Final Fantasy VII Remake’s Easy Mode Is Way Too Easy

Final Fantasy VII Remake’s Easy Mode Is Way Too Easy
A walk in the park. (Screenshot: Square Enix, Kotaku)

Combat in Final Fantasy VII Remake, especially when facing powerful boss battles, involves juggling normal and special attacks, destructive and healing magics, and strategically exploiting enemy weaknesses. Unless you’re playing in easy mode. Then it’s just button-mashing bullshit.

I spent 40 hours playing through Final Fantasy VII Remake, mostly on normal mode, the highest difficulty initially available (a no-items hard mode unlocks after completing the game once). I burned through potions and character-reviving phoenix downs as I battled robots, mutant creatures and Shinra soldiers. I was forced to repeat many of the game’s boss battles after my party wiped, regrouping, switching out weapons and materia to make sure my characters had the right tools at their disposal. It was challenging, but never dull.

Then came the dogs. Towards the end of the game, there’s an encounter with a bunch of Shinra bloodhounds. It’s not a boss fight, just a regular encounter between Aerith, Tifa, and a bunch of genetically modified puppers. The two characters, separated from the rest of the party, were quickly overwhelmed by snapping canine jaws again and again. There were just too many of them. I barely had time to get their ATB gauges to the point where they could use items or cast spells.

ImageThis hurt a lot. (Screenshot: Square Enix, Kotaku)

As Jason Schreier mentioned in his incredibly helpful tips post, there is no shame in switching to easy mode for this battle. After reloading from the game over screen five times, that’s exactly what I did.

The dogs, which tore my people apart time and time again, went down in under 30 seconds in easy mode. I didn’t use spells. I didn’t use special abilities. I barely had time to do so. Basic attacks, highly ineffective in normal difficulty mode, ripped those doggies apart like they were tissue paper.

ImageEasy like Sunday morning. (Screenshot: Sqaure Enix, Kotaku)

As I was entering the game’s home stretch and wanted to complete it quickly so I could dish with Jason about the ending, I left easy mode on, and it continued to be ridiculously simple. My potion stockpile grew instead of steadily depleting. I barely healed at all during the game’s final moments. Boss attacks designed to deliver massive damage in normal mode barely tickled.

I am the last person to shy away from playing a game on easy, but Final Fantasy VII Remake’s easy mode is a joke. And it’s not even the game’s easiest setting. Classic mode is easy mode, only your character attacks and defends automatically. It might as well be a visual novel.

If you want to fully appreciate Final Fantasy VII Remake’s nuanced and versatile battle system, play in normal mode. Except for the dogs. Those damn, murderous dogs.



    • Yeah, a SPOILER WARNING would’ve been nice at this article or editing out some details at least.

    • The gist of that article, as you’re probably aware, is that including an easy mode for players that want it doesn’t ruin the game for people who want to play the game at its default, or harder, difficulty. If someone is playing a game on easy mode and are thinking to themselves “this is too easy, it is ruining my experience” then that’s on them to increase the difficulty. The difficulty mode isn’t ruining the game for them, they are ruining it for themselves. But I know you’re just doing your “let’s trip Kotaku up on their own opinions” schtick, neatly ignoring the fact that most of what appears on Kotaku are opinion pieces and different writers don’t need to share the same opinion, so I’m really just wasting my time writing this. But, hey, anything for an isolation distraction, right?

    • Kotaku and their writers are not consistent with one another, after all, the majority of their articles are just opinion pieces.

      I remember a while ago when Borderlands 3 came out, as well as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, there was literally two articles back to back on the same front page… the article about Borderlands 3 was complaining that the game was too much the same as its predecessors. The article about Modern Warfare was complaining that the multiplayer was too different from previous entries.

  • I don’t see why the writer(s) of this article are complaining that a game’s easy mode is apparently too easy.

    As the description of the in-game difficulty suggests, easy mode is designed for those who are either new to video games or/and want to enjoy the story, without the challenging combat.

    If someone is playing on easy mode and is complaining that the game is too easy, well… then that’s on them and they’re being silly. If the game is too easy and you want it to be more challenging, use your head, change the game’s difficulty from easy to normal in the options setting.

    That dog fight that was mentioned? That was a tough fight indeed, but I managed to get through it on my first go. My strategy was to basically have Tifa tanking/damage dealing and allow Aerith the opportunity to cast spells from afar, healing and offensive. Without spoiling anything, one of Aerith’s weapons that she can acquire gives her a very powerful ability, which tremendously increases an enemy’s stagger.

    There were some other fights later in the game (no spoilers, but the second final boss fight for example) that were quite tough for me and made me want to consider dropping the difficulty.

  • more proof that these “journalist’s” are not real gamers at all. I had no trouble with enemies and didn’t wipe once I did grind out my level a bit and only used items at start of game to heal people out of battle. No need for an easy mode. I’m not trying to blow my own whistle but the game is easy enough to figure out and someone reporting on a game should be fluent with all games they come across a hard game is more enjoyable and challenging and when you finally beat it you get a sence of accomplishment

  • Without flexing too much, played the entire game on normal, only died once in a boss fight (forget which one…).

    In no way am I pro gamer, but that dog fight was pretty easy. Had magnify on Aerith attached to a Firaga, dropped an Arcane Ward, built up another 2 bars and just nuked the room while Tifa wrecked.

    I think people struggled with normal difficulty if they weren’t adapting to the way the combat system works. The issue with it is most fights you can just spam/hold square as cloud and throw a few spells and you win, then when a tough fights comes along you’ve unlearned how to play. Game needs to work on its consistency rather than the random spikes (for players like the author of course….)

    • Yup, also put Provoke + Auto Heal on Tifa & the earrings that make unselected party members take less damage. On Aerith you can equip ATB boost and the other materia that lets you start combat with one full bar too. Should be an easy fight even on normal as long as you gear the characters sensibly.

  • I just walked through this fight on normal mode. Succeeded first try, took me around 1-2 minutes maybe?

    Contrary to all the advice people have repeatedly given on this game, your basic attacks are actually pretty important. Especially with Tifa. How I did this fight(and how I do pretty much 75% of the fights in this game):

    Equip Tifa with First Strike and ATB boost materia. Depending how much you have them levelled, you should start the fight with around 1.5 bars of ATB. Throw basic attacks until you fill out the second bar. Heal with Aerith, as necessary.

    Use Unbridled Strength twice. This gives you a pretty hefty boost to your basics. Which you are going to need, as you aren’t going to hit fast movers like this with anything that has a cast time. This will also activate ATB boost, giving Aerith roughly one bar of ATB so she can heal you as soon as you need it.

    Pummel the hounds with basics until you fill a bar of ATB again. Use Overpower. Overpower doesn’t have a cast time, quickly charges towards the enemy, and pressures/staggers them. This is exactly what you need for a fight like this.

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