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Enemy staggered.

Trophy: Staggering Start
Stagger an enemy. Bronze

Stagger (バースト, Bāsuto?, lit. Burst) is a gameplay mechanic in Final Fantasy VII Remake that stuns enemies and makes them vulnerable for increased damage after their gauge is full. The mechanic can be exploited against larger enemies and bosses to defeat them faster and optimize attacks against them. Once staggered, an enemy will take more damage than usual, starting at 160%, and temporarily be unable to act.

The state is similar to the stagger mechanic from the Final Fantasy XIII series of games, as well as the vulnerable status from Final Fantasy XV.

Staggering an enemy unlocks the bronze trophy Staggering Start. Another trophy is unlocked by increasing the bonus damage from stagger.

Mechanics[]

Filling an enemy's stagger gauge will incapacitate it. Attacking a target when they are staggered will significantly increase damage dealt. Some abilities can even increase the damage bonus applied to staggered foes.

When an enemy sustains damage, its stagger meter will rise. Using certain abilities and exploiting the enemy's elemental weakness can raise the meter even higher than usual. Some enemies can take increased stagger from specific sources, such as physical ranged, physical melee, magic or elemental damage sources. When an enemy's meter fills, it will be staggered, leaving itself incapacitated, receiving greatly increased damage from all sources, as well as providing more ATB from Character Specials (Triangle attacks) to the party members who attack it. This provides a good opportunity to use Limits and powerful ATB abilities to defeat the enemy quickly. Inflicting the Stop Stop status with Stop Stop on a staggered enemy will lock the stagger in place for the duration. Staggering an enemy will also grant bonus Limit generation to the character who staggered it.

The amount that an enemy's stagger gauge will fill from a specific action is based on the Stagger Rate of the action, or the Pressured Rate if the receiving enemy is pressured. The stagger or pressured rate of an action is multiplied by each applicable Stagger Rate Modifier of the target to determine the amount of stagger that target will take; some enemies will fill faster from specific elements, while some may fill faster from physical melee, physical ranged or magic damage sources. Each enemy also has a specific Stagger Threshold; this is the amount of stagger they can receive before they become staggered.

The formula for the amount of stagger the target will receive from an attack is as follows:

Pressuring enemies[]

Specific battle actions can cause an enemy to become Pressured. This is a temporary state, displayed underneath the stagger gauge, where the enemy is briefly stunned and does not respond to attacks. In this state, its stagger gauge will fill faster than usual (especially when hit by attacks designed to inflict higher stagger during Pressured); however, if the stagger meter does not fill up during the Pressured state, the enemy will become active again. Inflicting Stop Stop on a pressured enemy will lock their Pressured status in for the duration of Stop, or until they become staggered.

Common enemies are most frequently pressured via one of the three special interrupt effects: knockdown, launch, and blowback. Most enemies who are not susceptible to knockdown, launch, and/or blowback can be pressured through different means. This is most common in boss battles, but many normal enemies (most commonly large, immobile, or flying enemies) can can also or only become pressured by other means. Certain abilities, such as magic spells, particularly of an element that the enemy is weak to, can pressure some enemies. Some will become pressured once they take a preset amount of damage from either magical or physical attacks. Some enemies fall into the Pressured state after the player evades or blocks certain abilities it uses; others can fall into the Pressured state when they have multiple parts that can be targeted and one of them is destroyed. Using the Assess Materia Assess Materia can often provide intel on how to pressure, stagger, and interrupt many of these enemies. There are some enemies that cannot be pressured.

Stagger abilities[]

Certain abilities increase stagger at a greater rate than others, while others increase the stagger bonus damage while an enemy is currently staggered. The following abilities can increase the stagger gauge at a higher rate, or increase stagger bonus damage:

Ability Description Type
Focused Thrust Significantly increases stagger gauge. Cloud Strife ability
Ascension Significantly increases stagger gauge. Cloud Strife limit break
Focused Shot Significantly increases stagger gauge. Barret Wallace ability
Catastrophe Significantly increases stagger gauge. Barret Wallace limit break
Whirling Uppercut Increases stagger bonus damage by +5%. Tifa Lockhart ability
Omnistrike Increases stagger bonus damage by +25%. Tifa Lockhart ability
Rise and Fall Increases stagger bonus damage by up to +20%. Tifa Lockhart ability
Focused Strike Moderately increases stagger gauge. Tifa Lockhart ability
True Strike Increases stagger bonus damage by +30%. Tifa Lockhart ability
Dolphin Flurry Significantly increases stagger gauge. Tifa Lockhart limit break
Ray of Judgment Increases stagger bonus damage by up to +20%. Aerith Gainsborough ability
Synergized Windstorm Increases stagger bonus damage by up to +80% Yuffie Kisaragi ability in "Episode INTERmission" when synergized with Sonon Kusakabe
Synergized+Square Attacking a Pressured enemy when Yuffie and Sonon are synergized quickly builds stagger. Gameplay mechanic in "Episode INTERmission" when both Yuffie and Sonon are alive in the party.
Precision Guard Precision-guarding an enemy's attack can pressure an enemy. Gameplay mechanic in "Episode INTERmission" for Yuffie to guard an enemy's attack with a perfect window.

Increasing the stagger bonus[]

Trophy: Staggering Feat
Increase stagger bonus damage to 300%. Bronze

The default stagger bonus is 160% but can be increased by using certain abilities on the staggered enemy, further increasing their damage taken. This is achieved by Tifa's unique Triangle skills, as well her True Strike ability, and by Aerith's Ray of Judgment ability, although this ability costs two ATB bars, meaning she cannot raise stagger bonus as efficiently as Tifa.

Increasing the stagger bonus to 200% is needed for Chadley's Battle Intel report, "The Stagger Effect Pt. 3". Further increasing stagger bonus damage to 300% unlocks the bronze trophy Staggering Feat. For both, including Tifa in the party is a requirement, but including Aerith with the Ray of Judgment ability can also help.

The best way to achieve 300% is to have a party with Tifa and Aerith, preferably in the Corneo Colosseum or Shinra Combat Simulator against a powerful enemy. After raising Tifa's chi level to 2, unlocking her Rise and Fall ability, she and Aerith should get two ATB bars, and have an enemy ready to be staggered. The Time Materia Time Materia on a third character is extremely useful, as casting Haste Haste boosts Tifa and Aerith's ATB growth, while casting Stop on the staggered enemy can lengthen a stagger period. Once an enemy is staggered, Tifa must use Rise and Fall, use True Strike twice, and then use Omnistrike and Whirling Uppercut. Doing so should help give Tifa another ATB bar to use True Strike again. If Aerith also uses Ray of Judgment, and a third character uses Stop to lengthen the stagger duration, a 300% bonus should be achieved.

Another enemy with an especially long stagger duration is the Fat Chocobo, making it a good target for trying for high stagger bonuses.

Behind the scenes[]

The stagger mechanic was implemented to avoid gameplay becoming repetitive. Ordinarily, the player would spam high-damage commands to defeat an enemy, which the stagger mechanic renders less effective. Instead, the player must choose between rushing in with commands that stagger them more quickly, or using commands to slow them down in preparation for staggering them, until their health is low enough that high-damage commands are better to finish them off. The options chosen from commands used were designed carefully to link to strategic elements.[1]

References[]

  1. Jimmy Thang (June 30, 2020). How Square Enix leveraged Unreal Engine to modernize FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE. Unreal Engine. Archived from the original on July 3, 2020.
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