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 anyone playing #FinalFantasy VII Remake in Classic Mode does not have to worry about the action side of the combat system, and can instead focus on selecting commands, making it possible to play #FF7R as if it were a classic menu-based RPG!
— FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE (@finalfantasyvii) September 14, 2019
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.)