'Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade' Is Even Less Like the Original

And you know what? I think I'm ok with that

Key Takeaways

  • Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade is stepping away from its source material and it works.
  • Yuffie is a far more likable character than Cloud.
  • Don't expect turn-based combat here, however.
The Logo from Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade

Sony

Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade may feel like you've stepped into a different series, but in the end, it could signal a great new beginning.

I feel increasingly old when I think and talk about Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy VII Remake. So many thoughts of how "this isn't how it used to be. I liked the old ways better!" linger in my mind. It turns out that Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade expands that sentiment even further, but I'm starting to find my peace with it.

So, just how is Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade? And is it worth your attention again? So soon after the last time? Yes and no, and no we won't blame you if you fall for it again. 

"Once you're willing to let go of the original and accept you can always go back to it, Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade gels better."

It's Still Not Final Fantasy VII

Look, I'm not saying Final Fantasy VII Remake is a bad game by any means, but it's not Final Fantasy VII. It plays very differently and is often much darker in tone. Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade takes it one step further away from the source material.

That's not because of the graphical flourishes, which do, indeed, look great and make you delighted that you bought that hard-to-track down PlayStation 5. No, it's because of the bonus episode of content featuring Yuffie Kisaragi—a character that ordinarily wouldn't feature until after you leave Midgar.

She's absolutely great. However, everything about her adventure feels so much more like an action-adventure game than anything that Final Fantasy VII previously brought to the table. 

Yuffie is a Materia thief keen to infiltrate Midgar in a bid to steal a special Materia from the Shinra—the evil corporation that dominates Midgar and the rest of the game. She does this mostly by climbing up Shinra Headquarters, and it takes a heck of a long time.

A character from FFVII Remake Intergrade

Square Enix

Well, it doesn't. In all, the episode's two chapters only take about 4-5 hours, depending on how much exploring you do. It actually flies by at times, but the time you're stuck negotiating platforms and the inner workings of the Shinra Headquarters' basement really doesn't feel like Final Fantasy VII.

Instead, it feels like an action game. You're finding places to leap up and levers to pull. There are minor puzzle elements here, but, ultimately, you feel like an action hero and that trend continues during combat.

Yuffie conducts a lot of her fighting at range and solo. You can have teammates, but you can't directly affect them. Stick the difficulty level down low and you can effectively button mash your way to victory. Even set at a higher challenge, it's still distinctly action-like rather than a turn-based RPG.

Is It Bad That It's Different?

Nope. Once you're willing to let go of the original and accept you can always go back to it, Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade gels better. The main game is far darker than the original. However, Yuffie is a breath of fresh air. She's incredibly light-hearted in her quest and a fascinating mixture of cute yet empowering. 

Yuffie dons a onesie-style hoodie with a Moogle head on the top of it. She looks positively innocent and bordering on vulnerable. It's even mentioned at one point by some thugs who think she'll be easy to take down. In reality, of course, it's simply an example of how tough Yuffie is under the surface.

Such characterization makes her far more likable than Cloud, even if Cloud is meant to be the main hero. That's what keeps you playing, even if you started out wanting a traditional RPG and found yourself this strange hybrid. 

Yuffie from FFVII Remake Intergrade

Square Enix

What Comes Next for 'FFVII Remake'?

Final Fantasy VII Remake and Intergrade have only scratched the surface of the original game, showing us how Midgar could look with an impressive graphical spruce up and a change of focus. 

More excitingly, though, seeing Yuffie's story unfold has shown us that stepping away from the source material is bold, but the right move. It's a move that Final Fantasy VII Remake should continue to lean into. That way, it can become an equal alongside the original. They can both be entirely different tellings of the same (or similar) story. 

It's likely we won't see Final Fantasy VII Remake Episode 2 any time soon, but for now, Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade shows enough promise to finally make this old cynic a little bit intrigued. Just don't blame me if I still have a bigger space in my heart for the original, ok?

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