Aerith Is My Favourite Party Member In Final Fantasy VII Remake

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Aerith Is My Favourite Party Member In Final Fantasy VII Remake
Screenshot: Square Enix

As a complete newcomer to the world of Final Fantasy VII, I’m meeting (and, in some cases, falling head over heels for) its cast members for the first time in the updated and reimagined Remake. I’ve grown to appreciate every character Cloud has met during his journey, but one stands head and shoulders above the rest in terms of how she performs in battle: Aerith Gainsborough, the ill-fated flower whisperer from Sector 5.

Cloud’s lovely adventure with Aerith following his plummet from Mako Reactor 5 eventually lands the duo in Wall Market, which is like Wal-Mart but horny. Tifa, it seems, has been kidnapped as a possible wife for Don Corneo, the de facto ruler of the settlement, and it’s up to Cloud and Aerith to rescue her from his gaudy headquarters. Aerith explains that Wall Market got so out of control that Shinra decided to construct huge barriers around the area rather than go in and deal with it, leaving Don Corneo to do as he pleases.

Aerith concludes that the best way to get into Don Corneo’s home is to offer herself up as another candidate in his creepy spouse auditions. It’s here that the story takes off at a mad dash, the details of which would take way too long to recap. Cloud and Aerith eventually become participants in an underground fighting competition to earn some money for Aerith’s makeover. None of the fights are particularly challenging, both in the narrative and in terms of gameplay, and our adventurers are soon tasked with taking down a living house. Like, a literal building, with shutters and shingles and everything.

Hell House, according to departing Kotaku news editor Jason Schreier, is a “brilliant surprise” for fans of Final Fantasy VII. In the original game, this mechanical homestead served as a random encounter enemy rather than a boss and is remembered fondly for the absurdity of its design. It made quite an impression on me in Remake as well. I could only imagine what horror awaited my party as the floor of the colosseum opened up to reveal its final encounter, so seeing a house emerge from the darkness instead of a generic monster gave me quite a laugh.

It’s during this fight that Aerith showed me just how useful she could be. As the first true mage that Final Fantasy VII Remake threw my way, Aerith was the perfect character to load up with offensive magic like Fira and Thundara. And unlike Cloud, Barret, or Tifa, she can actually do some great damage with them thanks to her stats and abilities. Soul Drain, for instance, allows Aerith to steal MP from enemies, and Arcane Ward doubles any attack spell performed in its circle of magical haze. Where before offensive spells had just been a way to stagger enemies, Aerith made non-physical combat a key component of my strategy.

Aerith proved to be a godsend in the Hell House boss battle. The building’s weaknesses change rapidly over the course of the fight, indicated by the types of moves it uses and the lights beaming from its windows. While keeping Hell House’s considerable strength focused on Cloud, I was able to direct Aerith to use whatever spell was best to damage it. Those attacks, combined with Cloud’s stagger-building lunges, were enough to put Hell House down for the count. I’ve enjoyed Final Fantasy VII Remake’s combat so far, but this is the first time I truly felt in control of a team rather than having to take charge almost entirely with Cloud.

It’s hard to tell how much of Final Fantasy VII Remake I’ve seen without previous experience with the original. Instead, I’m charting progress in my understanding of the combat mechanics and every new face I meet in Midgar. I feel the journey through Wall Market slightly overstayed its welcome, but the wonderful character-building moments it provided—Cloud stepping outside his comfort zone, Aerith’s fierce independence, and the foreshadowing of a complicated love triangle with Tifa—deepened my appreciation for what has been a fantastic experience so far.

Comments

  • I love hearing stories of people just discovering FFVII.
    It’s like they remade it for a new generation.
    To be loved all over again by fans both old and new.
    I’m having such a blast with it. It’s like being 12 and experiencing it for the first time all over again. <3

    • The game is great, but it keeps troubling me… From my perspective, it’s like Cloud is a real person and everyone else is not real, just the way they move, act, their airy reactions to anything they say or do around Cloud, everything is super convenient to his personal experience and growth and not their own, and the way they can drop the sense of immediate danger and start eliciting feelings of affection to Cloud, it’s as whimsical as a dream

  • I think Aerith is an okay character in terms of writing and story, but she does honestly get a little annoying… in terms of combat and game play though, she’s absolutely one of the best and most powerful characters.

    Her ability to let her cast spells twice is pretty awesome, she has tonnes of MP and she’s evidently the most effective spell caster of the entire game. On top of that, she gets some pretty awesome abilities from her weapons.

  • Aerith is your typical glass cannon magic nuker which means that she’s going to do some big magic damage but as soon as you get to enemies that resist or nullify magic, or are the kind that get up in your face and barrage you with attacks that interrupt and stagger she’s effectively useless. Tifa is the better all rounder because depending on how you equip her she has better speed, strength, durability and although she will generally have less magic attack, there are a lot of materia and weapon traits that can boost her damage output.

    Cloud is like this too except he is less speedy and goes more for burst AOE damage. Basically I feel that Cloud and Tifa are designed to be your core, adaptable members while Aerith and Barret are highly specialised situational support characters.

  • I gotta agree with Jiggle Counter. In 1998 the end of the 1st disk devastated me and my party build. Cut me deep. 22 years later I’m like Bart Simpson and the electric cupcake.

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