Final Fantasy 16 beginner’s guide: five things you need to know

By Lee Brady,

Looking to get the best out of Final Fantasy XVI? Check out our beginner's guide below offering five useful tips for new players.

Final Fantasy XVI trophies are now live, and if you've read our Final Fantasy XVI review, you might already be itching to check out the PS5 exclusive for yourself. However, if you want to start the game on the right foot, this Final Fantasy XVI beginner's guide will help clear up some of the burning questions you might have.

FFXVI BeginnerA Beginner's Guide to FFXVI.

Do I need to have played a Final Fantasy game before?

The answer to this one is simple: absolutely not. One of the absolute best things about Final Fantasy as a series is that each numbered game represents an entirely separate and self-contained story set in its own world, and that remains completely true with Final Fantasy XVI. As involved and engrossing as the narrative of FFXVI is, you can rest easy knowing that you're not missing anything by starting with this contender for the best PS5 games list.

That said, while you won't miss any story beats, you could still enhance your experience of FFXVI by checking out a few older Final Fantasy games. If this is your first Final Fantasy game, getting a feel for the series and its huge library of classic RPGs could really bring out the best in the game, especially since the title takes loads of inspiration from games like Final Fantasy V and VI. If you want our recommendation, check out our list of the five games to play before Final Fantasy XVI.

Do I need to like JRPGs?

This one might seem obvious to many of you, but no, you don't need to like JRPGs to like Final Fantasy XVI. That's largely because Final Fantasy XVI isn't a JRPG — it's an action game in the vein of titles like Devil May Cry and Bayonetta (otherwise redundantly referred to as 'character action' games). Obviously, it is literally a "Japanese role-playing game," but in terms of genre, it more heavily leans into action RPG territory.

There are still some remnants of JRPG design in FFXVI; for example, you'll still need to fiddle with a few menus and upgrade trees to unlock new moves for the main protagonist, Clive. However, if you've played a game like God of War Ragnarok, then you've already experienced more complicated menus than any you'll find here. The game certainly isn't any worse if you do happen to like JRPGs (I do and I loved it) — so long as you don't expect it to play any of the other mainline Final Fantasy games, at least.

FFXVIThe action can be a little intense for some players.

Do I need to be good at action games?

It depends on what you're hoping to get out of your Final Fantasy XVI playing experience, but for the most part the answer is: no, you don't need to be good at action games. To help keep the Final Fantasy XVI's difficulty accessible to both long-time fans of the series' classic JRPGs and newcomers to the action genre, the game's designers introduced difficulty modifying 'Timely Accessories' and an easy mode — known as 'Story Mode' — to make sure everyone can enjoy the game.

The Timely Accessories have the biggest effect on FFXVI's gameplay — for example, the 'Ring of Timely Focus' gives players a generous amount of time to press the dodge button and avoid an oncoming attack, taking out the need for any quick reaction skills. From my own experience, I was thrilled to see that my girlfriend, who had never touched an action game in her life, was able to handily take down Final Fantasy XVI's early bosses thanks to these easier settings.

FFXVIThis little guy oversees some of the toughest fights in the game, so maybe avoid if you're not an action game fan.

That said, if you're hoping to claim Final Fantasy XVI's platinum trophy, things might get a little trickier for action-averse players. For one, claiming the platinum requires players to beat the game a second time in 'Final Fantasy' mode — a much harder difficulty setting. You'll also need to accomplish certain tricky feats with some of protagonist Clive's special abilities, which will require a little bit of mastery of the game's action combat.

That's not to say you definitely won't be able to claim the platinum, though. The great thing about Final Fantasy XVI's Timely Accessories is that, should you feel yourself getting better at the game as you play, you can start to remove whichever handicaps you don't think you need any more, like stabilizers on a bicycle. It makes Final Fantasy XVI the perfect starting point for players who have always wanted to get into action games but worry about being overwhelmed.

FFXVIThe toughest choice.

Should I play the game with Story Focus or Action Focus enabled?

From the outset, players will be asked to decide between two main difficulty settings before starting Final Fantasy XVI: Story Focus mode and Action Focus mode (you'll have to beat the game's story once to unlock the harder Final Fantasy mode). If you're having a tough time deciding which difficulty mode to go with, don't panic: you can always change Final Fantasy XVI's difficulty at any time in the Settings menu.

Plus, there are no separate trophies for beating the game in either Story Focus or Action Focus mode, so feel free to pick the mode that works for you. Story Focus automatically equips Clive with Timely Accessories and makes enemies weaker, which is ideal for players who aren't comfortable with action games or just want to get lost in the story. Meanwhile, Action Focus will still let you equip the TImely Accessories, but enemies will naturally be a little tougher — ideal for players who have enjoyed games like God of War or Devil May Cry.

FFXVIThere's room for everyone in FFXVI's world.

Personally, I beat Final Fantasy XVI on Action Focus mode, and while I've played my fair share of action games, I do think the game is generous enough with health restorative items and upgrades to make Action Focus mode the default setting for most players. That said, if you're gunning for the platinum trophy and know you'll have to play the game twice anyway, I'd say it's worth considering playing the game on Story Focus mode, which might help limit the lull I felt in the later parts of the game's narrative.

Does the dog die in Final Fantasy XVI?

This last section might just be a make-or-break revelation for some players, though for other players this section might be considered a spoiler, so avert your gaze if you'd rather maintain the air of mystery. As thrilled as we are to see our hero Clive accompanied by his canine companion Torgal, the inclusion of a friendly dog in this kind of mature, violent world will often set wary animal lovers on edge.

FFXVIBest of pals.

If you really want to know:
*** Spoiler - click to reveal ***


Did we answer any of your burning Final Fantasy XVI questions? Remember, you can always check out the Final Fantasy XVI demo on the PS Store for free to get a feel for the game's combat and difficulty settings. If you have any other concerns or queries, let us know down in the comments below!
Lee Brady
Written by Lee Brady
Staff Writer Lee keeps one eye on the future (Marvel's Spider-Man 2, Final Fantasy VII Rebirth), one eye on the past (PS Plus Premium, recent Sony news), and his secret third eye on the junk he really likes (Sonic Superstars, Final Fantasy XVI). Then he uses his big mouth to blurt out long-winded opinions about video games.
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