How do you overcome difficult mode in Final Fantasy VII Remake? In this Final Fantasy VII Remake PS4 guide, we’ll cover what we believe to be essential pointers for playing on the game’s often brutal hard difficulty, or ‘hard mode’ as it is often called (see also: Final Fantasy VII Remake: How unlock hard mode).
Final Fantasy VII Remake can be a difficult game to master, and things only get more difficult in hard mode. Some key battles become incredibly difficult, and if you haven’t optimized your group and your tactics, you’re going to hit more than a few brick walls. Below, we list a number of key points that each player should consider at least before diving into hard mode first.
Final Fantasy VII Remake Hard Mode Help – Tips, Tricks, and Tips to Beat Hard Mode
Make the most of the character change
If you have already defeated Final Fantasy VII Remake on normal difficulty, then you will know how important the character change is. And in hard mode, you must switch as many times as necessary to maximize both survivability and damage.
Here’s the thing: In Final Fantasy VII Remake, enemies tend to target the character you have under control. It is not an unbreakable rule, but in general, your enemies prioritize the player. At a fundamental level, this is the game that tells you that you should change characters to divide the attention of your opponents. Getting multiple enemies to group together into a party member, especially in Hard Mode, is a great way to take down that character in seconds.
In hard mode, we recommend reaching a certain pace in battle. Develop ATB with your current character, execute a command, and then switch. Do the same with your next character and repeat. Keep doing this to make sure your enemies aren’t targeting a single party member for an extended period of time.
And as alluded to, switching between characters is also a great way to maximize damage. If your opponent focuses on another person, you can use this opportunity to cast high-level magic or achieve powerful ability, without fear of being interrupted by an enemy attack.
The bottom line is that in hard mode, you should never be in control of a character for more than two or three commands, assuming you are actually fighting with more than one party member. Get used to swapping between Cloud and the gang as soon as you’ve issued an ATB command or two, and you’ll immediately have a better chance of victory.
A healer is not enough
In many RPGs, you tend to have a character focus on healing the party and leaving it at that. But in the hard mode of Final Fantasy VII Remake, you’ll want to split the account, so to speak. Since there is no way to restore MP outside of battle (items are banned in hard mode, and breakpoints only recover HP), taking a lot of damage in a single fight can lead to disaster. Making sure everyone is healthy can put a lot of pressure on your PM reserves, and when you run out of MP in hard mode … well, it won’t last long.
Having Cloud or Aerith do all the healing is not a good idea, they’ll run out of MP too quickly. Fortunately, you can equip everyone with healing matter, and we recommend doing so. Switching to any character and knowing they have Cura ready to go can go a long way in tougher battles, and can keep the party going when all seems lost.
That said, it’s still best to trust certain characters for primary healing, and this is where Magnify Matter comes into play. When linked to Healing Matter, Magnify allows you to heal everyone at once, which is crucial in Hard Mode. It’s a good idea to give Magnify to your best healer, while everyone else focuses on individual healing spells.
And speaking of healing …
Heals sooner rather than later
This may seem like obvious advice, but it is very easy to forget. Do you know when your character’s screen turns red because you have low HP? Well, in hard mode, a low HP level probably means that the next attack will knock you unconscious, and you may not even have time to rectify the situation with a healing spell.
Don’t wait for your party’s health to drop to critical levels before healing them. In hard mode, enemies, especially bosses, deal much more damage. If you’re already missing a slice of HP, let’s say something over 30 percent, then you should complete magic or healing skills as quickly as possible.
If you’re sitting at something less than full HP, some bosses can take down your entire party with just one attack. Healing should always be a priority as long as you have ATB to spare.
Chakra and matter of prayer can save lives
On normal difficulty, the matter of Chakra and Pray may seem like overkill when it comes to healing. You can survive pretty well with regular healing spells, but these skill-granting materials really take on importance in hard mode, where MP must be managed properly.
Maintaining your MP levels is crucial in hard mode, so both Chakra and Pray can be incredibly useful when it comes to recharging your party’s HP. Chakra restores the user’s HP based on how much damage they have taken, while Pray restores the HP of the entire group. Both are abilities, so they don’t cost any MP to use.
Making good use of Chakra and Pray can really help you save on MP, but there are drawbacks to be aware of. For starters, none of these abilities can be used outside of battle. And to get the most out of Chakra, a character must already have enough HP, which is a risk in hard mode. Additionally, Pray requires two ATB bars, which can be a difficult task during the toughest fights.
In other words, you need to use these skills wisely. Chances are they won’t replace your usual healing magic, but they can still prove invaluable tools when your party takes a beating.
Never stop exploiting weaknesses
Enemies have weaknesses for a reason, and you absolutely must exploit them in hard mode. You can overcome the normal difficulty without paying too Pay close attention to things like elemental weaknesses, but in hard mode, you can’t show mercy to your enemies.
If you know the weakness of an enemy, hit him. Press them as often as you can and keep them closed. If they can’t move, they can’t hurt. And if they can’t hurt, you’re on the road to victory.
But as we’ve already discussed, MP is an invaluable resource in hard mode. And casting powerful elemental spells like Firaga and Thundaga can drain it very, very quickly. With that in mind, when it comes to hitting a specific weakness, you may want to stick with mid-level spells like Fira and Thundara, which are usually enough to put pressure on enemies and cost around half MP. In some situations, you can even escape with low-level spells like Fire and Thunder.
Generally speaking, it’s better to save your high-level spells to deal heavy damage, rather than exploiting weaknesses.
Know your pressure movements
Deal enough damage to an enemy, or hit a weakness, and you could put them in a “pressed” state. When an enemy is under pressure, he is defenseless for a short period of time, and your attacks will do more damage than normal. On normal difficulty, you can get away with hitting your opponent with your most damaging spells and abilities, but in hard mode, you’ll want to make the most of pressure situations.
This means learning and using skills that focus primarily on step damage. Fortunately, most attack descriptions will point out if something increases stepping damage, so it’s mostly about memorizing which abilities work best. For example, Cloud’s Focused Thrust ability is great for staggering build, and the same is true for Barret’s Focused Shot ability.
The key is to use these abilities before your opponent recovers from being pressured. As such, actually saving your ATB for when an enemy is pressed is not a bad idea. Store enough ATB on multiple party members and can fire multiple stagger-based attacks, all at the same time.
Of course, the whole point of tapping into a pressed enemy is eventually staggering it, and staggering your enemies in hard mode is vital.
HP Up is essential
In Final Fantasy VII Remake, you can build your group however you want, and that’s a big part of the experience. But there are several subjects that we think are very valuable in hard mode, and the most important of all is HP Up.
Ideally, you should have HP Up on every group member; it’s too good to ignore. At maximum matter level, it gives your characters a huge health boost, making them much harder to kill.
But it’s not just about making your characters tougher, it’s about direct survival. Some bosses in hard mode are able to eliminate your group in a single attack if your HP is not as high as possible. As such, HP Up is essential. Without it, your natural maximum HP may not be enough, it’s as simple as that.
Don’t sleep on the firm block
Steadfast Block is one of our favorite subjects in Final Fantasy VII Remake, and we just want to give it the attention it deserves. Simply put, Steadfast Block is extremely useful in hard mode. Blocking is undoubtedly your best form of defense. Not only does it decrease incoming damage, even from spells, but attack blocking increases its ATB bar.
Steadfast Block is so good because it makes your best defensive option, the simple act of blocking, even better. At maximum matter level, it greatly reduces damage taken and greatly accelerates ATB gain. And in hard mode, having a constant supply of ATB is huge. It should not be overlooked to be able to source large amounts of ATB by simply holding down R1 to block.
If you’re looking for advice on weapons and stuff in Final Fantasy VII Remake, be sure to check out our Final Fantasy VII Remake All Weapons: Character Builds and Best Materia guide.
As part of our Final Fantasy VII remake guide you can also discover: How long is there to finish the game ?, how many chapters does it have? as well as information on New Game +, Chapter Select, Endgame and How to unlock hard mode. For help with side quests, check out our Chocobo Quest Side Locations guides and Corneo’s secret location guides.