After many long years of anticipation, Final Fantasy 7 Remake is finally out now, and it’s exactly as good as we had all hoped it would be. It is, typically enough, also very mechanically dense, especially from a combat perspective, and going into it for the first time, all the systems that you have to get to grips with might prove to be a bit overwhelming. Don’t worry though- here, we’ve compiled 15 tips and tricks that should help you get up to speed with the game’s fundamentals pretty quickly.
So without further ado, let’s get started- and let’s start with a few pointers about one of the game’s most crucial systems: Materia.
DON’T SELL MATERIA
You’ll be getting Materia from a lot of different sources in Final Fantasy 7 Remake, and you’ll be getting them quite frequently, so it’s inevitable that you might end up with some (or many) dupes. Do not, however, sell those dupes- not until you can be positive that you can get that Materia again easily whenever you want. Equipping multiple characters with the same Materia can be quite advantageous, especially if they provide useful buffs or abilities or if the spells attached to them can help you get through tough boss fights, so it’s actually not a bad thing to have multiple of the same Materia in your inventory.
Materia don’t just let you cast spells or help you learn new abilities- as mentioned earlier, they can also give you unique buffs or other passive advantages, which can be vital during combat, especially boss fights. For instance, equipping a thunder Materia to your armour can make you more resistant to that element. Essentially, you don’t just want to be swapping Materia in and out based on whether your stats are going up- you need to be paying close attention to the actual affects of the Materia as well. That actually brings us to our next point.
Each character their own unique strengths and weaknesses, so something else that you should keep in mind while equipping Materia to them is that they cater to their strengths. Cloud is a frontline attacker, so you want to keep his health and strength stats up. Barret is a ranged fighter and naturally resilient to physical attacks, so with him, you want to focus on HP and defence. Aerith is a healing specialist, so focusing on elemental stats and max MP is a great fit for her. Meanwhile, Tifa is an up-close melee specialist, so focusing on her speed and attack is the best way forward for her.
When it comes to spell Materia, you need to put some thought into what each of your party members have equipped. For starters, it’s best to have each and every one of your party members be equipped for healing Materia, for obvious reasons. When your chips are down, you don’t want to rely on just one character with healing spells. From a more attacking perspective, make sure that your party collectively covers all element types. Most stronger enemies and bosses are weak to at least one of these, so you want to make sure that you have at least someone in your party that has the required magic attacks.
Deadly Dodge is one of the most useful defensive Materia you’ll get in the game- thankfully, you also get it pretty early on. One a character has Deadly Dodge equipped, they can perform the titular move, which allows them to unleash an area of effect physical attack after pulling off a dodge. It strikes a great balance between offence and defence, so it’s a good idea to make use of this in battles. Equipping either Cloud or Tifa (or both, preferably) with this Materia is ideal.
This is another very useful defensive Materia that you’re going to want to equip your characters with, especially those focused on melee attacks, like Cloud and Tifa. While Cloud can parry in Punisher mode, parrying isn’t something that characters in Final Fantasy 7 Remake can do by default- except if they are equipped with the Parry Materia. The advantages here are obvious, while combat is also a lot more fun when you can parry attacks with perfectly timed blocks- so it’s a win-win all around.
Another pretty useful defensive Materia is Steadfast Block- but it’s more of a risk/reward situation here, unlike something like Parry or Deadly Dodge. With Steadfast Block, the amount of damage you take while blocking is increased, but you also fill up your ATB gauge faster. While it’s not ideal all the time, it does come in handy in fights against bosses or other enemies that are harder to take down.
Not too far into the game, you will get the Assess Materia, which, as its name suggests, allows you to assess enemies and learn about their weaknesses and resistances. That by itself would be enough to encourage you to asses any enemy you come across, but there are other advantages as well. How many enemies you have assessed (and which enemies you have assessed) is also a factor in some side missions, which yield some pretty useful rewards, so make sure you don’t ignore this ability.
USING MULTIPLE ITEMS
There will be times when you want to heal a character, but a single potion or ether just isn’t going to cut it. Thankfully, rather than using items one at a time, you can use multiple units of an item together. When in the items menu, just hold L1 while while using items to use them repeatedly. It’s a real time saver, and can be pretty handy in tight situations.
Final Fantasy 7 Remake also allows you to upgrade your weapons- each time you level up, you gain SP, which is what you spend for weapon upgrades, but each of your weapons get SP, not just a single one. Meanwhile, any new weapons you purchase also get previous SP they might have missed out on. So make sure to keep checking in with your weapons to upgrade them. And since each weapon gains SP, you can also experiment with them freely to see which one suits you best without sacrificing any progression.
KEEP ENEMIES IN RANGE
The ATB gauge is your bread and butter in FF7 Remake’s combat, and one of the things you’ll be spending it on is abilities- while using these, make sure your targets are actually in range, or your attacks won’t land, and you’ll have wasted your ATB. It’s not an issue for some abilities, but others – like Cloud’s Braver, for instance – need your enemy to be in range, otherwise you’ll just be unleashing a really flashy move on nothing but air.
Staggering is something else that will be really, really useful when fighting against bosses, mini-bosses, or enemies with more health, such as Shock Troopers or Guard Dogs. In fact, in many cases, it’s pretty much essential. When an enemy is staggered, they take a lot more damage, while attacks they are weak to can be flat-out lethal. And so, you should focus on getting them to that stage. You can fill up their Pressure gauges more quickly by making use of stronger abilities or spells (the Steadfast Block Materia is pretty useful for this, since it helps fill up your ATB gauge faster), while attacking with Cloud’s Punisher mode is also a neat trick to stagger enemies when they’re pressured more quicky.
DON’T IGNORE SIDE QUESTS
You might be tempted to ignore side quests in Final Fantasy 7 Remake and just stick with the critical path- don’t do it. Not only are many side quests great from a narrative standpoint, how much they contribute to world-building, and the way they help flesh out characters, they can also yield some really, really useful rewards, such as Materia, weapon upgrades, or at times even Summons and Limit Breaks.
Side quests are just some of many optional activities that can lead to useful rewards. There are also Discoveries- these are areas in the map that are inaccessible, where you need to fulfil certain requirements to get through. You might be tempted to just ignore these and move on, especially since they’re more often than not optional, but you get some pretty useful stuff – such as Materia – for completing these objectives.
Speaking of Limit Breaks, while they’re not used very often during combat, they can be very useful when you do use them- and Don Corneo’s combat arena is a great place to get more of them. Completing challenges in this arena will net you with more useable Limit Breaks, and it’s a good idea to invest time into them.