What difficulty level should you play in Final Fantasy VII Remake?

Take it easy or make it a challenge?


Screebgrab via Square Enix

Final Fantasy VII is a cherished game to many fans. Memorable characters and a bombastic and exciting story, underpinned by a battle system that was still traditional among JRPGs at the time, led to a lot of fun. But if there’s one thing that Final Fantasy VII can be accused of, it’s that the game was a little too easy to beat.

Sure, there are moments in the game that were difficult, such as the ending bosses, but the majority of the difficult bosses, such as Emerald and Ruby Weapon, were optional. Having bragging rights that you beat Ruby Weapon without cheats was an achievement, but it’s something that you can prepare for. The mandatory boss fights, however, were less of a challenge.

It’s refreshing, then, to see that Final Fantasy VII Remake has provided players with options on the difficulty level at which you tackle the game. In the demo, there are three options, with Normal providing a challenge to players, Easy described as allowing players to more easily enjoy the story of the game, and a Classic option.

Based on our playthrough of the game so far, we would encourage all players to first give the game a try on Normal, regardless as to whether you feel like the Easy mode would be best for you.

What is Classic difficulty?

Firstly, we would recommend avoiding Classic difficulty altogether. In Classic difficulty, the game will automatically move and use the basic attacks on enemies for you, meaning that you don’t need to move in combat sections. The idea is that this is designed to allow you to focus on the classic Active Time Battle element while the rest of the game does its thing.

Unfortunately, while this might seem like an attractive option for purists, it causes three glaring problems. 

Final Fantasy VII Remake
Screengrab via Square Enix

First, it cuts off half of the game’s combat, meaning that you’ll feel like a passenger for many fights. It’s designed to feel like the original game, but all it serves to do is provide you with less control over your character. 

Secondly, you are at the whim of the AI for who it wants to attack and which direction to move in. You could move the character you’re in control of to the position that you want, but that defeats the object that this part of the combat is done automatically for you. It relies on the AI doing what you want it to, which isn’t always the most helpful option.

Lastly, while it uses basic attacks, you still need to trigger the special abilities assigned to the Triangle button manually, which also negates the point of the game attacking for you, especially considering how powerful these abilities can be.

It also uses Easy as its difficulty. For Classic and Easy mode in our gameplay, this meant that neither Cloud nor Barret even needed a potion before the first boss fight. 

Normal, meanwhile, requires you to use the block or dodge options more frequently to avoid taking large amounts of damage while also engaging with smarter tactics, such as targeting a particular mob to stagger them. The increased damage taken meant that several potions were needed, though even then there was never any danger of death for either to character throughout the destruction of the first reactor.

There is also a Hard mode for the game, but you must complete the game first, so for now, unless you really want to take the game as chilled as possible, we recommend playing it through on Normal for the best experience.