Crisis Core has action- and menu-based elements. The new battle system is known as Digital Mind Wave, or "DMW", and revolves around a series of reels at the upper left corner of the screen which spin continuously as long as there is SP left to consume. Each rotate independently and upon lining up the three reels of the same character and value, a power-up or a "Power Surge!" will be rewarded to Zack.
The player will have full control over Zack when moving around, and can rotate the camera with the left and right triggers. Every now and then, a random encounter battle will occur. The battle takes place on the same screen as regular movement, with no transition or loading.
Battles consist of multiple enemies on screen at once. To attack enemies, the command bar must be set to attack. Spells like Fire, Blizzard, Cure, and their higher level counterparts are also located on the command bar and used in the same fashion as previous titles in the series, although they deplete magic points with each use. Materia will also be present in the game, fully customizable and with a variety materia commands such as "Steal" and magics. The game automatically targets the closest enemy, and changes the target automatically as you move around. A quick roll maneuver and triangle to block incoming attacks can also be performed