Roche is one of the first difficult bosses in Final Fantasy VII Remake. For your duel with him, you'll need to be careful, patient, and smart.

That goes double for Roche on Hard Mode, which can be a pure brick wall between you and clearing Chapter 4. Here's how to beat him.

Final Fantasy VII Remake Hard Mode: Defeating Roche

The fight with Roche--technically the second fight, after your motorcycle clash--is a solo challenge with Cloud that plays out more like an extended duel than a traditional RPG boss fight. Roche continually pressures you with strikes from his sword, and will very occasionally back off and harass you with magic. If you try to wade in and match him blow for blow, it won't end well for you; Roche's offensive pressure is just too consistent.

Normal Mode

Don't burn any items or MP healing up before you step into the room with Roche. He'll drop an Elixir on you when it begins to fully replenish your HP and MP.

In a way, this fight serves as a belated tutorial on the value of blocking in FF7R. Roche's Stagger bar actually goes up fractionally whenever you block one of his sword hits. Even better, when you block Roche's Plunge and Combustion Sword skills while in Cloud's Punisher Mode, you'll automatically launch a counterattack for some free, decent damage.

Eventually, he'll wear himself out and leave himself open for a few seconds. Since Roche is vulnerable to fire spells like most human opponents in FF7R, cast Fire whenever you've got an opening. Keep blocking Roche's moves in Punisher mode and whittle away at his Stagger bar, then lower the boom on him while he's vulnerable. Keep healing up as needed, defend at length, and wait for your chance to strike.

Roche will progress to his second phase following a short cutscene. Now, he's harder to stun, his attack speed goes up, and gains a rushing slash that you can't counterattack with Punisher Mode. He'll stand in place and wind up before he launches the rush, and if you can dodge it, you'll get a window of opportunity to land a few hits on Roche while he's recovering.

Blocking all day is no longer entirely effective at this point, and you need to carefully pick your opportunities to go on the offensive. Whittle him down with Fire spells and the occasional one-two punch, saving your big direct-damage abilities for use when he's pressured.

Hard Mode

Roche doesn't play quite as fair in Hard Mode and won't replenish your HP or MP before the fight. This means that one of the first challenges here is to not use up too many of your available resources on the way towards the end of the chapter. Play as conservatively as you can during the rest of Jessie's mission. Don't be afraid to let a fight wear on for a few seconds longer than it needs to so you can drop a Chakra or Pray on yourself for free healing, and smash as many crates as you can find for Mako shards.

Roche also does a comedic amount of damage on Hard Mode. Even if you just sit there and block everything in phase 1, his standard attacks can hit for around 100, and a lightning spell might take 900. You'll want to stay at or above 5000 HP as much as possible, as a couple of Roche's attacks can easily knock off 2600 to 2800 of your HP if they hit clean. It's easy to get into a bad situation where you need to drop a big emergency heal on yourself, but Roche finishes you off while you're in the Cura animation.

Be sure to use HP and MP Up Materia on Cloud; ideally, you want to go into hard-mode Roche with 9900 or more HP. As with the Huntsman, you should also junction Fire Materia to your sword with Element, so your standard attacks target Roche's weakness.

The fight's basic plan is still in place in Hard Mode. You won't do much of anything to him with standard attacks besides slowly pick away at him, but you've got Limit Breaks and Firaga spells to wipe him off the map once he's staggered. If you're comfortable with the timing, you can also use Cloud's Counterstance ability, which you learn from leveling up his Twin Stinger, to block and punish Roche's Plunge for big damage.

You receive an Elixir on all difficulties for beating Roche. On Hard Mode, you also get The Art of Swordplay Vol. VI, one of Cloud's Manuscripts.

It's also worth noting here that if you can clear the initial motorcycle chase in Chapter 4 without losing more than 20% of Cloud's health, you unlock the Biker Boy Trophy.

We're still burning through a full guide for every challenge within the FF7 remake. Stick around on Prima Games for more tips, such as:

More RPG bosses should be nice enough to restore your health before the fight. Roche may be a pain to fight in the Final Fantasy VII remake, but at least he's sporting about it. If you've got another favorite RPG boss with a weird sense of honor--shout-out to General Belleza from Skies of Arcadia--talk them up with us on our official Twitter, @PrimaGames.