Final Fantasy 7 Remake ATB Gauge
What is the ATB gauge?
The ATB gauge is a two-section bar located at the bottom of each character’s HP indicator at the lower right corner of the screen. Central to the game’s combat mechanics, the ATB gauge must be charged to be able to go into Tactical Mode that expands your strategic options in battle.
As a character performs attacks with their equipped weapon, the ATB gauge will gradually be filled. This allows the character to use abilities, magic and command materia, and items.
Note that the ATB gauge will still fill-up over time even without attacking enemies, though the rate is significantly slower.
Filling up the ATB Gauge
Using Normal Attacks and Unique Commands
The ATB gauge can be charged by performing either a normal weapon attack or a certain unique commands. Each character will build up ATB gauge by striking enemies with their equipped weapon.
Certain characters, however, can use unique commands to accumulate charges as well. An example of this is Barret‘s Overcharge command which fires a powerful shot at an enemy to accumulate significant amounts of ATB gauge.
Actions that require ATB charges
All character abilities expend ATB charges. The number of charges consumed varies among different abilities, with the more powerful ones requiring two full ATB charges. Some abilities will also use up all of a character’s current ATB charges, suggesting that their power increases with more gauge accumulated.
Magic, Command, and Summon Materia
By equipping magic, command, or summon materia, characters will be able to cast spells, use command skills, or invoke powerful summons in battle. These actions also require at least one ATB charge to perform, in addition to the MP cost of each spell or command skill.
ATB charges are also spent for issuing commands for summons to use summon abilities. The amount of ATB expended also varies among different summon abilities, as with character abilities.
Using items in battle also require an ATB charge. This means that important actions such as healing and reviving downed allies can only be done by characters with filled ATB gauges.
Characters near death should typically be on the defensive if they have not accumulated any ATB charges to heal themselves. In these situations, it is best to switch to a different character with a filled ATB gauge to use recovery items on allies.
Using items outside of battle, meanwhile, does not require ATB charges. Take advantage of these instances to heal characters before going into combat.
Limit Breaks do not require ATB charges
Note that using Limit Breaks does not require any ATB charges so you can use them freely, especially against bosses.