The battle screen is a 3D representation of an
area, such as a building's interior or an open grassland, in which the player
commands the characters in battles against CPU-controlled enemies.
While characters are super deformed on maps, the character models are more
realistic and normal-scaled in combat.Final Fantasy VII is the first game in the series to have character
models with fully rendered polygons, rather than 2D sprites. During battle
sequences, the game uses the series' traditional Active Time Battle (ATB) system
first featured in Final Fantasy IV. Unlike previous games in the series,
which allow 4-5 playable characters to participate in battle, Final Fantasy
VII only allows three characters per battle.
Final Fantasy VII's skill system is built around the use of
Materia—magical orbs that are placed in special slots on weapons and armor,
allowing players to customize their party's ability to use magic, summons, and
special abilities. However, most magic-based Materia also lowers an equipped
character's physical attributes. In addition, certain types of Materia can be
combined in a fixed number of ways to enhance their effects or produce other
Summon spells feature in the game, equippable as Materia, with elaborately
animated attacks. A modified form of Final Fantasy VI's "Desperation Attacks" appears in Final
Fantasy VII as the "Limit Break." Every playable character has a bar that
gradually fills up as they suffer damage in battle. When the bar is completely
filled, the character is able to unleash his or her Limit Break, a special
attack which generally inflicts significantly more damage on enemies than normal
attacks, or otherwise aids the party in battle.
Unlike Materia, each character has their own unique set of Limit Breaks, which
are divided into four levels of strength, although one character, Cait Sith, has
only two levels.