With much enthusiasm I downloaded Final Fantasy VII Remake: Intergrade, Square Enix’s PlayStation 5 upgraded version of 2020’s remake of the 1997 classic, genre defining JRPG and was not disappointed in the slightest.
Right from the start of the bombing mission in Mako Reactor 1 the work that has been done to improve the games texturing is amazing. The team behind this upgrade has done a great job of improving and sorting out some the background textures (including the notorious motel door!). The texture improvements take what was already a beautiful game and make the experience more polished. Adding little details to the industrial city and undercity of Midgar.
The use of improved lighting effects also really adds to overall immersion in the game. Having the colouring and direction of lighting highlighting the characters faces from angles and casting shadows on others makes the whole game feel more realistic. Coupled with the ways in which the lighting from sky has been programmed in, the game feels almost theatrical in terms of the lighting design.
Adding deeper immersion and realism, albeit oddly, is the inclusion of the fog effects that have been added to much of the game. Indeed, the parts where Cloud and co are in underground tunnels and sewers seems to have an almost ominous feel to them.
But it’s not just underground areas and sewers that benefit from this, the fog effects have been applied with the lighting to create an almost mysterious yet stylised view of the night’s sky in certain parts of the game. Allowing the game to present the nights in the slums to feel even more cut off from the clear skies that the citizens of the Midgar plate enjoy. Which is even more obvious during Mission 4 where you go from the fogged skies of the slums to the Sector 7 plate.
So yes, Intergrades graphic updates and lighting improvements add a lot more beauty to what was already one of the prettiest games at the end of the last generation of consoles. But what about performance mode?
Performance mode means that you can replay 7 Remake at 60FPS, and the difference in combat is noticeable. Right from the very first parts of combat against Shinra goons in the opening mission the upgraded framerate makes the game run far smoother, showing a greater amount of detail in Cloud and the gangs combat abilities and movement.
The increased framerate also makes combat far more fluid. Switching between characters on the original version of the game felt a tad slow and laggy at times, especially against some of the more spectacular boss battles where particle effects are flying around everywhere (looking at you Jenova Dreamweaver). But the running at 60fps results in rapid character switching meaning that battles occur more fluidly, and you spend less time watching party members fall.
Where performance mode really shines, however, is in the limit break animations. The first time I used Cross-Slash against the Scorpion Sentinel I was amazed at how smooth the animations ran. Yes, I know that running games at 60FPS does this, but to see the smallest animation movements running so smoothly was truly great.
The final thing that has been added to the game for the intergrade version is the use of the PS5’s DualSense controllers’ haptic feedback and adaptive triggers. I will admit, of all the changes that have been implemented in Intergrade, this feels the less developed. The adaptive triggers are great on the motorcycle missions, but bear in mind that these are skippable (especially if you are using your old PS4 save) it just doesn’t seem to hit the mark. But despite this it is nice to have some resistance on the triggers when you’re playing as Cloud swinging around his giant swords.
With so many beautiful scenes it was hard to fit them all in, so take a look at this slideshow and enjoy.
Pick up your copy of FFVII Remake Intergrade here.
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