Final Fantasy 7 Remake Episode Intermission takes away Cloud Strife’s buster sword and replaces it with Yuffie Kisaragi’s massive shuriken. The new DLC campaign, exclusive to PlayStation 5, lasts for only a few precious hours. It’s a joy to return to Midgar and sling Yuffie’s boomerang-like weapon at baddies, but more importantly, the young heroine brings a whole new positive attitude that serves as a refreshing counterpoint to Cloud.
Yuffie’s enthusiastic personality has become more emphasized since her first appearance in the original Final Fantasy 7 in 1997. The widely panned English translation of that game portrayed Yuffie as a thieving treasure hunter, only out for herself. In FF7 spinoffs, as well as the Advent Children movie and the Kingdom Hearts series, fans got to see much more of the teenage ninja princess, who turned out to have an energetic goofball personality and a zest for fighting back against anyone who dared disrespect her.
That’s always who Yuffie was meant to be, according to director Tetsuya Nomura, who told the PlayStation Blog, “At the time of the original and even now, my perspective of her has not changed very significantly. Yuffie is an energetic and straightforward character. That being said, as this episode is centered around her, I believe we were also able to depict her sensitive side.”
Yuffie’s dark mirror is Cloud, a man haunted by barely-repressed traumas who’s reluctant to join up with Avalanche or form emotional attachments with other people. By contrast, it makes sense that a cocky but naive teen girl like Yuffie would care deeply and openly about what other people think of her. She craves recognition and respect when she recites rehearsed hero monologues and poses like Sailor Moon. She dives (or trips) head-first into danger, unafraid of death, unlike Cloud, who’s seen plenty of it and still suffers from the aftershock of it all.
Image: Square Enix
Thanks to Yuffie’s antics, the first couple hours of Intermission are significantly funnier and lighter in tone than Remake. The brief DLC features tons of slapstick moments for Yuffie, which land well in part because she has a straight man by her side: Sonon Kusakabe, a new character in this game. While Yuffie hams it up in an attempt to impress her allies (and her enemies), Sonon rolls his eyes and smiles apologetically. When Sonon suggests battle tactics that would place him in the line of fire, Yuffie cuts him off, reminding him that she’s the “leading lady” and she should get the chance to shine … even if it means falling on her face because she doesn’t actually know what she’s doing.
Intermission’s musical score fits its comedic tone and the heroine’s carefree energy, with bombastic jazz accompanying Yuffie and Sonon on some of their adventures. This track from the soundtrack, titled “The Runaround,” accompanies our heroine as she puzzles her way through Shinra’s headquarters, making a dangerous break-in feel like an episode of Looney Tunes.
Yuffie’s energetic attitude in the face of overwhelming odds makes her a far more pleasant protagonist than Cloud, whose grim outlook is thankfully counterbalanced by Tifa, Barret, and Aerith’s restorative determination and belief in a better future. Of course, Cloud has to be detached because becoming reengaged with the rest of the world is his entire arc. His journey is about learning to love and to face his true self, no matter how much it may hurt.
Image: Square Enix
Yuffie’s arc is the opposite of Cloud’s. Although she starts off with a more lighthearted demeanor, it’s actually a reflection of her naivete and lack of experience. Like Cloud, Yuffie has to face an uncomfortable truth — but in her case, it’s realizing that she’s in way over her head with Shinra and its various terrifying experiments.
Yuffie is more pleasant to hang out with than Cloud because, unlike Cloud, she hasn’t seen some shit. But by the end of Intermission, she has. When we meet her again in FF7 Remake Part 2, she’ll be the thieving trickster that she was in the original game, but this time, we’ll understand more about why. We’ll also know that, although that sense of angry self-preservation is a part of her, that cheerful hope remains too — and it’ll be back again, eventually.
Final Fantasy 7 Remake Intergrade released June 10 on PlayStation 5. The game was played on PlayStation 5 using a pre-release download code provided by Square Enix. Vox Media has affiliate partnerships. These do not influence editorial content, though Vox Media may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links. You can find additional information about Polygon’s ethics policy here.
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