Final Fantasy 15 tips: 9 essential tricks you should know before starting
It’s been a very long time coming indeed, but the fifteenth entry in the Final Fantasy series is here. After a very long and rather intense development period the game is finally in your hands – and for the first time in the series it features a sprawling open-world area with loads to do.
Lots to do inevitably means there’s going to be a number of questions, especially in an RPG of this scope. Thankfully we’re here, and we’ve already pumped a good 60-plus hours into the game while crafting our review. There aren’t many so well poised to fill you in as to things you should know.
So – before you jump in to your quest to reclaim the throne of Lucis and the city of Insomnia, here’s some stuff you should keep in mind.
- Want more FF15 guides and walkthroughs? Head to our Guide Hub for plenty more pages like this one.
Getting started: Ignore the tutorial
Before you even press New Game on the main menu you should be aware of something: the tutorial in FF15 really isn’t worth your time. Without a shadow of a doubt, you should skip it.
We advise you skip the tutorial because… well, it’s honestly a bit of a rubbish tutorial. It strikes me as something put in late in development out of a fear users wouldn’t ‘get’ it once thrown into the full game, but I think the opening quests of the game and pop-up UI elements do a great job of explaining exactly how the combat works.
Further, whenever you make camp you have the opportunity to spar with your friends if you need to test out some combat techniques. The tutorial is just a waste of ten minutes. Go straight to the story. If you get into the game and feel lost you can also access the tutorial at any time from the pause menu, so skip it at the top and only go to it if you feel that you need it.
Turn on the stamina bar in order to sprint infinitely
Second up is another pre-game tip – or something to do pretty much immediately once you gain control of Noctis and his crew in the world of FF15. That’s a simple tip: enable the game’s stamina bar in the options menu.
I realise more UI is never exactly a good thing but we have a very sane reason for suggesting this: With the stamina bar on, you can fairly easily sprint infinitely. All you need to do is hold down circle or click in the left stick to sprint – then wait and watch the bar.
When the Stamina bar is almost empty, release circle and tap it again or press in the left stick again. Noctis will flash green and the stamina bar will instantly top up again, right to the top. With this, you can sprint forever. Very handy – but you really need the stamina bar turned on to do it reliably, thus this tip.
Don’t feel pressured by side quests – and say no to Prompto
As described over in our full review of FF15 proper, the game has plenty of side quests though their design varies from excellent down to pretty mediocre pretty wildly. As a result you might find yourself burning out from side quest content, but don’t feel pressured by that.
The game throws a lot of warnings in your face along the lines of ‘once you initiate this story mission, you can’t go back’ – and that’s true. However, in the late game you’ll be introduced to a mechanic that’ll let you travel back to an easier, breezier time in your journey, and in this little bubble of time all of the game’s side quests are available. So don’t be afraid to leave things for later.
Speaking of: also don’t be afraid to tell Prompto no when he requests you stop your car to hit a local beauty spot for a photo. If you say no it’ll still be added to your quest log so you can hit up that spot later on.
Grab the AP-granting abilities early to speed up the upgrade process
Though Noctis and his buddies will grow stronger as they level up and gain experience, major character upgrades in FF15 are grabbed through the Ascension menu, a setup that’s a little reminiscent of the sphere grid from Final Fantasy 10 and similar systems.
It’d be easy to focus your efforts here on the tabs of the menu that give Noctis and his friends all-new moves in combat, but don’t sleep on the ‘Exploration’ wing of the Ascension menu. Here you’ll find a number of really useful skills that will help you to gain AP faster. AP is what you spend on these skills, so grabbing these skills early on will increase your AP output across the whole game.
There are skills here that allow you to get AP for driving and riding Chocobos – something you’ll be doing a lot – as well as for side activities such as fishing. If you fall in love with the fishing mini-game, for instance, grab this skill. It’ll net you more AP to get the actual good stuff and pay itself off in no time.
Visit diners in order to get information on the surrounding area
FF15 actually introduces you to this concept early on in the game but it becomes an easy one to forget about later on as you get deeper into the experience, so let us reiterate: go into the game’s restaurants and diners!
All of them. Yes – all of them! Even though it’s easier to eat at camp and let Ignis handle all the cookery (especially since it grows his cooking skill stat), talking to the proprietor of each diner will give you information on the world.
These guys are basically a scan of the nearby open world. Chat to them and they’ll fill in icons on your map – areas of interest, parking spots, treasures, occasionally even an optional dungeon. Even if you don’t plan to eat, go pump ’em for information.
Use EXP modifiers wisely to level up fast
FF15 uses an interesting way of processing experience earned through questing and fighting – all experience gained must be ‘banked’ by sleeping. This can either be by making camp or by staying somewhere more swanky, such as a hotel.
Every type of accommodation in FF15’s world has an experience bonus associated with it. The top accommodation in the world offers a three times experience bonus but also costs a whopping 30,000 gil per night.
Anyway, the crux of this tip is simple: Keep an eye on the EXP bonus offered by each area where you can stay. You can get a good 1.5x EXP bonus for just 300 gil in a few spots, which is pretty good. Always try to save up EXP and bank it all in a place that’ll give you a nice bonus.
Also remember: food can also offer an EXP bonus. Certain meals will offer bonuses to the EXP at the point of earning rather than when banked. Cook!
Weapons are important, so be sure to use the right one
While almost everybody will no doubt pay attention to type strengths and weaknesses for things like magic, something it’s very easy to overlook in-game is that enemies in FF15 also have weapon strengths and weaknesses.
Noctis’ standard load-out includes a sword, polearm and greatsword, but he can equip a lot else besides – daggers, guns and more. Ignis has an ability that lets him analyse enemies, or you can use Wait Mode to scan enemies directly yourself. For bosses and the like, you want to make sure you’re attacking with the enemy’s weakness and if not adjust your equipment in the menu.
As well as scanning, keep an eye on the damage numbers – you want them to be a hue of red. If they are, you’re doing good damage. If it’s white, that’s average – but if it’s closer to blue then you need to switch weapon. Watch carefully and use the right kind of gear for each fight.
Don’t sell items you’re not certain of the use of
Okay, so, this aspect of FF15 is actually pretty annoying. The game is outright terrible at telling you what items are important.
What this means is that items drop off enemies or are found in dungeons and you have no idea that they’re useful for something more than just selling. The item descriptions and the like just don’t prepare you.
Imagine my frustration when I get to the mid-game and find out that I’d earlier picked up and then sold an item needed for a quest or weapon upgrade that I wanted! I could go and get one again, but it’s just a frustration. So: be careful what you sell. With that in mind, hold on to these two:
This is used to upgrade Noctis’ signature sword. Hold onto these.
Oracle Ascension Coin
These also seem useless, but they can be traded in Altissa for high-end gear.