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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, normally at 160%, and temporarily be unable to act.

The state is thus similar to the concept of stagger 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. Once an enemy's meter fills, it will be staggered, leaving itself stunned and open to attacks, receiving increased damage from all sources. This provides a good opportunity to use Limits and other powerful ATB abilities to defeat the enemy quickly.

Certain abilities, such as magic spells of an element that the enemy is weak to, can make an enemy Pressured. This is a temporary state 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. Enemies can also fall into the Pressured state after the player evades certain abilities it uses; others fall into the Pressured state when they have multiple parts that can be targeted and one of them is destroyed.

Inflicting the Stop Stop status on a staggered enemy will also lengthen their stagger for the duration of Stop. Casting Stop Stop will inflict this status.

Staggering abilities[]

Certain abilities increase Stagger at a greater rate than others. The following abilities increase Stagger at a higher rate:

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. Tifa Lockhart ability
Rise and Fall Increases stagger bonus damage. 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. Aerith Gainsborough ability

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.