Hard Mode Guide and Best Hard Mode Builds | FF7 Remake

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HardMode.png

This is a complete guide to beating Hard Mode in the game Final Fantasy 7 Remake (FF7R). Read on for our best Hard Mode Builds, including what Materia are best to use in Hard Mode, what Equipment and Materia are recommended, and how to handle running out of MP.

Hard Mode Differences

Unlocked after completing the main story once, Hard Mode has several key differences from the other difficulty modes, in addition to boosted stats and new Abilities for monsters and Bosses.

  • You cannot change the difficulty setting from the System Menu. To change the difficulty, you will need to use Chapter Select and go to the start of a Chapter with a different difficulty setting.
  • In Hard Mode, you can't use items at all. If you open the Commands Menu and hover over "Items", you'll see a notification that items cannot be used.
  • When using a bench at a rest area, your HP will be restored, but not your MP.
  • You'll receive Manuscripts for defeating most Bosses, as well as sub-bosses found within Side Quests.
  • New matches will be available in the Shinra Combat Simulator in Chapter 17.

Hard Mode Guide (Story Walkthrough)

Strategy Checklist
(Click to jump)




Level Up and Max Out Your Materia First

HardModeGuide1.jpeg

After raising your characters up to Level 50 and maxing out their Materia, you're ready to take on Hard Mode. The enemies in Hard Mode are extremely difficult, and there are few methods to restore your MP. Instead of rushing into the fight, it's a good idea to max out your characters' Levels and Materia ahead of time, and although it might seem like a chore, this will actually save you time in the long run.

Keep track of your MP during each Chapter

The two main restrictions of Hard Mode both clamp down hard on your MP. In addition to items being disabled, benches now only restore HP, and have no effect on MP.
You'll need to watch your characters' MP carefully throughout each chapter, avoiding expensive offensive Magic and saving your MP for essential situations and important boss fights.
How to Recover MP in Hard Mode

Run away from all non-required fights

HardModeGuide2.jpeg

Continue running away until this notice appears.

If there's any fight you can avoid, you should avoid it. As you won't be able to restore your MP after battles, you'll end up gradually wasting it fighting minor enemies, and won't have enough left to defeat the Bosses, which are much more difficult than their Normal Mode versions. Don't fight unless you absolutely need to.

Restore HP without using MP via Chakra and Prayer

Command Materias.pngChakra Restores 40% of lost HP; the higher your HP is, the more effective it is.
Command Materias.pngPrayer Allows you to restore HP to the entire party, depending on your Magic Attack; can heal as much as 4000 HP to all party members

These Materia will allow you to restore HP without wasting your precious MP. Place Chakra on the characters you frequently control, as they tend to take more damage and will need to heal themselves more often. Place Prayer on your character with the highest Magic Attack, as this will yield the highest HP recovery.

How to Recover MP in Hard Mode

Use Benches as often as possible

HardModeGuide3.jpeg

Instead of rushing to recover your HP with Magic after a tough fight, first check to see if there are any Benches in the area. Although these Benches won't restore your MP, they'll fully restore your party's HP at no cost, which can be a literal lifesaver.

Hard Mode Guide (Boss Fights)

Strategy Checklist
(Click to jump)




Match your Elemental Materia with the foe's weakness

HardModeGuide4.jpeg

Use the linked Materia slot on your Weapon to hold an Elemental Materia together with the Magic Materia matching the Boss's weakness. Almost all of the Bosses in the main story will have a weakness, so simply by changing out which Magic Materia you equip, you can deal extra damage to almost every Boss.

List of All Bosses and their Weaknesses

Use Magnify Materia + Healing Materia to heal your team efficiently

HardModeGuide5.jpeg

As opponents' attacks will deal more damage on Hard Mode, you'll need to heal your team often despite your limited MP. When you do use MP to heal your team, make sure you do so as efficiently as possible by attaching Magnify Materia to your Healing Materia, so that you can heal your whole party at once.

It's also best to specify a single healer with high Magic Attack, predominantly Aerith in the chapters she appears. Stacking her with Magic Up Materia before healing will make sure she can heal as much HP as possible.

Play defensively and block often

HardModeGuide6-EN.png

Instead of forcing your way through with attacks, you'll want to conserve your HP as much as possible on Hard mode. Hold R1 frequently to block your opponents' attacks and wait for the right timing to strike. Cloud's Ability Counterstance has the potential to both reduce the damage he takes while dealing damage to opponents, and will become indispensible throughout Hard Mode.

Raise your characters' HP and MP with HP Up and MP Up Materia

HardModeGuide7.jpeg

There's a limit to how high HP and MP can go just from leveling. To maximize your characters' HP and MP stats, you'll need to use HP Up Materia and MP Up Materia. Bosses have higher HP than normal on Hard Mode, so if you don't have enough HP and MP to take them out, your MP will likely run out, preventing you from bringing the fight to a conclusion effectively.

Keep Haste and Manawall up throughout the fight

HardModeGuide8-EN.png

As Boss fights will tend to drag on longer in Hard Mode, you'll want to set yourself up effectively for a long-term battle. From the outset, set up Haste and Manawall, and keep them up throughout the battle. This will exhaust your MP if you cast them on your entire party, so it's best to stick to keeping them up on your primary controlled character, as enemies tend to focus their attacks on the character you're controlling. Keep a close eye on your MP and try to keep these spells up while balancing them with other key Magic.

How to Prepare for Hard Mode

Strategy Checklist
(Click to jump)




Level Up All Characters to Level 50

HardModeGuide9.jpeg
If your characters are too weak to handle the tougher enemies and Bosses in Hard Mode, you'll end up running out of Magic and having to start over partway through the chapter. Instead of rushing headfirst into Hard Mode after beating the game once, it's better to spend time leveling up first and get ready before starting on your toughest challenge yet.

Get All the Best Materia

HardModeGuide11.png

Arranging your Materia loadouts with the best combinations is one of the most important strategic aspects in FF7 Remake. Useful Support Materia like Magnify and Elemental will allow you to make the most of other Materia. As some of these Materia are only found in specific locations, be sure to use Chapter Select to go back and collect them before challenging Hard Mode.

Best Materia for Hard Mode

Learn All the Best Abilities

HardModeGuide10.png

When getting a weapon's Proficiency to 100%, you'll learn its Ability to use even when it's not equipped. You should unlock as many of these as possible before starting Hard Mode, so that you'll be able to effectively pick the best Ability to handle each situation. At the very least, you should unlock Triple Slash for Cloud via Iron Blade, Counterstance for Cloud via Twin Stinger, Overpower for Tifa via Metal Knuckles, and Focused Shot for Barret via Gatling Gun.

Weapon Upgrade Guide | How to Learn Weapon Abilities

Get the Gotterdammerung Beforehand

Gotterdammerung.jpegGotterdammerung Effect
The Limit Gauge will be completely filled at the start of each battle. During battle, the Limit Gauge will gradually fill on its own.

By defeating Pride and Joy Prototype, you will receive Gotterdammerung, undoubtedly the best Accessory in the game. Having this Accessory before you start will make Hard Mode significantly easier to tackle. In order to receive it, you'll need to win against all four Summon bosses in a row, concluding with Pride and Joy Prototype, so this is no easy feat – be sure to get started well before you plan to take on Hard Mode.

How to Beat Pride and Joy Prototype

Best Hard Mode Builds

Jump to a Character
Cloud Icon.jpegCloud Barret Icon.jpegBarret
Tifa Icon.jpegTifa Aerith Icon.jpegAerith

Best Equipment and Materia for Cloud

Equipment
Hardedge.jpgHardedge Chain Bangle.jpgChain Bangle Champion Belt.jpgChampion Belt
Weapon (6 Slots)
Armor (3 Slots)
Summon

Cloud appears in almost every battle in the game, so he'll need Materia which is flexible for a variety of situations. First Strike is used to give him a free ATB charge at the start of battle, which he can lead into Triple Slash to end many fights without taking any damage. If you choose to place Gotterdammerung on him, you can start off battles with Cross-Slash and finish off an even wider range of enemies before they have a chance to make a move.

Other Useful Materia

Materia Reason
Allows HP regeneration without using MP. Useful on Cloud as the controlled character tends to take more damage.
Allows you to see weaknesses during battle.
Pairs well with Gotterdammerung to use at the start of fights; great against Bosses
Useful against easily Staggered opponents; allows the use of Infinity's End and other useful attacks directly after Staggering a foe

Best Equipment and Materia for Barret

Equipment
Light Machine Gun.jpgLight Machine Gun Cog Bangle.jpgCog Bangle Circlet.jpgCirclet
Weapon (6 Slots)
Armor (3 Slots)
Summon

As a back-row hitter, Barret works best firing at foes from a distance and healing other party members. We've given him the same Materia set as Aerith, as there are very few points in the story where Barret and Aerith are together in the party at the same time. This allows each to fill the same vital role when the other character is missing from the party.

Other Useful Materia

Materia Reason
For attacking; switch with other offensive Magic to match with enemies' weaknesses
Great way to reduce damage; can be useful for Side Quest sub-bosses as well
Useful for setting up Haste on your controlled character
Recover HP to your full party without using MP; recommended for when you're running out of MP

Best Equipment and Materia for Tifa

Equipment
Metal Knuckles.jpgMetal Knuckles Supreme Bracer.jpgSupreme Bracer Champion Belt.jpgChampion Belt
Weapon (6 Slots)
Magic Materias.pngIce + Support Materias.pngElemental
Armor (3 Slots)
Summon

Tifa will be on the front lines of battles while simultaneously supporting her teammates with this set. For players who control Tifa often, they'll want to arrange their Materia more similarly to Cloud's suggestions.

Other Useful Materia

Materia Reason
Great way to reduce damage; can be useful for Side Quest sub-bosses as well
Restore HP without consuming MP; recommended for if you control Tifa often
Helps fill up your ATB Gauge; recommended for if you control Tifa often
Helps fill up your teammates' ATB Gauges; recommended for if you control Tifa often
Helps fill up your ATB Gauge and reduce damage; can be useful for Side Quest sub-bosses as well

Best Equipment and Materia for Aerith

Equipment
Mythril Rod.jpgMythril Rod Cog Bangle.jpgCog Bangle Circlet.jpgCirclet
Weapon (6 Slots)
Armor (3 Slots)
Summon

As a back-row hitter, Aerith works best launching attacks from a distance and healing other party members. We've given her the same Materia set as Barret, as there are very few points in the story where Barret and Aerith are together in the party at the same time. This allows each to fill the same vital role when the other character is missing from the party.

Other Useful Materia

Materia Reason
For attacking; switch with other offensive Magic to match with enemies' weaknesses
Has a wide attack range; great for hitting aerial opponents who are hard to hit with melee attacks
Great way to reduce damage; can be useful for Side Quest sub-bosses as well
Useful for setting up Haste on your controlled character
Recover HP to your full party without using MP; recommended for when you're running out of MP
Allows a bit more breathing room in battle; useful for bosses which can deal a lot of damage in one attack

Why Play Hard Mode?

Get Manuscripts Exclusive to Hard Mode

AerithManuscript.png

Many of the 14 Manuscripts available to each character are only available on Hard Mode. By defeating bosses and completing Side Quests in Hard Mode, you can obtain several Manuscripts in each chapter and max out your characters' SP, allowing them to unlock all of their available Weapon Upgrades.

Locations of All Manuscripts

Obtain a Trophy

When you complete all the Chapters on Hard Mode, you'll unlock the Hardened Veteran Trophy, one of the most difficult-to-obtain Trophies in the game.

How to Unlock All Trophies

Related Links

All Tips & Strategies

Beginner Guides
How to Level Up Fast | Exp Farming Guide
Gil Farming Guide | How to Get Gil Fast
AP Farming Guide | Best Way to Farm AP Fast
Where to Buy Items
Mastering the Game
Hard Mode Guide
Battle Strategy & How to Fight Like a Pro
Best Items to Sell
Steal Guide | Best Items to Steal
Collectibles
Trophy List and Guide | How to Unlock All Trophies
How to Get All Dresses
The Johnny Experience Trophy Guide | All Johnny Incidents
Manuscript List and Locations
Music Disc Locations | Jukebox Songs
Complete List of Missables
Moogle Medal Locations | The Moogle Shop

Comment

10 Anonymous13 days

>>6 It's really easier than it seems if you are prepared. The hardest is the battle with Bahamut and Ifrit. Pride and Joy is easier if you stay behind it and revive the person grabbed every time. I got it on my first try hardly surviving and I did it a second time with the accessory because I forgot to assess Ifrit. Now I got all enemies assessed in the bestiary. If you get the accessory, the chapter on hard mode are much easier. Chapters 8 and up is where it gets tougher.

9 Mazzu14 days

After watching many vids and reading articles this fight looked and sounded tough.With these tips I managed to get up to Bahamut. died first time after killing Ifrit but didn’t prepare a Manawall and cure spell in time for Bahamut’s mega flare. I managed this in about 15-20 mins & was surprised how it wasn’t as hard as expected. tried again 2nd time round and beat everything&including pride and joy with not great difficulty. Hardest thing is making sure you can survive a mega flare from Bahamut.

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    • cloud is really that kind of guy huh..dk how to distinguish if someone's flirting haha anyways love all his dresses *winks

    • >>[347]
      If you complete the game and go to Chapter 17 with Chapter Select, you will be able to find Chadley near the start of the chapter and access all the VR missions with any three characters of your choice. Hope this helps!

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