7 tips for playing the FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE demo

Turn yourself into a 1st Class SOLDIER with these helpful hints.
By Duncan Heaney

The combat system in FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE is entirely new to the series. The combination of classic menu-based commands, with real-time action makes it feel exciting, unique… and unfamiliar.

The game’s no pushover either - even on Normal difficulty, there’s a lot to think about, and enemies play for keeps. Cloud, Barret and the rest of Avalanche have their work cut out for them if they want their bombing mission to be a success.

Fortunately, we’re here to help. We’ve put together seven handy hints to help you get to grips with the game - follow this advice, and you’ll be sticking it to Shinra in no time.

1. Don’t just spam basic attacks

Standard attacks don’t do much damage. Their primary purpose is to fill your ATB bars faster so that you to use your abilities and spells more often.

While you may be able to beat the first few Shinra troopers by spamming the square button, that’s not going to last. Tougher enemies will easily withstand these attacks, and hit back much harder.

Get into the habit of using combos to fill your ATB, and relying on abilities and spells to cause damage and stagger states.


2. Use magic!

It may be tempting to avoid using magic - after all, abilities only cost ATB, while spells cost ATB and MP. Don’t do that.

Magic is there to be used. It’s incredibly effective in FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE - you’ll be able to take out some foes much more efficiently with spells than abilities.

The demo also gives you plenty of opportunities to restore your MP, including ethers and mako shards, so take the hint and get casting.

3. Take advantage of enemy weaknesses

Many enemies are weak against different types of magic, and you should take advantage of those vulnerabilities.

In the demo, if the foe is flesh and bone, fire is likely a good call. Organic beings don’t enjoy being set alight - who knew?

On the other hand, if the enemy is mechanical, a crack of Thunder will give them a very nasty shock. This is particularly true in the boss fight against the Scorpion Sentinel - Cloud will even call that out, so take SOLDIER-boy’s advice!


4. Heal between fights

Enemies can dish out some serious damage in FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE, so you need to make sure you keep your HP topped up.

You can use healing magic and potions mid-combat, but it uses a bar of ATB. But in-between battles, you can use as many items and spells as you like as often as you like.

So it’s sensible to take the time to heal Cloud and Barret when you have a moment of downtime - that way, they’ll be ready for the next round and you won’t have to sacrifice a chance to dish out damage.


5. Don’t forget that you can block

In FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE, offence isn’t always the best defense. Sometimes the best defense is… y’know, defense.

Cloud and Barret can both block, which makes them take less damage from enemy attacks. They can also roll out of the way to avoid taking a hit completely.

You might think it’s better to focus on evasion over blocking - why take a bit of damage when you can take none, right?

But blocking is a more reliable way to mitigate damage - a mistimed roll can leave you very vulnerable. Not only that, it’s more useful in some situations.

For example, the Scorpion Sentinel boss has a powerful electrical area attack that knocks anyone caught on it off their feet. You can avoid this by rolling, but you can also avoid the knockback if you block.

You’ll take a little bit of damage, but you’ll be much closer to the mechanical monstrosity - in other words, perfectly positioned to start voiding its warranty.

6. Look around you

You may be on a dangerous mission to save the planet, but that doesn’t mean you have to rush. Take your time and look around.

The demo area is full of things to find - and they’re all incredibly useful. Keep your eyes open for chests because they often contain recovery items - you can rely on these potions and ethers to keep you in tip-top shape (see tip #4).

The environment is also strewn with Shinra crates. If you see that familiar logo on a pile of boxes, smash them up because there may be something good inside. For example, you may find an MP-restoring mako shard or a potion - it’s worth taking the time to find out.

Also, smashing up crates with the Buster Sword is endlessly satisfying.


7. The Scorpion Sentinel? DON’T attack while its tail’s up

Because it’s gonna counterattack with its laser!

In the original FINAL FANTASY VII, some unhelpful advice from Cloud led many a rookie to fall foul of the Scorpion boss’s ludicrously powerful tail laser. Fortunately, FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE is much clearer - when that tail goes up, get behind cover.

There’s a brief period where the boss charges the attack so it might be tempting to take the opportunity to get a few hits in. Do. Not. Do. This. Hunker down until after the attack - the Scorpion will be Pressured and that’s your window to deal some damage.


There you have it - 7 top tips to help turn you into a true SOLDIER (1st Class). Hopefully they prove useful - but have you discovered any tips and tricks of your own? Share the knowledge in the comments, or with the team on social media:

FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE is released for PS4 on April 10, 2020 - not long now!

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