Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII featured numerous mechanics that helped to evolve the typical battle system seen within Final Fantasy games towards a more real-time feel.
One of the more integral was the DMW (Digital Mind Wave) System.
Acting as an equivalent to Limit Breaks that were seen within the original Final Fantasy VII, the DMW System was linked with Zack Fair’s emotional state, allowing him to call upon the strength of the game’s numerous Summons, gain positive status effects and perform powerful attacks.
Even though Crisis Core Reunion has seen the battle system retooled, it too will feature the DMW System. However, for this more modernised version, that’s being released as part of the wider Final Fantasy 7 Remake Project, some tweaks have been made to make its utilisation much more seamless within the wider combat experience.
Before we dive deeper into how it’s been changed, what the different states are and how it relates to the likes of Sephiroth, Bahamut and Genesis, it’s important to understand how the DMW system works, in its most basic form, as it can be a little confusing.
How The Digital Mind Wave (DMW) Works
In its most basic form, the DMW is an equivalent to Limit Breaks, as they were seen within plenty of prior games including, but not limited to Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy VIII and Final Fantasy X. As such, should circumstances allow, the DMW System grants Zack Fair access to specific damage-dealing moves and status effects that would not be available during conventional gameplay.
But even though it provides a similar function to Limit Breaks, the DMW System is not used in the same manner. Instead, it serves as a unique system that has its own quirks.
Once players hear “Activating Combat Mode”, the DMW will be initiated and within combat, it is almost always present via the pseudo slot-machine that appears with three reels at the upper-left hand corner of the screen. Each of the reels contains character portraits and numbers, with them being independent from one another and leading to different actions, despite being present within the same area.
Throughout each encounter, the DMW system will cycle through the following flow:
- DMW uses 10 Soldier Points (SP) to initiate a spin
- Each of the three reels continuously spins, with the left reel stopping first.
- The right reel will stop second, and if it doesn’t match the left character portrait or number, a new spin is initiated
- If the right reel matches the character portrait DMW enters “Modulating Phase” or “Limit Verge”.
If there’s a match of any kind, be it either number or character portraits, that’s when the DMW System kicks into gear and Zack can start to see the benefits within combat. But it’s also important to stress, that similar to what was seen within Final Fantasy IX, where characters could enter into Trance due to their emotional state, irrespective of whether they had fulfilled the correct in-battle criteria, the DMW can also be affected by emotions.
The Emotion Gauge
Even though the DMW is quite self-sustaining and will always be running in the background during combat encounters, how it performs can be affected by Zack’s emotional state and temperament.
When such an event is in the process of occurring, the oscilloscope next to the DMW will start to fluctuate. This can then hinder the chances of positive buffs and DMW attacks taking place, or enhance them. Depending on the context of why Zack’s emotions may be heightened, specific character portraits also have the chance of appearing more frequently than they normally would.
There are five different emotional states:
- Low (2.3% chance of modulating phase), which acts as a negative status and lowers the chance of beneficial results
- Normal (4.7% chance of modulating phase), which serves as Zack’s standard state
- High (6.3% chance of modulating phase), which sees Zack have a slight boost in attack power
- Sky High (7.8% chance of modulating phase) which sees Zack have a significant boost in attack power
- Heavenly (18.8% chance of modulating phase), which sees Zack’s attack boosted to a high proportion
The Emotion Gauge can also be manipulated to enhance results by using the appropriate Independent Materia. This can increase the probability of certain character portraits appearing by a significant proportion.
DMW Status Effects
Irrespective of whether there was a character portrait match, the DMW system will complete the final spin and then check to see if any of the numbers have matched.
If they do, then there are a whole host of special effects, but these will vary depending on whether there was a modulating phase or no Modulating Phase.
If there’s no Modulating Phase:
- 777 Grants Invincibility (15 seconds)
- 666 Grants Critical Hits (20 seconds)
- 555 Grants Physical Guard (15 seconds)
- 444 Grants 0 AP Consumption
- 333 Grants Magic Guard (15 seconds)
- 222 Grants 0 MP Consumption
- 111 Grants Invincibility (15 seconds)
- 77* Grants 0 MP Consumption (15 seconds)
- 7*7 Grants Physical Guard (15 seconds)
- *77 Grants Magical Guard (15 seconds)
- 7** Grants 0 AP Consumption (12 seconds)
- *7* Grants 0 MP Consumption (12 seconds)
- **7 Grants Endurance (20 seconds)
If there’s a Modulating Phase, there are less combinations, but they are more powerful and relate to Zack as a whole.
- 777 will see Zack Level Up (with enough EXP)
- 2 of the same number will see each of the equipped Materia level up once
- 3 of the same number will see each of the equipped Materia level up twice
DMW Limit Break Types
For Modulating Phases, that’s when Limit Breaks and Limit Verges come into play, and within the DMW Menu, you can see how many times Limit Breaks have been performed, as well as how many times a Limit Verge has happened within a subsequent Limit Break being performed.
There are three main types of Limit Break; Characters, Summons and Chocobo
DMW Character Types
Within the DMW Character Type, players will see character portraits be associated with characters that Zack has a strong interaction with throughout the story. They are (in order of acquisition):
- Zack Fair (himself)
- Angeal Hewley
- Aerith Gainsborough
- Cloud Strife
- Genesis Rhapsodos
It should be noted that the Genesis DMW will initiate “Genesis Mode”. This sees the DMW become corrupted, granting Zack access to the very powerful “Apocalypse” Limit Break.
DMW Summon Types
DMW Summons are not acquired through natural progression and instead must be found, unlocked or bought. There are five that can be found and they can be used to deal significant damage or even grant useful status effects. The Summons are:
- Ifrit (Hellfire)
- Bahamut (Mega Flare)
- Bahamut Fury (Exa Flare)
- Odin (Zantetsuken)
- Phoenix (Rebirth Flame)
DMW Chocobo Mode Types
Associated with the various Final Fantasy mascots, “Chocobo Mode” allies, much like the Summon types, must also be found, unlocked or bought. There are seven in total:
- Chocobo (Chocobo Stomp)
- Cactuar (1,000 Needles)
- Tonberry (Murderous Thrust)
- Cait Sith (Courage Boost!)
- Moogle (Moogle Power)
- Magic Pot (Item Mugger)
- Miss (Dud)
We hope you’ve enjoyed this Crisis Core Reunion DMW Guide! Be sure to keep an eye out for more upcoming guides relating to how to unlock the DMW Characters, DMW Summons and DMW Chocobos!