Make Zack a SOLDIER First Class in every sense, with these tips, tricks and hints for the new action RPG!
By Duncan Heaney

Zack Fair has to endure a lot during CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION. Over the course of this aspiring hero’s adventures, he’s faced with challenges that push him to the limit both physically and emotionally. Still, nobody said being a SOLDIER operative was easy.

We can, at least, make it easiER. With the game out now for PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC via Steam, we thought it would be useful to share a few tips and tricks to let you hit the streets of Midgar running.

With this advice, you’ll be SOLDIER First Class in no time!

Explore Midgar between every story beat to unlock new missions, minigames and sub-events

In between the big story moments, you’ll be deposited in Midgar and given free rein to explore the city. Make sure you take that chance because there’s tons to discover.

There are a few areas you’ll be able to visit again and again - the Shira Building, Sector 8’s entertainment district, and the Sector 5 slums. Exploring these areas and talking to the citizens will let you unlock new missions, discover fun minigames and much more.

Finding cool stuff is easy in CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION because the game helpfully marks mission-givers and other important interactions on the map with a gold exclamation mark. Check the map screen regularly to make sure you’ve interacted with everything you can.

But while you’re at it, I recommend taking the time to talk to everyone in town, yellow exclamation mark or not. The residents of Midgar share different viewpoints that reveal a lot about the city - some are angry, others informative and a few are just plain weird (looking at you Shinra Building receptionist). And because this version is fully voiced, they bring the city to life like never before!


Switch your materia frequently

As you fight through missions and the story in CRISIS CORE, you’ll level up the materia you have equipped. Once a piece has reached ‘Master’ level, it’s maxed out and won’t grow any further, so unless it’s fundamental to your current play style, consider switching it for something new.

The more master materia you have, the better. It means that when you start experimenting with materia fusion, you’ll be able to create much more powerful pieces than you would otherwise.

Zack only has a limited number of materia slots available (four at the start of the game, and later six when he’s promoted to First Class), so any master materia is taking up valuable space that could potentially be used to grow something else - even if it’s just an unleveled orb of the same type.


Use preset loadout sets to be ready for different challenges

CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION lets you create up to five different loadouts of materia and accessories. This means you can prepare for different scenarios in advance, without having to spend lots of time faffing around in menus each time.

For example, I created multiple sets to accommodate common challenges in the game. My ‘boss killer’ set, for example, includes Materia and accessories that boost attack and defense. When I know a boss is coming (and in missions you can see them ahead of time), it only takes me a few seconds to switch to this loadout - and maybe add a piece of materia to take advantage of their elemental weakness - and give myself an edge over the opponent.

Another loadout I recommend setting up is the ‘Eek, I’m probably under-leveled for this’ set (In case you can’t tell, I’m no good at catchy names). That prioritizes materia and accessories that boost defense and raise Zack’s HP.

Many bosses have powerful abilities that can wipe out an unprepared SOLDIER operative in a single hit, but this loadout makes you more likely to survive those big attacks - or just take on missions you otherwise wouldn’t be strong enough for yet.

I’m sure you’ll find different sets that work for you and your playstyles, so take advantage of them. Remember - a little prep ahead of time can save you lots more in the future.


Consider the MP and AP cost of Materia

Materia Fusion unlocks fairly early in the story, and it opens up your options dramatically. By combining two pieces of materia, and spending some SP, you can create entirely new materia to equip.

Not only is this a lot of fun to play around with, it’s possible to create some insanely powerful pieces. You could, for example, create a version of Assault Twister that causes instant death on foes, or those coveted ‘-aga’ spells very early on.

Obviously, powerful materia is great, but be a little bit careful with how you use it - especially when you’re still low level. More powerful materia means more extravagant MP or AP requirements, and you may find yourself running out of both as a result.

While you can mitigate this a little by equipping other materia that boosts MP and AP or get a lucky roll on the DMW to use them without cost, it might be safer to hold these powerful pieces back until you’ve grown into them.


Prioritize the best mission rewards

Once past the opening of the game, Zack can embark on missions from most save points. More and more will become available as you play through the game, and it won’t be long before you have plenty of options available.

Which to embark on first is entirely up to you. However, I recommend looking at the rewards listed in the mission descriptions and prioritizing those that expand Zack’s skillset.

For example, one early mission is a rematch against Ifrit, which rewards you with his Summon materia. Making this one your first port of call means you’ll then be able to summon ol’ firey-chops during subsequent quests, making them potentially easier.

Other examples are the Keychain, which lets Zack add another accessory, or the Chocobo Feather which opens up new options in the DMW. There are plenty more to discover, but the key point is that the earlier you collect them, the sooner you’ll be able to make use of them.


Collect all chests when on a mission

While on a mission, you’ll see a counter in the top right corner of the screen showing you how many chests you’ve found. Be sure to explore thoroughly and find all the chests in the area.

Often chests will just contain an item, such as a Potion or Soma - useful, but not massively exciting. However, sometimes they’ll give you more valuable rewards, such as materia or accessories, and you won’t want to miss those.

Most chests are easy to find, but a few can be tricky. A good tactic is to check the map for obvious dead ends - there’s probably one tucked away there.

If you have missed one on a mission, don’t worry - you can always come back and replay the mission (there’s even a filter in the missions list to flag unclaimed chests), but it’s much more efficient to try to get them all on a single run.


Explore areas carefully - even if you have all the chests

Don’t assume that just because you’ve found all the chests in an area, there’s nothing else to discover. Some missions have other secrets, such as hidden monsters that, when defeated, unlock additional missions to complete.

For example, a certain mission contains a Tonberry, which will unlock an entire sequence of quests centered on the stubby grudge-holding horrors. One mission has you fighting literal hordes of the monster - which is both thrilling, and utter nightmare fuel for us long-time FINAL FANTASY fans.


It’s okay to leave stuff for later

If you’re like me, you may feel compelled to try to do every possible mission before continuing with the story. Resist those completionist urges.

If you’re failing a mission constantly, even when buffing yourself up with materia, you’re probably just not quite ready to take on that level of challenge. Instead, return to the story - that mission will still be there when you get back. When you do, you’ll be inevitably stronger, more knowledgeable about the game, and more prepared for success.


Take down Boss’s Ability Gauges FAST

Sometimes a bar will appear on a boss. This means it’s preparing for a big attack, and you need to act.

Attacking the boss will let you reduce the potential damage of this assault, maybe even cancel it completely, but you need to move fast. Don’t worry about being clever, showing finesse or finishing off another target - just get right in there and wallop it with your strongest attacks before it’s too late.

CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION is out now for PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC via Steam!

We hope these tips help - and if you have any of your own, why not share them with us on social media: