Final Thoughts : FFVIIR INTERmission

Final Thoughts : Final Fantasy VII Remake INTERmission - Blogging with Dragons

 

After playing for two days, I have finally finished my playthrough of Final Fantasy VII Remake INTERmission DLC. I wasn’t sure what exactly to expect, but after seeing the trailers, I knew I couldn’t wait to play this DLC. As one of the few people on the Earth who enjoyed both the original Final Fantasy VII and its divisive spin-off, Dirge of Cerberus, I actually got more excited to see Nero, Weiss, and the other Tsviets in the trailer. But how does Yuffie’s INTERmission DLC add to Final Fantasy VII Remake as a whole?

 

This opening menu is such a nice touch.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that INTERmission DLC added some depth to her character, showed what was going on while Cloud and the rest of the gang were otherwise engaged, and even added a new scene to the ending of the Final Fantasy VII Remake, Part 1. This game is a must for any fan of Final Fantasy VII who has played and enjoyed the new remake. That being said, INTERmission is a pretty short DLC, with the story of INTERmission easily being able to be completed in less than 5 hours. However, as a bit of a completionist every now and then, it took me a bit longer to play the DLC. After spending about 10 hours, I defeated the summon and acquired his Materia, battled all of the Fort Condor players (including the Grandmaster), collected all of the Happy Turtle posters, and spent a lot of time on the stupid box challenge in Shinra building.  So here are my final thoughts on INTERmission.

 

Please be aware that major spoilers are marked.

 

yuffie in midgar, works…sort of.

 

I’m not going to lie to you, I was pretty nervous when I found out that Yuffie was going to be in Midgar during the events of Final Fantasy VII Remake, Part 1. Her appearance in the DLC happens way before Yuffie ends up meeting the rest of the party members in the original game. But then again, Yuffie was an optional character in that game, so I really shouldn’t be surprised that she showed up early in the remake–things are definitely changing.

 

INTERmission does a  fairly good job of tying in why she is actually in Midgar. Yuffie is tasked with stealing an “ultimate Materia” from Shinra to show the evil corporation that Wutai may be down, but not out, of the war. It’s kind of a weak excuse, and is certainly vague, as we never learn who tasked Yuffie with this mission, or what exactly Wutai wants to do with this unknown Materia, but it works well enough for the purposes of introducing her to the Final Fantasy VII Remake early.

 

Other parts of the story are similarly not well-thought out. For instance, at one part in the game, players are in Shinra Headquarters. To stop Yuffie, some low ranking SOLDIER grunts turn off the power in the room that Yuffie and Sonon are currently in, not even thinking about the fact that there is a computer inside that same room and the adjacent ones too, where the party can simply turn the fans back on, which turns the power on! This was a pretty ginormous oversight for me to wrap my head around. Shinra is a high-tech-suck-the-life-out-of-the-earth-and-everyone-in-it-corporation, and this is supposedly how they operate? Unbelievable. I mean, I know we’re really just here for the Final Fantasy VII fan service at this rate, but maybe plan things out a little better, developers.

 

yuffie is true to her character

Hello, Sailor Moon reference! Yuffie is actually a lot like Sailor Moon, now that I think of it–both are clumsy, well-intentioned (though slow on the uptake), and come through at the end of the day.

INTERmission does a good job keeping Yuffie true to herself. She’s still the clumsy, Materia-obsessed, teenage girl who somehow manages to also be a somewhat successful ninja. The DLC does a good job of showing that despite being a seasoned ninja, and trained for years, she is still a young and naïve girl with a lot to learn. Though her partner in this mission, Sonon, refers to her as “senpai” or “boss” due to her greater experience than him, it’s clearly just for show, as he is often saving Yuffie’s skin and rolling his eyes at her many antics. It’s clear that she is a very idealistic girl and that she still has plenty of growing up to do, despite being able to (mostly) handle herself in battle. The DLC even makes reference to the character’s notorious motion sickness and doesn’t shy away from using her as comedic relief in a setting where an evil corporation doesn’t shy at killing thousands of people on a whim. Sometimes, I felt that they used Yuffie as comedic relief a little too much, and as a result, it ruined some of her credibility as an agent of Wutai. It seemed almost impossible that Yuffie ever successfully carried out missions without Sonon (or someone else) keeping her in line.

 

the throwing star gimmick

 

The biggest thing that is added to INTERmission, is that Yuffie can use her throwing star to break boxes and hit switches from a longer distance. This may seem kind of cool, but quickly gets old. At one point in the game, Yuffie is riding on a conveyor belt and told to randomly destroy as many Shinra crates as she can, in order to “sabotage Shinra.” We are not told what supplies these are, or how loosing them will set back Shinra, but are instead ambiguously promised that we’re sticking it to the man. It’s lackluster, at best, because it lacks any real impact.

 

Later on, we’re forced into a far worse box breaking challenge, which at least rewards the player with Materia for successfully completing stages and a “Materia Maven” trophy for winning all of these Materia prizes. Really the only thing this minigame has taught me is how poor the aiming/lock-on mechanics are in this game. As a result of this poor mechanic, which often has me looking at one thing only for Yuffie to lock on and attack a completely different one across the room, this may be even worse than the Tifa pull-up challenge in Final Fantasy VII Remake Part 1. After spending at least an hour or two on this minigame, I finally gave up and created a save right before it, so I can return to try some more when I am feeling particularly masochistic. I still have to beat the final challenge, which requires 50,000 points and is supposedly part of SOLDIER training. Can I just say how absolutely dumb it is that Square Enix wants us to imagine SOLDIER greats like Zack Fair and Sephiroth training by breaking boxes with a time limit? I don’t like it.

 

no sneaky ninjas

 

The other thing I really didn’t like about the ninja aspect of Yuffie and her partner, Sonon was that I didn’t think they were good ninjas…at all. For instance, Yuffie and Sonon waltz straight in through the front doors of Shinra Headquarters! Cloud, Tifa, and Barret were more sneaky and circumspect than them! I had to laugh when Yuffie and Sonon than ended up in an elevator with Scarlet herself! This is the exact opposite of stealth! Scarlett immediately recognizes them as Wutaian and deems the two a threat. I honestly don’t think tYuffie and Sonon could have been any less sneaky if they tried. They could have at least changed their clothes a bit? Or I don’t know, hid their weapons? A throwing star is basically screaming Wutai at this point, and their clothes, even with the variety of them in Midgar, stick out like a sore thumb.

 

People are especially on the lookout for foreigners with Shinra accusing Wutai of terrorism left and right, but Yuffie and Sonon pay it little mind except when it comes to avoiding the “splinter cell” of Avalanche, Cloud, Tifa, Barret, and the rest of the gang. Long story short, they don’t take any precautions when infiltrating Shinra, with Yuffie literally sprinting through a security gate with her fake ID, without even a look around. If Scarlet hadn’t hopped on the elevator, Shinra security cameras would most definitely have noticed the two.

 

I think Yuffie and Sonon’s entrance into Shinra headquarters was a wasted opportunity to bring back the challenging minigame from the original Final Fantasy VII, where Cloud and the gang, have to sneak their way between tons of Shinra soldiers after memorizing their patrol routes. I mean, at least have Yuffie and Sonon steal uniforms, or something!

 

fort condor is fun

 

I actually really enjoyed playing Fort Condor, the minigame that everyone seems to play in Midgar. I thought I was going to really miss out on the actual area of Fort Condor that was in the original game (I love saving the animals, okay?), but the minigame was a surprisingly fun addition. I know one of the complaints about the original game is that Fort Condor didn’t really fit into the science fiction world of Final Fantasy VII, so it was cool to see the developers implement the area in a different way in INTERmission. I am also a sucker for any kind of card game or other game that everyone in the world of video games happens to play. Imagine if you could just walk up to people on the street and ask them to all play Pokémon or Gwent something. It would be great.

 

I am also still waiting for Square Enix to make a party game with all of their different minigames, which is an idea that comes from Twitter user @KaylaMariah, like Fort Condor and Triple Triad, etc.. I would buy this game in a heartbeat.

 

outside view

 

I think it was really fun that Yuffie provided an outsider’s perspective on what was happening in Midgar. Tifa, Barret, Aerith, Jessie, Biggs, and Wedge all have very strong feelings about Shinra, as they all live in the Slums in Midgar. Even Cloud, a Mercenary and former SOLDIER, has strong feelings about the corporation, even if he doesn’t know it yet. So I liked seeing Yuffie and Sonon’s perspective as both citizens of Wutai, a nation at war with Shinra and the scapegoat for many of their actions, and as people trying to battle Shinra in a different way than Cloud and the gang. I also enjoyed seeing Avalanche’s reactions to Cloud not immediately making it back from the Reactor, as we never have gotten to see that before.

 

still not a fan of the battle system

 

Exposing myself here with this disclosure: I pretty much hate the battle system of the Final Fantasy VII Remake. Not only do I find it offensive that there is a classic battle mode, which is most assuredly not turned based at all, but I LOATHE having to wait for the ATB to refill to perform any actions other than plain attacking. It ANNOYS me. One of the things I love about classic Final Fantasy games and other older JRPGS, is the strategy aspect of it. To me, having to wait for a bar to refill to do anything doesn’t involve strategy, it involves luck. Players can easily die waiting for their ATB gauge to refill, which allows them to perform a healing action. So if a boss or mob happens to hit said characters while they are low on health and waiting for their ATB gauge to refill, it’s pure bad luck, and game over.

 

In INTERmission, I was particularly annoyed by the fact that unlike the OG Final Fantasy VII, the Mug Materia didn’t take the place of Yuffie’s regular attacks. What is the point of having a ninja and notorious Materia thief, if it takes all of these extra steps and presses of the button in the menu to steal? I realize that as Yuffie’s attacks change based on whether she’s holding her throwing star, but surely they could’ve just added a third option for “Mug” on the bar, once unlocked.

 

 

 

Major Spoilers ahead for the ending of INTERmission.

Read at your own discretion.

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this is your last chance to turn around!

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I mean it!

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sonon’s fate is obvious

 

The second I saw Sonon in the trailer for INTERmission, I knew he was a dead man walking. It’s pretty obvious that a character who was never in any of the other games in the compilation, let alone in the original Final Fantasy VII, wasn’t going to make it. It was even more obvious as the game went on, and as Sonon detailed how his sister died in the war with Shinra, and as it grows more and more apparent that Yuffie reminds him of her. From that minute on, I was betting that he would sacrifice himself to save Yuffie. And he does. I was pleasantly surprised at what a good job Square Enix did with his death scene. They really did a good job pulling at the heartstrings. Though I honestly didn’t cry at Sonon’s death because I was sitting there thinking how similar Sonon’s death was to all of the other death scenes in the series.

 

 

His blood splatters on Yuffie’s face, which is so similar to Zack Fair’s death in Crisis Core, when Cloud is covered in his blood. Like Cloud, Yuffie also takes a moment to scream. I also couldn’t help but see the Du Chao bean scene, as reminiscent of the Holy Materia falling to the ground during Aerith’s death, or of Lunafreya’s death in Final Fantasy XV.  Kind of wish they’d change up their formula for death a bit. At least Sonon’s death wasn’t as blatant as ripoff of Lunafreya’s death was of Aerith’s, but I still think the writers should find some more original ways to kill their characters than always using a motif, such as flowers, Materia, or beans, to signify death. But maybe I’m just jaded. Despite the fact that Sonon “dies” at the hands of Nero, I wouldn’t be surprised if he didn’t show up again, a la Ravus in Final Fantasy XV. I can see Square Enix wanting Yuffie to battle her deceased friend in some dark form for extra feels/pain.

 

Regardless on whether Sonon reappears later on in some way, shape, or form, his apparent death is a much-needed wake up call for happy-go-lucky Yuffie, who almost seems to be playing at war for most of the DLC. She doesn’t ever really stop to consider the consequences of her actions or even simply what the bigger picture is. I think the death of Sonon really provides a great backstory for her and some much-needed realism for Yuffie, who seems very much in over her head. And as we know, she’s soon going to be playing in the big-leagues with Cloud, Vincent Valentine, and the rest of the gang pretty soon.

 

deepground is back and better than ever

 

I am absolutely living for the return of Deepground. To me, Deepground always made complete sense as a branch of Shinra. Shinra already has the Turks handling the detective work, SOLDIERs fighting on the front lines, so why not a super secret military organization filled with medically advanced members, for everything that doesn’t fall into those categories? Particularly thrilled that Tsviets are back, with Nero and Weiss appearing in the DLC. My poor PS5 hard drive is full of screenshots of Nero right now. Anyways, I am really excited to see the other members of the Tsviets appear, and what role Vincent will play with that organization. I wonder if he will still have past history with them as a former Turk? I am also anxious to see how the Tsviets will view Sephiroth as time goes on–as a friend or a foe. It’s really interesting seeing Final Fantasy VII changing up the timeline all over the place, bringing characters in before their times and/or them back to life.

 

post credits ending scene

 

I was not expecting for INTERmission to add on to the ending of the first part of the Final Fantasy VII Remake at all, but it certainly does. Now I want the second part of Final Fantasy VII Remake even more! After I saw some intense exclamations about the shocker of the ending on Twitter (thankfully, no overt spoilers), I just KNEW it involved Zack Fair, and sure enough, not only does Zack show up, but he shows up at Aerith’s church looking for her! I’m SO TORN and CONFUSED AND HOPEFUL.

 

As my PS5 would not let me take a SS of this scene, credit due to uploader of the ending video, found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F0sPSgHcURU

 

I absolutely love Zack Fair, but I don’t know what this means for Cloud’s psyche, Cloud and Aerith’s relationship, Zack and Aerith’s relationship, or anything! And as Aerith is not even in the church, does this mean Zack is indeed in a different timeline (which was presumably hinted at by the alternate Stamp poster in the ending to part one), or is he in fact, in the same timeline as the gang, since Aerith is, in fact, absent from the church?

 

Aerith *literally* senses Zack right before he shows up.

And if Zack is in a different timeline, will the timelines ever converge, and will he ever get to see Aerith and Cloud again? Will Cloud even remember Zack? Will Zack help the gang fight Sephiroth? Will my weird ship of Zack and Tifa ever happen? Will the developers just let you choose romances for Cloud and Zack, sort of like the original game? AH, MY FANGIRL HEART. Also, I fear for the love triangle (…square?) debate, it’s going to get even more heated with these complications. I personally just want all of my favorite characters to be alive, happy, and healthy….that’s totally going to happen.

 

Spoilers End Here!

 

Ultimately, Final Fantasy VII INTERmission was a really fun DLC, despite its shaky story, and shines a light on a character that used to be merely optional, and provides her with some great depth beyond-the-always-thirsting-for-Materia-thief. But players be warned, though short, INTERmission will make you want the next part of the Final Fantasy VII Remake even more, if that’s even possible.

 

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What do you think is next for Final Fantasy VII? Let me know in the comments below.

 

 

 

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Final Thoughts : Final Fantasy VII Remake INTERMISSION - Blogging with Dragons

Posted June 11, 2021 in Games

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