Limit Breaks, also known simply as Limits, are powerful combat moves featured in several Final Fantasy titles. The mechanism first originated in Final Fantasy VI, but the term was not officially coined until Final Fantasy VII; later games sometimes use other names. Limit Breaks are often among the most damaging moves at a player's disposal, typically capable of decimating enemies. Several Limit Breaks have developed into signature moves of various characters.
Limit Breaks usually rely on the damage the player takes in some way. When the player takes enough damage to fill up a power meter, or they enter Critical status, they may perform their Limit Break. However, this is not universal and some games use different systems. Though their appearance, usage and naming has varied, Limit Breaks have been featured in all of the linear Final Fantasy titles since Final Fantasy VI, and the Limit Break concept has become a series staple.
Limit Break is an Augment Ability in the Nintendo DS version. When equipped, the character can exceed the damage limit, allowing them to do a maximum of 99,999 damage. The ability is received by defeating Zeromus, appearing in the party's inventory upon starting New Game+. This augment is obtained only twice out of three playthroughs for a whole game. When assigned to a player, an image of Golbez is shown.
Though the term Limit Break came from Final Fantasy VII, the idea was first used in Final Fantasy VI. These attacks were called "Desperation Attack" and would only activate occasionally when a character was in a Critical status and a Fight command was issued. Desperation Attacks are one-time high-powered attacks that ignore defenses and sometimes can instantly kill an enemy. They only hit one target and cannot be used twice in a battle.
Final Fantasy VII was the first game to officially use the term "Limit Break", and to make it a more central gameplay feature than Final Fantasy VI's rarely seen Desperation Attacks. In early development, the Limit Break command was simply called "Special".
According to the Crisis Core Complete Guide Keyword Collection', when spirit energy rises to its ultimate limit, for a short while it aligns with and emits from the body, allowing powerful abilities that cannot be performed in a natural state.
Each character has limit meter that fills up as the character takes damage. When the bar is full, the character can unleash a powerful attack. With the exceptions of Cait Sith and Vincent, each character has seven limit breaks spread over four levels of strength. Characters learn their first six Limit Breaks by killing enemies and performing lesser Limit Breaks, but their seventh and ultimate Limit Break can only be learned via a manual hidden somewhere in the game.
The exact effect of Limit Breaks vary. Most do damage, but others cast supportive and healing spells on the party. Each character's set of Limit Breaks has a specific "gimmick"; Cid uses Jump attacks, while Aeris heals and defends the party. For most characters, the player simply selects an attack from a command list once the Limit bar is filled. Tifa, however, requires the player to tap a button to stop slot wheels that determine how many attacks she uses and their strength. Vincent's Limit Breaks transform him into various demonic forms that last the rest of the battle or until Vincent dies, and let him execute various powerful attacks every turn at the cost of becoming uncontrollable.
In Crisis Core, the Limit Break system is called the DMW, a set of three reels found at the top right hand corner of the player's screen. These reels feature numbers and images of certain characters found in the game, and are constantly spinning throughout battle, provided the player has enough SP. Certain DMW number combinations give the player buffs; whilst having the same image in the end two reels opens up the Modulating Phase. This is a separate screen of reels, which allow the player to perform Limit Breaks, summons, and level up.
Limit Breaks in Advent Children are used by several characters, mostly by Cloud. Limit Breaks in the film are signified by a fiery blue aura appearing over Cloud or his weapon. Though they do not feature the same aura, Tifa, Barret and Sephiroth use moves similar to their Limit Breaks as well.
Vincent Valentine can use two of his old Limit Breaks from Final Fantasy VII. Only the Galian Beast form can be used in normal gameplay, and Vincent transforms into this stronger, faster, and more powerful form using an item called the Limit Breaker. His Chaos form is used only in the last Chapter through plot demands.
Final Fantasy VIII reverted back to Final Fantasy VI's system with the limit bar removed. A character has an unseen "crisis level" that effects both the likelihood of a Limit Break appearing, and its potential strength. Crisis level is effected by the character having a status ailment, have low health or have dead allies. Randomly, a glowing icon appear next to their attack option, allowing them the choice to perform a "Limit Break" (known as Special Arts in the Japanese version). The spell Aura could increase the chance of a Limit Break being available for usage regardless of crisis level.
Unlike the previous two games, Limit Breaks in Final Fantasy VIII can be used as often as the player wishes, as long as the option appears. Furthermore, skipping a character's turn will reset the probability of the Limit Break option appearing, allowing a player to use a character's Limit Break every turn if they are patient and have sufficient crisis level. Each character's Limit Break is unique to them and each has unique ways of obtaining and performing the Breaks; Squall has Renzokuken which requires the player to time button presses with a flashing power meter, Quistis has Blue Magic where the player selects spells from a list, Zell has Duel where the player inputs button commands within a time limit, and so forth.
Limit Breaks in Final Fantasy IX are called "Trances", and bring back a bar to show the amount of Trance slowly building up over time. The difference between this and Final Fantasy VII is that, rather than executing a special attack when the bar fills, the character enters Trance state. Trance lasts a short period of time, usually only a few turns, during which time a character's stats are increased and they can access special skills and attacks, or their normal abilities are enhanced. For example, Zidane can use special "Dyne" attacks, while Steiner has his attack damage triple.
Unlike its predecessors, Final Fantasy IX uses Trance to affect the story. Certain battles important to the plot involve compulsory Trances, and at one point Garnet is unable to enter Trance at all due to her emotional state. This is also the first game where an antagonist is shown to use the Limit Break system, Kuja learns about the effects of Trance and plots to use it to achieve power to conquer the game's two worlds.
In Final Fantasy X, the Limit Breaks are called "Overdrives". Much as in Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy IX, each character has an Overdrive meter that fills up over time. The exact method of how the bar fills is determined by the character's Overdrive Mode - they can fill the bar by healing allies, attacking enemies, using items, or other actions. Most characters learn new Overdrives during the game, except for Yuna and Rikku.
For most characters, the strength of the Limit Break is determined by some form of player input. Tidus' Swordplay requires the player to stop a moving cursor, Auron's Bushido grows stronger as the player inputs button commands, and so forth. Aeons also have Overdrives, the first and only time in the series that Summons can execute Limit Breaks. Their Limit Breaks are more simple, and function as strong attacks based on their usual summon ability. For example, Ifrit uses Hellfire. Some bosses can also use Overdrives.
In Final Fantasy X-2 the Limit Break system is similar in function to that of Overdrives in Final Fantasy X. Each character can access a Special Dressphere once they have activated all of the nodes on their Garment Grid in one battle, upon activation only that character will be playable for the remainder of the battle however they will be supported by support units belonging to that Dressphere. The character can remain in their Special Dressphere until the end of the battle or until they decide to change Dresspheres
Sphere changing into a special dressphere raises the character's HP, MP and most attributes. They will also receive a unique set of abilities and attributes unique to only their Dressphere. The Special Dresspheres are; the Floral Fallal, the Machina Maw, and the Full Throttle.
Each Special Dressphere possesses one unique ability that causes massive damage to all enemies but carries the cost of an entire ATB bar. For Yuna, Rikku, and Paine, these abilities are Great Whirl, Vajra, and Sword Dance, respectively.
Limit Breaks are called Weapon Skills. Weapon skills are generally physical damage, but almost every weapon type has at least one that deals magical damage; mage-type weapons such as Clubs and Staves tend to have more of the magical type, while melee-type weapons such as Hand-to-Hand and Polearm. A character now has a percentage known as "TP". TP in Final Fantasy XI charges up to 300%, and the greater the TP amount, the more damage the attack could potentially do. The attacks themselves potentially could do a lot of damage, but generally they are less effective proportionally to Limit Breaks of single player games. Their true power lies in multiple characters being able to do weapon skills in set orders in quick succession to perform Skillchains.
After a Skillchain has been done, casting the appropriate type of magic will amplify its effects and cause a Magic Burst. In this way, multiple characters can work together to perform a series of attacks. Using a Weapon Skill will drop the TP down to 0 plus the amount of the hits the player had land with their Weapon Skill. The 2-hour Ability of the Samurai, Meikyo Shisui will give the player the possibility only to use 100% TP with a Weapon Skill, even if the character have 300%, what means that they can use 3 Weapon Skills in a row and therefore create a Skillchain.
Every job has a special ability for emergency situations, with a recast time of two hours. Like the Mana Font of the Black Mage, which lets the player cast spells without using MP, Red Mage's Chain Spell, let the player use spells without cast time, or Invincible of the Paladin will reduce every non-magic damage, dealt on the Paladin down to 0 and create a huge amount of enmity, forcing every enemy to attack him.
Limit Breaks in this game are called "Quickenings" (Mist Knacks in the Japanese version). They can be purchased via License Points, up to three for each character. Every new Quickening obtained gives the character a new Mist Charge, increasing their MP. Quickenings are shown as powerful cinematic attacks, and allow the player to shuffle and execute the Quickenings of several characters in succession. This is called a "Quickening Chain", and if the right Quickenings are used, a finishing blow called a "Concurrence" is used.
There is also an enemy ability called Limit Break that reduces the charge time for magick and physical attacks to 0.
The Quickenings of Final Fantasy XII return in this game, but work very differently. This time, instead of expending MP, Quickenings are charged via a more traditional method by filling a Mist Charge bar, which is charged by defeating enemies. Each permanent character has their own Quickening which are learned by defeating one of the thirteen Scions in battle. Each Scion teaches one character their Quickening. Each character's Quickening serves different purposes; some perform strong attacks, some heal the party, and so on.
Dissidia's Limit Break system is called "EX Mode". During battle, a meter fills up by the character icon as the player collects EX Force and/or EX Cores. Once full, they may enter EX Mode, giving them Regen status and changing their appearance. Fighters also gain bonuses specific to them, including special attacks or enhanced normal attacks; for example, Terra can dualcast her spells, Sephiroth can use Heartless Angel, Cloud's attacks become unblockable, and so forth.
If the player lands an HP attack while in EX Mode, they can execute an "EX Burst", which lets them attack the foe with a series of powerful, unblockable Brave-draining strikes, leading up to a final HP attack. For the heroes, many EX Bursts are based on the character's Limit Break from their original game, or if the original game did not have the mechanism, their EX Bursts are more original. In the case of the villains, their EX Bursts are based on their strongest attack as an enemy. Using an EX Burst, however, cancels EX Mode instantly.
Limit means a number of copies of a card allowed in your Main Deck, Side Deck and Fusion Deck combined to used in play.
Limit is divided into some statuses: