Watch the video above for a complete rundown on Hard Mode in FF7 Remake!
Hard Mode Differences
Like a traditional New Game+ mode, replaying in hard mode allows you to play the game from the start (or any chapter with Chapter Select) with your end game equipment, materia, EXP and skills. Here’s a basic list of Hard Mode differences:
At the beginning of the game you’re more than likely going to thrash anything that stands in your way, but, there are a couple of other handicaps placed on you.
A big one is that you cannot use items, but the compounding issue is that healing spells take a lot of MP, and in addition to no longer being able to use Ethers, you also no longer restore MP at benches.
This is where the real challenge of Hard Mode comes in, because now you need to approach combat a little differently. If you just carelessly use spells, especially when it comes to healing and using the most powerful “ga” spells, you’re going to find yourself MP starved and in a very tough spot.
Hard Mode MP Recovery Tips
Really, there are only a few ways to recover MP in FF7 Remake hard mode. Here are some MP Recovery tips:
As much as you’re able to reduce your MP usage, you’ll still need to use it, and as such, you need ways to restore it. The best way to do so is via the Shinra Boxes, which have a chance to contain MP restoring Mako Shards. If you don’t get a Mako Shard, or if you’re just in desperate need of more MP regeneration, one thing you can do is save after breaking a bunch of boxes and reload the save. Once you do, the boxes will be back, and you’ll have the same MP from when you saved. This takes… an annoyingly long time, so I’d recommend only doing it if you’re truly in need.
Also note that Aerith has a skill called Soul Drain, which absorbs MP from enemies, and more MP from staggered enemies. Since she’s going to be your main magic dealer anyway, this is an extremely useful skill to have on hard mode, and should probably be something on her shortcut menu.
Fortunately, there are a couple of ways to mitigate the amount of MP you need to use for healing at least.
Because the standard healing materia is so strong, especially when paired with Magnify, you may have never used the Chakra and Prayer Materia to heal – two materia that use ATB instead of MP.
However, in hard mode Chakra and Pray materia are essential because they are the main ways to restore HP without having to spend MP. That’s not to say that you should never using healing materia, but rather you should now think about whether you need the immediate large health restore of a Cura or Curaga, whether you can get by with a small health boost from Chakra, or whether you can spare 2 ATB for an MP-less Pray.
Beyond that, one other key materia that you’ll want to use in Hard Mode is Elemental, which, when fully maxed out, will allow you absorb the elemental damage of whatever materia it is linked to when it’s equipped on armor. So for example, if you’re going up against a boss or tough enemy that exclusively uses fire, attach Elemental to a fire materia and you’ll be able to heal every time they use a fire move against you.
Of course you’ll also want to make sure you have a healthy supply of HP and MP UPs, because you’re likely already at the max character level of 50, which means without these materia, your stats will have plateaued.
Now, chances are these materia will need some leveling up. Fortunately, now that you have chapter select, you have some pretty easy ways to.
Read to How to AP Farm to Level Up Materia for more details on how to quickly and efficiently AP Farm to level up your Materia.
Hard Mode General Tips
Here are a few more tips to help you make Hard Mode just a tad bit easier.
- Hard Mode more than anything is about resource management, with MP being your most crucial resource
- Touch up on your combat skills and play defensively as not to take unnecessary damage
- Know your enemy’s weakness so you don’t waste MP on spells that aren’t “super-effective.”
New Hard Mode Challenges
- There are new VR challenges in the Shinra Battle Simulator: Check in with Chadley and you’ll find several new missions in the Shinra Battle Simulator. These missions are only playable on hard difficulty and present some of the most challenging battles Final Fantasy 7 Remake has to offer. While these battles must be played on hard mode, you don’t have to actually play through the entire game up to chapter 16 or 17 on hard mode in order to attempt them. You can just select chapter 17 through chapter select on any difficulty, play through the chapter until you reach the Battle Simulator, and then you can select your difficulty at the mission select screen.
- The hardest boss in the game is waiting for you in the last Shinra Battle Simulator Challenge. If you want to take on the very hardest challenge Final Fantasy 7 Remake has to offer, you’ll have to complete all of the Battle Intel Reports, win every challenge from the Corneo Colliseum, beat every VR challenge to obtain every summon, and beat every other Shinra Battle Simulator mission in order to unlock the final one. It’s only playable on hard mode and features a gauntlet of tough fights, including the toughest boss in the game: Pride and Joy.