Because Final Fantasy XVI is more of an action game than an RPG, a lot of Clive’s adventure can feel more straightforward than its predecessors. However, there’s still a lot the game doesn’t tell you upfront, and knowing these things can give you an overall better experience. That in mind, here are a few tips to help you thrive during your journey through Valisthea.
Final Fantasy XVI isn’t quite the open-world game Final Fantasy XV was, but it does have some open areas that Clive will have to walk through to get to a destination. However, these are the only areas where our hero is able to sprint, and it’s weirdly not tied to any player input. Sprinting only happens when Clive has been on the move for a few seconds, and you can’t force it, or use it in smaller areas like dungeons and towns. It’s frustrating to feel like you’re being dragged down into slower movement, but it is what it is. You’re not missing a button or other input.
Early on, Final Fantasy XVI tells you to pet Torgal, Clive’s wolf companion. Doing this is good because you get to pet the dog, but there’s also a trophy associated with it. The “You Can Pet the Dog” trophy will unlock if you pet Torgal five times. So do it. Give the good boy the good pats. He deserves it. Even if his healing is bad.
Final Fantasy XVI’s side-quests are plentiful, but some of the rewards can feel underwhelming. Thankfully, Square decided to designate some of its best side-quests by putting a little plus sign next to them. Quests so marked will give you permanent upgrades like weapons, inventory expansion, and even chocobos for faster travel. So if you notice one of those plus signs, make sure to do that quest as soon as you can.
Full disclosure: Final Fantasy XVI’s photo mode is extremely underwhelming. Perhaps we’ve been spoiled by photo modes in games like Cyberpunk 2077 and Ghost of Tsushima, but Final Fantasy XVI’s is just lacking a lot of bells and whistles found in better ones. But if you want to take sick screenshots of Clive doing cool shit, Final Fantasy XVI’s Photo Mode is a little buried. Pause the game and scroll over to the Attributes screen. You’ll see in the bottom left corner that, from this screen, pressing the touchpad will open Photo Mode, and you’ll be free to pose and shoot to your heart’s content. Just don’t expect much beyond the most basic photography options.
To explain this as spoiler-free as possible, a ways into the game, Clive will gain abilities tied to Ifrit, an Eikon of fire. One of the main means of progression through Final Fantasy XVI is Clive adding Eikon abilities to his arsenal, and Ifrit is particularly significant because he’s another fire-based character alongside Phoenix, with whom Clive has already formed a pact by the beginning of the game.
In most cases, Clive has to equip a specific Eikon and swap between them on the fly to use their moves. The UI lumps Ifrit, for some reason, in with Phoenix. So I spent a chunk of time unclear about how to equip Ifrit’s abilities because I couldn’t directly equip him as my Eikon. It turns out his moves are all buried within Phoenix’s attacks, so you’ll have to make the choice between which of the two’s abilities you have equipped at any given time. It sucks, but if you’re confused about where Ifrit’s abilities are, check in Phoenix’s equipment slot.
Locking on in an action game like Final Fantasy XVI is typically paramount to landing good combos, but it can also make some fights needlessly more difficult because Clive will naturally orbit around the enemy you’re locked onto, which isn’t always what you’ll want him to do. There was a point when I was fighting a dragon and used Ignition, a fire-based tackle attack that does damage as long as you’re making contact with an enemy. Because I was locked onto my foe (the game locks onto its head by default) and moving around it, Ignition ended up circling around the dragon’s head for a few seconds before I was able to course-correct and connect with its body. After this, I stopped locking on and focused all my attacks on its body instead, and was able to land my abilities more easily.
Final Fantasy XVI has the typical loot drops before big bosses that give you potions in case you’re lacking, but in my experience, these potions never filled up my inventory, and I’d be up shit creek without a paddle by the time I reached the second phase of some fights.
Well, my friend, if you find yourself lacking in potions before a big fight, here’s my advice to you: Simply die. No, I’m not saying you should just give up the battle and let Clive’s pretty face get burned off, I’m saying that dying can be its own strategy because Final Fantasy XVI replenishes your potions when you retry a fight. And since multi-phase battles never send you back to earlier phases upon death, that means you can bring those new potions directly into later phases, too. So if you feel like you’re on your back foot and don’t think you’re gonna be able to recover, just die. Let them fuck you up and you’ll come back stronger.
Speaking of potions, the most convenient way to use them in battle is by using the d-pad’s inventory slot shortcuts. Unfortunately, you also command Torgal during battle with the d-pad. So it’s pretty easy to find yourself muscle memory-ing into using potions when you want to give Torgal an order, or downing a potion you didn’t want to use when you’re trying to sic your wolf on a baddy.
However, unlike with Torgal commands, you can just pause the game to use your potions for a quick heal. I’ve found defaulting to healing through the pause menu over trying to use the shortcuts has helped mitigate unfortunate accidents. So give this a try if you find yourself wasting potions with the d-pad.
Final Fantasy XVI has a training mode you can access at the Hideaway. Here you can practice combos and really take advantage of all the different abilities Clive gains across the game’s run. However, there’s a point where you’re forced into it, and the game doesn’t make it obvious how to leave. Once you’re in the mandatory training mode sequence, press the touchpad to open the Training Options menu. Then press the Triangle button to end your training. It’s weird and very roundabout, but now you’ll be able to get out easily when you come here of your own volition.
Because Clive gets new Eikon abilities often, Final Fantasy XVI lets you respec freely, even late in the game. The game is already pretty generous with Ability Points, so you likely won’t run into too many issues upgrading and unlocking new attacks. However, because you can respec without restriction, if you find yourself in the late game and wishing you could dump points and resources into some of the later Eikons, you can just do that. The freedom to respec means you’re free to completely overhaul the build you’ve made at any time, and if you don’t like the changes you’ve implemented, you can just do it again. Just pause the game and tab over to the Abilities screen and hold down the touchpad to redistribute your Ability Points.