Final Fantasy VII Remake: Intergrade is full of change. At a basic level, it’s a full next-gen upgrade of the original game with enhanced visuals. On top of that, it brings all new content to the game that’s likely to have some serious implications about the remake’s proper sequel.
While there are plenty of big headlining features to get excited about, there’s one smaller detail that’s worth keeping an eye on. One subtle change to the new INTERmission episode could signal a key change to FF7’s combat action RPG battles.
Intergrade will feature “combo attacks,” which are new to FF7R. According to game director Tetsuya Nomura, Yuffie and Sonon will be able to team up in battle to execute special moves.
“You can select commands for Sonon in Wait mode,” Nomura explains in a Famitsu interview. “As a new feature, Yuffie can coordinate with Sonon to perform team combos."
We’ve already gotten a quick glimpse of what that will look like. In one clip, we see Sonon tossing Yuffie up in the air so she can attack the top of a towering robot. The two look like a WWE tag team working together in battle.
Combo attacks aren’t a first for the Final Fantasy series. Final Fantasy XV features blindside attacks and link-strikes that allow allies to work together to pull off big attacks. These can be triggered by attacking an enemy from behind or successfully parrying an enemy. Noctis also has his own special attacks that let him wreak havoc with a pal.
Final Fantasy VII Remake’s combat is siloed by comparison. Despite the fact that players control three characters at once, swapping between them on the fly, the heroes never really cross over in battle. Each has their own individual actions that can be executed independently of one another. Cloud can unleash a massive Limit Break while other characters carry on with their basic attacks as they normally would.
It’s a little surprising that FFXV’s system didn’t carry over to FF7R, because it feels like a perfect narrative fit. FF7R is a game that’s all about digging deeper into the relationships between its heroes. Rather than allowing players to swap party members out on the fly, the game is very deliberate about how and when it pairs characters together. Every scene has a set lineup so it can play with specific character dynamics in story beats, despite there being four playable characters in total.
The action is a bit underutilized in that respect. While FF7 Remake does an excellent job at telling the story through cutscenes, dynamics don’t always extend to battles. While multi-stage boss fights tend to tell a story, we don’t get a sense of the relationships between heroes in those moments. We don’t get to see Cloud and Tifa working together, despite the two being so close outside of battle.
It’s subtle, but a little addition like combo attacks can help weave some of FF7 Remake’s excellent character building into more aspects of the game. Cinematics and gameplay should seamlessly bleed into one another to deepen the story on both sides. Hopefully, Yuffie will teach Cloud the power of friendship when she eventually makes her way to the party and does a somersault off the Buster Sword to skewer an enemy.
Final Fantasy VII Remake: Intergrade will be released June 10, 2021 for the PS5.