Final Fantasy VII Rebirth Stagger and Pressure Guide: Quick tips for weakening foes and getting them staggered

Though Final Fantasy VII Rebirth is chock full of minigames and bespoke narrative-based interactions, the core of Cloud and company's adventure is still combat. And the key to mastering combat in FF7 Rebirth is understanding the Stagger and Pressure mechanics. Without understanding Stagger and Pressure, you're likely to have longer, more difficult fights. In case the in-game tutorials don't quite accomplish the job of teaching you this key mechanic, we've come up with a quick guide to help.

What are Stagger and Pressure and How Do They Work in Final Fantasy VII Rebirth?

Stagger and Pressure are the two key mechanics that apply to every enemy in Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth. Stagger is a mechanic with its roots in the battle system of Final Fantasy XIII, and it made itself felt in various forms through Final Fantasy XV, Final Fantasy VII Remake, Final Fantasy XVI, and now Final Fantasy VII Rebirth.

As in earlier games that used the mechanic, almost every enemy in the game has a "Stagger Gauge", an orange bar underneath their green health bar. When fighting an enemy, you build up this Stagger Gauge as you inflict damage and use attacks. When the Gauge is full, the enemy is "Staggered" and any damage that's dealt to them is multiplied. Some types of attacks can fill the Stagger Gauge faster. Thus, you want to attack your enemy, Stagger them, and then whip out your best, most damaging strikes to quickly finish off the enemy while they're vulnerable.

Pressure is a mechanic that signals when an enemy will start to take increased "Stagger Damage", meaning their Stagger Gauge fills much more easily. You can Pressure an enemy by fighting in in a specified manner, typically by exploiting an elemental weakness. Pressured enemies are much easier to Stagger, meaning they can be defeated that much more quickly.

Thus, Final Fantasy VII Rebirth's combat loop is set: Attack an enemy, Pressure it to quickly fill their Stagger Gauge, Stagger them, and then pour on powerful techniques to kill the enemy quickly.

How to Easily Pressure and Stagger Enemies in FFVII Rebirth

In FF7 Remake, pressuring an enemy was typically just about attacking an elemental weakness repeatedly. Things have gotten more complicated in Rebirth, and not every enemy can be pressured the same way. The only real solution to that dilemma is knowledge, and that'll come from the Assess Materia, which is more essential than ever.

Assess the Foe First

Equip the Assess Materia on a character that'll be in your combat party, then cast Assess on every new enemy you encounter.  If you level up the Assess Materia, a single casting will scan every enemy in the encounter, so eventually, you'll never need to Assess an enemy more than once. The Assess Materia Earrings are a capable substitute for the Materia orb if slots are tight. You'll want at least one member of all of your combat parties to pack an Assess Materia or accessory, so you can scan any new enemies you encounter if the party is separated.

Once scanned, an enemy's description will be added to your Bestiary, and you'll be able to call up its data with a simple tap of the touchpad.

Once Assessed, an enemy's info panel will relay any elemental weaknesses they have, and some additional text in the creature descrition will display how they can be pressured and staggered. This text, which is colored yellow, is essential for finding out an enemy's Pressure and Stagger conditions.

Check the Panel

Note that these conditions can get somewhat specfic. Sometimes an enemy will be Pressured if you attack their elemental weakness, but other times they'll only be pressured if you block or evade their signature attack. Still others might only respond to being hit by a Synergy Ability, or automatically enter a Pressured state at a certain point in its attack rotation.

Some enemies even have pressure conditions corresponding to their personality! For example, the summon Odin can only be pressured or staggered if you block or evade his attacks. Fail to do so too many times and he'll get bored, ending the fight instantly with his Zantetsuken. You won't know this without either a lot of trial and error, or a quick check of the Assess panel. Thus, Assess is your most powerful tool for achieving a quick pressure and stagger of any enemy.

This data will be available the next time you fight an enemy, so you'll only need to Assess each enemy once. If an enemy is one you've encountered before, you can just tap the touchpad to bring up the info panel at will.

Pressure and Stagger Away!

Once you know about an enemy's stagger and pressure conditions, you can act accordingly. Assessing enemies first will give you a leg up on quickly neutralizing a foe's effectiveness and ensuring a quick and efficient battle.

Final Fantasy VII Rebirth is available on PS5. Check out our full review and growing slate of guides.