In Chapter 5 of the Final Fantasy VII remake, you're minding your own business, thrashing Shinra security officers by the half-dozen, as one does, when suddenly there's a giant mechanical crab looking to punch your ticket.
Final Fantasy VII Remake Hard Mode: Defeating the Crab Warden
This fight will be a lot easier if you've got some Lightning Materia on hand. Fortunately, you've got Barret with you, so you can use his, and there's another one lying around near the closest vending machine to the Crab Warden's room.
Your party going into this fight consists of Barret, Cloud, and Tifa. In a couple of ways, it's a callback to the fight with the Scorpion Sentinel in Chapter 1.
Like most mechanical enemies in FF7R, the Crab Warden is vulnerable to Thunder damage. Use spells and melee attacks to take out its four legs, one at a time. Barret makes a decent designated healer in this fight; you can rapidly swap between party members to keep the Crab Warden focused on Cloud and Tifa, while Barret stands back, throws Cure and Thunder, and pelts the Warden with gunfire.
The Warden attacks with missiles, its flamethrower, and a Charge. The missiles in particular can be nasty, but you can use the storage crates in the area as hard cover and heal up while you're waiting out the barrage.
After you destroy a couple of the Warden's legs, it gets Staggered and reveals its weak point, the Generator on its back. This also starts the charge timer on your Ifrit Summon.
While the Generator's vulnerable, hit it as hard as you can with whatever you have available. Thunder spells are a good first resort, but since Tifa's here, a good opener is to use a couple of True Strikes to boost the damage multiplier from Stagger. The more pain you can dish out while you have the chance, the better off you'll be.
Once you've dealt enough damage to the Crab Warden, it transitions to a second phase, where it summons three Slug-Rays for backup. Shoot them down with Barret to get them out of the way, then keep focusing on the Warden's remaining legs. Dropping the Warden below 50% HP makes it pull a new move out of its hat, Surge, where it channels voltage through the rails to try and electrocute your team. Stand between the rails to avoid damage, and heal up while you wait Surge out.
If you get the chance, summon Ifrit, but keep some ATB held in reserve for when you take out the Warden's last leg; Ifrit's Radiant Plume does a lot of damage if you can land it on the Generator.
The Warden's new and sudden lack of legs forces it into its third and final phase, where it pulls out its Left and Right Auxiliary Weaponry. Pick one and hammer on it, using more Thunder magic and melee attacks to wreck it as quickly as possible. When you cripple one of the Weaponry units, it also exposes the Crab Warden's Pilot to your attacks; crippling him, in turn, exposes the Generator for the final time. Focus it down to end this fight.
The Warden's tactics don't really change when you're playing on Hard Mode, but its increased damage output can be a problem. Wildfire and Flamethrower in particular can knock a lot of HP off of your team if you aren't careful.
If you use Element and Fire Materia in Cloud's armor to raise his fire resistance, ideally to the point where he's wholly immune to fire damage, it can be useful to stay in control of Cloud and use him as this encounter's "tank." Like all enemies in FF7R, the Warden tends to prioritize going after the character you're currently controlling, and if that character's immune to fire, it cuts a lot of the Warden's moment-to-moment threat potential.
You'll still want to stay mobile to avoid Charge, Homing Missiles, and EM Field, but being able to just laugh off Flamethrower and Wildfire gives you a big window in which to wreck the Warden's remaining legs. As always in Hard Mode, it's also useful to install Element and Lightning Materia in your weapons, to add Thunder damage to Cloud and Tifa's melee attacks.
The Crab Warden is also one of the unlucky Hard Mode bosses in FF7R that's at the end of a chapter, so you don't need to worry about conserving your MP. There's no reason not to burn a couple of Thundaga spells on the Generator if it'll end the fight a little faster.
You receive the Metal Knuckles for defeating the Crab Warden on Normal Mode, a long-overdue second weapon for Tifa. On Hard Mode, the Warden drops the Sharpshooter's Companion Vol. V Manuscript, which grants 10 SP directly to Barret.
We're putting together an exhaustive master-level guide to all the challenges and hidden secrets within the FF7 remake. Take a look at our game hub for more, such as:
- Here's everything you need to know about the side quests in Chapter 14
- So, how about that ending, huh? Here's our take on what happens after the final boss fight
- Where to find all the weapons for every character in the Remake
There are a lot of giant robots to beat up in Final Fantasy VII Remake, but you've got to have some sympathy for their pilots. They train to pilot these giant flame-spewing battle tanks for who knows how long, and then one of the toughest machines in the line gets torn apart by a boxer, a single gunman, and a floppy-haired lunatic with a giant letter opener. Share your misplaced sympathy with Shinra's mech pilot cadre with us via our official Twitter, @PrimaGames.