Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade launched earlier this month, and now that I’ve gotten the chance to re-experience my favorite 2020 RPG all over again, I can confidently say there are more than a few new features and updates that make this next-gen title all the more polished and spectacular. Whether you’re upgrading your PlayStation 4 copy of the game or sprinting through Midgar for the first time, Intergrade has more than enough to offer to its player base. Here are five changes that make re-playing the whole experience worth it.
I will caution the fifth and final entry in this short list comes with a spoiler warning.
How could I not start with Episode Intermission, the most noticeable new feature that comes packaged with Remake Intergrade? You get to sprint throughout Cloud and co’s old stomping grounds: the slums. While there, you’ll run into familiar faces like Johnny and Roche while mastering a new competitive tabletop tower defense game called Fort Condor. Of course, there are also side missions to complete. Chadley’s new virtual challenge(s) and the Happy Turtle flyer quest are standouts.
I reviewed Yuffie’s adventure and enjoyed the frenetic action and synergized combos that could be performed with a new party member, Sonon. The master ninja is such a joy to play because her whimsical personality bleeds through every interaction – from impossible mid-air combat pirouettes to simply flinging her oversized shuriken at far-off crates in minigame segments.
On the PlayStation 4 version of Final Fantasy VII Remake, we were only given the Classic setting on Easy difficulty. At first glance, auto-combat appears to expedite encounters by taking away analog control. However, I’d like to argue that when coupled with Normal difficulty, players can get the best of both worlds with some solid challenge: real-time and turn-based combat at any given moment. Some of the most rewarding moments in Final Fantasy VII Remake’s combat occur when you fill that pesky ATB gauge to stagger foes with a focused strike. Now you can sit back, relax, and input attacks on the fly while switching between party members. Ultimately, it adds to the intensity and micromanagement of engagements, if that’s your thing.
I’ll just say it: Performance Mode is better than Graphics Mode. While the narrative is timeless and seeing beloved characters like Tifa and Sephiroth in 4K is always a treat, Final Fantasy VII Remake’s crown jewel is the combat system. With Performance Mode activated, these fighting sequences come to life in 60 FPS. I can’t promise that you’re sure to complete all of Chadley’s virtual boss fights, but watching the battlefield come to life with fluid controls helps amplify the RPG’s already definitive real-time action.
Moreover, the fast loading times on PlayStation 5 are impressive. Loading into any given chapter takes no time at all. While this is specific to the game as a whole rather than attached to the Performance Mode setting, I can’t stress it enough: there’s just no better way to play Final Fantasy VII than on a next-gen console.
There’s not much to say here other than now you finally get to take 4K pictures of the entire team during some of Final Fantasy VII’s most iconic moments. Perhaps you’d prefer the classic image of Aerith praying in the Midgar alleyway at the start of the game, or Cloud performing his dramatic flip off the screeching-to-a-halt train moments before the Reactor infiltration. Remake Intergrade is already a gorgeous-looking game, no matter what mode you’ve enabled. Now that you can take pictures with a bevy of filters and mechanical settings like exposure, you can compile the perfect nostalgic photo album in between the moment-to-moment action.
New Ending Cutscene
I won’t present any actual details for this one, but after completing Episode Intermission, there’s a cool, albeit brief, cutscene that plays once the credits end. The cinematic not only places Yuffie within the context of Remake Part II, it also hints at what’s next for the main cast as they set out to travel the world beyond Midgar’s metallic hull.
Are there any changes you think NEED a spot on this list too?