Episode 383: The Best (and Worst) Abilities in Final Fantasy VII Remake


Look, I was just looking for an excuse to play Final Fantasy VII Remake again and I got my wish when Square Enix uploaded a patch update to the game! I immediately booted up the game to see what amazing things they did to what has become one of my favorite games of all time. Did they find a way to squeeze in some high resolution images for some of the low grade textures peppered throughout? Did they add a proper New Game+ instead of just the Chapter Selection option? Are there now new modes I didn’t even think of?

Disappointingly, Square Enix just released an honest-to-goodness patch for the game which supposedly fixes a few of the crashes and frame drop problems. No real biggie but that was a downer as my heart was expecting a whole lot more than just bug fixes.

The update, however, did allow me to revisit Midgar for the nth time and I played a totally new game but armed with the knowledge of what’s next. I may be starting from zero but, since I knew what to do, everything felt so much easier and I was breezing through the game. I decided to add a new wrinkle this time by not using any of my abilities as much as possible just to make things much more challenging.

This made me realize how important some abilities are and how useful they are in making the combat fun and easy. At the same time, though, it also exposed how utter garbage the other abilities are! So, here are each Final Fantasy VII Remake character’s best and worst Abilities!

Cloud Strife

Best Ability: Triple Slash

What’s better than Single Slash? Okay, now what’s better than Double Slash?

Main SOLDIER boy did get a lot of really cool and useful Abilities in Final Fantasy VII Remake. His Braver Slash does a lot of damage for one ATB bar. Focused Thrust will build up an enemy’s Stagger gauge very rapidly if you strike a Pressured foe. Blade Burst is slow but can hit enemies at a distance and Counterstance is a buffed up version of his regular Punisher counter that reverses almost any attack!

However, Cloud Strife’s best Ability is easily Triple Slash. It comes out almost instantly, has Cloud dash forward towards his targets and each slash can hit multiple opponents! It’s also his dedicated interrupt attack, meaning you can use Triple Slash to cancel monsters about to cast spells and the like. It’s great for crowd control, zipping towards a fleeing opponent and super fast. What’s not to like?

Worst Ability: Disorder

Swing, batter, batter! Swing!

Cloud only has a couple of clunker Abilities and one of them isn’t all that bad. Infinity’s End may do a lot of damage but it’s just too slow because of the windup. It’s not all that useful unless the opponent is Pressured or Staggered because of this. Add the fact it uses up 2 ATB bars and you better pray that one strike is worth it!

His worst ability is still Disorder, which has Cloud perform a dinky attack and automatically switch from Operator to Punisher stances or vice versa. It also makes Cloud do a windup attack like a batter, which is kinda useless as it takes him forever to complete the attack. The only real advantage Disorder has is it does give Cloud some ATB meter when activated and if you really need to switch stances quickly. Otherwise, it’s just outclassed by every other of Cloud’s other Abilities!

Tifa Lockhart

Best Ability: Starshower

Maybe this is why Tifa always is talking about taking a shower?

I have to note a caveat regarding what Tifa’s best Ability is technically Unbridled Strength. Unbridled Strength gives Tifa’s access to more normal attacks as well as powers up her Triangle technique attacks. Powering up Unbridled Strength early is necessary to unlock Tifa’s full combat potential. However, I’m excluding it as it’s more of her primary game mechanic much like Cloud’s Punisher mode, Barret’s Overcharge and Aerith’s Tempest.

So what is her best Ability besides Unbridled Strength. Well, that’s actually a difficult decision as they’re all really good. Divekick combos well from Whirling Uppercut and does splash damage. Overpower comes out very fast, does multiple hits and her best Ability for cancelling her opponent’s actions. True Strike is a quick and powerful blow which also increases a monster’s Stagger damage multiplier. As good as they are, Tifa’s best Ability is Starshower.

Starshower is incidentally Tifa’s most powerful Ability. It does take a moment it to get going but, if all hits connect, it does good damage for a 1 ATB bar attack. It also hits other monsters who are surrounding Tifa’s target and cannot be interrupted once it gets going. The best thing about Starshower, however, is that it boosts the damage of her next offensive attack! Imagine the damage you do if you activate a Limit break right after doing Starshower!

Worst Ability: Chi Trap

Wait, is that Dan’s Gadouken?

All of Tifa’s Abilities are good but there are a few which aren’t as good as the others. Focused Strike has Tifa perform a dodge at the start, making it her slowest Ability. It’s still useful because does increase Stagger meter, the strike builds some ATB meter and you can cancel the attack during the backflip if you have Tifa equipped with Parry. This only leaves Chi Trap as her worst Ability, even though it’s still good.

The energy ball does multiple hits and can hit several enemies if you draw them in. It can even leave them, well, trapped because it does leave weaker opponents in hitstun. Unfortunately, Chi Trap has one major flaw. The actual “chi trap” is a stationary energy ball so it’s worthless against mobile targets who can shrug off the hitstun. A possible secondary issue Chi Trap has is it does magic damage. As my Tifa builds are focused on speed and building ATB as quickly as possible, her magic power isn’t all that good. Maybe if I want a new challenge, I’ll start using a magic based Tifa in the future. As it is now, I don’t have much use for her Chi Trap Ability because of the latter issue. Even if it is her “weakest” Ability, Chi Trap is much better than some other good Abilities the rest of her party has in their arsenal.

Barret Wallace

Best Ability: Maximum Fury

Stop! Stop, he’s already dead!

Barret’s Abilities are a weird mix of offense, defensive and supportive options. This allows Barret to be more of a utilitarian character to use as most of his Abilities have to be used in specific circumstances. Lifesaver absorbs a good chunk of damage his fellow party members incurs and, paired with Barret’s usual high HP, making it a great way to keep the rest of the party alive longer. Focused Shot does an incredible amount of Stagger damage, especially if done with 2 ATB bars. Smackdown is a fantastic area-of-effect attack and knocks small opponents to the ground. However, his best Ability is undoubtedly Maximum Fury.

Maximum Fury has Barret fire a barrage of bullets at his opponent, whether or not he has a gun or melee weapon equipped. It can be used with either 1 or 2 ATB bars, making it versatile. Using 2 whole bars is always preferred as it can eradicate most normal enemies and it works great on bosses. Another great thing about Maximum Fury is, if he kills a monster with it but he still has some meter remaining, Barret will change targets and can potentially kill another monster with one Ability!

Worst Ability: Charging Uppercut

First, they copied Dan’s Gadoken. Now, it’s Sakura’s Shouoken?

While Barret’s Abilities do have some specific uses, some of they don’t work as well as they should. Steelskin does reduce the amount of damage the Avalance leader takes and makes him less susceptible to being interrupted. However, the latter doesn’t work on the more powerful attacks. Point Blank can use either 1 or 2 ATB bars and is more powerful than Maximum Fury but, since Barret has to run up to the monster for it to connect, it’s not as useful. Still, his worst Ability is his Charging Uppercut.

My criticism on Charging Uppercut has nothing to do with it being a melee attack. I already mentioned I like Smackdown, Barret’s other melee Ability. It comes out very slow and, seeing that Barret is already a slow character, becomes very hard to connect against a mobile enemy. Unlike Smackdown, the splash damage Charging Uppercut is much smaller and does less damage. Basically, I couldn’t find a real good use for Charging Uppercut as Barret’s other Abilities can do what it can do but much better.

Aerith Gainsborough

Best Ability: Soul Drain

Her first ability is her best one? Sadly, yes.

It’s sad to say but none of Aerith’s Abilities are all that good as they all have niche purposes. Sorcerous Storm is slow but is useful at breaking up enemies who are ganging up on Aerith. Arcane Ward allows two offensive spells to be cast consecutively with the second one costing less MP but does less damage. It’s still useful against boss fights, though. Lustrous Shield blocks most projectile attacks, making it useful against monster who use a lot of them, such as the Hell House. Oddly enough, her most useful Ability is the one she starts out with, which is Soul Drain.

On the surface, Soul Drain seems like a useless ability. It does a minute amount of damage and absorbs only a tiny amount of MP if the opponent is not Staggered. Even on Hard Mode, where you can’t use items to recover MP normally, it’s not as useful as you would think as, by this time, Aerith already should have some weapon mods which would mitigate MP shortage problems. Soul Drain, however, is useful because it’s Aerith’s fastest Ability, can be done from a distance and, most importantly, will interrupt most attacks. This means you can easily limit monsters casting spells by targeting them with Soul Drain, even if you’re far away. It’s not much but it is useful in a pinch.

Worst Ability: Ray of Judgement

The coolest and most damaging Ability just had to be the most useless… sigh.

Aerith did seem to come off with the short end of the staff, er, stick when it comes to truly useful Abilities. Most of them are supportive, which would be fine if they were incredibly useful. Unfortunately, the majority of them aren’t all that great. Even the ones I mentioned earlier are very particular with their use. Fleeting Familiar summons a tiny fairy which does minuscule damage whenever Aerith attacks. At least it helps on tacking on damage and works surprisingly well when casting offensive magic. ATB Ward will allow Aerith’s party members to absorb some of her ATB but they have to be within the marking and it costs 2 bars.

This makes it all the more disappointing Aerith’s most powerful Ability, Ray of Judgement just sucks a lot. I can accept the fact it uses up 2 ATB bars because it is a moderately strong attack if all the hits connect but it does limit when you can use it, especially if you have her as your healer/spellcaster and she uses up her bars quickly. The startup for Ray of Judgement is also very long and, to add insult to injury, Aerith takes a long time to recover after exhausting the beam, leaving her vulnerable to attacks for a long period of time.

The absolutely worst thing about Ray of Judgement is the beam’s trajectory doesn’t change even if the target moves out of the way! Ray of Judgement is basically only useful against stationary targets like monsters who are Staggered. The Ability does increase the damage multiplier for Staggered foes but Tifa is much better at piling on the multiplier with just a single Unbridled Strength hit. Even performing Ray of Judgement on a Pressured enemy is risky as they can recover before Aerith can get the beam out! It is her coolest looking Ability but, man! It sucks!


What’s the best and worst Abilities in Final Fantasy VII Remake in your mind? Let me know in the comments section below!

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