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Final Fantasy VII Remake - Battle System Explained

February 4, 2022

Final Fantasy VII Remake's Battle System is quite different to the original game's version and this guide will teach you the mechanics of how it all works.

Final Fantasy battle systems can make or break the series game, and with Final Fantasy VII Remake there is a lot to enjoy. The original FF7 used a simple time-based ATB system where players would select commands to attack enemies. Final Fantasy VII Remake however departs from that and gives the player a lot more choice and freedom, leading to chaotic battle sequences.

Final Fantasy VII Remake Battle System Basics

Battle System

Final Fantasy VII Remake has combined many systems into one; you'll be familiar with many of the mechanics if you've ever played a Final Fantasy or RPG game.

You control one single character at a time, but can switch to other party members on the fly. In FF7 Remake, you only ever have 3 characters in your party at once.


Every character in your party has an ATB gauge that slowly fills over time. This ATB gauge has two bars, once one of them is full you can select an Ability or use Materia. Some abilities will require two full bars in order to use that ability.

When in control of a character, the player can use a normal attack and a special ability that doesn't use any of the ATB gauge. Instead, using the basic attack and special ability will fill the ATB's gauge faster, so it's your prerogative to hack and slash your opponents as often as possible so you get access to the ATB abilities more often.

When in control of a character, time freezes when you access the battle menu. This allows you to pause mid-fight and select your attack.

Tifa Attacks

Each character's basic and special attack are different. For example, Cloud can switch between two different attack modes, whereas Tifa can use a Whirling Uppercut, which can be double boosted using a special Overpower ability.

Final Fantasy VII Staggering System

Staggering System In Final Fantasy VII Remake

The staggering system in Final Fantasy VII Remake allows you to deal burst damage in a short amount of time. In order to stagger an enemy, you need to fill up their Stagger Gauge, which is visible under every enemy you face.

The Stagger Bar increases when you use specific abilities against enemies. Some enemies have weaknesses to special attacks, so using your Assess Materia ability can reveal weaknesses that you wouldn't otherwise know.

Some abilities are better at increasing the stagger bar; for example, Cloud's Focus Thrust attack can increase the stagger bar much more significantly than his Braver attack.

Overall, the goal of each Boss battle is to stagger the enemy. Once an enemy is staggered, they usually become vulnerable for a short period of time where you can deal hard-hitting damage and wipe out large chunks of HP.

Final Fantasy VII Remake Difficulty Modes

Final Fantasy VII Remake offers different difficulty modes when you start a new game. You can change this difficulty at any time during your play through using the menu.

Difficulty Modes

Here are all the modes:

  • Easy (Classic)
  • Easy
  • Normal (Classic)
  • Normal
  • Hard - Unlocked after beating the game for the first time

Classic Mode

Classic Mode takes control of your character's basic attack. Instead of you spamming your basic attack to get your ATB Gauge up, the computer takes over and does it for you. This allows you to focus solely on selecting the right abilities.

This mode helps players who don't like the chaotic nature of battles. Whilst it might not be the most optimized setting (since the AI controlled characters can sometimes be a lot slower than you manually controlling them), it helps with keeping an eye on any ATB abilities and Materia available. When you have three characters to juggle, this can become quite challenging.

Easy vs Normal vs Hard modes

Easy and Normal modes allow you to use items in the middle of fights. The difference between the two modes is how strong the enemies are.

In Hard Mode no items are allowed to be used and you cannot recover MP from benches. Instead you'll have to rely on special abilities and recovering MP from those Shinra Boxes. Hard Mode also ups the strength of the monsters and bosses you face.

Final Fantasy VII Remake Battle Commands

FF7 Battle System Assign Commands

To make things easier and more fluid, you can also assign specific ATB abilities, use items and Materia to Battle Commands.

If you go to Menu and select Battle Settings, this page allows you to combine two key buttons and assign a move of your choice to them. This saves you from having to navigate menu's during battle, keeping the flow of the battle more fast-paced. It's also great for training your characters and speed leveling.

Each character can have their own set of commands assigned too.

Final Fantasy VII Remake Limit Breaks

Each character in Final Fantasy VII Remake also has a special move called a Limit Break. This only becomes available when the Limit Break bar (beneath the ATB gauge) fills up.

The Limit Break Bar fills up when you deal damage and take damage.

Each character has a different Limit Break that can be useful in certain situations. There are also various Limit Breaks you can unlock.

Final Fantasy VII Remake Equipment

Weapons FF7

Each character in FF7 Remake can have three pieces of equipment: A Weapon, A piece of Armor and an Accessory.

Weapons will give players new abilities to learn; each ability has a proficiency gauge that once maxed allows you to learn the ability even after you change weapon.

FF7 Battle System Weapon Upgrades

Each Weapon can also be upgraded with SP adding various boosts to damage and battle mechanics. You will earn SP as you Level Up.

FF7 Remake Accessory

Accessories tend to give a special boost, such as 10% strength. Armor will usually just give improved stats.

Final Fantasy VII Remake Materia

Materia System

Materia are special items you can buy and find in Final Fantasy VII Remake. Each piece of Materia has a set of abilities or boosts applied when equipped to a piece of equipment.

Each piece of equipment has a specific number of Materia Slots. You can add and remove Materia as you please.

Materia also can be "leveled" up by gaining AP from battles. When you level up a piece of Materia, you unlock a new ability that that Materia offers. You can see how much AP each piece of Materia currently has from the Materia Menu.

For example, the Healing Materia offers:

  • Cure
  • Cura
  • Regen
  • Curaga

You can unequip Materia you have maxed and give it to other characters in your party so they can use these abilities.

Final Fantasy VII Remake Summons

Summon Materia

Summons in FFVII Remake are special types of Materia that can be equipped to weapons.

Summon Alert

A summon only becomes available in special boss fights; a special summon gauge appears showing you a countdown until you can use a Summon.

You will be able to have the summon fight alongside you for a short amount of time before it unleashes it's ultimate skill.

You'll be able to find all sorts of Summon Materia throughout Midgar and it's surrounding areas by taking on quests and completing challenges.

Content in this article may contain material that is copyrighted to © Square Enix.


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