Crisis Core Reunion: Buster Sword Proficiency farm & ability guide
Zack has always been one of the handful of masters of Final Fantasy's most iconic sword, but there's an all new mechanic to celebrate this fact in Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion - that of Buster Sword Proficiency.
Zack doesn't even get his hands on the Buster Sword until roughly halfway through Crisis Core, but one of the most material changes in the new remastered version of the game once you do is the addition of Buster Sword Proficiency. This is a new stat which can be leveled up, and as the stat is raised Zack's abilities with the Buster Sword grow - and that can make your journey through Crisis Core much easier. In this guide, we explain:
- How Buster Sword Proficiency works
- How to level up Buster Sword Proficiency,
- Buster Sword Proficiency abilities
Once Zack reaches Chapter 6 of Crisis Core Reunion - more or less exactly the game's halfway point - he'll take possession of the Buster Sword. After a jaunt on the beach fighting with a parasol, he'll be at Junon with the massive, iconic sword in hand - and this unlocks the new Buster Sword proficiency system. This unlock only occurs in Crisis Core Reunion - if you're playing the original Crisis Core on PSP, this guide isn't for you, as this mechanic isn't in that version.
From this point on you'll find the Buster Sword Proficiency stat listed in the upper-right of the screen when in battle, starting at 0.00% and slowly climbing up as you undertake actions to level it up.
Part of the system is a new stance, accessed by pressing Square & Cross (X & A on Xbox, Y & B on Switch) at the same time. This makes Zack take up a Buster Sword Battle Stance, which looks a lot like how Cloud uses the sword in FF7 Remake's 'punisher' stance.
Entering this stance costs a small amount of AP, but this stance lets Zack guard attacks for a limited time, or until he attacks. Attacks unleashed out of Battle Stance are strong, powerful attacks that can crumble enemies, and Zack also has 'super armor' in this state, which means that enemies can't hit him out of an attack before it's over.
As you level up Buster Sword Proficiency, Zack gains more abilities attached to his Battle Stance, which we'll detail below.
In order to level up Zack's Buster Sword Proficiency stat, you have to take one of a few simple actions - and mercifully, unlike leveling up Zack or leveling up Materia, this isn't tied to the random-chance DMW slots system.
However, it is a bit of a grind. The following actions will raise Buster Sword Proficiency, slowly but surely:
- Defeating enemies with the Strong Attack by taking up the Battle Stance and then attacking. This gives you up to 0.25% proficiency per battle.
- Defeating enemies with a Command (Yellow) Materia ability from Battle Stance. This adds up to 0.25% proficiency per battle.
- Blocking incoming Damage from enemies while in Battle Stance. This gives a small proficiency gain of 0.07% per attack guarded, with a per-battle cap.
These three actions will all very gradually tick up Zack's Buster Sword Proficiency, and extra abilities for the Battle Stance unlock at certain percentage point gates. It's important to note that you can gain a maximum of 0.57% Buster Sword Proficiency per battle, so the key is to use it regularly in lots of battles as opposed to trying to grind it out in one long battle.
The absolute fastest way to improve the Buster Sword Proficiency quickly is simply to use the Battle Stance and use a command Materia that can hit multiple enemies, such as Assault Twister, to take down many enemies at once in a short mission, such as the early Shinra Training missions. Then finish the mission... and start it over. It's a grind, but it'll get you there.
Your Buster Sword Proficiency level carries over to New Game Plus - though you naturally won't be able to use its abilities or increase it any further until you get to the point where you unlock the Buster Sword.
Curiously, Zack's Buster Sword proficiency in Crisis Core Reunion maxes out at 95% - you can't actually raise it to 100%. This is likely a hint that Zack ultimately isn't the true master of the sword, however - for that, we must look to its next owner...
As that Buster Sword Proficiency stat slowly ticks up, Zack will gain a handful of new abilities that effect how useful the Buster Sword's new Battle Stance is in battle. To be honest, Crisis Core was balanced without this new mechanic in mind - so there's absolutely no requirement to grind out this stat. However, if you enjoy using the Battle Stance, it can give you an edge in battle that wasn't in the PSP version.
Here's the abilities that unlock as you raise Buster Sword Proficiency:
- Buster Guard & Strong Attack - 0% Proficiency: Allows Zack to automatically guard attacks when in Battle Stance, and execute a Strong Attack out of the stance.
- Necromose - 0% Proficiency: Zack will regain a small amount of MP and AP when he defeats an enemy.
- Damage Limit Break - 23% Proficiency: Once unlocked, attacks and materia used from the Battle Stance can break the 9,999 damage cap, reaching a maximum of 99,999. You can break the Crisis Core damage cap using accessories - but this is the only way to do so without.
- For us this unlocked at around 23% proficiency, but others are reporting different percentages, including unlocks as low as 14%. We're not sure what causes the difference.
- Battle Piercing - 47% Proficiency: At this level of Buster Sword Proficiency, attacks and materia used from Battle Stance pass through any enemy barriers that are present.