A change of perspective often breathes new life into an old journey. Square Enix pulled off a miracle with Final Fantasy VII Remake. More than just a nostalgia trip, Final Fantasy 7 Remake refreshed the 20 year old Playstation classic and proved that the world of Midgar, Cloud and Sephiroth still had new and interesting stories to tell. Its ending hinted at a bigger world—a metaverse where all things were possible.
Remake also hinted that Square Enix could—and probably would like to—pump out Final Fantasy VII content for years to come. Final Fantasy VII Remake INTERMission is our first glimpse of what the future of endless Final Fantasy VII spin-offs and remasters will look like. It’s a trip back through Midgar with an upbeat character who stands in contrast to Cloud’s moody mercenary attitude. It’s a nostalgia trip for a game that’s a little more than a year old. It’s a wistful goodbye to the city of Midgar as the heroes of our story put the mega-city in the rearview mirror.
Final Fantasy VII Remake INTERMission is set during the events of the main game and comes as a standalone game with Final Fantasy VII Intergrade, the updated version of FFVII for the PS5. You can play it without having played the main game, but you’ll miss quite a bit. The story follows Yuffie, a 16 year old ninja from Wutai, the rival nation Shinra fought a war against in the story’s recent past. She’s in Midgar to infiltrate Shinra and steal the ultimate materia—a powerful Shinra weapon.
Spoilers for Final Fantasy VII Remake follow.
Yuffie’s journey takes her through the Sector 7 Slums in the days just before Shinra drops the plate and kills its 50,000 residents. Cloud is MIA, Tifa has been captured by Don Corneo, and the members of Avalanche are lounging around the slums and anxiously waiting for everyone to come back. Yuffie breaks this moment with blistering optimism and naive eyes.
She’s from Wutai and has never seen a city like Midgar. She hates it, but she’s entranced by it. As she explores the slums we briefly meet characters we know are fated to suffer and die. Jessie waits outside of Seventh Heaven, desperate for word from her friends. Wedge is hanging out with his cats. Marle is sweeping and speculating on the fate of her mercenary. It was pleasant to travel Sector 7 again and see all these old faces before their lives were so completely changed.
Yuffie’s tour of Sector 7 is brief. The game runs two chapters and players can get through it in 4 or 5 hours if they rush the story. Players who want to take a more leisurely pace can lose themselves in Fort Condor—a tower defense minigame.
When I played Fort Condor for the first time in the DLC’s opening moments I audibly groaned. From Tetra Master to Blitzball, Final Fantasy is full of half-baked minigames that distract from the main story and pad out the runtime. To my surprise, Fort Condor was a delight. It’s a simple tower defense game where opposing players build a deck of machines and critters they deploy to assault the other players base. Wipe out your opponent's towers and win the game.
Part of the joy of Fort Condor is that it gave me an excuse to spend more time with characters I loved. Wedge, Jessie, and Chadley are opponents. My favorite was Roche, the mildly inappropriate motorcycle riding Soldier who seems to have a heavy crush on Cloud. He’s seen in the slums standing next to his bike, yearning for the spikey haired hero to show his face. He’s up for a game of Fort Condor while he waits and I loved spending a little more time with him. These moments aren't revelatory. Wedge is still the same lovable cat-obsessed oaf he appeared through Cloud’s POV. This is merely a chance to revisit characters we loved and spend a little more time with them.
That’s what Final Fantasy VII Remake INTERMission is—a little more time with the characters I loved. The next game will take place away from Midgar, a city that defines Final Fantasy VII as much as Sephiroth and the Buster Sword. In the game’s final moments, we check back in with the main party and the sense of moving on from this chapter is cemented. We get a little tease of what’s to come, and a little confirmation of some of Remake’s weirder elements. But that’s best experienced on your own journey back to Midgar.