One of the striking features of Final Fantasy VII Remake‘s protagonist, Cloud Strife, is his notorious buster sword. When entering the game, Cloud’s famous, and impossibly large, buster sword takes center stage, giving players a chance to wield the giant sword for the first time (or the first time in decades). At the beginning of the game, Cloud’s buster sword works perfectly for attacks and defense against Shinra soldiers. However, as the game progresses, the enemies get even stronger. Luckily, so do Cloud’s weapons.
Finding and optimizing all of Cloud Strife’s weapons can be tricky. With the sword upgrades being pricey to reset, it can be difficult to choose what path each sword and player should take to ensure ultimate victory against Shinra. Luckily, this does not have to be too difficult of a task.
Final Fantasy VII Remake is full of new (and not so new) swords for Cloud to use. This gives players a chance to explore different uses for Cloud’s abilities. With new ways to play and explore the world of Midgar also comes new ways of fighting and strategizing. Each weapon has a different specialization, which, as a result, means that Cloud can now move a little more freely within the party. Instead of being a melee-focused character, Cloud can become more versatile.
Players start with the buster sword as the standard weapon for Cloud. The buster sword comes equipped with the Focus Thrust ability, allowing Cloud to lunge toward an enemy with a piercing strike. These strikes hit enemies multiple times and increase the chances of stagger. This ability makes the buster sword a handy first sword, especially when facing all of the enemies in Mako Reactor 1.
The sword’s overall strengths are fairly well-rounded. However, there is a slight focus on physical power. Having the buster sword so balanced allows Cloud to fulfill many different roles within the small group. Cloud can be a front-line fighter that casts magic from time to time without having the feeling of a disjointed team.
The buster sword’s versatility also allows a number of Materia to be used. Especially in the beginning, Cloud is best suited to the player as a melee character. However, Cloud does benefit from using Deadly Dodge Materia, Healing Materia, and an offensive Materia like Lightning. This will help keep Cloud well-rounded but also help ensure that his status as a melee character can be upheld.
Players will receive the iron blade during chapter three. The player will have a chance to purchase the sword just by simply playing through the game. This sword comes with the ability of Triple Slash. This attack will slice three enemies in quick succession and will deal more damage with each strike.
This is another well-rounded weapon for Cloud. However, unlike the buster sword, the iron blade has more of a focus on defense and magic. This allows Cloud to lean away from a melee character and move more towards the role of tank character with some magic support. However, this slight shift does not change the fact that Cloud can still dish out some major physical damage.
For this weapon, be sure to equip Materia that is aligned with what the sword does. So, adding Heal and/or Revive Materia, Barrier, HP Up, MP Up, Magic Up, and Parry would help Cloud form more of a tank/magic alignment. Additionally, throwing on an element-based Materia, such as Fire or Lightning, can help increase Cloud’s attack abilities.
The nail bat is received in chapter eight. This sword is a little easier to miss because, in order to get the nail bat, players will need to complete a side quest that is located in the Sector 5 Slums (or the Center District). However, the nail bat is definitely a weapon that players will want to use. The ability this item comes with is called Disorder. Disorder delivers a devastating attack that switches modes in one fluid motion.
The nail bat changes Cloud into a highly specialized physical fighter. There are no magic upgrades with this weapon. Instead, it focuses almost completely on critical hits and critical damage. This weapon is great for players who just want to see Cloud smash his enemies into the dust.
Since there are no magic-boosting upgrades, picking Materia for this sword can be tricky. Players should keep in mind that, when using the nail bat, Cloud will be up-close-and-personal with enemies at all times. Materia such as ATB Boost, HP Up, Luck Up, Chakra Materia, and ATB Stagger can help keep Cloud alive and safe while face-to-face with an enemy. Additionally, Deadly Dodge and Steadfast Block can help save Cloud in a pinch.
The Hardedge is in chapter nine’s Weapon Store. While in the Sector 6 Slums (or Wall Market), take a detour to the Weapon Store to purchase the Hardedge for 2,000 Gil. This weapon comes equipped with Infinity’s End. This attack winds up and unleashes an overhead strike that also increases the damage on stagger. However, keep in mind that this weapon’s proficiency costs two ATB.
Although the Hardedge is a physical attack weapon, it’s not as specialized as the previously mentioned nail bat. The Hardedge boosts a handful of magic-based upgrades while providing some decent defensive perks. Although this weapon does not round Cloud out as the buster sword or the iron blade did, it does not leave Cloud in a space of only attacks.
With this weapon, Chakra Materia, HP Up, and ATB Stagger can help keep Cloud from being too attack-focused. Instead, it can help shift Cloud into a character that can protect itself. Additionally, Parry and Steadfast Block are solid defensive Materia to pair with the Hardedge.
The Mythril Saber can be purchased in chapter 14. In the Sector 6 Slums (Evergreen Park this time), the Mythril Saber can be purchased for 3,000 gil. This weapon comes with Blade Burst, which unleashes a wave of non-elemental-based mako energy at an enemy before Cloud’s sword comes down on them, dealing extra damage.
The Mythril Saber is strictly a magic-based sword. All of its upgrades can change Cloud into the party’s primary magic-user. Ideally, Cloud would focus on offensive magic spells because of Cloud’s close-range combat style. That does not mean support spells are completely off the table. Support spells that are best for this weapon give Cloud a magic boost.
Of course, element-based Materia is best suited for this sword. So, Materia such as Fire, Ice, or Lightning would be a perfect fit for this magic-based weapon. Additionally, Healing, Barrier, and HP Absorption (that is attached to an elemental Materia) can give Cloud a health boost or extra protection with his close-combat style. Since this is a magic-based weapon, adding MP Up or Magic Up can always help.
Last, but certainly not least, is Cloud’s twin stinger. Arguably one of the best weapons for Cloud in the game, the twin stinger is found in a purple chest in chapter 17. It is an item that could possibly be missed, so players need to keep an eye open for its location. The purple chest that contains the twin stinger is to the left of Cloud, immediately after a cut scene. The chest is right before a set of stairs that the player will have to climb. This weapon comes with the ability Counterstance. This allows Cloud to brace for an attack and then retaliate with a powerful slash.
Similar to the Mythril saber, the twin stinger is a magic-based weapon but is a bit more balanced. This weapon boosts a few defensive perks and a few physical attacks. This allows Cloud to either be a skilled magic attacker or to support the team with barrier and healing spells.
The Mythril saber is best paired with element Material, Magnify, or HP Absorption to focus most on Cloud’s attacks. However, if players would like Cloud to add a little healing, adding the Barrier, Healing, or Steadfast Block Materia can give Cloud a little boost to the team’s health department.
Really, there is no wrong way to level up Cloud’s swords. All of them will do amazing amounts of damage in the right situation and with the right player. Be sure to play around and choose what is best!