Once you complete Final Fantasy 7 Remake once, you’ll unlock a tougher challenge: Hard Mode. This version of the game requires you to be on your toes in every single battle, while taking away some of the key elements you might have relied upon in Normal Mode to get you through. Hard Mode is the only way to fully upgrade your weapons with Manuscripts, unlock the toughest boss battles in the game to earn its best accessory, and get the chance to make choices that will let you see additional scenes.
We have some essential tips that will help you best all the amped-up foes you’ll face in Final Fantasy 7 Remake’s Hard Mode. And if you want more, we’ve got tons of FF7 Remake guides, walkthroughs, tips, and analysis.
1. Conserve MP
That means you’ll want to conserve MP as much as possible; only use spells when you absolutely must, and save most of your MP for healing spells, as without items, you’re locked out of replenishing HP or reviving downed teammates in almost any other way. Using MP Up Materia can help you get more MP out of your teammates, but you’ll want to consider carefully which character you use for which magic job. Try to remember ways to game the system, too: Aerith’s Arcane Ward doubles your spell output for the same cost and her Siphon Soul ability steals MP from enemies. Some weapon upgrades cut down on spell costs, too, which can be seriously beneficial.
2. Use Prayer And Chakra
The big workaround for your finite MP supply are the Prayer and Chakra Command Materia. Prayer gives you a healing boost to your whole team for two ATB charges, while Chakra heals one character based on how much damage they’ve taken. Neither is ideal in all cases, but finding and equipping both Materia on all your characters will give you non-MP options for healing in emergencies. Chakra is relatively easy to come by, but Prayer is much rarer: look for it in Chapter 14 in the “Corneo’s Secret Stash” side-quest.
3. Don’t Forget Revival
Without items, you can only revive teammates who are knocked out in battle one way: Revival spells. You’ll need Revival Materia, which you can generally purchase, on all of your characters, and you should try to level it up as quickly as you can. The Ascend spell is great for getting characters back into a fight at full strength, but it’ll take you a while to earn. Forgetting to equip Revival can be the end of your team in a fight, so make sure everyone has some at all times.
4. Guard Like Crazy
You’ll take more damage from attacks in Hard Mode from all sources–it is hard, after all. That makes using the Guard ability more important than ever. You can generally get away without guarding much in Normal Mode, but in Hard Mode, there are plenty of moments when you’ll face attacks from enemies that you can’t avoid. Guarding can hugely reduce the amount of punishment you take (especially with the Steadfast Block Materia equipped), while keeping your characters from getting stunned nearly as often. As Cloud tells Tifa, keep those gloves up.
5. Counterattack Is OP
With all that guarding you’re going to be doing, you’re going to want to spend a lot of time in Cloud’s Punisher mode. Even against enemies whose attacks you can’t avoid, you’ll often be able to get in a counter-attack swing with Punisher mode engaged, allowing you to do damage and, for most enemies, fill up their Stagger meter. Even better than Punisher mode counter is the Counterstance ability from the Twin Stinger sword. It’s similar to guarding in Punisher mode but is activated with an ATB charge, and allows Cloud to dish out a ton of damage when he’s hit. These are great ways to pressure and stagger enemies, so try them often.
6. Switch Characters Frequently
Enemies in FF7 Remake tend to flock toward and prioritize targeting whichever character you’re currently controlling. That’s especially true with bosses, who will often ignore AI characters to go after your controlled character, even if you’re largely staying back out of the fight. You can use that targeting to your advantage by frequently switching between characters; it’ll often allow you to “kite” an enemy with one fighter while you switch to another to flank, fire off spells, or heal. Especially in some of the tougher boss battles toward the end of the game, frequent switching will create gaps in enemy defenses you can exploit and open up chances to heal your team when they’d otherwise be in serious trouble. It’ll also allow you to drive up everyone’s ATB meters equally, giving you more options throughout any given battle.
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7. Experiment With Combos
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