When you play the Final Fantasy VII remake on Hard Mode, it's not quite a different game, but it does mark a substantial priority shift. You can't rely on your stash of items to get you through the game, and MP gets a lot harder to replenish in the field.
Every boss also gets that much harder, adopting new strategies and becoming much more difficult to beat. We're going to go through them all one by one, for new players and veterans alike.
Final Fantasy VII Remake Hard Mode: Defeating the Huntsman
While you haven't found a shop yet at this point in FF7R, you do get a Healing Materia from Jessie that you can and should equip to teach Cloud the Cure spell. You can find a couple of potential upgrades in chests on your way through the streets, like an Iron Bangle and a pair of Power Wristguards. Don't forget to equip them; you shouldn't be having too much trouble here, but every little bit helps.
The Huntsman isn't really announced as a major threat the way other bosses are, but he's essentially the last big challenge of Chapter 2. Like some of his Shinra security buddies, the Huntsman carries a riot shield; unlike them, he's a lot more mobile and carries an electrified stun baton.
The mobility matters, because up until this point, you can knock out Shinra riot troopers in one shot by dropping Grenades behind them. You can't get away with that with the Huntsman, as he's always moving and will be well away from your Grenade by the time it explodes.
Take out the Huntsman's retinue of Security Officers, Riot Troopers, and Grenadiers however you like. As you've probably noticed by now, they aren't that difficult to deal with, especially when you use high explosives. Cloud's Fire spell is also frequently a one-hit kill on Shinra security troops in Chapter 2, as human opponents in FF7R are all vulnerable to fire attacks.
With the Huntsman, though, you'll need to get a little more creative. Any attack to his front will be blocked, inflicting almost no damage and setting you up for a potential countermove. He can also inflict a long stun on Cloud with his baton.
Conversely, however, the Huntsman has no ranged attack, doesn't do a lot of damage when he does hit you, and has a convenient vulnerability to Fire spells. Build up your ATB with a few swings at his shield, set him on fire, and capitalize when he's pressured or Staggered to whittle him down.
Like the Scorpion Sentinel, the Huntsman doesn't do anything new on Hard Mode, but now he has damage on his side. Any mistake you make will be met with serious punishment.
However, this actually is the last fight you'll face in the chapter, so you can go all-out on the Huntsman without worrying about conserving your resources. Patience is still key, but go ahead and level him with a Firaga if you've got it. It's good for morale.
It may be easiest on Hard Mode to swap Cloud to Punisher Mode and stand there blocking, ready to land a vicious counterattack once the Huntsman leaves himself open. You can also get some free damage occasionally by running around behind him and smacking him in the back of the head. Be sure to link Fire Materia to your weapon via Element to exploit the Huntsman's weakness with your basic attacks.
We're not going to dignify the fight at the end of Chapter 3 with an actual article, even on Hard Mode, so we'll check back in with our gauntlet of FF7R bosses in Chapter 4, when we're forced to deal with Roche. In the meantime, we've got a dizzying array of other FF7R guides and articles at our game hub, including:
- How to unlock the Dancing Queen Trophy
- Completing the "Secret Medicine" side quest in Chapter 14
- All the rewards you get for beating the game on Easy, Normal, or Classic
The Huntsman may not be a major boss fight, but he's tough enough to be worth discussion, particularly on Hard Mode. I think I'd still rather fight him than the Shinra guard dogs, though. Weigh in on this utterly trivial discussion, as well as other game-related news, views, and reviews, on our official Twitter @PrimaGames.