was my favorite game of last year, so when Episode INTERmission, the game’s first and—presumably only—DLC, was announced I was thrilled. Arriving alongside the game’s Intergrade update, which brings the game’s visual and technical aspects up to snuff with current-gen systems, INTERmission lives up to the base game and builds upon it in surprising and incredibly fun ways.
Episode INTERmission stars Yuffie Kisaragi, a young ninja and materia hunter from the nation of Wutai. Along with her companion Sonon (an original character), she works with Avalanche to infiltrate Shinra headquarters and steal the new materia they’re developing.
Yuffie and Sonon have their own reasons for hating Shinra, both of which are explored throughout the story. One of the best aspects of INTERmission’s story is how it subtly widens the scope of the Final Fantasy 7 Remake universe, introducing us to characters who despise Shinra for completely different reasons than Cloud, Barret, Tifa, and Aerith. Before the second part of FF7R presumably blows the scope of the game wide open, this DLC adds as a fascinating way to prime the player for all the new perspectives they’re about to see—as well as giving us a greater sense of perspective. After all, the world of FF7R is so mich bigger than Midgar.
The story is, for the most part, a surprisingly lighthearted affair. Yuffie brings a youthful energy and confidence to most story beats, with her tripping and waking up bosses, as well as giving flashy (and obviously well-practiced) monologues to enemies. Her performance is the rare one that conveys lots of energy and slapstick energy without ever getting annoying—a really tough act to pull off, and a real testament to Suzie Yeung’s performance. Throughout the 5-7 hour journey, you’ll run into some familiar faces from the base game, go on extended chase sequences, and stumble your way into plenty of humorous setpieces. While it does go for big, emotional swings at the end (ones that really connected with me), for most of its runtime it’s a delightfully zany experience.
In addition to tone differences, Yuffie also plays much different than Cloud. Her shuriken has both melee and ranged options, allowing players to mix and match to pull off some really flashy combos. When combined with spells and Sonon’s abilities (you unfortunately cannot take control of him, but you can use abilities and spells for him), combat remained very fresh throughout the DLC’s brisk runtime.
INTERmission is also bolstered by the addition of one of my favorite minigames in recent memory: Fort Condor. Fort Condor is a virtual board game that sees you and an opponent deploy units of three different classes against one another to destroy the opponent’s bases. There’s a surprising amount of strategy involved, and building a great loadout and dominating opponents was incredibly satisfying. It’s a blast.
One more notable part of this DLC is the new music that accompanies it. These tracks are among the strongest in the series, with a jazz influence that changes the atmosphere of the game entirely. I found myself taking time to explore certain areas more than usual just to listen to some more of the score.
Speaking of exploring, the game is more stunning than ever on PS5. Textures are crisp, and the framerate remained a steady 60FPS in Performance Mode. FF7R was totally stunning on PS4, but with this upgrade it’s one of the best looking games ever.
Final Fantasy 7 Remake: Episode INTERmission is a more than worthy addition to the base game, bringing players both a new perspective and awesome new characters who I look forward to seeing again in Part 2. Though I (greedily) wish it was longer, INTERmission is an exciting, joyful, and well-polished add-on to one of the best games of the last few years. It’s a wonderful way to bid farewell to Midgar as we set out towards new horizons.