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‘Final Fantasy 7 Remake’: Muddle Through Midgar With Our Helpful Hints

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‘Final Fantasy 7 Remake’: Muddle Through Midgar With Our Helpful Hints

Final Fantasy VII Remake is out, released into the wild, a thing that you can buy, right now. (Or, depending on when you're reading this, very soon indeed.) Since its official reveal at E3 in 2015 (what a PlayStation conference that was, honestly), fans old and new have been desperately hoping for the best from this long-teased new take on 1997's classic JRPG. And, as our review makes clear, it's a Very Good Video Game. Not without fault, but hugely enjoyable.

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But it's a game that - while not as deep as many a modern RPG - has its nuances, its secrets and its muddled menus. It's a game that, maybe, you might want a few pointers on, before you begin. Not in terms of the story, because chances are you're playing this one because you loved the 1997 games, so already know how this chapter full of Midgar-set action is going to play out. But more so when it comes to where certain things can be found, and what to pay attention to.

So, here's a handful of tips, to get your game on the right footing. Please note that there are spoilers below, especially in one picture, so if you really want to take this one on without knowing anything in advance, why not read about something else?

Chadley speaks to Cloud and Tifa / Credit: Square Enix
Chadley speaks to Cloud and Tifa / Credit: Square Enix
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Always Check In With Chadley

Chadley is a new character in Final Fantasy VII Remake - a (way too) young employee of Shinra (the baddies) who's gone a little rogue and will now, for the right price, research and develop all-new materia (magic abilities) for your party. He can be found in a host of locations throughout the game, and if you bring him data on enemies you encounter, he'll be willing to part with new materia for a low cost (initially, at least).

But Chadley's got more up his sleeve than some MP-boosting magic matter for you to pop into your pockets. It's through him that you'll be able to unlock certain summons, familiar to players of the 1997 game. Cloud and company will need to participate in a... game, kinda... to gain access to these powerful allies. So, always give Chadley some of your time when you see him, especially after you've spent the last few hours chopping down monsters with a range of abilities.

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Jessie hands Cloud some materia / Credit: Square Enix
Jessie hands Cloud some materia / Credit: Square Enix

Keep 'Em Peeled For Wild Materia

There are shops in Final Fantasy VII Remake that'll happily sell you new materia - but you can also find plenty of the stuff out in the wild, by just wandering around looking for anything shiny and bright, beaming upwards from the ground. Materia comes in a variety of flavours: green means magic (so, ice, fire, healing etc); summons are red; support materia is blue; command materia is yellow; and 'complete' materia is purple.

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Sometimes, your companions will say to you, if you're about to leave an area, if you're really sure that you want to move on. This is their way of saying: there's more to do, here. And that can include grabbing materia - especially in the case of one particular summon, that's hidden behind an enormous fan. But if you do simply press ahead regardless of this advice, you can return to any of the game's chapters once you've completed it, to fully fill up on magical goodness.

The map screen in Final Fantasy VII Remake / Credit: Square Enix
The map screen in Final Fantasy VII Remake / Credit: Square Enix

Dead Ends Are Rarely Empty, So Make Use Of Your Map

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As well as materia, there are loads of treasure chests scattered around Midgar. You'll be checking your map a lot as you play, anyway, to see where the next destination is - but zoom in, too, to discover dead ends and hidden areas. Explore these, and often you'll find some goodies, like potions and other perk-providing tonics.

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Smashing Crates Is Really Great (For Your Health And Wellbeing)

If you've played the Final Fantasy VII Remake demo, you know all about this. There are Shinra-branded crates everywhere, and smashing them with Cloud's sword often reveals mako shards to top up your magic points, HP-reviving items or Moogle Medals (more on those, in a moment). So if you see a big ol' pile of boxes, head over and give them a walloping. (Barret fans, please note that at one point in the game you'll be able to obliterate a massive stock of these with your trusty arm-gun-thingy.)

It's also important to make use of the new-to-this-remake benches. There are no save points dotted around the environment, but these sit-yourself-down spots automatically top up your party's HP and MP to the max, and they're usually located right beside vending machines that will sell you potions, armour and, often, music records (which can be used in jukeboxes, in a few locations). Because come on: who doesn't want to compile a fantastic Final Fantasy discography while they battle a nefarious corporation?

The menu screen in Final Fantasy VII Remake / Credit: Square Enix
The menu screen in Final Fantasy VII Remake / Credit: Square Enix

Always Read The Menu

When you're not messing around with your map, you may also want to take a moment to dip into the menu - which is annoyingly fiddly at first, when it comes to assigning materia and equipment - to make sure that your characters are all as kitted out as they can be.

And on the topic of materia, one essential is to have at least one member of your party using (and evolving) the healing materia. You'll be using it a lot, so it's never a bad idea to have two characters carry it.

Naturally, you can replace certain bits of armour as you go, swapping wristbands and vests and stuff to best reflect your play style. But your weapons must be upgraded using a very spaced-out skill-tree system, full of cores and sub-cores. It's simpler than it sounds - but if you'd rather not bother manually allocating the skill points (SP) you build up on your adventure, you can set the game to automatically distribute them across areas that fit your play style: defensive, offensive, or balanced.

Assessing an enemy in Final Fantasy VII Remake / Credit: Square Enix
Assessing an enemy in Final Fantasy VII Remake / Credit: Square Enix

Assess, Assess, Assess

Early in the game, you'll be given some Assess materia, which when used in battle will reveal enemy weaknesses and resistances. Use this ability, all the time, please. You'll need it against all but the weakest foes, as it'll instantly show you what magic to use to build your opponents' stagger gauges and get the upper hand over them, and what moves they've got up their sleeves.

But there's more to Assess than battle-to-battle insights. Use it regularly, and Chadley - remember him - will begin devising some very interesting new materia for you. Old-school players may be familiar with Enemy Skill, which enables our heroes to (albeit with a dice roll) learn the abilities of monsters and such. So far as I know, it's only Chadley that can give you this materia - so be sure to assess new enemies, all the time.

Cloud speaking to an NPC, about cats / Credit: Square Enix
Cloud speaking to an NPC, about cats / Credit: Square Enix

Listen To NPCs, When You Can Stand Their Weird Mouths

Some of the NPCs you meet in Final Fantasy VII Remake are definitely not lookers. They flap their lips around in a most distressing manner, as they tell you of their problems (i.e., send you off on fetch-quest side-missions). But when you're not certain of where to locate a certain destination, press triangle to interact with these people a few times and maybe, just maybe, they'll give you a hint.

I can think of one key example of this, relatively late-game, where a recurring NPC sends you on your way to find three particular spots. Don't just speak to her the once - keep on prodding her until she reveals where all three of these places might be. (Spoiler: no might about it.)

A moogle riding a chocobo, i.e., not a merchant / Credit: Square Enix
A moogle riding a chocobo, i.e., not a merchant / Credit: Square Enix

Don't Neglect To Spend Your Moogle Medals

Regarding those Moogle Medals you collect? There's only one place to spend them - but do spend them. Around midway in the game, you'll be introduced to a bunch of kids in the Sector 5 slums who have a special hideout that most adults aren't allowed to visit. They'll make an exception for you, eventually - and when they do, you'll be introduced to a kid dressed up as a Moogle. This is the Moogle Merchant, and after you grab yourself a membership card, she will sell you a range of goods - including SP-boosting books for all of your playable characters, as well as weapons and accessories - in exchange for all those medals that have been weighing you down. So don't sell your Moogle Medals to other traders for Gil - save them for the Moogle Merchant.

Recording a darts score / Credit: Square Enix
Recording a darts score / Credit: Square Enix

Play Darts

The darts mini-game in Seventh Heaven filled an enjoyable 30 minutes of my time, on my first playthrough. So far as in-game darts games go, it's better than what you get in Grand Theft Auto V, and a little less involved than the one found in the Yakuza series. So get yourself to the top of the pub's leaderboard, ahead of Tifa and Wedge and the rest of them, before you know what happens, yeah?

And Play On The Slide

Because, why not?

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Topics: Final Fantasy 7 Remake, Final Fantasy 7, guide, PlayStation, Square Enix

Mike Diver
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