Chapter 17 is packed with boss fights — filled with remade confrontations from the original Final Fantasy 7, and all-new encounters that completely change how events unfold. Things are getting wild, as you’ll face down a dreamlike apparition of Jenova, then take on the new President of Shinra with Cloud. There are multiple fights, and each one forces your team into a different configuration. You’ll need to stock up on extra materia.
The hardest of the three fights has to be Rufus and Darkstar. The Vice President of Shinra is one of the deadliest fighters in the game, and works together with his guard dog to take down Cloud. They’re a brutal duo, but there are two tricks you can use to beat him. Assess won’t help you here. Learn how to shatter Darkstar’s tether to Rufus, and how to put Rufus into an instantaneous stagger state with our full guide below. Knowing those two tricks makes this fight so, so much easier.
More Final Fantasy 7 Remake guides:
Tips & Tricks Beginner’s Guide | How To Unlock Level 2 Limit Breaks | All Weapon Locations & Proficiency Abilities | All Rare Materia Locations | How To Unlock All Summon Materia | All Jukebox Music Tracks Locations | ‘Heavenly Dart Player’ Trophy Guide | ‘Sultan of Squat’ Trophy Guide | PSA: 3 Very Useful Button Inputs | How To Get 200% Or 300% Stagger Bonus | How To Beat Roche, Crab Warden & Air Buster | How To Beat Reno, Rude & Hell House | How To Beat Abzu, Ghoul & Eligor | How To Beat Reno & Rude, Failed Experiment & Abzu (Rematch) | All Side-Quests Guide & Rewards List
- Chapter 17
- Weakness: Breach (Disable Reflect and use spells to fill stagger meter.)
Before entering the Jenova Dreamweaver battle, you’ll need to equip Subversion Materia and Pray. I also highly recommend Time Materia for Haste, and Manaward linked to Magnify.
This is a tough battle. Be ready to use all the buffs you can against Jenova. The nightmarish monster summons tentacles, shields itself, and uses Reflect to become immune to magic attacks. It is resistant to fire and standard magic attacks — and hitting it with melee can be tricky sometimes. You’ll soon see why.
In the first phase, it will grow tentacles and use them to attack your party while casting magic spells. Use Chi Trap, Blade Burst, Infinity’s End, or any other attacks that cause damage to multiple targets to rapidly destroy the tentacles while you’re hitting Jenova.
Keep your party protected with Manaward / Barrier, and have Aerith stand on an ADP Ward to save as much ADP as possible. Use Pray to stay healed. I equip Tifa with Haste so she can continously buff Aerith and Cloud.
Cloud’s most useful skill is the Triple Slash. In the second phase of the fight, Jenova will guard itself with tentacles. You’ll need to destroy all the tentacles around it to put Jenova into pressured state. But, it will instantly cast Reflect — use Breach to disable it, then hit it with magic to rapidly fill its stagger gauge. While pressured, Jenova generates a field that pushes party members away from it, making melee attacks very difficult to land.
In the third phase, Jenova summons tentacles, teleports around, and generates acid rain that drains your total map. Run out of the rain, and focus on the same trick as before — use Triple Slash to quickly destroy tentacles to put Jenova into a pressured state, use breach to break reflect, then use magic to drastically fill her stagger meter.
When she’s staggered, unleash every attack you’ve got. Swap to Tifa and use her charged unique attack (Unbridled Strength x2 + Triangle) to increase your stagger damage bonus to 200%+. If you can stagger her in the third phase, you’ll win this fight.
Rufus & Darkstar
- Chapter 17
- Weakness: Braver (Use to interrupt bullet attacks.)
The new President of Shinra has arrived, and he’s a lot tougher than his father. Rufus is aided by his canine companion Darkstar, and they’re a challenging team. While linked, their attacks synergize. Don’t even both attacking Rufus from the front — he’ll counter you and shoot you in the back.
To make this fight easier, use Sleep on Rufus to put him out. That instantly severs his link to Darkstar, putting him in a pressured state. You can also use Triple Slash to knock Rufus far enough away to sever their link.
Focus on Darkstar and take him out of the fight first. Use Triple Slash to split the pair apart, attack while he’s in the pressured state, and you’ll be able to take him out relatively quickly. That just leaves Rufus.
He’s much harder alone. In this form, he constantly moves around using his guns. He’ll have to reload after four quick-rolls, or after a big attack. Use Braver to interrupt any of his special gun abilities — you’ll instantly put him into a short stagger state. Once you know that trick, Rufus is much easier to deal with.
Keep moving, and use Cure when he reloads. His attacks will interrupt your cure, which is easily the most annoying part of this fight. Wait for that reload, and you’ll have time to heal.
- Chapter 17
- Weakness: Thunder (On Weak Point — Only exposed when charging special attacks.)
This huge mech is waiting for Barret and Aerith in the Shinra Building. You’ll fight with Barret and Aerith — they’re both long-range focused fighters, and Barret really does need a long-range weapon like the EKG Cannon to be useful in this battle.
Hide behind cover, and wait for the mech to charges its primary cannon. When it does, hit the Main Cannon with Thunder. Doing that will stun the Arsenal, allowing Red 13 to stagger one of the Barrier Drones. You can also use Thunder on the Arsenal’s Laser Cannon when it charges its Homing Beam. Either way, Red 13 will stagger a drone, making them much, much weaker.
When all three drones are destroyed, the Arsenal will get more aggressive — but the same tricks work. Attack the exposed weak points that appear whenever it charges a special attack to build the Arsenal’s stagger meter. When it charges its powerful Pulse Cannon, just target the main body
Do enough damage, and it’ll trap you while charging its Cry Havoc ability. Hide behind the debris and hit it with as much magic as you can. There won’t be another chunk of debris you can use, so just hit it with your most powerful magic, abilities, or Limit Breaks to end the fight.