Anby falling in Zenless Zone Zero
Screenshot by GameSkinny

Zenless Zone Zero Combat Basics and Controls

Combat in Zenless Zone Zero is a deep set of mechanics, but learning the fundamentals in this guide will do wonders for mastering it.

The design philosophy behind combat in Zenless Zone Zero is “easy to learn, hard to master,” and even in its earliest days, I think that holds true. All you need to know are the basics, and if you want to spam button clicks, you can get through the vast majority of content, but there’s still plenty of room to get good.

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Combat Basics in Zenless Zone Zero

Combat in Zenless Zone Zero is kind of like a dance. You attack, the enemy attacks, you parry into a Perfect Assist or dodge, and attack in response. Every move you make and every move the enemies make are tightly choreographed if you’re playing at all into the mechanics present. You can, of course, spam your way to victory if all you care about is completing the story, so long as you do a bit of character upgrading to keep pace with enemy damage and health scaling.

If you want to do more than click your way to victory in Zenless Zone Zero, however, there are three core mechanics you need to understand: Perfect Assist (parry), Chain Attack, and how to use your abilities to inflict Daze.

The Basics of Perfect Assist in Zenless Zone Zero

How to Parry in Zenless Zone Zero
Screenshot by GameSkinny

We have a full article on parrying in Zenless Zone Zero, so I won’t go too much into it here, but the mechanic is actually called Perfect Assist, and it’s a bit more than just a parry. When an enemy flashes yellow, you can press the Swap Character button to not only cancel the enemy’s attack but also call in the next character in your list for a special attack of their own.

A dazed enemy in Zenless Zone Zero
Screenshot by GameSkinny

The biggest hurdle you need to overcome with Perfect Assists is the timing. Every attack in the game has a different window for Perfect Assist, and though most are fairly generous, at higher levels and activity difficulty, missing the window means lots of pain. You also need to be careful about overusing the mechanic, as you only have six Assist tokens (noted by the hashes around the Swap Character icon at the bottom right of your screen). Once they’re used up, you’ll need to use Chain Attacks to replenish them.

In other words, you shouldn’t rely on Perfect Assists alone. Instead, use it in emergencies or when surrounded by enemies, but using Perfect Dodge can be just as effective as trying to time your Assist properly. Perfect Dodge also doesn’t cost anything to use, allows you to continue building your Special gauge, and sometimes, most importantly, keeps your current character on the field. If your DPS is in the middle of their ability that vanishes when they leave the field, a Perfect Assist might actually cost you a lot of damage in that rotation.

The Basics of Chain Attack in Zenless Zone Zero

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Chain Attacks are the bread and butter of your DPS phase in Zenless Zone Zero. Every time a character strikes an enemy, they build up Daze, and when Daze is full, the enemy is stunned and takes additional damage. Using a heavy attack — which is most (EX) Specials, Ultimates, the last hit in a Basic Attack string, or a Dodge Counter or Attack — will trigger your Chain Attack.

Once triggered, you have about three seconds to select either of the other characters on your team to tag them in for the actual Chain Attack. On mouse and keyboard, left and right mouse choose the left and right characters, respectively. On controller, L1 and R1 (or left and right bumpers) function the same.

Triggering a Chain Attack not only deals massive elemental damage to your opponent, but it also has a unique effect based on the character you tag in. That’s where the strategy comes in. Choosing to tag in your support can buff the entire team, and then bringing in your DPS might grant them additional damage or effects based on their kit. The order you do things in matters for endgame, as choosing the wrong Chain Attack can hamstring your damage and survivability.

One final detail: you get two Chain Attacks against most enemies per Daze bar, but boss fights let you chain three times, allowing you to potentially get all three of your characters involved.

The Basics of Daze in Zenless Zone Zero

A dazed enemy in Zenless Zone Zero
Screenshot by GameSkinny

If you want to deal real damage to enemies in Zenless Zone Zero, you need to Daze them. You build up Daze simply by attacking enemies, as well as by stacking elemental Anomaly effects. More powerful attacks build up slightly more Daze per strike, and Chain Attacks, Perfect Assists, Dodge Counters, and Ultimates all deal increased Daze as well.

Daze’s actual effect is simple: the enemy will be stunned as their Daze gauge depletes, and they take significantly more damage while stunned. Melting enemy health bars relies quite a bit on inflicting Daze as fast and as much as possible by:

  • Using Special and EX Special attacks whenever possible. Standard specials don’t build toward your EX Special, which you track by the bar below your characters’ health meter at the top left of the screen. When the lower bar exceeds the pip, it will begin to flash, and you can use that character’s EX Special.
  • Using an Ultimate, which you can only use once you’ve accumulated 3,000 Decibels, as shown at the top right of your screen, below the health bars. Choose which character’s Ult you use wisely, as you aren’t likely to get another for at least a minute of constant combat.
  • Using Perfect Assists, Dodge Counters, and other powerful attacks. Simply spamming your basic attack will only get you so far in Zenless Zone Zero, and getting in some Assist and Dodge Counters in not only does tons of damage and Daze buildup, it also increase your survivability.

Once in Daze, try to trigger as many Chain Attacks as you can, and, if possible, save any EX Special abilities for Daze as well, as those are much more effective than standard Specials. You can also swap characters in the middle of a Special attack animation, allowing you to combo Specials on top of one another,

Basic Combat Controls in Zenless Zone Zero

Lastly, here’s a listing of all the basic combat controls that all characters use.

  • Basic Attack: Left Click, X/Square
  • Dodge: Left Shift/Right Mouse, A/X
  • Special Attack: E, Y/Triangle
  • Ultimate: Q, Right Trigger/R2
  • Switch to previous character: C, Left bumper/L1
  • Switch to next character: Space Bar, Right bumper/R1
  • Left Chain Attack: Q, Left bumper/L1
  • Right Chain Attack: E, Right bumper/R1
  • Manual Lock-on: Mouse wheel, Push right stick/R3

These are the default binds, and, barring a few exceptions, you can remap both Keyboard and Mouse and Controller inputs to be whatever you’d like.

Those are my picks for the most important basics you need to learn in Zenless Zone Zero. For more on the latest gacha sensation, check out our ZZZero guides hub.

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John Schutt
John Schutt has been playing games for almost 25 years, starting with Super Mario 64 and progressing to every genre under the sun. He spent almost 4 years writing for strategy and satire site TopTierTactics under the moniker Xiant, and somehow managed to find time to get an MFA in Creative Writing in between all the gaming. His specialty is action games, but his first love will always be the RPG. Oh, and his avatar is, was, and will always be a squirrel, a trend he's carried as long as he's had a Steam account, and for some time before that.