If you’re a long-time fan of the Final Fantasy series, you were probably expecting the newest installment in the franchise to be another turn-based RPG adventure that employed strategy and logic.
It came as a shock to us too, to learn that Final Fantasy 16 is going to use a real-time action-based combat system instead.
It didn’t take us that long to figure out how it all works, however, which is why we want to impart our wisdom to you.
Eight essential tips and tricks for battling in Final Fantasy 16
Consider the Timely Accessories
If your priority in FF 16—with regards to battling—is to make things as easy as possible for yourself rather than improving your skill, then the Timely Accessories might just be your best bet at achieving that.
The Timely Accessories, or the Timely Rings, are accessories that are introduced at the beginning of the game that will give you an edge over your opponents in nearly every aspect of combat. You are given five different rings that each have three separate benefits, and luckily for players, you can equip a combination of three rings at once to make battles a walk in the park.
The cherry on top is the fact that these rings don’t come in the way of you earning battle rewards, while the points that you earn while wearing the Timely Accessories add to the points you need to earn the battle rewards.
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Below is a list of the Timely Accessories and what they do:
The Ring of Timely Strikes: Automatically performs combos and battle techniques by pressing the attack button once. The Ring of Timely Evasion: Dodges attacks automatically whenever possible. The Ring of Timely Focus: Slows down time just before you are about to be hit to give you extra time to dodge. Cannot be combined with the Ring of Timely Evasion. The Ring of Timely Healing: Automatically uses a potion when health gets low. The Ring of Timely Assistance: Automatically issues commands to Torgal so you can just focus on your own attacks.
The best way to defeat bigger foes—and enemies in general—in Final Fantasy 16 is by staggering them. When you successfully stagger an opponent, they will fall to the ground. During this short period of time, they won’t be able to move, but their Stagger Gauge will also be depleting.
You need to make the best use of this time frame and begin laying all the damage that you can onto your opponent before they recover and are able to fight back.
How exactly does one stagger an opponent then? You have to quite simply attack your opponent.
Below an opponent’s health bar, there should be another bar that depletes with every hit the enemy receives, this is known as the Stagger Gauge or the Will Gauge.
While an enemy gets into the ‘Staggered’ condition when its Stagger Gauge gets completely depleted, you can also partially stagger an enemy by getting their gauge down to 50 percent.
A partially staggered enemy will simply be stunned for a few seconds, giving you free rein to attack them until they recover. You will not be dealing extra damage to them in this partially staggered state, however, as there is no damage multiplier for your hits when the enemy is in this state.
It would be in your best interest to use abilities that possess high stagger ratings, such as Garuda’s Gouge, which increases the damage multiplier on downed enemies faster. Use a high attack rating ability such as Titan’s Windup when you notice the damage multiplier has capped at 1.5x to further deal immense amounts of damage.
Even though dodging is a relatively new mechanic for the Final Fantasy series, it proves to be quite the important battle mechanic for FF 16.
The dodge ability is mapped to the R1 button and can be used to evade an oncoming attack from an enemy. While you can indeed dodge an attack well before it lands on you, you are rewarded with what is called a Precision Dodge when you time your dodge exactly before the attack hits you.
By pulling off a Precision Dodge, you are not only avoiding any damage you could have received from the enemy, but you are also able to perform a Precision Counter by hitting your opponent right after a Precision Dodge. A Precision Counter hits much harder than a regular attack.
By perfecting your dodges and continually pulling off Precision Counters, you can quickly lower your opponent’s Stagger Gauge and proceed to deal even more damage to them when they are in the Staggered state, which conveniently ties into our previous tip.
Let Torgal help
There’s no shame in asking for help when you need it, especially not when it’s from the good boy Torgal. Clive’s faithful pet dog can cast magic to support Clive in the heat of a battle.
Torgal has three different abilities that can only be used during fights. They are:
Sic Heal Ravage
Sic simply causes Torgal to pull off his basic attack. Heal blesses Clive with a five HP per second AoE recovery spell. Finally, Ravage instructs Torgal to throw small and medium-sized enemies into the air, making them vulnerable to Clive’s attacks soon after.
Melee attacks and their ability to parry
The most basic action you can perform in a fight is pulling off a melee attack. A regular melee attack can be performed by pressing the Square button.
You can do a standard melee combo by performing four consecutive melee attacks, pulling this off would require you to press the Square button four times in a row; this is the most basic battling tactic you can employ, and one that will last you from the beginning of the game till the end.
This is not all that the melee attack can do, however. If you perform a melee attack right at the moment before you’re about to get hit by an enemy attack, you will perform what is known as a parry.
Successfully performing a parry will slow down time, giving you a moment of opportunity to deal heightened damage to the enemy right after.
Weaving in Magic Bursts
While we’re on the topic of employing basic fighting tactics, let’s not forget Magic Bursts. All you need to do is press the Triangle button to shoot out little bursts of magic energy at the enemy that can be included within combos to cause even more damage.
When you’re attacking an enemy—let’s say, by mashing the Square button after reading the last tip—make sure to press the Triangle button in between every hit to perform a Magic Burst which can easily turn your simple four-hit combo into an eight-hit one.
Later on, you should be able to unlock a skill that lets you hold down the Triangle button to charge up the damage potency of your Magic Bursts, in turn causing even more Stagger damage to your opponent.
Taking full advantage of your Limit Break
Limit Break is a very powerful ability, one that can only be activated when the orange gauge below your HP is filled up. The gauge will only fill up when you attack enemies as well as get hit by them.
Not only does activating Limit Break increase your attack and defense power, but it also cloaks your weapons in flames and gradually recovers your HP.
While the effects of Limit Break are active, you will become uninterruptible, which results in continuous combos. Furthermore, you won’t be able to die even at low HP.
Related: Best tips and tricks for Final Fantasy 16 beginners
Activating your Limit Break when cornered by enemies can help you live in sticky situations since your attacks won’t be interrupted and you cannot die, letting you break free from being cornered and defeating the enemies in turn.
Bringing the correct items
When in combat, you can only equip three different items in your hotbar. You may have the largest variety of items sitting pretty in your inventory waiting to be used in combat, but sadly, you cannot access those when in battles.
Make sure that whenever you are about to enter into hostile territory—especially areas that contain boss fights—you make it a point to equip all the items that you deem essential for the fight ahead of you.
When you take damage, you can use Torgal’s Heal ability to recover a small, fixed amount of health back. While this is certainly useful, it isn’t enough in a lot of scenarios. For this reason, you will want to use at least one slot in the hotbar for a healing potion when getting into dangerous fights, especially boss battles.
While tips about the actual fights and the fighting techniques used within them are the most essential and proactive ways we can educate you to get better at battling in Final Fantasy 16, it is equally as important to learn how to play reactively by bringing the right items for the right enemies and healing yourself after taking damage in the most optimal ways possible.
About the author
Yash is a freelance writer based in the tropical state of Goa, India. With a focus on competitive Pokémon, he also writes general guides on your favorite video games. Yash has written for sites like Dot Esports and TouchTapPlay, and has a distinct love for indie video game titles.