Early in the first chapter, Yuffie is joined by a new character, Sonon. It works as a distance server, distracting enemies from Yuffie who is more easily damaged. While he is an uncontrollable support character, and will choose his own movement and enemies to attack, you can also order him to attack with abilities or magic equipped from the battle menu.
This leaves Yuffie able to deal damage safely from a distance; has the ability to measure elemental attacks without having to equip the necessary stuff (orbs that add magic and skills to characters), able to attack weaknesses without much hassle with your loadout. You can also reinforce Sonan with matter, making him become a more tempting villain to enemies, or just increasing his hit points to make sure he survives more often. Sonon also has a practical resurrection ability that triggers if Yuffie gets KOed, ensuring that you focus your fighting strategies around letting Sonon attack enemy attacks, while Yuffie attacks weaknesses and shoots across the area for the control of the enemy crowd.
I’m impressed that Square Enix has managed to take on a completely different fighting style for this DLC chapter – and this bodes well for the next four characters who were party members in the PSOne Final Fantasy 7. In the original, except for stats and limited pause attacks, the characters were empty slates that you loaded with material to offer more attack options. In the Remake, they move and attack almost completely differently, requiring different styles of play when you change.
There is also a PS5 version of Remake. Given this FF7R it was a recent PS4 exclusive, the changes are not revolutionary but they are definitely noticeable. I got a problem with the grainy soil and landscapes that can be seen from the detailed areas below FF7R, and in Intergrade, the resolution has been increased and details have been improved. Things that the internet has gone to town, like those atrociously rendered doors, have been repaired.
In Intergrade, you can now switch between performance modes (fixed 60fps) and graphics (4K, plus graphics streaming). The first is a revelation during your battles both in the game and in the Intermission chapters, as your team moves smoothly around enemies. It feels easier on the eyes and just more satisfying to play with. The original Redo (I hate to have to write that down) it hasn’t suffocated too often, but sometimes all the pyrotechnics and detailed boss battles have taken their toll on the framerates on the fourth-generation PlayStation. There is also a new photo mode in it Interact, Making it easier to catch some beautiful stills from what is a beautiful game. I added my favorite shots at the bottom.
There are also some other PS5 updates. Yes, DualSense haptic feedback happens occasionally, but you rarely notice it. I just remember the difference during motorcycle hunting during the base game, where you can literally feel the structure of the parts of your tarmac. In addition to this and the occasional Cloud flash memory, no other times really stood out where the controller offered me more immersive sounds. As you might expect, loading speeds are also greatly improved: loading your saved game, or jumping between chapters are both incredibly fast.
One of the big criticisms at Intermission is that these new chapters are playable only on the PlayStation 5 – if you’ve been able to buy one. But do environments, battles, and rampant ninjas require next-generation console hardware?
Only Square Enix knows for sure, but I don’t think so. The PS4 would struggle to keep up with the rhythm of Yuffie’s battle style, which saw her pull across the battlefield after her oversized shuriken. There are other parts, as you navigate the levels, that seem to be explicitly to highlight how flat the PS5 can handle a ninja flashing in a mechanized fire pole, with scaffolding, levels and items shooting past it – all backed by jazz to five layout tracks. I’m not kidding.
Right at the beginning of the Intermission chapters, Yuffie cautiously crosses a gap – one of the slowdowns in the game familiar to anyone playing Redo on the PS4. This seems to happen only once in the new parts of Midgar introduced in Intermission. It’s almost a sign of knowledge that things are going to accelerate. And they do: the second chapter takes a few darker turns, and sometimes turns into a glove of punitive battles that are both challenging and fun. Complete the Intermission chapters, and an optional secret battle in the core game, too. I didn’t steal it for you.
For those who haven’t played FF7R as well, Interact it’s the final version, and the DLC is worth playing, but it’s a shame that the Intermission chapters aren’t playable on the PS4. It turns what is a very polished piece of DLC into a slightly hollow cash jack.
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