Demo for Final Fantasy VII Remake covers various information for Square Enix's highly anticipated game of 2020, Final Fantasy VII Remake. The demo gives us a taste of what is expected in the game such as big changes and upgrades to the character design, setting, and most importantly the combat, the demo starts with Chapter 1 at Mako Reactor 1 where players get to see members of AVALANCHE Jessie, Biggs, and Wedge in action, as well as one of the Playable Characters, Barret Wallace, and the game's protagonist and main playable character, Cloud Strife. The demo is available to the public and can be downloaded on the PlayStation®4 via the PlayStation Store - the demo represents a work in progress and may differ from the final product.
Final Fantasy VII Remake Demo
Final Fantasy VII Remake Demo - Menu
The demo starts off with selecting your desired camera controls then the game difficulty. The difficulty is divided into three types and choosing your desired mode will affect the behavior of the combat system and enemies. This setting can be changed at any time in the Options menu, select System > Options > Gameplay > Difficulty - the following difficulty modes are:
- Classic: If you want to play the game just like the original, choose the Classic difficulty. It allows players to focus on using commands in battle while the player-controlled character will automatically attack and defend in battle. And enemies will also have less damage output and can easily be dealt with.
- Easy: If you want to simply enjoy the story of the game and worry less about battles, select this difficulty. It has the Normal battle system where you will be able to fully control the character you are playing but enemies will be easier to face in battle once they are encountered.
- Normal: Normal mode is what is highly recommended to have the full experience. This is the standard difficulty that will provide a challenge when it comes to battle. Apart from that, players can also enjoy the story as well and fully manage their party's resources.
Players take control of Cloud Strife in the field and in battle. As the game progresses, several playable characters will also join the party which will allow you to switch and take control of the other members in battle or issue various commands. A battle begins when you encounter enemies in the field, the standard combat mechanic is by attacking enemies with the [Square] button. Of course, in a Final Fantasy game, you will need to utilize battle commands such as abilities, magic spells, and items, and in order to use a command, players will need to consume a portion of the ATB gauge, filling it can be done by attacking, executing a perfect block, and as time passes. This does not just apply to Cloud but each playable character that is in an active party must also have enough ATB charges for them to execute battle commands or for a player to issue commands - each battle command has a different ATB charge required for it to be executed.
- Abilities: Execute various unique abilities of the controlled character.
- Spells: Cast different offensive and defensive spells that can benefit in battle.
- Items: Issue a command to use consumable items such as Potions, Grenades and many more.
- Limit Break: Have a character that has a limit break perform a unique and powerful skill.
- Summons: Call out a celestial being that aids the party in battle. A Summoning materia must be set to invoke summons in battle.
If players choose the normal difficulty, they will be able to switch between active members of the party when in battle by pressing the D-pad of the PS4 controller. This allows players to easily adapt to the situation of the battle, apart from switching characters, you can also stick to the same character and issue commands to party allies by pressing the L2 or R2 button.
Unique Skills, Abilities, and Limit Breaks
Abilities and Limit Breaks make its return to the remake, abilities are divided into two categories which are Weapon and Materia types, which means, a weapon ability is tied to a certain weapon that has a distinct ability, and when it is equipped, it can be used in battle, however, these weapon abilities are restricted to certain characters only. Ex: If Cloud equips the Buster Sword, he will gain access to the Focused Thrust ability. On the other hand, a materia ability can be linked to a command if a certain Materia is equipped, these are normally attached to a materia slot of either a weapon or armor and can be used by any playable character.
Limit Breaks are powerful unique skills that are executed in battle. Whenever a character takes damage and staggers enemies, it fills the limit gauge. Once it is full, players can use a limit break to perform powerful attacks or spells. Limit Breaks can be used at your disposal once it is available and it does not need to spend ATB charges.
Apart from the Abilities and Limit Breaks, a new combat mechanic which are Unique Abilities is featured in this demo. Each character has a unique ability that can be unleashed by pressing the [Triangle] button. These unique abilities do not require any ATB charges and can be used at any time, however, some abilities require time to charge.
Chapter 1: Demo Highlights
The Final Fantasy VII Remake Demo starts off with Chapter 1: The Destruction of Mako Reactor 1 at the train station of Mako Reactor 1. Players get to see members of the AVALANCHE Jessie, Biggs, and Wedge in action, as well as AVALANCHE leader Barret Wallace, and the game's protagonist, Cloud Strife.
Upon taking control of Cloud, approach Barret and two Security Officers will appear who will engage in battle. This is the first battle encounter of the demo where you'll get to experience how the new action combat mechanic is where you'll take full control of Cloud's movements. Pressing the [Square] button will make Cloud use his basic attack, and holding down the button unleashes an attack capable of hitting multiple enemies. They're quite easy to kill and a few strikes will get rid of them quickly, each of them rewards EXP, Gil, and may drop a random Item.
Next, when you head to the entrance, you'll encounter two more Security Officers and you'll be given a tutorial on how the ATB Gauge works. In battle, not only are the characters capable of attacking and using Unique Skills, but players are also capable of using battle commands such as using Abilities, Items, conjuring Spells, and calling out Summons. All these battle commands require an ATB charge in order to be executed. The ATB gauge can be as time passes by, by attacking, and by performing a perfect block. Once you have enough charges, you can use a battle command at your disposal or save it for later - to bring up the Commands Menu press the [X] button and you'll enter Tactical Mode which drastically slows down the time allowing you to switch between targets and issue your battle command, or press the shortcut buttons which are: L1+ [X], L1+[Square], L1+[Triangle], or L1+[Circle] - take note that using the shortcut buttons will not shift into Tactical Mode.
The next combat mechanic that is introduced is the ability to block and dodge enemy attacks. Pressing the R1 button will have the character block enemy attacks while the [Circle] button to evade attacks with a dodge roll. Executing a successful guard that is blocking at the moment an enemy attack lands reduces the amount of damage suffered by the character and also charges the ATB gauge.
Before reaching the interior of the reactor, you'll encounter a new enemy alongside multiple Security Officers, which is a Guard Dog. They have quite thick skin and a large pool of health, however, using Fire against them heavily increases its stagger bar, allowing you to unleash a flurry of attacks while it's immobile.
Upon arriving at the interior, another battle mechanic is introduced which is the use of Unique Skills. Every character has a unique skill that can be activated in battle at any given time by pressing the [Triangle] button. These unique abilities do not require any ATB charges and can be used at any time, however, some abilities require time to charge. In this case, Cloud has the mode-shift skill which allows him to change his battle stance from Operator Mode and his attack-oriented stance, Punisher Mode. Operator Mode allows Cloud to execute fast attacks, guard against ranged attacks and magic, Operator mode is the default mode Cloud is in when he is in battle. On the other hand, Punisher Mode makes Cloud move more slowly, but pressing the [Square] button unleashes more powerful attacks than usual. In addition, Cloud can launch a counterblow if he guards against an enemy's melee attack. He cannot, however, guard against ranged attacks or magic and pressing [Circle] to evade will switch back to Operator Mode.
Players also get to see minor antagonists of the game, President Shinra, who leads the Shirna Company and is responsible for the Mako Reactors. As well as Heidegger, a high-ranking member of the Shinra Company, the head of Public Safety, and is the assistant who reports to President Shinra.
When you reach the Utility Access of the reactor, you'll encounter two new enemies which are the Sentry Ray and Monodrive. And also, Barret joins the party which will allow a player to switch and take control of him or issue commands to him, simply press the directional buttons to switch between characters or R2/L2 to issue commands to other active members of the party. Since you'll encounter the Sentry Ray which is impossible for Cloud to reach with his sword, switching to Barret is the obvious and recommended thing to do in order to take them out fast. Barret specializes in ranged attacks and holding down the [Square] button releases a sustained burst of automatic fire when equipped with a ranged weapon - switch to Barret if you are facing against enemies that Cloud or any melee character can't reach. Apart from that, you can also use Barret's abilities or conjure his equipped spells such as Thunder or Cure.
Another familiar enemy will be encountered as you progress through the utility access which is the Sweeper. It is an elite enemy that has a huge amount of health, capable of shooting artillery and rampaging through its targets. The easiest way to kill it is by interrupting its attacks by using Spells such as Fire or Thunder, and once it is Staggered, have Cloud switch to Punisher Mode and unleash a flurry of strong attacks as well as using some of his abilities. Eventually, you'll reach the core of the reactor where Cloud sets the timer of the bomb to either twenty or thirty minutes. Choosing the time doesn't matter since the countdown will only start after facing the first boss in the demo, which is the Scorpion Sentinel.
Players will now get the chance to face a familiar boss just like in the original which is the Scorpion Sentinel. It has multiple attacks and four phases. In the first phase, it will scan for its targets then shoot out rockets towards its scanned target. Just block the attack to reduce the amount of damage taken, it also can release an EMP shockwave, so when the name of the attack show on its head, dodge out of the AoE to avoid getting hit. If ever you are controlling Cloud, it can also use a death grip where it grabs whoever is close to it, if ever you are caught, you will automatically switch to Barret and you'll have to keep attacking it for it to release Cloud. Use Thunder since it is its weakness or use his ability Focused Shot which deals with a huge amount of damage. For the 2nd phase, a short cinematic will follow and the boss will leap to the opposite side of the arena, here, it will start to generate a protective barrier that reduces any damage it takes, you'll have to switch to Cloud and go behind it and attack the generator for its barrier to disappear. Once its barrier is disabled, it will leap away and cling onto the walls to avoid getting hit, when this happens, immediately switch to Barret, use his ability Steelskin to reduce the damage from the projectiles and keep shooting the boss from afar, it will eventually jump back down on the ground. For the third phase, again, a cinematic will trigger and the boss will gain a strong attack called a Tail Laser, if you see the name of the attack appear above its health bar, take cover and wait for it to shoot out the beam until its safe. What is recommended is switch to Barret, charge up his unique skill, and after the Scorpion Sentinel uses the laser, use Overcharge to counter-attack it. Now, when it reaches low health it will start to go berserk and it will try to repair itself, you'll need to interrupt it by using spells on it, Fire then Thunder will do the trick here.
At some point, before successfully killing the boss, you'll have the chance to use a Limit Break of whichever character you are controlling most of the time and has filled up the Limit Break gauge. Limit Breaks are powerful unique skills that are executed in battle. Whenever a character takes damage and staggers enemies, it fills the limit gauge. Once it is full, players can use a limit break to perform powerful attacks or spells. Limit Breaks can be used at your disposal once it is available and it does not need to spend ATB charges.
After the battle, the timer of the bomb will start to run and you'll have to escape the reactor and sprint out to safety. You'll encounter more enemies along the way as you escape and upon reaching the interior and meeting up with the rest of the team, the demo ends. Final Fantasy VII Remake is still available for pre-order online via the PlayStation Store and it is scheduled for release on April 10, 2020.