Read this guide on how to beat Hard Mode in Final Fantasy 7 Remake (FF7 Remake, FF7R). Includes walkthrough hard mode tips, differences, how to recover MP, rewards & strategies!
Tips To Beat Hard Mode Video
Hard Mode Tips Video
Tips For Hard Mode (Non-Boss Edition)
Things To Keep In Mind
- You'll need to manage MP carefully
- Using Chakra and Pray is a good idea
- Always break Shinra boxes you see on the road
- Use Aerith's Soul Drain a lot
- Avoid using offensive spells
How To Recover MP
In Hard Mode, it can be very difficult to restore your MP (basically just Shinra Boxes). This means that using MP on the road for non-boss monsters will leave you in a worse position for later (far more difficult) boss fights. Try not to use magic as much as possible on the road to a boss to save MP!
Use Pray and Chakra
The move Pray is taught by the Prayer Command Materia & uses up 2 ATB gauges in order to heal your entire party. Although the ATB cost is steep, this is one way of avoiding MP use while in the field.
|TIP||Before finishing off an enemy, save up ATB & get a Pray off before the fight ends! Doing this can save you a lot of MP.|
Chakra allows you to spend one ATB gauge to restore your own health. The health restored here scales depending on your current health percentage. The lower your health, the more healing you'll get out of this.
|TIP||By using Barret's ability Lifesaver, you can take damage for an ally and then heal up that damage with Chakra, making for an efficient, MP-less healing method!|
Always Break Shinra Boxes
One of the very few methods of MP regeneration on Hard Mode is picking up Mako Shards that come from Shinra Boxes. Note that not every box you destroy will have a Mako Shard. However, it's worth destroying every single one you come across, just in case.
|TIP||If you have full MP, consider sending out a heal on a wounded party member before breaking a box so you don't waste any MP regen you might get. *This is risky as you might not get a Mako Shard, so be careful.|
Make Thorough Use Of Soul Drain
Aerith's ability Soul Drain deals damage to enemies and absorbs some MP from them. By using this repeatedly on trash mobs you can have a good source of MP regeneration throughout a chapter! Consider equipping First Strike Materia on Aerith so you can get two off even in a short fight.
|TIP||If you use Soul Drain on ghost-like enemies (such as Ghost or Ghoul), it will have the opposite effect and you'll have your MP absorbed, so be careful!|
Be Aware Of Bench Locations
On Hard Mode, benches will only restore your HP. If you're aware of the position of benches, you'll be able to refrain from using MP on healing spells when a bench is coming up!
Tips For Hard Mode (Boss Edition)
- Swap between characters often
- Have Healing and Revival Materia for multiple characters
- Use Magnify + Barrier
- Make good use of low-level magic spells
- Make full use of Elemental Materia
- Keep in mind the number of bosses in a given chapter
Swap Between Characters Often
Bosses have a tendency to attack the character you're currently controlling. By being aware of this and making active use of character swapping, you can more evenly distribute the damage your party takes. If you see that Cloud is taking a beating, swap to Tifa to get the boss's attention. Don't tunnel vision and play only one character!
|TIP||If the HP of your current character drops, don't just immediately cast a heal with the same character, make sure to switch to another character to cast the heal instead! This might draw the boss's attention away.|
Have Healing and Revival Materia For Everyone
For boss battles, it's recommended to have Healing and Revival on everyone. Even if you pay super close attention, there are times when you'll get hit by a super powerful ability and get downed, making Revive very necessary. Make sure to have 3 max level Healing Materia as well.
Pray During Boss Batles?
Since Pray costs 2 ATB gauges, we don't recommend bringing it for boss battles. It's simply too costly - make sure to swap it out before a boss battle starts.
|TIP||It's possible to use Pray as your AoE heal if you've linked Magnify with something else instead. However, in this case, make sure to pool ATB so you don't get caught off guard.|
Barrier + Magnify Is Great
The damage bosses deal on hard mode is quite high. Having a barrier up on your characters will make the overall experience much, much smoother, so making Barrier AoE by linking it with Magnify is also a great option.
|TIP||Level up your Barrier Materia to max to gain access to Manawall. This spell reduces both physical and magic damage taken and can make your life much easier!|
Use Low Level Magic Spells Wisely
You'll want to use your MP on healing and support (barrier, haste) spells, so . If you are just aiming to pressure an enemy or stagger them, using lower level spells will be just fine. Towards the end of the fight (at the end of a chapter, when you don't need the MP anymore), however, it can be worth it to spend all your MP on expensive spells if you think it will help you kill the boss faster.
Make Full Use Of Elemental Materia
Infuse Your Weapons With Elemental Power
By linking Elemental Materia to another magic Materia in your weapon, you can add elemental damage to your regular attacks. This is a really effective way of dealing consistent super-effective damage against certain enemies, so make sure to use this all the time! Get into the habit of checking the weakness of your upcoming enemies.
Gain Elemental Immunity
When linked in a piece of armor, having your Elemental Materia at Level 2 will make you immune to the linked Element! At Level 3, you can even absorb that element to regain health. Check boss abilities and adjust your Materia accordingly before a fight!
Keep In Mind The Number Of Bosses In A Chapter
When there are multiple bosses in a given chapter, MP management becomes even more vital. Look up in advance exactly how many boss battles there will be in a chapter and manage your MP accordingly!
Best Materia To Level For Hard Mode
Materia To Prioritize
|HP Up||Cloud/Tifa/Barret should be over 8000 HP, Aerith should be over 6000 HP|
|MP Up||Cloud and Aerith should be over 150 MP, Barret and Tifa over 100 MP|
|Healing||Max level, at least 3|
|Revival||Max level, at least|
|Time||Don't need to level|
|Elemental||Max level (best to have 2)|
|First Strike||Max level|
|Steadfast Block||Max level|
|ATB Boost||Max level|
|Magic Up||Max level|
|Fire||Use according to opponent's elemental affinity/weakness|
|Ice||Use according to opponent's elemental affinity/weakness|
|Lightning||Use according to opponent's elemental affinity/weakness|
|Wind||Use according to opponent's elemental affinity/weakness|
Possible To Get Multiple Chakra And Prayer Materia
It is possible to get 3 Prayer and Chakra Materia to give to each character, so make sure to have all 3 of them maxed out, as this will make recovery while traveling a lot easier.
|Materia||How To Get|
|Prayer||・Comes equipped on Aerith|
・At the Angel's Hideout as part of the Corneo's Secret Stash quest (※Can get one every time you repeat this quest)
|Chakra||・Comes equipped on Tifa|
・At the Church in Ch. 8
・Underneath Corneo's mansion in Ch. 14
Best Weapons, Armor, and Accessories For Hard Mode
Recommended Weapons For Hard Mode
Note that the numbers shown here are for fully upgraded weapons only!
|Atk +91 Magic +91|
Def +11 Magic Def +11
A well-balanced weapon in terms of attack and defense. Has Defense and Magic Defense boosts, as well as increased MP regeneration speed
|Atk +73 Magic +73|
Has Reprieve, allowing you to survive a deadly hit. Reduces cost of healing spells by 20%, which is excellent for Chapters when Aerith isn't around.
|Atk +137 Magic +46|
Best weapon when using Cloud exclusively as a physical attacker. Really fixes Cloud into the physical attacker role - using Magic isn't as effective with this weapon.
|TIP||Hardedge is probably the best weapon overall for Normal Mode, but in Hard Mode you're going to want some defensive stats as well!|
|【1st】Metal Knuckles||Atk +164 Magic +36|
Excellent physical damage stats. Has relatively low MP to begin with, so it's okay to make Tifa specialize in melee damage anyway.
|【2nd】Feathered Gloves||Atk +120 Magic +80|
Weaker than the Metal Knuckles in terms of attack, but has a damage taken decrease while guarding, making this a more tanky alternative.
|【3rd】Purple Pain||Atk +82 Magic +66|
Has Reprieve. When the Critical bonus lines up with the low-health stat bonus, this weapon deals unbelievable damage, but it's a bit risky to be low on health on Hard Mode.
|【1st】Big Bertha||Atk +93 Magic +62|
Very high attack with equally high HP, making it a well-balanced weapon. Can be used in a support role to get off Barriers as well.
|【2nd】Gatling Gun||Atk +77 Magic +77|
Def +9 Magic Def +9
Less power and HP, but slightly more defensive stats than Big Bertha. A slightly more balanced alternative.
|TIP||Barret has rather low magic stats to begin with, so it's best not to use him as a DPS caster. Give him buffing spells like Haste and Barrier to make better use of him.|
|【1st】Reinforced Staff||Atk +50 Magic +131|
Def +0 Magic Def +13
Has Reprieve and damage reduction while guarding, so this is recommended for a full healing build.
|【2nd】Mythril Rod||Atk +24 Magic +164|
Sacrifices defense for maximum firepower. Useful if you need damage output.
|TIP||In Normal Mode, the Mythril Rod is definitely the best, but in Hard you won't always be able to use magic moves due to MP restrictions, so the Reinforced Staff is recommended.|
|Chain Bangle||Only 1 available|
4 Materia Slots, good Def & Magic Def
|Cog Bangle||Can get one for everyone|
3 Materia Slots, good Def & Magic Def
|Supreme Bracer||Can get one for everyone|
3 Materia Slots, high Defense
|Rune Armlet||Can get one for everyone|
3 Materia Slots, high Magic Defense
|Champion Belt||Cloud, Tifa, Barret|
Increases HP by 10% and Attack by 5%
Increases MP by 10% and Magic Power by 5%
|Revival Earrings||All characters|
Auto-Life, brings a character from the dead once per fight. Recommended for boss battles.
|Götterdämmerung||Cloud or Aerith|
Start battle with a full limit bar
Limit gauge slowly fills up over time
How To Unlock Hard Mode
Unlocked Upon Completing The Story
By completing the Main Story quests up to Chapter 18, you'll gain access to Hard Mode. You'll be able to select Hard Mode when accessing the Chapter Selection feature after clearing the game.Check Out Other Endgame Content Here!
Hard Mode Shinra Battles Also Unlocked
New Hard Mode exclusive battles will also be unlocked at the Shinra Combat Simulator after beating the game! Each mission has a unique difficulty level, so you won't need to use Chapter Selection to determine the difficulty. You can go on Normal mode to access the Hard Mode missions as well.
Ch. 17 Is The Fastest Way To Get There
By starting Chapter 17 from the Chapter Selection, you only have to fight one group of enemies before you arrive at Chadley and the Battle Simulator, making this the fastest way to get to the Simulator!Shinra Combat Simulator Challenge Guide
Hard Mode Differences & Rewards
Hard Mode Features Overview
- Level and equipment data is carried over
- Cannot change the difficulty level of a chapter once it has started
- Gain 2x more Exp and 3x more AP
- Rest areas only restore health (not MP)
- No items allowed
- Can obtain special Manuscripts
Hard Mode Rewards - Manuscripts
The main reward you'll get in Hard Mode that you can't get on other difficulties would be special Manuscripts. This will be essential if you're looking to max out your weapon upgrades!Check Out The Weapon Upgrade Guide Here!
How To Prepare For Hard Mode
Level Up To 50
Hard Mode enemies are significantly stronger than their normal counterparts. You'll be able to gain EXP while playing Hard Mode, so it isn't absolutely necessary to start it at Level 50, but the higher you are the easier it will be!Check Out How To Level Up Fast Here!
Get Materia And Farm AP
It will be key to have at least two of each Materia, as well as 3 maxed out Healing Materia before heading into Hard Mode. We also recommend having 4-5 HP Up Materia to be safe. Don't forget to level them all to Max (or as close as you can get).
Get 2 Elemental Materia
The Elemental Materia is extremely important in order to get immunity to certain magic types for Hard Mode. You will probably have obtained at least one from Chapter 6, but there is another in Chapter 14 as well.Find Out How To Get The Second Elemental Materia Here!
Get The Best Equipment
Having the strongest equipment available to you will make your life a lot easier when venturing through Hard Mode. Check out all the best weapons from our guide below, and make sure you haven't forgotten to grab them from their respective chapters!Best Weapons & Core Skills