Crisis Core: How to Level Up Zack

Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII takes a bit of a detour compared to most classic Final Fantasy titles, shaking up major systems right down to how to level up your characters and skills. While Crisis Core Reunion changes many of the game's systems, this one remains the same.

Traditionally, the idea of leveling up in RPGs is pretty simple: you fight some enemies, get some experience, and when you get enough - *DING* - you gain a level. Crisis Core, however, is wildly different - making use of the DMW mechanic that dominates the game's combat, using it to determine the entire "level up" formula - which actually serves to make things more random. This page runs down how to level up Zack in Crisis Core, explaining how this unique system works. 

How to Level Up Zack in Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII

How do you level up in Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII? The answer is more stupid than you'd think.

Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII does away with the more familiar concept of leveling up - but not entirely. There are still experience points, but they're not surfaced to the player in any major way. Instead, the experience points you have feed into a greater formula which includes - deep breath - random chance. RNG. The enemy!

For total newcomers to Crisis Core, we know that this is going to be confusing - and we also know that there'll be a whole lot of newcomers for the newly-remastered Crisis Core Reunion. So, on this page, we'll run down how this level up system works - and, honestly, strap in, 'cos it's pretty frustrating.

How to Level Up in Crisis Core

To level Zack up, two things must happen:

  • First, even though they're hidden, your invisible experience point stat must reach a certain threshold, which is different for each level up in the game.
  • Second, you'll need the DMW slot machine that runs in the top-left of the screen to roll 777. The characters on the reel don't matter - all that matters are the numbers. If you land 777, there's a chance - emphasis on chance - that you'll level up.

Basically, this means that leveling up isn't entirely random. The invisible EXP counter, which ticks up as you defeat enemies, determines when you can level up - but this doesn't mean that you will level up. Sometimes, 777 will simply grant you something like invincibility or other battle buffs. 

Basically, to level up you need to defeat enemies and hope for the RNG gods to bless you with a 777 roll that levels Zack up.

In the event of a streak of bad luck, you'll find that Zack could have two or more level-ups available to him at once (based on the 'maximum level' stat which is determined by your EXP), but you'll be waiting for those 777 DMW spins in order to level up your 'actual level'. However, once your 'actual level' and 'maximum level' match, you won't be able to spin 777 and level up until you defeat enough enemies and garner enough EXP to raise your maximum level.

Additionally, the more the discrepancy between your Maximum Level and your Actual Level, the higher the chances you'll level up. This is all part of the math behind the scenes.

To level up fast, all you can do is... grind. The more enemies you defeat, the higher the Maximum Level goes, and the higher that is, the more likely a 777 and Level Up will pop on the DMW slots. That's it - that's all you can do!

Other Notes about Leveling up in Crisis Core

Leveling up Materia works in a similar fashion, although it isn't quite as random - which means you can actually manipulate Crisis Core to easily level up Materia fast, something detailed in another guide here on RPG Site.

This level up system is why the easily missable Cursed Ring item is so powerful, too - as the Cursed Ring does away with the DMW and therefore renders Zack unable to level up at all. Playing with the Cursed Ring equipped is truly playing Crisis Core on the hardest of modes.

Sadly, Crisis Core Reunion does not fix the glaring oversight of not directly showing you Zack's maximum level or even his EXP counter - so you'll have to eyeball it. That said, leveling Zack isn’t as important of concern as some other Final Fantasy entries, with most of your power and survivability coming more from your equipment and materia loadouts. You'll need equipment to break the Damage, HP, MP, and SP levels, at the very least. 

Zack's stats grow on a set curve - so his stats, at least, are not random. At Level 99, the maximum, Zack will naturally have 6789 HP, 393 MP, 409 AP, 66 STR, 62 VIT/MAG/SPR, and 47 Luck. All of the stats can be raised with Materia, however.