Final Fantasy 16 Combat Beginner Tips

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Final Fantasy 16 Combat Beginner Tips

Here are tips and tricks for the Final Fantasy 16 Combat System.


Switching up Final Fantasy‘s iconic turn-based combat into one similar to a Capcom character action game has been a point of controversy. But we've bargained the tactical combat of back in the day for one of the tightest action combat systems around.

It is incredibly easy to pick up, offers a lot of options at any given time, and has a depth that rivals titles such as Devil May Cry and Bayonetta. The game gives you all the tools to succeed in your journey through Valisthea and we tell you how to use them.

Final Fantasy 16 Combat Basics

The combat of FF16 is centered around a mixture of melee attacks, ranged magic spells, and ability cooldowns. Each and every single one of them can be chained into each other and all of them can be useful at any given time.

When it comes to Melee Attacks, Protagonist Clive has a 4-hit melee combo on the ground which can be performed by pressing the attack button within a very forgiving window. He has also an aerial melee combo which has only 3 hits or less, depending on his current height.

Clive also has ranged magic attacks which can be fired from a distance or weaved in between attacks if you have the Magic Burst Ability.

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 Timing is Everything

The most important thing about Final Fantasy 16's combat is timing. While other action games focus on long complex combos, weaving in and out of attacks, FF16 is all about timing.

For example, Clive has a 4-hit melee combo which can be extended with the Magic Burst in between every hit. Using the ability Phoenix Shift right after will allow you to keep the combo going and even deal some extra damage.

The same goes for the assistance of Torgal, Clive's loyal hound who can be commanded with the D-Pad. Calling in support at the right time will deal extra damage indicated by Torgal glowing red.

This principle extends to almost every single one of Clive's abilities, including his Eikonic abilities. These can also be chained into each other once you get the timing down.

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Parries, Blocks, and Dodges

FF16 features a plethora of defensive options on top of its already expansive offensive options. There is never a point where you can't turn an enemy's attack against them and once again it all comes down to timing.

Your most important tools early on are the Parry and the Dodge the latter is very easy to perform while the former requires precise inputs.

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The Parry is very similar to Metal Gear Rising Revengence, where you have to make an attack input while the enemy is attacking you. This can be either a melee attack or an Eikon ability, so you could for example use Phoenix Shift to quickly parry even a far-away attack.

The timing here is very tight and varies from attack to attack so it might require some practice to get it down consistently with certain enemy types.

Dodges are initiated by taping the R1 button which will let Clive dodge into whatever direction the left stick is pointing. The dodge also has some invincibility frames so you can use it to dodge through some attacks in order to close a gap.

If you can time the dodge just before Clive takes damage, the game will slow down and you get the opportunity for a counter hit. This means your next attack will deal additional damage.

The Block is part of Titan's shield ability which is unlocked after you get access to the Eikon Titan. Functionally you can either use it as a shield that will block a certain amount of damage before breaking or you can try for a perfect block.

The Perfect Block has a very tight input window just before a melee attack is about to hit you but opens up the enemy for a devastating combo with up to 3 hits. You can initiate it by simply using mashing the melee button after getting a perfect block.

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Read your Eikonic Abilities

One of the big features of FF16 is the ability to control and make use of the Eikons. Throughout his journey, Clive learns many different abilities tied to these legendary beasts. But those abilities are not just skills that deal extra damage.

Most of them have secondary properties which can be used to either gain a positional advantage, counter certain types of attacks, or simply offer new combo paths.

The Phoenix's Heatwave ability for example is a projectile that deals a lot of damage. But can deal extra damage and get a reduced cooldown if the player manages to negate an enemy projectile with it.

So make sure to read up on all your abilities and your properties, even if they're part of an Eikon you don't want to use. Upgrading and mastering them will allow you to slot them into any other Eikons kit.

Stagger and you guessed it, Timing

Stagger is one of the core mechanics of FF16's combat. Enemies have a stagger meter that depletes whenever they take damage. Once that meter breaks, they'll be extra vulnerable and take more damage.

So if you know that an enemy's stagger meter is about to break, you might want to hold off on some abilities and your Limit Break (a short timeframe in which Clive regains health and deals extra damage) to get the most out of the stagger.

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Lunge, Downward Thrust, Burning Blade, and Charged Shot

The abilities Lunge, Downward Thrust, Burning Blade, and Magic Burst are some of the most useful ones in Clive's entire kit and you make it a priority to unlock them as fast as possible.

Lunge, once unlocked is used by pressing Jump and Attack at the same time. This will Lunge Clive toward an enemy, covering a great distance while also dealing damage. Essentially its a weaker version of the Phoenix Shift. The ability can however be enhanced with Burning Blade.

Downward Thrust does what it says on the box, if you're attacking an enemy in the air or are just in the air you can press Jump and Attack together to perform a ground pound attack. Depending on how far up Clive is, he'll deal more damage.

Under the effect of Burning Blade, this attack will launch standing enemies up into the air.

Burning Blade lets Clive charge up his sword so his next melee attack will deal extra damage and gain additional properties. Depending on the level of mastery in the ability, the time it takes to charge will be greatly reduced. You can execute this charge under almost every circumstance.

This also allows you to break shields.

Charged Shot is the magic version of Burning Blade, by holding down the Magic Attack button, you can charge a more powerful spell that will deal massive damage. Great when you want to keep your distance but it also has great use when weaved at the end of a combo via Magic Burst.

For this, you simply have to hold down the Magic Attack button while executing your melee combo and let go once the 4th strike of your combo hits.

Charged Shot is also able to break shields.

Play Around with Controller Types

Currently, there are 3 control types in Final Fantasy 16, with more being planned in the feature as well as a completely customizable control scheme. Depending on what you're more familiar with, you might gravitate towards one style or another.

We recommend playing the game with Control Type C, having your ranged attacks L1 while still having access to all your other abilities. If you want to weave magic attacks in between melee attacks, this is your best option.

For more in Final Fantasy 16, such as the Story and Setting, everything you need to know about the Hideaway or the additional Difficulty Modes stick around here on ESTNN

Final Fantasy 16 Combat Beginner Tips
Timo Reinecke
Has once claimed that FSH is the only job in FFXIV worth playing and stands by that firmly. Top Guy, Smart Guy, Educated Speaker. (sometimes) Writer of all things FFXIV, FGC, News, Reviews and More