Review of the Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade (for PC)

Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade is a fantastic reimagining of the classic PS1 JRPG, with stunning visuals and addictive combat. The new Yuffie side content adds to the pleasure, and it even fixes a few minor bugs from the console release in 2020.

PROS

  • Sensible, strategic motion
  • Versatile Materia system encourages RPG-like character builds
  • Spectacular character and environmental element
  • Strong narrative and characterization

CONS

  • Recreation stutters a bit when exploring
  • Pop-in and low-res textures are nonetheless points
  • Some filler-filled story chapters

Final Fantasy VII Remake was a fantastic reworking of the game’s first major story arc from the revolutionary PlayStation game. It had some faults, such as a bloated mission structure, awkward aerial combat, and strange texturing difficulties. Despite this, it was a wonderful console release with a lot of attention to detail, a long story campaign, and redesigned Hard level elements. The $69.99 Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade, which is now available on the Epic Games Store, includes the promised action-RPG awesomeness as well as the console’s DLC add-on features. It’s a fantastic package, however there are a few little flaws.


Cloud Strife fighting

Remaking a Legend

Final Fantasy VII is one of the most iconic and adored RPGs ever developed, whether you like it or not. It had cutting-edge graphics, a smart and highly customizable battle system, and unexpectedly mature themes for its day. Since Square Enix debuted a Final Fantasy VII tech demo in 2005, fans have been clamoring for a remake, and in 2020, they finally got their dream.

Final Fantasy VII Remake was a dazzlingly polished game with amazing visuals, an intelligent fighting system, and all of the important story elements from the original game. Unfortunately, it was simply a part of the original game’s tale, the Midgar chapter, which condensed the plot of the first CD disc into a single, enlarged arc. Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade (which we’ll refer to as Intergrade from here on) offers new story content to enjoy alongside the main campaign, as well as a side story involving Yuffie Kisaragi, a ninja thief. This task does not advance the main story, but it does provide you with plenty to do once you’ve completed Cloud and company’s scenario.

The Midgar section of the original game was an 8-hour adventure across the city that introduced the plot and villains. To convey a more fulfilling story, Intergrade goes beyond this portion, grabbing story components from a bit later in the original plot. That isn’t entirely faithful, but it provides a lot more balanced experience. It also expands on Midgar’s events, turning it into a sprawling 30-hour journey. Not to mention all the customisation, optional content, mini-games, and the demanding Hard level, Intergrade’s contribution adds another five or so hours to the game’s play duration, so there’s much to see and do. Overall, the pacing is nice, although there are a few chapters that are simply too long for their own benefit. Both sewer missions, for example, are terrible, and they both occur before significant storyline scenes, eliminating part of the story’s momentum.

Leaving a Trace

Cloud Strife, a sword-swinging soldier-turned-mercenary, becomes involved with the Avalanche eco-terrorist faction in Final Fantasy VII. The Shinra megacorporation, which drains the world’s lifeblood for energy and profit, is actually killing the globe. In order to dissuade Shinra and give the world a fighting chance, Avalanche has made it their mission to destroy the reactors sucking up the planet’s valuable Mako energy. Cloud, Avalanche members Barret and Tifa, and local florist Aerith set out to save the Earth and put a stop to Shinra’s avarice.

As Avalanche and Shinra butt heads, things get much worse. The events in Remake are more or less the same as they were in the original plot, although they have been considerably enlarged. The setting and characters were fleshed out with great care, without bastardizing or censoring the source material, which is fantastic. The original has plenty of language, sexual scenes, and dark humour, all of which are mostly kept here, which is fantastic.


Action RPG

Intergrade, unlike its predecessor, employs real-time action fighting, so blocking, evading, and aggressive offense are all important aspects of the game. Intergrade, on the other hand, isn’t a mindless button mashing. The combat system was given a lot of care and polish, just as the plot beats, and it shows in almost every aspect of the game (assuming you play on the Normal difficulty setting and not the baby-mode Easy option). Because the RPG underpinning has a significant impact on how you battle and handle challenges, button bashing will rapidly get you murdered. It’s easy to make comparisons to Devil May Cry or Kingdom Hearts 3, and there are some similarities. Intergrade is, in fact, its own creature.

Intergrade is a monster-bashing remake of Square Enix’s Dissidia fighting game. The primary fighting system in the latest Dissidia game was compelling, and the technique translates beautifully in a lengthy action-RPG like Intergrade, despite the game’s shortcomings. Essentially, each character has a set of standard combinations or strikes that may be used at any moment and do not require any particular conditions. This may be seen in Cloud’s sword swings and Barret’s bullet-spray. These attacks only deal small damage, but they fill the Active Time Battle (ATB) meter, which is effectively a fighting game meter. You can choose special strikes and abilities that deal modest damage to specific adversaries once you have accumulated enough meter.


Using your ATB

Combating Properly

However, battle involves more than just building and spending ATB. Enemies have unique flaws that can be exploited to devastating effect. Similar to the stagger mechanic in the Final Fantasy XIII games, all foes have a stagger meter under their health that rises as they take damage. For a few precious moments, staggered adversaries are completely helpless, allowing you to deliver massive damage. When performed appropriately, some special attacks put more pressure on enemies than others, making it easier to stagger them. Other special attacks offer bonus damage to staggered targets, thus there are a lot of small strategic considerations beyond just hitting and blocking.

The only significant stumbling block is the poor quality of the aerial combat. Because characters can’t jump in combat (they can only dodge or block), aerial foes are difficult to attack. This makes sense, because melee characters may accomplish basic aerial combinations by auto-jumping at opponents out of reach. These strikes aren’t very accurate, and you won’t be able to defend yourself if your character decides to chase down an errant bird in the sky. Intergrade’s primarily party-oriented gameplay makes it feel like it was made to push you to switch to ranged characters in those instances, but if that were the case, melee troops would have been better off without a jump auto combo at all. It feels clumsy and half-baked, especially considering how well the Dissidia games’ aerial fighting system allowed you dash and fly around like a Dragon Ball FighterZ character.

Yuffie’s side narrative improves the aerial system slightly. Her toss-and-retrieve shuriken ability is a solid means to reach and attack aerial adversaries, and she may switch between melee and ranged talents on the fly. Yuffie is only playable in her Intermission chapter, therefore you won’t be able to add her utility to the main campaign.


Material World

On top of that, the original Materia system makes a triumphant comeback in nearly all of its splendor. Materia are crystal spheres that you can attach to your weapon or armor to get additional powers and benefits. These could include brand-new moves or magical attacks, health and magic enhancements, powerful sub-abilities that improve movement or defense, or boss-crushing summoning spells. Materia typically works well together; for example, you may combine blue elemental enhancement Materia with green magic Materia to augment that magic’s effect to a weapon. In the original game, combining different Materia to test out the effects in combat was a lot of fun, and Intergrade’s action-focused gameplay makes it much more so. Depending on the Materia you add to a character’s kit, you can drastically alter how they play.

Intergrade keeps the combat fresh by releasing new weapons and Materia on a regular basis. Weapons have distinct special abilities that you can activate during combat with your ATB gauge. For example, the Hardedge bestows on Cloud the strong Infinity’s End talent, which deals massive damage against staggered opponents. When your character has accumulated enough experience with the weapon in use, he or she gains the ability to use it with any other weapon.

Weapon experience is used to improve weapons and unlock new features that make them more useful. Additional Materia slots, attack and magic enhancements, and buff duration improvements are just a few examples.


Mini game madness

Music and Video games

The soundtrack for Intergrade deserves a lot of credit. The new musical compositions preserve much of the original’s catchiness with some fresh instrumentation, unusual genre flips, and vocal aspects that really make songs pop, but they are not 1:1 remakes like those in Trials of Mana. You can even buy legendary music remixes from vending machines in the game. New musical additions, such as “Hollow Skies” and the vocal version simply titled “Hollow,” feel as authentic as the original tunes and completely reflect their circumstances.

Aside from story scenes and combat, Intergrade has a plethora of side challenges to complete. You can spend time with a dart board early on, but subsequent activities include a timing-based, gym-themed rhythm game and playground trash-smashing. There are plenty of trials in the coliseum, as well as in the VR simulator encounters with unique boss monsters and summons. Fort Condor, Yuffie’s main mini-game, is a modernized tabletop tower defense game based on the same game from the original. It’s a good time, and there’s even a side mission to go along with it.


Visuals that are surreal

Intergrade is a gorgeous game that successfully brings Midgar to life by combining lavishly detailed visuals with an anime-infused pseudo-realism. Every detail in the game is meticulously detailed, giving it a true, lived-in atmosphere that is both stunning and nostalgic. Intergrade resembles what I envisioned Midgar to look like during its PS1 heyday, and the production team deserves credit for faithfully recreating the game universe.

Given that Intergrade is based on the Unreal 4 engine, it does have a few flaws. While blurry textures and low-res backdrops were widespread in the PS4 Remake version, there are a few low-quality materials that stand out like sore fingers on PC, especially when playing at 1440p resolution or above. The infamous texture pop-in from Unreal Engine still appears now and then, especially when you dash around the scene too quickly. Although they are obvious, none of these problems detract significantly from the game.

Intergrade’s stuttering, frame rate, and weird loading difficulties are of more concern. The game sometimes take a long time to load; in fact, when Yuffie’s mission first loaded on my PC, I believed it had froze or crashed. At times, event scenes can drag since the images don’t always keep up with the recorded speech. Furthermore, whenever something is loaded while exploring the map, the game stutters. No amount of tweaking the settings, including lowering the frame rate and resolution, could fix the problems. The solution necessitates some unconventional thinking, which we will discuss further below.

Is Your PC Capable of Running the Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade?

Looks good most of the time

Based on the minimal and recommended system requirements, Intergrade does not require a lot of processing power. A Windows 10 (64-bit) operating system, an AMD FX-8350 or Intel Core i5-3330 CPU, an AMD Radeon RX 480 or Nvidia GeForce GTX 780 GPU (with 3GB of VRAM), 8GB of system RAM, and 100GB of accessible storage space are required to play the game. An AMD Ryzen 3 3100 or Intel Core i7-3770K CPU, an AMD Radeon RX 5700 or Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 GPU (with 8GB of VRAM), and 12GB of system RAM are recommended.

When purchasing FFVII RI from the Epic Game Store, there are a few things to bear in mind. First and foremost, we strongly advise that you force the game to run on DirectX11. This PC port defaults to DirectX12, which causes unneeded performance and stuttering difficulties, as we discovered throughout our testing.

To play the game in DirectX11 mode, go to your profile icon and select Settings. Scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page, to the Manage Games section, from the Settings page. Check the box labeled Additional Command Line Arguments after selecting Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade. Type “-dx11” in the text field below that, as seen in the screenshot. Most stuttering and performance issues should be resolved now that the game uses DirectX11.

Second, make sure the game is patched. When playing FFVII RI at 90 frames per second or higher, Square Enix released a patch in January that stabilizes the framerate and resolution. Dynamic Resolution Scaling had a negative influence on high frame rates prior to this patch, frequently decreasing the resolution. This and a few other issues are addressed in the patch, so get it as soon as possible.

Intergrade ran between 60 and 100 frames per second at 1440p resolution with no patch or DirectX11 modification on a desktop gaming PC with an AMD Ryzen 5 3600 CPU, Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 GPU, and 16GB of RAM. As previously stated, the game’s speed suffered when assets were loaded while exploring the map with DirectX12 enabled. The game is much more reliable now that it uses DirectX11 and has received a recent patch, averaging 90-120 frames per second throughout the adventure.

Fantasy that is fantastic

Without giving anything away, Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade is an outstanding and fascinating reworking of the first major story arc from the original game. Yes, the game’s ending is a little sad, but the writers did an outstanding job of distilling the pivotal events into a gameplay-packed title. It’s also a little annoying that Square Enix published the FFVII RI with a slew of strange performance flaws, especially since many of them can be fixed with a single tweak. Despite this, Intergrade is one of the best action-RPGs published in recent memory, with fantastic gameplay, extensive customization possibilities, and a variety of side material.


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