The Final Fantasy 7 Remake introduces a whole new generation of gamers to its gameplay and story. If you never played the original Final Fantasy 7 when it was released in the late 90s, you may be wondering how hard it’ll be to give the remake a try.
If you’ve never played a single Final Fantasy game in your life, but find yourself drawn to the gorgeous graphics of the Final Fantasy 7 Remake, you may likewise be worried about whether the game has a learning curve.
Fortunately, on both counts, you should be able to pick up and play the Final Fantasy 7 Remake with little difficulty. To make your life easier though, here are a few tips that you should know!
Try Classic Mode
In the Final Fantasy 7 Remake, there are three difficulty settings to choose from at the start of the game: Easy, Normal, and Classic Mode (Easy). After beating the game on any of these difficulty settings, you’ll unlock a new “Hard” setting.
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If you’re new, you’re probably going to want to choose Easy, or Easy paired with Classic Mode to start. Note that if you plan to pick Classic Mode, your difficulty will be automatically set to Easy. In contrast to the Normal setting, Easy makes it so that enemies take more damage from your attacks, while you take less damage from them. Pretty straightforward.
Meanwhile, toggling Classic Mode saves you from having to coordinate your movement, blocks, and dodges. Classic Mode moves you automatically while in combat, all you have to do is manage things like Active Time functions and actions from your Command menu.
Classic Mode is Square Enix’s attempt to make the Final Fantasy 7 Remake feel as close to the original game as possible. It’s not identical to what’s available in the original game, but it should be close enough to satiate returning Final Fantasy 7 players.
Once you feel you’ve learned enough and are ready to try a different difficulty setting, you’ll be pleased to know the game lets you adjust the difficulty at any time provided you’re out of combat. With this, you’re free to bounce between the game’s difficulty settings in order to find the one that works best for you.
Experiment in Combat
The Final Fantasy 7 Remake isn’t a game where you should be randomly mashing buttons. Sure, you can do it, and it may help you win a fight or two, but it’s not a great way to approach combat. You will be punished for it eventually with an enemy you get stuck on and struggle to beat. It’s only a matter of time.
As such, you’ll want to experiment with the techniques available to you whether that’s using weapons, spells, calling in other characters from your party, etc. To start, you can tap Triangle to alternate attacks in addition to using Square for basic attacks.
Remember to pay attention to your timing, and pay attention to your ATB as it indicates whether you can perform special attacks that deal more damage to your foes. Whenever you have a special attack at the ready, you’re going to want to use it.
You can monitor ATB through a bar under your HP bar. To speed up the rate at which it fills for all of your party members, be sure to switch between them as their ATB fills faster when they’re in combat. To call up one of your party members to help you out in a pinch, press R2 or L2.
Depending on the situation, this can be extremely helpful. For example, if you’re fighting with Cloud and his Buster Sword, you can call Aerith in to utilize her spells, or Barret to make use of his Gatling Gun.
You can also build your characters to their strengths using Materia to make them all even more effective in battle when you call on them.
Pay Attention to Materia
If you’ve never played Final Fantasy 7, the word “Materia” may be completely alien to you. In the game, Materia are colorful orbs that can be used for a multitude of purposes for each of your characters.
You can use Materia to improve base attacks, unlock abilities, learn elemental spells, heal your team more efficiently, and so on. Right at the start of the game, you’ll want to pay close attention to the Materia orbs available to you, and assign as many as you can.
Of course, randomly equipping Materia isn’t the best strategy here, so try and think about what you want to accomplish and build around that. See how the Materia are impacting the stats of your character.
Want a character like Aerith to be strong in magic? Use Materia that helps her increase those skills specifically while adding support in other areas. Don’t rush when assigning Materia, take some time with it.
Unless you’ve already beaten the game, you also shouldn’t let your Materia orbs sit around unused. They’re there to help you out. Try and acquire more Materia whenever possible by exploring and completing side quests, and work to level up your Materia to increase its efficacy.
Some Materia can be a bit more useful than others. For example, the Materia for Enemy Skill lets you learn new spells from your opponents. To pair with that, you should also get yourself the Materia for Big Guard. With it, all of your allies will get Barrier and Haste.
If you’re having trouble keeping everyone alive, also consider healing Materia like Angel Whisper which restores and revives an ally for both HP and status and Auto-Cure to heal a party member who’s in a tough spot automatically.
You can also heal out of battle by pressing X to use a spell or item, and can do this with all of your party members by cycling between them using R2 and L2. Finally, if there’s a Materia you no longer want or need, level it all the way before selling it to maximize the amount of Gil (in-game currency) you earn. Materia is worth a lot!
As you play the game, you’ll unlock new weapons for your characters, and will be able to upgrade your favorites. You can invest a lot of time into planning out your weapon upgrades, although it’s worth mentioning the game gives you the option to set your upgrades to auto as well to save time.
As you explore weapon upgrades, note that you can further build your characters the way you want like you’ve been doing with Materia. It all depends on your preferred style of play for each character. As you level up your weapons you’ll accrue SP which can be spent on additional Materia slots.
If you’re not sure what to spend your SP on, giving your weapons more Materia slots to work with is never a bad idea. Looking for better weapons? Be sure to explore Midgar fully as you can find a wealth of useful things in hidden areas.
If your party members are going a certain way and there’s another route available, go down the other route first to see what’s there before circling back. Also while you’re in Midgar, keep an eye out for benches and use them to rest whenever possible. By resting on a bench, you’ll fully restore MP and HP.
Finally, it’s key to remember that if you’re new to either Final Fantasy 7, or the Final Fantasy series as a whole, to be patient. It takes time to get comfortable with a game no matter what that game is, so don’t expect to grasp every aspect of the Final Fantasy 7 Remake right away.
The longer you play, the easier everything will become, we promise. It’s worth letting yourself experiment with a little trial and error to find out what works best for you as you work your way through the game. You can also do things like restart if you feel the need as the game supports multiple save slots.
The game saves automatically, but can also be saved manually. When you save manually, you’re given the option to select a save slot. If you’re uncertain about how things are progressing, you can use different saves to double back and try things differently or fix any mistakes you might make.
Try not to rush yourself to get to the end either, especially seeing as how the Final Fantasy 7 Remake isn’t the full game. That’s right, despite being a game that’s nearly 40 hours long, the Final Fantasy 7 Remake is only part of the original game’s full story.
Square Enix has confirmed that a Final Fantasy 7 Remake Part 2 will be released in the future. With that in mind, it’s less urgent to speed through the game to get to the ending, as there’s more story content to come. Overall, just try and have fun with the Final Fantasy 7 Remake and take the time to soak in the game’s beautifully updated graphics.
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Morgan is a writer, metalhead, horror lover, and indie game enthusiast. When it comes to games, they love nothing more than to wax poetic about all the latest and greatest indies to anyone who’ll listen. On a typical day, you’ll find Morgan perched in front of the computer like a gargoyle browsing through Steam’s new releases with a large cup of coffee. You can find them on Twitter@Author_MShaver