There are few more iconic video game weapons than Final Fantasy VIIit is Buster Sword, Cloud Strife’s absurdly oversized blade. As you might expect, the blade plays a central role in Crisis team meeting thus, divulging even the weapon’s surprisingly humble origins. There’s even a brand new mechanic that revolves around the Buster Sword, giving Zack a new “Battle Stance” for more powerful attacks, as well as a new stat called Buster Sword Proficiency. Leveling up and powering up Zack has always been confusing, so here’s a detailed explanation of how to level up and increase Buster Sword Mastery in Crisis team meeting.
How to level up in Crisis team meeting
The most obvious way to power up Zack is to level up, and while leveling up might initially seem random, it’s not. Zack will only level up when the DMW slots line up with three 7s (7-7-7), but the game actually has an invisible experience meter. Zack gains experience from every enemy he defeats, but unfortunately there’s no way to tell what your experience is, and if you speed up battles very quickly, you might not get the chance to level up. This can lead to instances where you level up two or three times in the same battle.
Still, because you gain experience from each enemy, it means you can grind, and there’s one mission that’s particularly good for that. Mission 1-1-6: 1000 Shinra Troops literally has you fighting 1000 soldiers. The mission is fairly easy but time consuming, and it’s a great way to rack up lots of experience and SP.
How to Increase Buster Sword Mastery
Zack’s new Battle Stance is incredibly similar to Cloud’s Punisher Mode in Final Fantasy 7 Remake, allowing him to use some hard hits while reducing the damage he takes. This stance is unlocked at the start of Chapter 6, and to use it you need to press the attack and dodge buttons at the same time, which will also spend some AP. Buster Sword Proficiency is Zack’s ability to use the sword, and there are three specific ways to level it up, which you can see below.
- Defeat an enemy with a heavy attack (in Battle Stance)
- Defeat an enemy with a Command Materia move (used in battle stance)
- Block damage in combat stance
Each time you meet one of these conditions, you increase your skill by 0.2-0.7%, but it is important to note that you can only increase your skill by a total of 0.8% in every battle, so once you hit that cap in a given battle, you won’t have any more. This means that increasing Buster Sword Proficiency is going to be a long process, and on top of that, each of the three methods also has a cap on how much the skill can be increased.
Interestingly, Buster Sword Proficiency caps out at 95% and there’s currently no way to get it to 100%, which might be a fun little nod that Zack isn’t the true master of it. sword, but Cloud is. This means that each of the three ways to increase the skill can only be used for around 32%. Unfortunately, like most things in crisis corethere’s no way of knowing what percentage you have in each of the three methods, so you’ll just have to do some trial and error to determine when you’ve hit a cap.
Now, when it comes to what you actually get from increasing Buster Sword Proficiency, it comes in the form of abilities.
What are Buster’s swordsmanship abilities?
Raising the skill doesn’t increase damage or anything, but hitting certain thresholds can grant Zack some powerful abilities. The final ability is unlocked at 47%, however, there doesn’t seem to be much incentive to increase the skill beyond that. Here are all the abilities you can unlock.
- Strong Attack (0%) – Performs a strong attack in Battle Stance.
- Improved Guard (0%) – Zack’s guard now reduces damage by 80%, both in and out of Battle Stance.
- Necromosis (0%) – Zack recovers a small amount of MP and AP each time he defeats an enemy.
- Damage Cap (23%) – Any Attack or Command Materia used in Battle Stance can break the 9,999 damage cap, without the use of attachments like the Genji Gloves.
- Barrier Piercing (47%) – Any attack or command materia used during Battle Stance now completely ignores an enemy’s barrier, if they have one.