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You've Been Playing These Final Fantasy 7 Remake Characters All Wrong

With the launch of Final Fantasy 7 Remake in April 2020, Square Enix has delivered the gorgeous, high-definition version of its most iconic RPG hinted at since the early days of the PlayStation 3. This isn't just a beat-by-beat rehash of the original PlayStation adventure, though. A lot has been changed, added, or altered in this fresh take on Cloud Strife's unforgettable story.

Rather than playing out in a classic turn-based RPG format, fights in Final Fantasy 7 Remake are real-time and filled with stylish action. Cloud Strife, Barret Wallace, Tifa Lockhart, and Aerith Gainsborough each have their own unique attacks and abilities that distinguish them from one other. You might be tempted to just mash buttons or spam your strongest attacks to try and get through battles, but don't. Each character possesses not-so-well-known skills and properties that, if taken advantage of, can turn even the hardest of boss battles into a cakewalk.

Don't make the game more difficult than it needs to be. Here's what you need to know about getting the most out of your Final Fantasy 7 Remake party members. 

Are you using Cloud's instant parry ability?

In Final Fantasy 7 Remake, each playable character comes with a special skill tied to the Triangle button that is a pivotal part of their toolkit. Cloud's ability in particular is a real game changer. By pressing the Triangle button, he can switch between Operator Mode and Punisher Mode during combat. Operator Mode lets you deliver swift attacks, run around the battlefield and dodge freely. Punisher Mode sacrifices those movement options for devastating attacks and lifesaving parries that activate whenever you block an enemy attack.

Did you know, though, that you can activate that parry in Operator Mode? Instead of staying in Predator Mode and slowly moving around while blocking until an enemy attacks you, stay in Operator Mode and fight freely. When you see an enemy attack coming your way, tap the block button as it hits you and you'll automatically parry and switch into Predator Mode. Utilizing this technique effectively is the key to being an unstoppable ex-SOLDIER.

This weapon turns Cloud into a crit machine

In the original version of Final Fantasy 7, Cloud pretty much exclusively used his iconic Buster Sword during his time in Midgar. Final Fantasy 7 Remake, however, offers a variety of new weapons for all four characters to discover that not only offer new combat abilities, but new types of skill trees that can drastically alter the way each character operates in battle.

Take, for example, the Nail Bat. You can unlock this goofy, gigantic baseball bat for Cloud in Chapter 8 by completing the "Kids on Patrol" Odd Job. The weapon sacrifices Magic Attack and Magic Defense for skills and stats focused purely on landing beefy melee attacks and critical hits. 

Typically, critical hits are rare. You can quickly change that, however, by boosting Cloud's Luck stat. Grab all the critical hit related upgrades for the Nail Bat, then give him a leveled Luck Up materia and the strength-boosting Supernatural Wristguards and Cloud will be landing critical blows left and right.

Cancel reload animations with Barret for constant DPS

Barret deals impressive damage in Final Fantasy 7 Remake thanks to his devastating array of ranged abilities and machine gun attacks. His default machine gun spray is especially powerful, but using it comes at the cost of having to sit through a lengthy reload animation every few seconds. Thankfully, there's a convenient way to cancel out of that animation and charge up one of your most powerful abilities at the same time.

Barret's Triangle button attack delivers a massive volley of bullets, but it needs to be charged a few times before each use. Whenever your default attack is about to enter the reload animation, simply press Triangle to cancel that reload animation and charge up your unique ability, then keep holding down Square to go right back to your machine gun spray. This cuts down on the time between each attack while simultaneously preparing your incredibly strong unique ability. Rinse and repeat for a constant barrage of beefy bullets.

Turn Barret into the ultimate life saver

The party members in Final Fantasy 7 Remake can be attuned and retooled to perform a variety of roles in combat thanks to the wide selection of weapons, upgrades, and materia available throughout the game. By default, Barret is an impressive DPS machine that can soak up hearty enemy attacks while delivering a constant volley of staggering attacks of his own. With the right skills, though, he can also become a vital tank in battle who absorbs damage for other characters.

Early on, Barret can unlock the Lifesaver ability from his Light Machine Gun, which allows him to take damage meant for another character in your party. Combine this with the Provoke materia, which automatically makes enemies target him when another party member is low on HP. Top it off with the Chakra materia so he can automatically recover HP based on how much damage he takes, and you've got an impressive wall of defense for any battle.

Use Tifa's Unbridled Strength to decimate staggered enemies

Initially, it may seem like Tifa got the short end of the stick when it comes to unique Triangle button abilities in Final Fantasy 7 Remake. By default, her unique attack is a so-so Whirlwind Uppercut that doesn't do anything particularly special. The secret to turning this button into an instant death machine, though, lies in her other special ability, Unbridled Strength.

Using Unbridled Strength upgrades Whirlwind Uppercut into the Omnistrike and Rise and Fall abilities, increasing the stagger damage multiplier. As Tifa, you need to stack Unbridled Power two times as soon as possible. Then, lay into an enemy with everything you've got. Once your foe is staggered, you can mash Triangle to combo Whirlwind Uppercut, Omnistrike, and Rise and Fall, pouring insane amounts of damage onto even the toughest of opponents.

Give Tifa this equipment for instant ATB all the time

You need a bar of ATB to use any abilities or magic spells in combat, and without an efficient way to build that meter quickly, you'll never be able to dish out the steady stream of damage that Tifa is capable of. Luckily, this combination of gear and materia can fix that problem.

In Chapter 10, you'll be able to find the Feathered Gloves for Tifa in a chest located in the Sector 6 Sewers. These gloves have low magic stats, but a wealth of speed upgrades that will help you build ATB even faster. Once you have these gloves, equip Tifa with the ATB Assist materia, which grants bonus ATB for the party when using the same special ability twice in a row. Cap it off with the ATB Stagger materia that grants ATB boosts whenever you stagger foes, and the Refocus materia that lets you split your ATB meter into three bars, and Tifa will have more ATB than you'll ever know what to do with.

Aerith's Arcane Ward doubles your magic damage output

Aerith may not look it, but she's one of the strongest characters in Final Fantasy 7 Remake. Equipped with a spell-casting rod and high magic attack stats, she excels at dishing out damaging abilities that can quickly cripple the multitude of enemies vulnerable to magic. If you just cast spells regularly with her, though, you'll never realize Aerith's full potential. One of her earliest abilities lets you instantly double your damage at no additional cost.

Arcane Ward lets you place a glowing flower etching on the ground. Standing on this etching causes any attack spell you cast to be delivered twice at no additional MP or ATB cost. Fighting an opponent who's especially weak to Lightning? Cast Arcane Ward, then drop a double dose of Thundara on them to either instantly eliminate the foe or severely stagger them so the rest of your party can finish the fight.

Don't charge Aerith's standard attacks

Aerith can utilize her standard attack and special Triangle button attack in a number of different ways. You can hold down the Square button to continuously fire off small bolts of magic at your enemy, as well as hold down the Triangle button to charge up a beefy single-fire Tempest blow. It may seem like a smart idea to utilize her attacks this way, but don't.

Much like Tifa, Aerith heavily relies on her ATB to be effective in combat, and charging her standard attacks like this will build her ATB meter at a snail's pace. Instead, chain together quick, single taps of the Square button attack and Triangle button attack repeatedly. Doing this not only delivers a steady stream of non-elemental magic damage, but it also charges up your ATB gauge much faster. You can charge her standard attacks when dealing with a staggered foe for good damage, but in every other situation, single button taps are the way to go.