Final Fantasy 7 Remake Materia Loadout Guide: Important Advice To Consider Before Playing
Materia is an integral part of Final Fantasy VII Remake’s combat system. Providing spells, abilities, and summons that you can equip to your characters, these colored orbs beef up each character’s base attack skills. You should equip as many Materia orbs as you can early on, especially the spell and attack ability ones. But your Materia choices have consequences, since the ones you use most will become even stronger–so you might be wondering which ones are worth equipping and investing into. There are a lot of choices, so it’s easy to get overwhelmed!
Below we’ve detailed important things to know when building out the proper Materia loadout early on. We keep things vague, but if you want to go into the game completely blind, we recommend waiting on reading this guide until after you make it to Chapter 3.
For our other guides, be sure to check out our feature highlighting essential tips to know as you play Final Fantasy VII Remake. Otherwise, read our Final Fantasy VII Remake review for our full thoughts about the game.
Early Game Materia Loadout Tips
Diversify Spells Across Your Party
In Final Fantasy VII Remake, you’re often thrown into enemy and boss encounters without much opportunity to change up your Materia loadout ahead of time. While it’s possible to change them mid-cutscene on certain occasions, most times you’re forced to jump into battle with what you have. As a general rule, it’s good to have each party member equipped with different elemental spells to ensure coverage for exploiting a variety of enemy weaknesses. Early on, your main spell selection includes: Fire, Blizzard, Thunder, and Wind. For the early fights in various Shinra facilities, Fire and Thunder are the most useful–Fire is good against human enemies, while most robots are weak against Thunder.
There’s not much to consider when it comes to which spell Materia to equip to a particular person. It’s mostly up to you over how you want to delegate, but make sure all four of those spells are slotted into your party. Lastly, if you ever find yourself ill-prepared with your Materia loadout, you can always push back to just before the start of a battle via the pause menu.
Assess For Weaknesses
You’re probably wondering: “How do I know which spells enemies are weak against?” During Chapter 3, you’ll meet a boy named Chadley. In his side mission, you’re given the Assess Materia, which allows you to scan enemies for their weaknesses. It’s an essential Materia to have, so you’ll want someone slotted with Assess at all times.
We personally kept it equipped to the current party leader (you can switch who’s party leader via the Battle Settings menu), only because they’re the first character you have control over as soon as a battle starts, and so usually gets an ATB meter filled the quickest. Otherwise, there’s no other tactical considerations when it comes to choosing who should have Assess; it’s up to you which character you want on scanning duty. Use the Assess information to gauge weaknesses, but make sure you read it all, since it’ll usually give you specific tactical tips for fighting enemies, too.
Equip Everyone With Healing Materia
It’s a smart call to equip everyone with Healing Materia early on, so that you always have someone to help recover everyone’s HP in a pinch. We recommend having at least two members equipped with Healing Materia, but you can’t go wrong having the whole party outfitted.
Things change a little later when Aerith joins the party due to her natural proficiencies at keeping the party’s HP topped off. It’s good practice to keep Healing Materia handy, but when Aerith enters the picture, she comes with the Pray Materia, which gives your whole party a low-level heal. Her Limit Break is also especially good at replenishing everyone back to health. Since Aerith is a natural spellcaster, you might consider letting her handle the healing duties and using the space on other characters for more attack-oriented Materia. We’ll discuss more about her capabilities when we update this feature with discussion around mid-game Materia loadout strategies.
Focus On Leveling Your Materia
It’s especially important to know which Materia you want to invest in early because of how battles impact and grow a Materia’s strength. The more you use a Materia, the more experience it gains until it eventually levels up, which increases that individual Materia’s damage potency or overall effectiveness. For example, for spells: Blizzard becomes Blizzara, Fire becomes Fira, and Cure becomes Cura–all more powerful versions of their original spells.
You should take a vested interest in leveling up spell Materia in particular, as they’re some of the strongest attacks in the game, and if you send a single spell into a cluster of enemies, you can sometimes kill two birds with one stone.
Even if you don’t end up using some of your Materia in the end, leveled up versions are some of the most valuable items in the game, so you’re welcome to sell the ones you’ve stopped using to various shopkeepers to earn a little extra money.
Put Deadly Dodge On Cloud
There’s a Materia you can purchase early on from the shop called Deadly Dodge. It allows you to quickly pull off an area-of-effect physical attack after performing a dodge. Naturally, this should go to Cloud due to his physical attack being the strongest early on. In addition, since you generally want him up close delivering damage, it’s always a good move to start most fights by having him roll straight into the fray with a Deadly Dodge. No Luck Plus Materia required here as you slice and dice your foes!
Put Elemental Materia On Cloud’s Weapon
The Elemental Materia is a handy way to imbue a party member’s melee attacks with elemental power when attached to a weapon, or increase their magical defense against a particular element when attached to armor. To explain, weapons and armor feature sockets that you place Materia into and there are two variants of sockets: single, isolated ones and joint ones. The joint sockets are what you can use to activate Elemental on weapons and armor.
Whether you get the Elemental Materia from the end of Chapter 6 or by completing Chadley’s challenges, we recommend equipping it onto Cloud’s weapon as soon as possible. As your primary attacker on the front line, Cloud can benefit from having the Elemental Materia slotted into his sword. If you’re smart about which element you link in before a battle, the extra punch it gives to Cloud’s devastating attacks can really help you burn through many encounters with ease.
However, keep in mind that since you’re occasionally thrown into battles without much time to prepare, make sure to pull Cloud back if you ever come against a foe whose elemental affinity matches the current element you’ve slotted onto him. When this happens, switch to Tifa or Barret and allow the AI-controlled Cloud to act as support instead. While Elemental has many benefits, you should still be smart about when you choose to equip it onto Cloud’s sword.
Alternatively, you could give the Elemental Materia to Barret if you like the idea of piling on Elemental damage from afar. But from our experiences, Cloud is the more effective choice.
Invest In Leveling The Barrier Materia
Be sure to purchase the Barrier Materia as soon as possible–you can also get one at the end of Chapter 4. You’ll want to start leveling it up because not only is it clutch as an early game defense bonus against physical attacks, but it’s helpful once you level it into Manaward to halve incoming magic damage as well. This perk is especially beneficial in Chadley’s VR boss fights against Summon creatures, which you unlock later on.
Always Have A Summon Materia Slotted
This is a no-brainer, but once you get your first Summon Materia at the start of Chapter 4, you’ll want to have it equipped onto one of your party member’s at all times. However, once you have multiple Summons, be smart about which ones you use–don’t go summoning something like Ifrit against an enemy or boss who’s not weak against Fire. Though, the only caveat to this is that it’s worth using a Summon that’s not necessarily tuned against a particular boss if you need an extra character out in the field to help take the pressure off you while you heal up.
Mid-To-Late Game Loadout Tips Coming Soon!
We’re still studying which Materia loadouts and combinations work the best in the latter parts of the game. What we’ve provided above is a solid start, but as we alluded during our section about Healing Materia, there’s definitely more to consider once Aerith joins. Not only that, but Materia loadouts start to become more complex once you get your hands on weapons and equipment and upgrade them with additional slots. Regardless, be sure to check back as we update this feature with more tips in the coming days.
Final Fantasy VII Remake News
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