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"Final Fantasy 7 Remake" Combat Tips - Materia and Weapons

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Kain writes video game articles that include tips, tricks, and tutorials. He is especially enthusiastic about the "Call of Duty" series.

A Modern Combat System

After over two decades, the Final Fantasy 7 Remake is finally here with new graphics, combat, dialogue, side quests, and an expanded story in the city of Midgar. The combat in the original game was turn-based like many other role-playing games during that time. Enemies would attack randomly as you moved, prompting a battle arena with different graphics. The Final Fantasy 7 remake has been modernized with real-time action, but the game can be paused to perform certain actions like casting Materia. Enemies will attack when you're within their vicinity. The combat experience is much more seamless and fast-paced, but it still retains a few elements that the original game had.

The Final Fantasy 7 Remake has several difficulties. Classic and easy mode are for players who just want to experience the story and characters. Normal mode will require you to strategize in combat. You can't button mash your way to success, especially when fighting challenging enemies or boss battles. Hard mode is unlocked after completing the game. Some enemies are nearly impossible to defeat conventionally. Exploiting their weaknesses is sometimes necessary.

This article will provide basic tips for the battle system in the Final Fantasy 7 Remake. It will mostly cover the Materia system, weapons, and miscellaneous information.

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Each main character has a unique weapon. For example, Cloud Strife starts with his iconic Buster Sword and Tifa Lockhart uses different types of gloves. As you progress through the game, you'll find other weapons that have a special Ability tied to them.

Weapon Proficiency

It is in your best interest to utilize a new weapon until you acquire 100% proficiency. Acquiring 100% proficiency allows you to use that weapon's Ability on other weapons . For example, Cloud can learn Triple Slash and use that Ability with his Buster Sword. Make sure to switch to new weapons until you permanently unlock whatever Ability is associated with them. Note, regular attacks do not increase weapon proficiency. Use your Abilities in battle by building up the ATB gauge.

Skill Points

As you level up Cloud Strife and the other characters in Final Fantasy 7, you'll unlock Skill Points for weapons. Skill Points are vital for increasing stats like HP, MP, weapon damage, and unlocking additional Materia slots! Access the menu and select upgrade weapons. Don't make the mistake of forgetting to spend your Skill Points!

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Enemy Weaknesses

The Final Fantasy 7 Remake has a Materia called Access. When cast in battle, it scans the enemy for vital information, revealing the strengths and weaknesses. The scan also tells you about the rewards and items that are dropped by the enemy.

Once you have information on a particular enemy, simply hit the touchpad in battle to reveal the information again. It is only necessary to cast the Access Material on new enemies that have not been scanned.

Most enemies have weaknesses that you can exploit. For example, some foes are weak to Fire Material. Casting the correct Materia will deal significantly more damage. It may also cause them to stagger. Some enemies are impervious to physical attacks or Materia. Knowing the weaknesses of your enemies is extremely important in normal or hard mode.

Make sure that you know the status icons. Check the manual in the main menu, as the game does not specifically tell you. Status effects and Material have symbols. For example, the Ice Material is blue and the Fire Materia is red.

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Punisher Mode

Cloud can enter Punisher Mode which allows him to deal more damage. He won't be able to move fast, but he can block and counter. If you're fighting a tough enemy that is slow, use Punisher Mode to defeat them much easier. Lastly, Punisher Mode is excellent to utilize when an enemy is staggered.

Spell Charge Times

Material takes time to cast in the Final Fantasy 7 Remake. They also require MP. It is possible to be interrupted when casting a spell. Not only will you fail to cast the spell when interrupted by an enemy, but you'll waste precious MP. Cast Materia when you're a safe distance from enemies or when not in immediate danger. Consider casting a weaker version of a spell to cast it faster. One of the biggest mistakes I made in battle was using Material at the wrong moment.

Using Items

Sustaining damage in combat is inevitable. Make sure to stock up on items like Potions, Ethers, Hi-Potions, Phoenix Downs, and items that cure status effects. Vending machines in the game will offer sales for certain items. Make sure to buy items when they are on sale to save GIL. Locating treasure chests is a good way to obtain items without spending GIL.

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Upgrading Materia

Make sure each character is equipped with as much Materia as possible. Most of the Materia can be upgraded to a stronger spell. For example, Fire eventually becomes Fira and Firaga. Stronger spells take longer to cast and use more MP, but they deal monumental damage. Unlock more Materia slots by finding or purchasing new weapons or armor. Skill Points can unlock additional slots as well.

Ideally, each character should have a healing spell like Cure or Revive. Cure can be cast outside of combat as well.

Materia is leveled up by earning AP (ability points) in battles. You won't be able to equip all the Materia you find or buy, so choose wisely. Offensive and healing spells should generally take precedence, though.

Building ATB

ATB is a fundamental aspect of Final Fantasy 7. No action (other than running or dodging) can be performed without charging the ATB bars. Your ATB slowly charges over time, but regular attacks make it charge faster. Switching to characters frequently is a good idea. The AI will still get ATB, but it will be much slower when you're not controlling them.

Some Abilities or Materia require two full ATB gauges. Never waste your ATB unless you have a good reason to.

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Shortcuts for Combat

You'll be using certain Materia or Abilities a lot in Final Fantasy 7. Instead of having to pause the game in combat, set shortcuts via the main menu. Setting shortcuts for Materia and Abilities can make combat flow a lot faster. Don't worry, you'll still be able to pause the game if you have shortcuts set. I'd suggest making a shortcut for Cure Materia because someone will always need to be healed in battle. Shortcuts are optional, though. Sometimes pausing the game is better because it gives you time to think in the midst of battle.

Magnify Materia

Linking Magnify to an offensive Materia like Fire enables you to damage multiple enemies at once. It won't deal as much damage, but it's great to use when you're outnumbered. Magnify can also be linked to Material like Cure.

Chapter 9 has the Magnify Materia. It's in the Collapsed Expressway before you reach Wall Market. You'll have to drop Aerith off the robotic crane before stacking the two large containers. Aerith will automatically pick it up and place it in your inventory.

Healing the Entire Party

As you progress through the Final Fantasy 7 Remake story, you'll encounter benches. Resting at a bench will restore your party's health and MP completely. They are indispensable because they save you from wasting items like Ethers, Potions, or Phoenix Downs. Completing side quests also heal your entire party. Good luck!