Final Fantasy VII Remake Hard Mode – 7 Things You Need to Know

Final Fantasy VII Remake Hard Mode
Final Fantasy VII Remake Hard Mode

It’s now been almost two months since Final Fantasy VII Remake blew us away, with a bold and beautiful reimagining of the classic roleplaying game. By now, many of you will have beaten the game’s story and witnessed the explosive ending – but what about those who want to spend more time with Final Fantasy VII Remake’s amazing characters?

Luckily for those looking for a little more challenge, Final Fantasy VII Remake has an optional hard mode that unlocks upon completing the story on any difficulty setting. Hard mode is no joke – enemies are tougher, MP regenerates slower, and most galling of all, you can’t use items. Conquering this supreme challenge will test even the most experienced Final Fantasy players, demanding intense attention to builds and mana conservation.

Final Fantasy Remake logo

It’s now been almost two months since Final Fantasy VII Remake blew us away, with a bold and beautiful reimagining of the classic role-playing game. By now, many of you will have beaten the game’s story and witnessed the explosive ending – but what about those who want to spend more time with Final Fantasy VII Remake’s amazing characters?

Luckily for those looking for a little more challenge, Final Fantasy VII Remake has an optional hard mode that unlocks upon completing the story on any difficulty setting. Hard mode is no joke – enemies are tougher, MP regenerates slower, and most galling of all, you can’t use items. Conquering this supreme challenge will test even the most experienced Final Fantasy players, demanding intense attention to builds and mana conservation.

Of course, there are rewards for playing on hard mode too. You can upgrade your weapons further than before, and there are also secret bosses that you can only fight in hard mode, each of which yield their own rewards. You’ll also need to beat hard mode to nab all the trophies and attain the ‘Master of Fate’ platinum. To help you get started, here are seven things you need to know to help you dominate Final Fantasy VII Remake’s hard mode.

1. Items are banned

Final Fantasy VII Remake Cloud

By far the biggest challenge of FF7R’s hard mode is that you cannot use items in the field or in battle. You can still equip yourself with weapons, armour, and materia, but healing items like potions, elixirs, and Phoenix Downs are strictly off-limits. Luckily you will have plenty of healing magic to keep your health topped up. Make sure to equip every character with Healing Materia, and level them up as a matter of priority.

2. Conserve MP

The upshot of not being able to use items means that there will now be a greater emphasis on using healing magic – which means your MP will be in higher demand than ever. Even worse is the fact that resting at benches no longer restores MP, so you will have to be extremely careful with how much MP you use per battle. MP is fully restored at the beginning of every chapter, but you should consider this a limited resource that can leave you stuck if you run out. Remember that summons (be they from the DLC or the base game) cost no MP to use, so do use these whenever you can.

3. Smash and pray

Anyone who has played through the story will know that smashing boxes often yields a small amount of MP through Mako Shards. Thankfully, you can still do this on hard mode, so obsessively smash any box you see.

4. Rest, Pray, Love

Final Fantasy VII Remake Aerith

As healing will be a primary concern in hard mode, make use of Materia that can allow you to heal without spending MP. The best Materia to use is Pray, which allows you to restore a small amount of HP to all party members. There is also Chakra which can only heal the user but costs less ATB. Finally there is HP Absorption, which can be linked to a spell to add a HP drain effect. Using all of these Materia to your full advantage will be essential to surviving hard mode. Remember that while benches will no longer restore MP, they will restore your health, so remember to rest at benches wherever possible.

5. You can tackle the chapters in any order

Final Fantasy VII Remake’s hard mode operates kind of like a New Game+ mode, in that you carry over all items and experience from your previous playthrough, and you can also tackle the chapters in any order you choose. Simply head to the System menu and go to Chapter Select to jump into a different chapter. As long as you beat each chapter in the story, you will receive all rewards and trophies, regardless of what order you do them in.

6. Never stop switching

Final Fantasy VII Remake Tifa

One important aspect to Final Fantasy VII Remake’s combat is switching characters – the benefits of which are never fully explained to the player. You will probably have noticed that the character you are actively controlling will always charge ATB faster than the others but did you know they will also take more damage? The enemies in FF7R will always prioritise targeting the active player, so controlling one character at all times is a good way to die, very quickly. In many of the tougher boss battles, you should be switching characters almost constantly, pausing only to input a command and get a few hits in before switching to the next fighter in your lineup.

7. You will need more than magic materia

As we’ve touched on above, all types of Materia are essential to beating Final Fantasy VII Remake’s hard mode. For example, Magnify Materia can be linked to healing spells to heal all party members, or linked to offensive magic to damage all enemies. Steadfast Block can significantly improve your blocks, allowing them to charge ATB as well as mitigate damage. Meanwhile, HP Up and MP Up are essential for boosting your pools of health and mana – without which many battles will be over before they’ve begun. If you’re a little rusty, here’s how to use Materia in the Final Fantasy VII Remake.

These are the basics of Final Fantasy VII Remake’s hard mode, but you will need dexterity, concentration, and perseverance to tackle all the challenges that will be thrown at you. Good luck, SOLDIER, you’ll need it.

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