15 Critical Tips To Know Before Playing
Gaming

15 Critical Tips To Know Before Playing


Final Fantasy XVI brings some big changes to the long-running franchise. It’s the first true action-RPG in the main series, meaning even longtime fans will have a bit of learning to do.

This PS5 exclusive is a massive game that spans dozens of hours across its intricate main story, side-quests, and optional Hunts. While you could learn the ins and outs yourself, as someone who’s played over 80 hours of Final Fantasy XVI, I wish I had known a couple things ahead of time. With that in mind, here are some tips and tricks to get you started.


Test out each of the Timely Accessories

Final Fantasy XVI takes a bit of a different approach to its difficulty options, letting you equip a variety of accessories that make certain aspects of gameplay easier. When you start the game you initially choose between two difficulty modes, Story Focus and Action Focus. Story reduces the HP of enemies and their aggression, while Action Focus is more of a standard-difficulty action game. You can switch between these two difficulty settings at any time, but Final Fantasy XVI also has equippable “Timely Accessories” that can help streamline certain aspects of combat.

Any one of these Timely Accessories take up one of your three accessory slots that could otherwise be used for something else, but you can equip and unequip them however you need. It’s worth spending time with each one to see how they change the action, and if there’s one that you like specifically.

There are five Timely Accessory rings in total, with each one focusing on a different aspect of the combat system. Timely Assistance makes your dog companion Torgal act automatically in combat, Timely Healing automatically uses potions when you’re low on health, Timely Focus makes dodging easier via a timed button press, Timely Strike gives you automatic combos that are a cinch to bust out, and Timely Evasion makes dodging enemy attacks completely automatic. It’s worth trying out each one, as well as in different combinations, to see what works best for you.


Potions are restored if you retry a battle

Square Enix has taken quite a few steps to make sure Final Fantasy XVI is approachable for players of all skill levels, including with your recovery options. While you might be tempted to hit a shop between big story moments you don’t necessarily have to. When Clive is defeated and you’re forced to respawn the game will restore your entire stock of potions, whether you’re on Story or Action difficulty. Oftentimes it’s a better idea to simply keep following the story and see if you can tackle battles with just a few potions, then simply respawn if not. That being said, your Tonics—more about those in a moment—don’t get restored upon death, so you’ll still need to pop into a shop every now and again.


Side-quests with a ‘+’ symbol give upgrades

An in-game map shows a quest marker with a plus sign.

Screenshot: Square Enix / Kotaku

There are dozens upon dozens of side-quests to complete in Final Fantasy XVI, and you may not want to spend the time seeing each one through. There are certain side-quests, however, that you’ll absolutely want to complete, and these are marked with a green icon that has a “+” symbol inside. All of these quests grant Clive some kind of upgrade, like increasing the potency of his healing items or unlocking a powerful new weapon at the forge. If you’re going to do any side content, these are the ones you want.


Don’t miss the quest to get a chocobo

Final Fantasy 16 characters regard two large chocobos.

Screenshot: Square Enix / Kotaku

Who doesn’t want a chocobo in a Final Fantasy game? Getting a mount in Final Fantasy XVI makes getting around its wide-open areas much easier, but strangely the option is completely missable and tucked behind a side-quest. After the second time skip you’ll have to return to Martha’s Rest for the main story. Complete the story there and a bunch of new side-quests will pop up nearby. Look for the one called “The White Winged Wonder ‘’ and see it to completion. After that, you’ll be able to call your chocobo at any time.


Tonics can be just as crucial as potions

A menu lets you assign potions and Tonics to shortcut buttons.

Screenshot: Square Enix / Kotaku

Potions are the bread and butter of your health restoration in every Final Fantasy, and FFXVI is no different, but you also need to make sure you’re not neglecting the potential of Tonics. There are three different Tonics in the game. Stoneskin boosts your defense, Strength boosts your attack, and Lionheart boosts your Limit Gauge buildup. You can purchase these tonics from any item shop, and should be using them at critical moments in battle. Stagger an enemy and pop a Strength Tonic to boost your damage, or if a boss is charging their ultimate attack use a Stoneskin to give yourself a little security.


Sell surplus crafting materials for extra gil

There’s a lot to spend your gil on in Final Fantasy XVI, and it’s not always easy to make money with Hunts or general battles. That being said you’ll get a ton of crafting materials as you explore and beat enemies, and you don’t need all of them. There are valuable items that are specifically for selling to generate gil, but don’t be afraid to sell common materials like Magicked Ash or Wyyrite Shards too. You definitely don’t need 500 of each.


You can flee from any regular battle

Because of Final Fantasy XVI’s switch to an action-RPG format it’s not entirely obvious, but you can still flee from any battle in the game, outside of mandatory story ones. If you find yourself overwhelmed, simply run away from enemies and before long they’ll stop bothering you. Larger battles, like Hunts, will have a glowing ring as a boundary, and if you run up to this boundary and break it, you’ll be able to flee.


Torgal levels up automatically

A menu screen shows Torgal's current status, complete with meters showing his current power levels.

Screenshot: Square Enix / Kotaku

If you check the attributes section of the main menu you’ll see a sort of experience bar for your wolf pal Torgal, on top of two meters that show how much damage his moves do. The only explanation you get is that Torgal gets more powerful as he “adventures with Clive.” Luckily you don’t really need to do anything here, as Torgal will incrementally get more powerful as the story progresses.

There are just two exceptions. Shortly after you arrive at the second Hideaway, don’t miss the side-quest called “A Bone to Pick,” which will award you an accessory called Cavall’s Fang that boosts Torgal’s attack power further. By late in the game Torgal will be quite an asset. Right before the final dungeon, make sure you complete the quest “More Than Words.” The reward for this is Cavall’s Fang +1, which boosts Torgal’s attack potency yet more.


Always use your Limit Break when an enemy is staggered

A massive, staggered enemy looks rather woozy as the player wails on it.

Screenshot: Square Enix / Kotaku

Clive will unlock the Limit Break ability early on, which significantly boosts his attack power and unlocks new combos. You can use this at any time when the Limit gauge is full, but it’s always a good idea to save it until an enemy is staggered. When you stagger an enemy they’ll be open to extra damage, and the more you combo them during this short window the more your bonus damage percentage will increase. This boosts the damage you do with every attack, whether it’s sword strikes, magic, abilities, you name it. However, you’ll only have roughly 20 seconds until their Stagger Gauge recovers.

Limit Break, too, boosts your damage output for everything, from Eikon abilities to normal attacks. See where this is headed? To maximize your damage output pop Limit Break as soon as an enemy is staggered, then unleash every ability you have ready to pop.


Some Eikon abilities have extendable combos

An Eikon combo inflicts successive hits on enemies.

Screenshot: Square Enix / Kotaku

A neat little trick is that any Eikon ability that hits multiple times can have its combo extended by mashing the button it’s assigned to. The primary abilities that make use of this are Gouge with Garuda, Raging Fists with Titan, and both Gungnir and Heaven’s Cloud with Odin. Clive will be vulnerable to damage while you’re doing this, however, so be careful and make sure you have a window to stand there and wail a bit.


Abilities can be set to any Eikon when mastered

A menu allows the player to assign and check the status of their Eikon attacks.

Screenshot: Square Enix / Kotaku

There are eight different Eikon sets in Final Fantasy XVI, and things can quickly get overwhelming as you get more and more abilities. Where the combat really shines, however, is in how you can mix and match abilities however you want. Each Eikon has a “Feat” that’s unique, like Phoenix’s Shift, but every other ability can be equipped to any Eikon set once it’s mastered. To master an ability you need to spend SP to upgrade it, then spend a bit more SP to master it. If there’s one ability you really like, make sure to invest in it, and see how it might complement the Feat and abilities from another Eikon.


Complete Hunts to level up quickly

The Hunt Board shows both available Hunts and completed ones.

Screenshot: Square Enix / Kotaku

Your best bet for leveling Clive up quickly is to take down every Hunt you find posted on the board. You’ll unlock the Hunt Board roughly 40 percent through the game, after the second time skip. Hunts grant 10 to 20 times the amount of experience as normal enemies, so you can gain an entire level from just one or two. Anytime there’s a new Hunt you’ll see a yellow marker next to the icon on the Hideaway’s minimap.


Renown rewards grant huge amounts of SP

This screen allows the player to spend the Renown they've accrued.

Screenshot: Square Enix / Kotaku

Renown is a resource you gain exclusively from completing side-quests and hunts, and you can trade it in at the Hideaway for rewards. Initially, these rewards are just crafting materials and accessories, but as you turn in more you’ll reap huge amounts of Skill Points (SP). These let you upgrade your Eikon abilities to increase their power or grant new bonuses. Because of that, it’s worth doing at least a few side-quests and hunts so you can upgrade your abilities more quickly.


You can cancel any move or ability

Canceling is a vital part of many action games, and since Final Fantasy XVI’s combat director was also Devil May Cry 5’s lead combat designer, it’s big here too. Keep in mind that you can cancel virtually any attack or ability with another, and this is a good way to get out of danger quickly. Don’t be afraid to dodge out of danger mid-combo, or loop one ability into another. For example, a good combo is to use Garuda’s Gouge to hit multiple times then cancel that into Garuda’s Rook’s Gambit, which launches a quick counterstrike.


Don’t forget to refund abilities later in the game

Not using some of the Eikon abilities you've powered up? Refund them here.

Screenshot: Square Enix / Kotaku

Like I said previously there are a lot of abilities in Final Fantasy XVI, and you might find that you prefer one of the later Eikon sets much more than the early ones. Luckily, you can refund any ability at any time by going into the Abilities menu, selecting the one you want, and holding square. This is a good way to instantly power-up a new set. If you find you love Odin’s moves late in the game, go in and refund everything you have for Garuda or Ramuh, if you don’t use them anymore. Efficient!



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