One of the most important aspects of damage-dealing in Final Fantasy 7 Remake is staggering an enemy and utilising the damage bonus. Unfortunately, the game isn’t exactly explicit about the best ways to pull this off.
Not only is this a useful method of blasting down large amounts of HP, but there are specific prizes up for grabs by increasing the stagger bonus to 200% and 300%. Hitting the 200% mark will earn a Battle Intel from Chadley, and going as far as a 300% stagger bonus will earn you the Staggering Feat trophy.
Here is everything you need to know about boosting the stagger bonus to 200% and beyond.
Tifa is the key
Realistically, the only way to reach a 200% or 300% stagger damage bonus is by controlling Tifa. She has the vast majority of the stagger-bonus moves and will be critical to your success.
Her simple triangle attack, Whirling Uppercut, will bump the stagger bonus up by 5%. More importantly, her stagger bonuses will significantly increase in power by using Unbridled Strength first.
If you use Unbridled Strength once, this improves Tifa’s triangle attack to Omnistrike, which increases the stagger bonus by 25% upon use.
Using Unbridled Strength a second time (ie, without using Omnistrike) allows Tifa to unleash Rise and Fall. This is a combo of four hits that boost by 5% each, adding another 20% in total.
The best thing about this is that you can use them consecutively. Rise and Fall, once used, will then be downgraded to Omnistrike, which can be used immediately after.
Finally, Tifa’s True Strike ability is one of the few that also adds to the damage bonus, with a whopping 30% bump. Utilising all of these moves efficiently is the best way to hit 300%, as discussed further below.
How to learn True Strike
True Strike is learned from Tifa’s Purple Pain weapon.
Purple Pain is acquired in Chapter 16 in the Shinra Building. At the point where Tifa is controllable (after falling down from the lights), there is a set of handlebars just before the first ladder. Cross these, along with another set to reach the chest containing the weapon.
Now, you can achieve the magic 300% stagger bonus mark without True Strike, but this makes it considerably easier.
Don’t forget Time materia
It’s worth noting that the majority of enemies do not have a resistance to Stop. This is especially useful because casting Stop also freezes the stagger gauge. A stagger doesn’t last very long, so this is a great way of drawing out the time period to make the most of the bonus. Use Assess to check resistances, and you’ll find even most bosses can be inflicted with Stop.
What is the best way to achieve stagger in the first place?
You’ll gradually chip away at the stagger gauge as you deal damage, but you can inflict it more efficiently with some simple tactics.
Pressure the enemy first, which is usually done by hitting its weakness and temporarily stunning them. Alternatively, when enemies use certain attacks they end up pressured afterwards in a sort of ‘cool down’ state. Whilst pressured, enemies will be staggered more easily. This is the time to use any abilities that start with “Focused” such as Cloud’s Focused Thrust, Barret’s Focused Shot or Tifa’s Focused Strike.
Limit Breaks also significantly increase the stagger gauge, so use them when the enemy is pressured. The stagger gauge will shoot up quickly and present you with the opportunity to wreak havoc.
Pick your enemy wisely when aiming for the 300% trophy
The unfortunate reality is that most normal enemies will be beaten long before you hit 300% stagger. As for bosses, they have a nasty habit of entering a new phase the second you finally fill the gauge. This isn’t ideal, so it’s important to take on an enemy with sufficiently high HP that won’t suddenly transition and waste all of your efforts.
In my opinion, the best enemy to take on is Fat Chocobo. He can be battled basically anytime from Chapter 9 onwards by speaking to Chadley. Fat Chocobo is a HP sponge who can handle some serious punishment, and will still be standing when you hit the 300% bonus.
Tactics to increase stagger bonus to 200% or 300%
Now you know the best weapons in your arsenal, it’s time to put them to use.
Reaching the 200% damage bonus for The Stagger Effect Part 3 Battle Intel is easy. Simply use Unbridled Strength at least once before the enemy is staggered, and then spam triangle with Tifa. Between an Omnistrike and a couple of Whirling Uppercuts, you’ll easily reach the target with minimal fuss.
However, hitting the 300% target for the Staggering Feat trophy requires a bit more strategy. Here is the best way to do it:
- When the enemy is getting towards a stagger, make sure Tifa has already used Unbridled Strength twice and has access to Rise and Fall
- Control Tifa and ensure she also has two fresh full ATB bars
- Make sure someone else in the party has the Stop spell, and one ATB bar filled
- As soon as the stagger is inflicted (or preferably just before it is inflicted), cast Stop with the other character
- With Tifa, immediately smash triangle to hit the enemy with Rise and Fall, followed by Omnistrike
- Tifa will still have two ATB bars – use two consecutive True Strikes
- At this point, stagger damage will be up to 275%
- Mash triangle to bump a couple more 5% bonuses, and when Tifa gains another ATB bar, hit them with a final True Strike – you’ll be over 300% now
Advanced tips to increase the bonus even further
Staggering isn’t just about unlocking these prizes. It also considerably helps you beat tough enemies. To go beyond even a 300% bonus, here is some further advice:
- Try and time another Stop spell just before the effect wears off – you have a little timer to indicate when this will happen. Allow a bit of time for the spell to actually be cast as it won’t be instant
- If you pull this off, rinse and repeat – you will have enough time to smash enough Whirling Uppercuts for two Unbridled Strengths followed by Rise and Fall, Omnistrike and two more True Strikes
- I like to equip Tifa with ATB Assist materia which will fill everyone’s ATB when you use the consecutive True Strike skills
- Aerith’s Ray of Judgment also boosts the damage bonus. If she is also in your party, use it when the stagger takes effect
- For absolute maximum effectiveness, you can even have Tifa use the Refocus Limit Break at some point before the stagger to give her another ATB bar, meaning three True Strikes in a row!
With these tips, you should be staggering your way to the next trophy.
Check out our Final Fantasy 7 Remake review here.