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Combat Edit

A battle in Final Fantasy VII.

Final Fantasy VII uses the Active Time Battle system, in which the party member's action is
input with a command in a menu once their ATB gauge fills, with up to three playable
characters in a party, who can have various weapons, armor, accessories and—unique to
the game—Materia equipped. Party members stand in a row (though their position can be
altered in the menu) facing rows of enemies, which come arranged in one of many attack
formations: facing them, surrounded by them, or surrounding them. The character
commands include Attack, Magic, a command provided by Command
Materia, Summon or Item command to use an item in their inventory, with the additional
ability to Defend or change row.
Abilities the character can use depend on their equipped Materia, which can provide
additional Magic, Summon and command abilities, or in other cases swap out commands
for more powerful equivalents (such as W-Item replacing Item), and allows them to use any
combination of abilities. Materia can also provide enhancements when combined with other
Materia, or simply provide support abilities on their own.

Cloud's Meteorain ability.

Once a Limit gauge fills, the Attack command is replaced with "Limit", and a character has
access to one of their specific Limit abilities (depending on their current Limit level and
unlocked Limit abilities). Unlike the battle abilities provided by Materia, each Limit is
character-specific with unique effects varying from dealing physical or magical damage to
providing healing and buffs, which factor in different stats. Though most simply require
choosing the ability and then choosing its target, Tifa's Limits and Cait Sith's second Limit
require the use of Slots, and Vincent's Limits as well as one of Red XIII's Limits transform
themselves to become more powerful yet uncontrollable rather than choosing a target. The
Limit system is partially inherited from the Desperation Attacks of Final Fantasy VI, but is
based on a gauge rather than HP percentage, and includes a greater variety of abilities
beyond simply damaging.
While the majority of previous titles featured four playable characters, Final Fantasy
VII features three, which became the standard in following games. Though many of
the status effects are borrowed from status effects from previous titles,
the Barrier and MBarrier (known in other games as Protect and Shell) have a limited use
visualized by a gauge, which, like the main ATB gauge, can be sped up using Haste and
slowed down using Slow. As the first three dimensional title in the series, the default
camera setting moves it throughout the battle to focus on the command being used and
their effects, unlike previous entries where the camera was fixed on a top-down position.

Growth Edit
A fully developed party member.
Through finding new Materia, weapons, armor and accessories, party members can be
made more powerful and versatile. For defeating enemies, the party is
rewarded EXP distributed to members alive, and halved for members not in the party,
which allows the party to level up. AP is also awarded, which levels up the Materia
equipped to the party members.
Each character has their own set of starting stats, which grow when the character levels up,
though there are numerous other ways to boost stats. Stat-upgrading items boost a specific
stat, and though difficult to come by, can be obtained ad infinitum through methods such
as morphing enemies. Stats are further affected by Materia equipped, e.g. some Magic and
Summon Materia will reduce HP and Strength in favor of Magic and MP as a penalty. Some
Materia, such as HP Plus, exist to boost a specific stat. Stats max out at 255, meaning they
cannot counteract reductions in these stats by Materia—unlike HP and MP, which can
reach 9999 or 999 still.

The stat penalties incurred by equipping Materia are negligible, and the stat differences
between party members are often not relevant. The player can thus easily use any party
member for almost any role, and thus choose a preferred party based on their character
and relevance to the current story segment, if they so wish. Due to the Materia system, the
player can customize the party to their liking and give any role to any player charact