After spending numerous hours in Final Fantasy VII Remake fighting Shinra, you’re finally infiltrating the shadowy corporations imposing central headquarters, scaling the building until you reach Professor Hojo’s lab on one of the highest floors. Near the start of your infiltration, you have a moment to choose how you’re going to reach the summit. Will you stealthy and healthily make your way up by taking the stairs? Or will you use an elevator, and risk unwelcome mingling with a multitude of Shinra employees on the way up? If the choice is giving you FOMO about potentially missing treasure or dialogue, we’ve got you covered.
What happens when you take the stairs up? – If you choose to take stairs, you physically have to climb all 59 flights. There won’t be any enemies, but the 10 minutes it takes to reach the top might feel like a difficult foe. Ascending the stairs will tire your thumbs and your characters. Over time, Cloud and Barret will tire out, slowing down the whole affair to a lethargic pace. Meanwhile, Tifa will dash ahead, finally proving that it’s difficult to exert yourself with a Buster Sword on your back or a giant gun on your hand.
Just like the original, you won’t climb the stairs in silence. Barret will constantly comment on how much difficulty he’s having. Eventually, you’ll even hear him and Cloud start to huff and puff. Some of Barret’s comments will reveal how much closer he has gotten to Cloud throughout the story. When it all concludes, Cloud’s bond with others will appear to have grown slightly stronger. Taking the stairs allows you a comedic respite before the final stretch of FF7 Remake begins.
What happens when you take the elevator up? – If you choose the elevator over the stairs, you’re in for a far less physically challenging (and time-consuming) experience. There will be no exhaustion or humor in this scenario. Instead, the elevator will stop every few floors to introduce you to Shinra employees. The first two encounters will be with regular foes who are actively looking for the Avalanche operatives, prompting some light combat.
After beating them, non-combative civilian Shinra employees will attempt to use the elevator on subsequent stops. Each one stokes Tifa’s doubts: Although their cause is just, Avalanche’s actions negatively impact normal people as well, placing fear in their hearts.
The moment acts as a reminder of Tifa’s misgivings about collateral damage, which she expresses throughout the game. Barret reminds Tifa that civilian Shinra employees are still complicit with the HQ’s evil deeds.
It’s a powerful scene, grappling with the game’s morality, questioning the validity of your cause before the final act.
Should you take the elevator or the stairs up to the 59th floor? – While the elevator is certainly the faster experience, there’s no reward or benefit for taking one over the other than a very small amount of XP and AP you get from fighting a few Shinra cadets. You won’t miss out on any secret boss fights, treasure, or Materia. If you had to choose one, I’d recommend taking the elevator, the scene provided is quicker and more poignant. If you have the time, make a save file before choosing and do both. Neither is an experience you should miss.