In Episode Intermission, Yuffie Kisaragi, self-proclaimed Wutai ninja extraordinaire, lastly makes an appropriately pompous entrance and joins the anti-Shinra fray. Yuffie’s ninjutsu and shuriken-centric skills are an invigoratingly frenetic addition to Remake’s deep, real-time fight system. New supporting characters make temporary appearances and assist carry the Slums, and the sectors past it, to life. And regardless that Intermission’s abbreviated plotline by no means actually lands the mark, it in the end serves as a robust introduction to a beloved protagonist whereas hinting at what’s to come back in extra Last Fantasy VII content material.
Intermission’s loop is just about the identical as final yr’s Remake: scour visually arresting hub areas for treasure chests, arbitrarily positioned Materia orbs, and optionally available task-givers (with the additional benefit of Fort Condor, a brand new table-top minigame). Yuffie’s two chapters take you again to the Slums and Shinra Headquarters. In between the 2 main places, you’ll additionally traverse meandering passages in never-before-seen factories and junkyards. These moments, nonetheless, play out just like the linear, monster-infested locales from the bottom sport. Regardless of spending most of my time in recycled environments, gossip from close by NPCs and appearances from acquainted faces like Johnny and Chadley made Last Fantasy VII’s world really feel alive. I at all times discovered it good to overhear pockets of residents touch upon my in-game feats as I accomplished missions round city. This additionally helps floor Yuffie and her tight-lipped companion, Sonon, within the bigger story. Regardless that Cloud, Tifa, and Barrett, aren’t the celebrities of this present, their momentous actions – e.g., the Reactor bombings – nonetheless inform Intermission’s story beats.
With the assistance of fresh-faced Avalanche operatives, Yuffie infiltrates Midgar to retrieve a top-secret, omnipotent Materia. Nonetheless, this overarching purpose usually fell to the wayside as a result of the aspect content material was way more attractive to chew on. Nonetheless, I didn’t thoughts this as a result of reconnecting with previous buddies like Jesse and Wedge in Fort Condor or slaying wild beats repeatedly with Yuffie and Sonon’s flashy flurries was the place the expertise really got here collectively.
Fight is Intermission’s bread and butter. The minute I took management of Yuffie, I used to be enamored together with her eye-popping agility – long-range shuriken throws rework into close-combat combos within the blink of an eye fixed. Afterimage results fill the display because the whimsical ninja pierces her foes in mid-air whereas conducting high-altitude flips. Yuffie’s acrobatic barrages are reflective of her flashy and eccentric character. She’s additionally fairly resourceful as her default weapon can swap parts on the fly, which helps alleviate any menu parsing that you’d usually do to equip Materia. Fortunately, I by no means wanted to step away from the motion to organize for enemy weaknesses, making fight extra streamlined and fixed. Due to this, I solely ever outfitted different weapons to max out their proficiencies; the early-game 4-Level Shuriken was simply too priceless to sideline.
Synergized assaults – tag-team skills that may solely be activated if each Yuffie and Sonon have no less than one ATB cost – really feel like miniature Restrict Breaks with their very own dazzling cinematics and substantial harm numbers. I can’t keep in mind a single time the place I didn’t attempt to benefit from this characteristic, and I usually wished that Remake applied one thing prefer it. Watching Yuffie straddle Sonon’s employees, whereas bringing that ultimate blow down on a boss by no means received previous.
Fort Condor, an entertaining respite from the extraordinary battle sequences, is a tower-defense mode the place troops below three distinct courses (attackers, vanguard, and ranged) conflict to take out enemy outposts. Every class has a selected weak spot, and by customizing your roster earlier than a match begins, you may create optimum builds that prioritize totally different playstyles. There’s one caveat: spawning reinforcements drains an AP bar, which not solely prevents overcrowding, however highlights split-second determination making.
I loved putting bases on the board to spawn decrease value items in order that I wouldn’t need to micromanage each section of a given match. Baiting enemy troopers in direction of one aspect of the map and sending speedy attackers to barrage deserted outposts was satisfying, particularly on increased difficulties. With solely a handful of rivals, Fort Condor nonetheless looks like a tagged-on characteristic. Equally, I want that there have been extra boards and items to buy from native outlets. Fort Condor jogs my memory of The Witcher 3’s Gwent and Murderer’s Creed Valhalla’s Orlog, and I hope to see extra of it applied sooner or later.
Episode Intermission is delivered to life by its bubbly, albeit goofy, major character. I beloved how Yuffie’s character got here via within the myriad ways in which she interacted with every setting – i.e., sliding down poles or flinging her shuriken at far off mechanical switches to resolve environmental puzzles. Exploration and fight are bolstered by an eclectic rating that sports activities jazzy trumpets in addition to roaring guitar riffs. And the extent of element that the Graphics Mode brings to flowy clothes, strands of hair, and different textures by no means ceased to amaze me. I want that Intermission’s narrative was a bit of longer in order that I may spend extra time attending to know its small solid however Yuffie greater than makes up for the brevity. I can’t wait to see how she matches into what’s subsequent for Remake.