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How To Beat The Airbuster Boss In Final Fantasy 7 Remake

In Chapter 7 of Final Fantasy 7 Remake, Cloud and the crew find themselves at the center of a Shinra trap. President Shinra himself graces them with his holographic presence during the "Storm The Gates" mission, boasting that they are being used as propaganda tools. Then the big guns arrive: the Airbuster. This machine is part-hovercraft, part-tank, and presents one of the most challenging and frustrating boss fights of the game. 

While still technically a prototype, this ingenious creation packs a punch. Here's what you need to know about defeating the sinister Shinra machine known as the Airbuster.

Airbuster immunities, weaknesses, and recommended equipment

The Airbuster comes equipped with immunities to Poison, Silence, Sleep, Slow, Berserk, Proportional Damage and a greater resistance to Stop. Thankfully, like some previous bosses, the machine is weak to electricity. Lightning attacks will rapidly fill its stagger gauge, which means you'll want to outfit everyone with Lightning Materia.

Due to the nature of the fight, Barret will be your all-star. Bind Lightning Materia to Elemental Materia on his gun so he can continually pepper the Airbuster with Lightning-infused bullets no matter which phase you've entered. As the boss dishes out heavy damage, you can use Barret's Lifesaver ability from his Light Machine Gun, as well as his HP Up Materia and the Steelskin ability to soak damage for Cloud and Tifa while minimizing your HP loss.

Weakening the Airbuster with Shinra keycards

During Chapter 7, you'll have the opportunity to weaken the Airbuster before starting the boss fight. Pay close attention to the rooms you move through leading up to the encounter, as you can collect up to six Shinra keycards after eliminating the troops in each area. You can use these keycards to remove some of the Airbuster's armaments and even retrieve them for yourself from the disposal room. 

Final Fantasy 7 Remake gives you the following armaments to choose from:

  • AI Programming Core: Reduces the Airbuster's movement speed and stun attacks. You can sell the AI Programming Cores you disarm for 500gil each.
  • Big Bomber: Reduces the Airbuster's explosive attacks, which do massive amounts of burst damage. You can retrieve one bomb that deals 500 damage for each Big Bomber you dispose of.
  • M Unit: Doesn't hinder the Airbuster, but will provide random, helpful items you can pick up in the disposal room.

Determine the best armaments to remove based on your priorities, playstyle, and current resources. Of the options, taking out the Airbuster's Big Bombers will likely give you the biggest advantage during the battle.

Airbuster - Phase 1

When the fight begins, the Airbuster will face Cloud, separating him from Tifa and Barret. You'll need to play defensively, blocking incoming gunfire and lasers and dodging EM Mines as you move into melee range. The Airbuster will use a variety of Lightning-based attacks, including releasing bursts of static electricity, so make sure you weave in and out with your sword. 

The safest option is alternating between defense, healing, and hitting the Airbuster with spells (the more Lightning the better), then closing and unleashing your ATB abilities in the moments the boss is stunned. The machine will eventually turn to Tifa and Barret, allowing Cloud to get up close and personal. Just watch out for the Airbuster's jets, which will fire off and on and can quickly send you crashing to the floor.

Airbuster - Phase 2

After your clear Stagger the first time, the Airbuster moves to Phase 2 and gains new attacks. The boss will start retreating down the catwalk while unleashing a devastating Tankbuster laser. The laser fires in a straight line, making it easy enough to escape. It will continue shooting these out periodically, so remain vigilant and avoid getting caught in it at all costs.

Once the first laser passes, you can close the distance and apply more melee pressure in tandem with your Lightning spells. You'll also have to contend with attacks from the Airbuster's arms, which will detach, fly around, and shoot out arcs of electricity. Focus on taking out one of the arms as quickly as possible using ATB charges and Barret's ranged abilities. This is also an ideal time to call in a summon like Ifrit to hasten the process and help relieve some of the pressure.

Airbuster - Phase 3

After you've reduced it to about half-health, the Airbuster will fire up its rockets and take to the air. This places the boss out of melee range, forcing you to rely on magic attacks and Barret's guns. While levitating, the Airbuster will unload a variety of shock grenades, lightning orbs, and homing missiles, so stay on the move to avoid stuns and taking large amounts of damage.

Eventually, the Airbuster will move closer to the catwalk, bringing melee attacks back into the mix. The fingerbeam and machine gun will return from earlier phases, but you'll now also have to evade hard-hitting fist slams, palm flamethrowers, and rotating Tankbuster lasers. Watch your health, stay light on your feet, and continue hammering your foe with Lightning attacks. You'll eventually overpower it.