Final Fantasy 7 Remake: The Best Hard Mode Loadouts For Every Character | Essential Weapons & Materia

After completing the story in Final Fantasy 7 Remake, you’ll unlock Hard Mode. It lives up to the name, because Hard Mode locks your party out of items, auto-regeneration, and bench healing. That puts your MP at a premium — and there’s only one MP-Absorption Materia in the game. You’ll have to wisely use your MP to survive every tough encounter, and you’ll never have Phoenix Down or Ether to fall back on.

It’s tough, so you’ll have to completely change your gameplay style to survive. HP Up and MP Up Materia are suddenly incredibly important, and the more HP Up you can equip onto your main characters, the better. Chakra and Prayer are suddenly your most important powers — and you’ll have to very carefully manage your elemental powers.

Below you’ll find my tips for all four character loadouts; what weapons to equip, armory / accessories you’ll need, and materia to level up.

More Final Fantasy 7 Remake guides:

Tips & Tricks Beginner’s Guide | 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 | How To Beat Reno & Rude, Failed Experiment & Abzu (Rematch) | How To Beat Jenova, Rufus & Arsenal | How To Beat The Final Boss | All Side-Quests Guide & Rewards List | Post-Game Unlockables Guide | XP, AP & Gil Farming Guide

Cloud – Hard Mode Build

  • Weapon: Hardedge – We’re going to try to push Cloud’s damage output to the limit. The more damage you can do, the better.
  • Accessory / Armor: Chain Bangle, Champion Belt, Whistlewind Scarf
    • Chain Bangle for high defense, Champion Belt for a little extra damage, or Whistlewind Scarf to increase your ATB.
  • Materia: Chakra, Revival, Elemental+Fire (Swap Elements depending on battle / Chapter), Cure (Optional), ATB Boost, First Strike, HP Up (x2), Steadfast Block, Bahamut Summon

Cloud is your primary damage-dealer. Save you MP for Arise, and use Chakra (x2) to heal up mid-fight. Use ATB Boost to instantly recharge your ATB at the start of a fight, and unleash Triple Slash as often as possible. It’s one of Cloud’s best moves. Steadfast Block is very helpful here — you want Cloud to tank and deal as much damage as possible.

Tifa – Hard Mode Build

  • Weapon: Purple Pain – All about increasing Stagger and Critical Hit %.
  • Accessory / Armor: Iron Maiden, Champion Belt, Fury Ring
    • Iron Maiden for very high defense, Fury Ring for high attack, or Champion Belt for a little of both.
  • Materia: Revival, Barrier, Haste, Cure (Optional), HP Up (x2), ATB Stagger, Shiva Summon

Tifa is all about putting pressure on your enemies with her standard attacks. She’s also incredibly quick — she can run around arenas without getting killed thanks to her speed. Because she isn’t your primary healer, I recommend giving her some of the optional materia such as Haste. Unlocking Manawall is very important, and Tifa will usually have ATB to spare.

Aerith – Hard Mode Build

  • Weapon: Mythril Rod – Get the most magic attack and MP recovery possible.
  • Accessory / Armor: Supreme Bracer, Platinum Earrings
  • Materia: Pray, Revival, MP Absorb+Fire (Swap elements), Thunder, Aero, Blizzard, MP Up (x2), HP Up (x2), Leviathan Summon

Aerith is your best magic-user and healer. She has powers to recover MP, and seeing as she’s the best at using magic, I recommend always giving her MP Absorb. Link with the basic element, use Arcane Ward, and you’ll be earning back lots of MP while taking down basic enemies. Only use the lowest level of all magic attacks — until you reach the bosses, then go nuts.

Barret – Hard Mode Build

  • Weapon: EKG Cannon – The best weapon. Nothing special here.
  • Accessory / Armor: Supreme Bracer, Platinum Earrings
  • Materia: Pray, Revival, MP Absorb+Fire (Swap elements), Thunder, Aero, Blizzard, MP Up (x2), HP Up, Magic Up, Leviathan Summon

In the post-game, Barret is really a less-good version of Aerith. Whenever Aerith isn’t available, you’ll want to use Barret just like her — just boost his magic power with accessories and Magic Up materia. Give him enhanced Pray, and let him do all the long-range spellcasting.

These are just my personal load-outs and suggestions for Hard Mode! Depending on your personal preferences, there’s room to customize all of your favorite characters. Chakra / Pray, MP Absorption, and HP Up / MP Up are the most important.