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The Final Fantasy VII Remake has (sort of) turn-based combat after all

Well, there’s a pleasant surprise – The Final Fantasy VII Remake has a “classic” combat mode.

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Final Fantasy VII Remake classic combat

Well, there’s a pleasant surprise – The Final Fantasy VII Remake has a “classic” combat mode.

Square Enix wowed us with a new trailer from the Final Fantasy VII Remake earlier in the week. It showed off a lot of detail and answered a lot of questions, including “just how sexy are the Turks?” (very) and “how cute is the frog status?” (immeasurably – look at that tiny Buster Sword!).

We even got a proper look at a couple of summons – Shiva and Ifrit – for the first time. But mostly, it focused on the game’s story and cinematics, with a lesser focus on minigames and combat.

What we do know about combat was gleaned from E3 2019; from Yoshinori Kitase’s turn at the Square Enix press conference, and from our hands-on time with the game itself. You can read a summary of it in our hands-on preview, and some thoughts on the implications of a couple of specific details. But in brief, here are the salient details of the Final Fantasy VII Remake’s combat:

  • It’s action-based combat, like Final Fantasy XV, with the player controlling one character at a time (and sending commands to the others)
  • Players attack enemies using their equipped weapon, and in so doing, build up Active Time Battle (ATB) charges
  • When they have enough ATB charges, they can enter a tactical menu (like a cross between traditional Final Fantasy combat and Fallout’s V.A.T.S.) to use items, abilities, and magic
  • Limit Breaks behave as they always used to, and can be used (regardless of ATB charges) when you’ve taken enough damage

But during a presentation by Kitase-san at the Tokyo Game Show 2019 – helpfully summarised and translated by the official Final Fantasy VII Twitter account – we learned something interesting: in addition to the combat described above, the Final Fantasy VII Remake will have a “classic” combat mode, too.

So while “classic” mode isn’t an entire return to the side-by-side, turn-based combat of the original Final Fantasy VII – in truth, it’s more like the semi-automatic approach in Final Fantasy XIII, or playing Final Fantasy XV with a piece of sticky tape on the attack button – it’s a welcome option for players who don’t want to play the Final Fantasy VII Remake like a hack-and-slash action game.

(And we were half-right in our prediction on that one, with a few concessions to old school players.)

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Tom is an itinerant freelance technology writer who found a home as an Editor with Thumbsticks. Powered by coffee, RPGs, and local co-op.