It’s been almost a week now since the first part of Final Fantasy VII Remake arrived at my doorstep and I don’t think I’ve ever put so many hours into a game in such a short amount of time in my entire gaming life. These are some helpful tips for jumping into Midgar with Cloud and crew.
There will be gameplay and mechanics spoilers in this article, but only minor story spoilers.
Always Assess the Situation
Early on you’ll gain access to a materia called “Assess” which fans of the original game will know as Sense. Like OG FF7 this is a useful tool to have, but since it arrives mastered already you may be tempted to replace it with something else. Don’t.
Exploiting enemy weaknesses makes your life a ton easier and with some enemies can even be necessary due to more obtuse mechanics they might have. It’s not really something I consider to be optional unless you play on lower difficulty levels. It’s also useful to scan enemies to find out if they may have something valuable to steal. In fact, there are a couple of items in the game that can only be acquired by stealing them from an enemy. In short? Knowledge is power, so equip yourself accordingly.
Stagger, Stagger, Stagger
What’s the difference between a long slog of a fight and one that’s far more manageable? Your ability to stagger an opponent. Exploiting an enemy weakness will eventually result in them being put in an off-balance “Pressured” state where continued attacks will rapidly fill up the enemy’s stagger bar. Once staggered, you’ll be able to do massive damage to an enemy while they are unable to respond. Some characters, Tifa in particular, have the ability to really drive up the damage multiplier on an enemy in a staggered state, so with proper play you can dispatch your opponents a ton more efficiently.
Don’t Sleep on Aeris as a Nuker
It may be tempting to just saddle Aeris (sorry, I’ll never call her Aerith) to be a full support character, which is a perfectly viable thing to do, but she’s actually an incredible nuker, so you’d be sleeping on potentially tons of damage by just stacking her with support magic. Personally, I’ve found that using Magnify (All) materia with Healing on Cloud to cast Regen on the entire team at the beginning of a fight to be sufficient for most of my healing needs. You can spot heal and there with the Cure spells as well or just use Aeris’ Prayer to help out in a pinch.
Through her weapons, Aeris is able to get a ton of Magic Attack power (no surprise here) and using her Arcane Ward unique ability she can double cast offensive magic while standing within its radius. This ability does apply to any other characters standing in the ward as well, but Aeris is particularly suited to it due to her strong Magic Attack potential.
Explore and Do Everything
The sidequests may pad out the game to an annoying degree at times, but they sometimes offer unique rewards and can have an effect on the outcomes of some parts of the story. It’s also important to explore every nook and cranny you see because the developers do like to hide things behind you, in corners, above you and so on. Once you clear the game it’s possible to return to earlier chapters through chapter select, but if you’re like me and want to get the most out of your initial playthrough, you’ll want to look everywhere.
If you don’t keep an eye out for things you can even miss unique items altogether. I actually missed Tifa’s final (and arguably best) weapon because I was tired and didn’t notice the chest nearby. Thankfully, I had a backup save from only an hour or so earlier so I went back and got the item, but save yourself the headache and be sure to poke around.
The Colosseum is Great for Grinding
I don’t know that grinding is truly necessary in this game, but it’s actually tough to do outside of designated points of the game due to the fact enemies typically take a long time to respawn. Once you complete the Colosseum you can return to it to do special fights for great items and even new tiers of Limit Breaks. But it’s also a great way to get some insane experience. Doing the full party fight you can clear entire waves by just having Aeris double cast AoE Firaga on each group. Eventually, I was clearing the entire thing in about 1.5 minutes, netting an incredible amount of experience for the time I was putting in. I ended up grinding from level 21-30 in roughly an hour or so doing this. Lot of bang for your buck here!
Elemental Materia is Your Friend
By far the easiest way to exploit enemy weaknesses is to link Elemental materia to magic that corresponds to an enemy’s weakness. Doing this in your weapon will add a percentage of your attack damage as elemental damage, allowing you to put the pressure on enemies without having to spend precious MP. Many enemies are weak to Fire, so it’s a fairly safe bet to keep Fire linked a lot of the time, but you will have certain fights where you’ll want to switch things out, particularly when fighting mechanical enemies where Lightning obviously makes more sense. Some creatures are vulnerable to Ice, but they aren’t typically tough to dispatch so I don’t bother switching out for Ice very often.
Barret is a Great Tank
Like Aeris, Barret is also incredible at dishing out tons of damage, but he also excels as a tank due to his naturally high defense and HP. With materia such as Provoke, HP Up, Steadfast Block and a couple of others he can easily take a ton of punishment for your team by spending his first two ATB gauges on his Lifesaver and Steelskin abilities. Just toss a Crescent Moon Charm on him and he’ll take reduced damage while you’re not playing him if you’d rather just turn him into a tank and leave him to do his thing.
Got any of your own tips for FF7 Remake? Share ‘em in the comments below!