Final Fantasy 7 Remake is a ridiculously lavish recreation of the PS1 classic, a formative JRPG that changed what we thought was possible in video game presentation. The industrial city of Midgar has been lovingly recreated, down to the same pinball machines in Tifa’s bar. The memorable soundtrack and the high-definition look remains the same, but almost everything else about the game has been tweaked, changed, and expanded.
Gone are the turn-based battles. You still have HP / MP and party-members, but the way you interact with the world in battle has been totally revamped. You’ll take control directly in flashy fights, and it takes a while to wrap your brain around all the combat mechanics. There are so many details that the game doesn’t explain, or barely explains, I wanted to share a few tips to make your early hours way, way easier.
These tips won’t just help in the first few hours. These are tips that can carry you into the late-game! If you don’t start early, it’ll take a lot more grinding to get all the powers you’ll want for tough battles later on. Here’s all the things I wish I knew before getting started in FF7R.
More Final Fantasy 7 Remake guides:
How To Unlock Level 2 Limit Breaks | All Weapon Locations & Proficiency Abilities | All Rare Materia Locations | How To Unlock All Summon Materia | All Jukebox Music Tracks Locations | ‘Heavenly Dart Player’ Trophy Guide | ‘Sultan of Squat’ Trophy Guide | PSA: 3 Very Useful Button Inputs | How To Get 200% Or 300% Stagger Bonus | How To Beat Roche, Crab Warden & Air Buster | How To Beat Reno, Rude & Hell House | How To Beat Abzu, Ghoul & Eligor | All Side-Quests Guide & Rewards List
#1: You Have Multiple Characters — Don’t Stop Swapping!
For much of FF7 Remake, you can rely on Cloud and his trusty Buster Sword to take down just about any enemy. But, if you want to play smarter, you can rapidly swap between characters to queue up magic attacks, input combos, or use special attacks to really lay down the hurt on tough enemies.
Why all that swapping? When you’re not in control, your AI will only use normal attacks. They’ll guard and fight as best they can, but they won’t spend ATB gauge or use their [Triangle] attacks. Swapping to them early in a fight is really useful — you can build their ATB gauge faster, so they’ve got a few charges ready to use items, abilities, or magic.
#2: Unlock new abilities for your characters with Weapon Proficiency.
Whenever you acquire a new weapon, make sure to use it until you reach 100% proficiency — the proficiency meter increases the more that you use a weapon. Once you fill the proficiency meter, you’ll unlock a new ability that’s unique to your character. That new ability is a permanent unlock! You can swap out to your preferred weapon and continue to use the ability you just unlocked.
#3: Equip the Assess Materia On Cloud As Early As Possible!
Assess is even more useful in FF7 Remake than in the original. Not only does Assess tell you enemy weaknesses, it also reveals how to build their stagger gauge, and if they have an item you can Steal. Some very useful items are just waiting to be stolen — especially from bosses with unique weapons. Assess will make your life much easier. I recommend just giving it to Cloud once you acquire it. I can’t stress it enough.
Even better, once you Assess an enemy once, you can check their info as often as you like. You don’t need to cast the Assess spell multiple times in battle. You’ll get the Assess Materia automatically in Chapter 3. You can’t miss it!
#4: Materia Can Be Leveled Up — So Use It Often.
Materia returns from the original game, and at first, your starting spells might not seem that great. Cloud and his party can waste most enemies with a combination of standard and [Triangle] attacks. But, magic becomes way more useful as you progress. The earlier you start using it, the earlier you’ll level up your materia.
- NOTE: You can use all the magic you want in battle. Why? Because you can shatter Shinra-labeled crates to gather mako shards that refill your MP between battles.
Materia can remain useful for the entire game if you keep leveling it up — combine this with Assess to learn enemy weaknesses, and equip lots of different materia to all of your characters. Some Materia will even give you completely different useful spells – the Cure Materia doesn’t just (eventually) give you Cura, it also gives you Regen.
#5: Each Character Has A Different Playstyle — Learn Those Strengths & Weaknesses
Your playable characters in FF7 Remake each have different strengths and weaknesses, and it’s important to learn how they all work. Cloud is your main character, and he’s generally pretty good at everything — he’s tough, strong, and can use some magic. Barret is better at taking out long-range enemies or flying enemies with his minigun, and plays damage support for most fights. Tifa is a combo monster that rushes into battle, but doesn’t have the defense that Cloud has. Meanwhile, Aerith is a support player that’s great at healing or unleashing magic buffs / debuffs.
Swapping to your characters and using them will help you figure out their unique playstyles, and help you build their ATB gauges much faster. One playstyle you won’t want to miss is Cloud’s Punisher Stance.
#6: Cloud’s Punisher Stance Has An Auto-Counter Ability.
FF7 Remake now includes blocks and dodges. You’ll need to avoid incoming spells or ranged attacks, or absorb those attacks for less damage with a block. You can block at any time, but Cloud’s alternate stances actually change the way his block works — in Operator Stance, Cloud will block like normal. In his Punisher Stance, his block now works like an auto-counter.
If any enemy attacks with a melee move, you’ll stagger the enemy and leave them open for a full combo counterattack. It’s very useful against certain melee enemies, and makes dealing with some bad guys a total breeze. You’ll just need to experiment to see which enemies it works best against.
Like all [Triangle] attacks, Punisher Stance quickly refills your ATB gauge. That includes counters!
#7: Side-Missions Are Too Important To Skip!
Side-Missions are easy to track in FF7 Remake, and some of these optional quests can give you incredibly useful rewards. You’ll find new Materia to equip, and new Weapons — both of which can be enhanced. Don’t forget that Weapons will help you earn new abilities that you can permanently use for your character once you hit 100% proficiency.
Materia gives you totally new magic that can change the way you’ll handle battles. Basically, don’t skip side-missions.
#8: Complete Coliseum Combat Challenges To Unlock Level 2 Limit Breaks
Every character has their own unique Limit Break — a powerful attack that takes a pretty long time to charge. Once you hit Chapter 9, you can actually unlock a secondary Limit Break that’s even more powerful than the first ones. These Level 2 Limit Breaks are optional, so don’t forget to equip them in the character menu.
So, how do you unlock Level 2 Limit Breaks? Once you reach the Coliseum, you’ll eventually be able to complete combat challenges. You’ll want to complete the combat challenges called ‘Cloud vs.’ or ‘Tifa vs.’ — these character-specific challenges force you to play with only one character. If you can complete them, you’ll earn your Level 2 Limit Break. They take longer to charge, but they’re even more devastating.
#9: On A Main Mission, Use This Trick To Find Optional Areas
When you’re on linear missions, which is pretty often in FF7R, you can easily overstep and leave an area that you’ll never have a second chance to explore. There are locked gates and all sorts of other backtracking blockers. It doesn’t matter that much, because you can always replay previous story chapters to redo anything you might’ve missed.
But, if you’re the type of person that wants to fully explore every area, you’ll want to use this simple trick. Just watch your companions — where they go, go the opposite direction. You allies won’t enter optional areas, so you’re free to explore. Often, they’ll also ask you if you’re ready to progress. I always select “No”, take one more quick look around, then drop by to continue.
That’s all the tips we’ve got so far! Check back soon for lots more FF7 Remake guides, or more tips as we delve deeper into this massive game.