Final Fantasy VII Remake is a dramatic game with the odd silly beats. The new DLC episode featuring young Wutai ninja Yuffie Kisaragi is a silly side mission that stays lighthearted until the bitter end. It’s the perfect FFVII Remake Intergrade chaser.
In FF7R Episode INTERmission, as Square Enix calls it, 16-year-old ninja prodigy Yuffie Kisaragi and her partner/underling Sonon Kusakabe infiltrate Midgar on a mission to steal a rumoured “ultimate materia” for their nation of Wutai. Though the pair are working with eco-terrorist insurgent group Avalanche during their mission, they are pointedly not working with the Avalanche “splinter cell” Barrett, Tifa, and Cloud belong to. Early in the DLC mission Yuffie is warned away from trying to interact with the game’s main characters. And should you attempt to storm Tifa Lockhart’s Seventh Heaven bar, the group’s secret headquarters, Yuffie will be physically pushed away by unseen forces.
In the original Final Fantasy VII, Yuffie is an optional character who doesn’t meet up with the main party until they’ve left Midgar, so meeting the team beforehand would ruin whatever continuity the remake is attempting to establish. As such, Yuffie and Sonon spend their brief time in the city doing their own thing while the dramatic events surrounding Cloud and friends occur in their periphery.
When not battling other Fort Condor players in the DLC’s colourful tower defence mini-game or engaging in a handful of side-quests, Yuffie’s main mission is short and sweet. First she and Sonon must acquire a pair of false IDs in order to make it to Shinra HQ. To do this they must chase their contact through the Sector 7 industrial area, battling the Shinra forces pursuing him along the way. From there it’s on to Shinra HQ itself, where several familiar faces from a couple different Final Fantasy VII games make the ninjas’ lives miserable.
For a character who’s only playable for three and a half hours (not including mini-games and side-quests), Yuffie is a pretty well fleshed-out fighter. Using her massive ninja stars she can fight foes up close with physical attacks, or she can toss her star and cast ninja magic from afar. Her companion, Sonon, is not playable, but they pair and synergize when in battle together, performing more powerful team-up versions of Yuffie’s normal ninja magic. Both fighters are ridiculously fast, and when new summon Ramuh gets in on the act, enemies might as well forget about seeing their families again.
Yuffie’s strongest power isn’t her magic or her ninja abilities, however: It’s her upbeat nature, her can-do attitude, and her clumsy, impish charm that sees her through her Midgar mission. I want to cheer when she dramatically confronts Shinra soldiers near the main pillar holding up Sector 7, reciting an obviously practiced speech meant to strike fear in the hearts of her enemies,, even though I know she’s about to fall on her arse.
The cast of the DLC, both returning characters from the remake proper and the new ninja, give these silly performances their all. Suzie Yeung is irresistibly charming as Yuffie, the teenage ninja with an unwavering loyalty to her clan and a hatred for the planet-poisoning Shinra. Aleks Le’s Sonon puts up with his younger commander’s antics with grace and poise, never letting on that the goofy things she does are anything other than brilliant theatrics designed to distract enemies. They make a wonderful team.
The other star team for this downloadable content is Square Enix’s music team, who’ve outdone themselves with some of the new tracks introduced for this small piece of content. There are at least three original songs for a side-quest involving a bar called The Happy Turtle, each a different take on the establishment’s theme. One’s an upbeat jingle. Another is a bright pop song. The third is basically death metal. “Come out, come out, come out, come out of your shell / Party, party, party, party, all night, at the Happy Turtle.” That’s never getting out of my head. Dammit, I just found another one.
“You and me nice and easy, on our journey / life’s gonna be so great, at the Happy Turtle.” It’s beautiful.
Not everything about the Yuffie DLC mission is light and fluffy. There are some heavy bits toward the end that I will refrain from mentioning, as well as a bit of an extended epilogue to the main game. What I’m saying is there are more reasons to play through the new episode than lighthearted fun. It’s just that lighthearted fun is a very big part of it.
It’s great to see Yuffie get some time in the spotlight. With this DLC Square Enix has elevated her from optional side character who very nearly got cut from the original game to an essential part of the Final Fantasy VII Remake saga. I can’t wait to see more of her, whenever that might happen.