Final Fantasy 16 is the newest narrative-driven entry into the fan-favorite series. Though it may be the sixteenth mainline installment, unlike its predecessors, it’s the first-ever true action RPG, though it’s not an open-world game like Final Fantasy 15. The combat system is highly complex with hundreds of abilities for you to unlock, combos for you to master, and powers for you to command.
For many, this will be the first game in the series, but even if it isn’t, all the new concepts in the game might make you feel like a complete beginner.
To overcome that Eikon-sized hurdle, here are a couple of Final Fantasy 16 tips you should know before picking up the controller.
Final Fantasy 16 Beginner’s Tips
Dodge Till You Drop
The core gameplay loop in Final Fantasy 16 keeps throwing new skills and abilities at you every step of the way. Not a moment will go by without you acquiring some awesome destructive superpower. However, RPGs aren’t all about attacking mindlessly. If you’re struggling to face enemies, you should be more focused on dodging rather than attacking.
Enemies don’t generally have much health in the game, but they do pack a punch — FromSoftware games flashbacks. So never let your guard down as the combat in Final Fantasy 16 has a habit of transitioning back and forth between quick time events and raw gameplay. This is hard to grasp if you like being on the offensive, but dodging and chipping away at their health is the best way to take them down.
Nailing down those dodge timings is a great way of winning battles, but it isn’t the only counterattack in Final Fantasy 16. As most new players focus on perfecting their dodges to get the Precision Strike bonus, they often happen to forget that there is a parry mechanic too.
That’s understandable since it’s comparatively harder to pull off. About every normal attack enemies throw can be parried if you time Clive’s strikes right to the moment before impact. This causes the enemies’ attacks to be deflected, and in turn, slows down time by roughly 3 seconds during which you can bombard them with destructive combos. It goes without saying that you’ll have to learn the attack patterns of enemies, but in the end, it’ll be so worth it as parrying makes space for high damage in return. So while dodging is effective, practice parrying as much as you can.
Resetting Abilities Is Free
As you progress through the main story in Final Fantasy 16, you’ll unlock loads of new abilities — just like any other game, wow. However, you won’t be able to claim all of them in your first playthrough. The developers have capped Clive’s max level to 50 in a new game, and 100 in new game plus. Besides, fights generally don’t yield lots of ability points.
That may give you the impression that you shouldn’t spend your ability points recklessly, but on the contrary, you should spend them without any hesitation as you can respec Clive’s abilities free of cost from the abilities tab. Don’t be stingy with the points. Try out different skills and if you don’t happen to like one, simply respec and buy another.
Frequently Visit The Hideaway
Cid’s Hideaway is the hub area in Final Fantasy 16. Besides serving a narrative purpose, the Hideaway is home to all your Valisthean commodities; a blacksmith, merchant, ale house, and whatnot. After every few story missions, you’ll return here to progress the plot, but you shouldn’t limit your visits to just that.
The NPCs in the Hideaway offer many upgrades and quests for Clive. If you’re out of potions, you can stock up on them back here, and if you have trouble beating a boss, ask the blacksmith to make you a better weapon or craft yourself one using the special items you obtained after defeating Garuda. There’s just so much to do in the Hideaway, and so many upgrades to collect. Make your visits here more frequent as it’s the one-stop shop for all your needs.
Learn The Combat System
To long-time players of the series, Final Fantasy 16 may feel like it has an overwhelming amount of action at times. Previous games such as Final Fantasy 7 had turn-based systems and less stimulating combat, however, this time, Devil May Cry 5’s (DMC5) combat designer Ryota Suzuki was in charge of the gameplay. If you’re familiar with DMC5, then you’ll know exactly how the two games in question are so similar; you have to learn to fight.
Final Fantasy 16 has dozens of buttons assigned to specific combat actions, and when used correctly, you can execute hundreds of combos. Mashing buttons senselessly will get you killed, so if you want to master Final Fantasy 16, take some time to learn how to use Clive’s powers, and don’t simply spam the Square button — unless the game prompts you to.
Lower The Difficulty
I understand learning hundreds of combos won’t be easy for all of you, and if it isn’t, then there’s no shame in turning the action down a notch. Final Fantasy 16 doesn’t have a difficulty system. Instead, when you begin your playthrough, you’ll be given Timely accessories. The Rings of Timely Evasion, Strikes, Healing, and Focus are items that you can equip to perform complex actions either automatically or with a press of a button.
The Ring of Timely Evasion for instance, has Clive automatically moving out of harm’s way, whereas if you equip that of Strikes, you’ll be able to execute combos by simply spamming the Square button — I stand corrected. The point is, if you’re having a tough time, use these accessories until you get comfortable with the controls.
Unlock An Eikon Ultimate ASAP
Eikonic abilities are the bread and butter of Final Fantasy 16. The medieval sword slashing aside, Eikons are virtually why the narrative and gameplay are so compelling. From a gameplay perspective, as Clive, you’ll gain the powers of different Eikons throughout the main story. After getting a hold of a new Eikon’s powers, you’ll be able to select two skills at a time for that Eikon and unlock more from the abilities tab.
You’ll find countless superb skills like Phoenix’s Scarlet Cyclone and Garuda’s Rook’s Gambit, but if you check out all of them, you’ll realize every Eikon has one skill that is just way too good to be true. They are ultimate moves — well, the game doesn’t call them that but it’s pretty obvious. Getting these bad boys should be your top priority. While they do have long cool-down times, they are devastating attacks that will wreak havoc on all enemies. They’re also great for clearing out huge mobs, which is why they are priceless if you’d rather skip the small battles. Ultimates are helpful, but you shouldn’t forget that normal abilities are further upgradeable, and at their highest tier, they can prove to be just as powerful, so do invest in them after acquiring an ultimate.
Develop Your Own Fighting Style
You’ve learned how to parry, how to do combos, and have unlocked many abilities, but then Final Fantasy 16 will introduce you to a bunch of new Eikons. During the main story, Clive will obtain 8 Eikons, albeit at a time you can only equip three. All of them are strong and useful, but that doesn’t change the fact you have a limit to how many you can equip.
That being said, after learning how combat works, your next goal should be to develop a fighting style. If you prefer being up close and personal with enemies and on the offensive, using Titan and Ifrit will be a good idea, whereas for a balanced build Phoenix and Ramuh are the obvious choices. While you can switch things up later down the line, it’s really helpful if you figure out which direction you want to go in with the gameplay since in the beginning, your resources will be limited. Test what play style suits you, and stick to it until you’re far enough into the story to go any route.
Don’t Miss Out On The Side Quests
Side quests are always the crux of a game. You don’t know you needed them until it’s too late. Final Fantasy 16 isn’t as big as Starfield per se, but it’s still brimming with unique NPCs that hand out interesting side quests. Simple side quests that reward you with experience, Gil, or crafting items are symbolized by a green exclamation mark in-game. Doing these isn’t that important since you won’t miss out on much, but it’s fun nonetheless.
Side quests marked with a green plus symbol on the other hand offer massive rewards. Permanent upgrades for Clive, new recipes for the blacksmith back at Cid’s Hideaway, and learning to ride Chocobos, can only be obtained after completing those plus symbol quests, so do continue the main story, but meet these other Valistheans.
Tayyab’s an anime & gaming enthusiast, and since he can’t make them (yet), he loves to write about why he finds them amazing.
Also, he’s a huge Hideo Kojima fan, and everything else that’s Japanese for that matter.