In this Final Fantasy 15 cheats, tips and exploits guide:
Starting a new JRPG — a Japanese role-playing game — is always a harrowing experience. Once you get about 10 hours in, you start getting the nagging suspicion that things aren't going quite as easily for you as they could be, and once you start poking around on the internet for tips, those suspicions are confirmed: You've been doing things sub-optimally, wasting precious man-hours.
Final Fantasy 15, Square Enix's bromantic new glamping-road-trip-with-crystals simulator, is a perfect example. The main campaign takes about 50 hours to complete, so you really don't have time to dilly-dally if you're looking to make the most of Noctis Lucis Caelum and his friends-slash-bodyguards' quest to restore their kingdom.
We've compiled a great list of tips, tricks and, yes, even glitches to help you get the most out of your experience while exploring the world of Eos.
Final Fantasy 15 tips and tricks: How to get an infinite sprint and a visible stamina bar
In Final Fantasy 15, your main character, Noct, can sprint to objectives while traversing the world map, but his ability to do so is usually limited by a stamina bar (the display is turned off by default in the game's settings). You can turn on the stamina gauge by going to "Options" in the game's pause menu and scrolling down until you find a tab helpfully called "Stamina," which toggles the display for Noct's stamina gauge.
Additionally, Mashable discovered that if you enable the stamina bar's display in the options, then let Noct sprint until his stamina bar is almost depleted before releasing the sprint button, you can press the sprint button again after a second's pause and Noct will rush forward, refilling your stamina bar immediately.
The timing will be a little tricky to get the hang of at first, but once you've got it down, Noct and company will be running all over Eos like champion athletes, albeit ones wearing designer boots. You can also keep the stamina bar disabled and eyeball the proper timing through Noct's body language if you don't want your view of Eos sullied by a green bar.
Final Fantasy 15 tips and tricks: How to get powerful accessories early by playing the "Justice Monsters Five" minigame
Very early in Final Fantasy 15, you can find the Crow's Nest Diner to the southwest of Hammerhead, the garage where you get the car repaired at your quest's outset. Inside the diner, you'll find a pinball game called "Justice Monsters Five," and although it seems like a waste of time (and gil, the series' currency), you can use it to get some very powerful accessories very early on if you know what you're doing.
While playing, aim your character down the middle and hit the bumper in the center instead of attacking the monsters at the top of the screen. Once you build up a high-enough combo, you'll get a fast-moving roulette wheel minigame to play: If you get three of the yellow boxes, you'll hear a Chocobo's distinctive "wark" call and the counter in the top left corner will increase by five.
The rewards for this "Justice Monsters Five" cabinet range from a Hi Potion for five prize boxes to accessories like a Platinum Bangle for 80 and an Emerald Bracelet for 90, which increase your HP and attack by 700 and 60 respectively. Getting 99 treasure boxes will net you the Celestriad, an accessory that cuts fire, ice and lightning damage received by 30%. Just keep in mind that you only get the highest-tier reward each time you play. Still, not bad for something you could conceivably do as soon as you start playing the game!
Final Fantasy 15 tips and tricks: How to the get Noct's Ultima Blade weapon in Chapter 3
If you're familiar with Final Fantasy games, even the mention of "Ultima Weapon" should dredge up memories of hard-to-obtain endgame weapons with an amount of ostentatiousness exceeded only by their power. They usually serve as a character's final weapon upgrade in previous Final Fantasy games. Miraculously, getting the Ultima Blade in Final Fantasy 15 is nowhere near as hard as it's been in previous games, and can be completed as early as Chapter 3 (if you know what you're doing).
Early on in the game, Cid Sophiar, the proprietor of Hammerhead and Cindy's grandfather, will offer to upgrade any of your weapons if they have a little plus sign next to them. One of the weapons that can benefit from this is the Drain Lance you find after fighting some Magitek soldiers on the outskirts of Insomnia at the end of Chapter 1, but another is Noct's Engine Blade.
The first item you need to get in order to upgrade the Engine Blade is a Rusted Bit. You can find these all over the world map and in dungeons, but there's also one in Galdin Quay at the end of the middle pier next to a blue-and-white striped pole, according to Prima Games.
The second item is a Glass Gemstone, which you can get once you start Chapter 3. In Lestallum, on the outside of the Newsfield Building, you'll find the gemstone sitting on a table out on the building's lower deck.
The final rare item you'll need to turn your Engine Blade into the Ultima Blade is a Sturdy Helixhorn, which will probably require at least a little grinding in order to grab in Chapter 3. The earliest you can obtain this item is by doing the hunt "The Last Spiracorns," which you can get in Old Lestallum. Two of the monsters you'll fight in this hunt, Duplicorns, have a 10% chance to drop the Sturdy Helixhorn when you break their horns. If you attempt this, you'll definitely want to buy the Hardedge greatsword, which makes breaking body parts easier, and get the recipe for the Mother and Child Rice Bowl, which increases drop rates.
It's probably best if you save before doing the hunt so you can quickly reload if the Helixhorn doesn't drop, but the reward is well worth it: You'll be the proud owner of the Ultima Blade, which can carry you all the way to the end of the game.
Final Fantasy 15 tips and tricks: How to get 600,000-plus experience points in Chapter 3
There is no ignoring it: being under-leveled in a video game is awful. Even worse, it can make relatively simple sections feel like torturous slogs until you go back and grind for experience, which is itself usually a torturous slog. With a little bit of preparation in Final Fantasy 15, you can grind smarter, not harder, and get about 600,000 experience in one go. That should be enough to help you avoid grinding for most (if not all) of the game.
The gist is this: Utilizing debased coins, bank notes and silverpieces, as well as the old book and rare coin items, you can make Expericast spells. These are powerful magic that deals damage but also gives you experience every time you cast it. The ultimate goal will be to combine these Expericast spells with a Moogle Charm accessory (+20% exp. gained for the character it's equipped on) found in the Daurell Caverns and Ignis's Stacked Ham Sandwich recipe (+50% experience gained), which you'll get from completing some sidequests at Wiz's Chocobo Post.
Once you've done all that prep, head to a crevasse that's a little to the northeast of Hammerhead, where you'll find the Bandersnatch waiting. Camp, eat the Stacked Ham Sandwich and then fight the Bandersnatch, using as many of the expericast spells as you can. If you've done everything right, you should walk away from the battle with experience points in the neighborhood of 150,000 (or 170,000 for whoever's wearing the Moogle Charm). If you've got more expericast spells left over you can walk out of the arena to a nearby tower, save your game and then reload in order to respawn the Bandersnatch, while keeping your meal bonus from the Stacked Ham Sandwich.
Rinse and repeat as often as you're able to with your food buff active. Once it does run out, head to Galdin Quay to stay at the hotel, which will double the amount of exp. you've banked. The Galdin Cradle costs 10,000 gil, though, so make sure you're getting your money's worth before you turn in! You can repeat this as often as you're able to scrounge up the gil for the hotel and the rare coins for the expericasts, which makes it a great way to level up relatively quickly.
Final Fantasy 15 tips: How to avoid unwanted nighttime battles if you're driving in the Regalia
Nights in Eos are long and full of daemons, so it's prudent to spend your nights in a hotel playing King's Knight on your phone or camping in a protected area. However, if you're dead-set on driving through the night, there is a way to avoid fighting daemons if you're in the Regalia. According to IGN, when you see the red enemy indicator bar at the top of your screen, you'll also see daemons beginning to spawn in. If you make a u-turn to drive out of their attack range but keep them in your sight, you can exit the Regalia, and by the time the screen fades to black and you regain control of Noctis, the daemons should have despawned.
Final Fantasy 15 tips and tricks: How to make 500,000 gil per hour by playing "Justice Monsters Five"
Unlike in previous Final Fantasy games, you don't get gil from random battles in Final Fantasy 15. This can make it tricky to take full advantage of the game's many diners and hotels, which give you buffs and increase your experience gains. You'll probably be strapped for cash for most of the game (so it goes when you're a prince whose nation was secretly conquered when he tried to get to his wedding incognito), but eventually the game will provide you with the ability to make more gil than you'll know what to do with.
One such opportunity occurs in Altissia when you reach Chapter 9: just head to the Palsino St. Station using the city's gondolas. Once you're there, you'll find a "Justice Monsters Five" machine that costs 10,000 gil to play. It's a steep investment, so be sure to save before playing the game so you don't lose that money to bad luck! The goal, much like when using the "Justice Monsters Five" machine to get accessories in the Crow's Nest Diner, is to use the middle bumper to build your prize counter, this time to 99, the max amount you can get. Once it's there, you'll receive an item called "Wind-up Lord Vexxos" which you can use in Elemancy to make powerful Ultima magic, or you can just sell it to the nearest vendor for 500,000 gil.
Final Fantasy 15 tips and tricks: How to get Aranea Highwind in your party permanently
Once you've beaten the mysterious dragoon Aranea Highwind in Chapter 7, there's a chance she'll show up on the world map and help you out in battles. Normally, she'll always depart after the battle is done with a pithy quip, but if you feel there's a little too much testosterone in Noct's retinue, you can use a glitch to get Aranea in your party permanently. Just remember to back up your saves before you do this, because this is definitely not intended by the developers.
The sequence is pretty involved, but to start you'll have to set the Cotisse Haven camping point (to the north of Hammerhead) as your rest point, which you can do by camping there. Once you've done that, you can either bum around until midnight or take a nighttime bounty, which will fast-forward the clock to 8 p.m. Once it's midnight, save your game and use the whistle to summon enemies. You're looking for an Iron Giant, so keep summoning and clearing enemies until you get one. You'll know you've got the Iron Giant when you either see a bomb start spawning in or a giant hand emerging from the ground.
Once you've got the Iron Giant spawning in, make a mad dash for the edge of the combat zone and fast travel back to the rest area as soon as you're out. If you're too slow, Aranea will spawn in and your attempt will be moot. Once you're back at the Cotisse Haven camping point, head to the campfire and open up the camping menu. Wait on that menu until you get the cutscene of Aranea leaping from her ship. As soon as she leaps out, hit "Camp" on the menu you've kept open.
Once the morning comes after you camp, reload the autosave the game created from when you camped after watching Aranea jump out of her dropship. When you load that save file, Aranea should be standing around with the rest of your group! She'll show up in Prompto's photos and during camps, but she won't have a Chocobo, ride in the Regalia or allow you to fish or participate in tour quests, so you're probably best off waiting until the post-game to try this.
Final Fantasy 15 tips and tricks: How to get infinite health and mana regen utilizing Point-Warping and follow-up strikes
During combat, Noctis can take advantage of Point-Warping in order to get himself out of trouble, and certain warp points will let him hang above the battle, regenerating HP and MP at an accelerated rate. As USGamer discovered, if you have one of your teammates utilize a tech that allows for a follow-up attack while you're recovering, you can execute the followup attack from the ledge you're regenerating from, bringing yourself off it without sacrificing the sped up regeneration. The increased regeneration will make combat much easier and will allow you to abuse the Royal Arms, but the regeneration will stop as soon as you reload your save game, rest or fast travel. Of course it's pretty simple to recreate, but it's an exploit, so don't expect to rely on it long-term since it might get patched out.
Final Fantasy 15 tips and tricks: How to max out and level up your party skills quickly
Each member of Noct's retinue has a special skill: Prompto has photography, Ignis has cooking, Gladiolus has survival and Noctis has fishing. All of these skills gain levels as you progress through the game (with fishing and cooking requiring a little more management than the other two), but if you're looking to level them up quickly, there are certainly ways to grind that out.
Gladiolus's survival skill is probably the easiest to level up in the background since it gets experience for every few steps the party takes. As long as you're not overly dependent on the Regalia or fast travel, it should level up at a fairly brisk pace. To speed up the process, you can use tape or a rubber band on your controller to make your party walk in circles, though you may find that your companions keep knocking you off-course with their pathing. You can also take advantage of the infinite sprint feature as well to encourage yourself to run to more places without relying on the Regalia or fast travel.
To level up Noctis's fishing skills, you'll want to buy the upgraded Deathspin rod and Nereid reel and fish at the Vesperpool as soon as it becomes available. You should also invest in some Super Baleen fishing line and the Stinker: Great Malboro lure as well. These should help you catch rare fish in the Vesperpool, which will give you more experience per fish. Just fish as often as you can there and you should get the Ace Angler rank in no time.
Aside from finding certain photo opportunities for Prompto, he seems to take photographs completely at random. However, you can buy a skill in the ascension grid called "Snapshot" that allows Prompto to take photos in battle for the cost of 1 tech bar. If you combo this with Noctis's skills "Tech Strike" and "Tech Damage," which add to the tech bar when he hits and is hit, respectively, you can farm photos in combat and (in time) make Prompto less crap at shooting film.
Increasing Ignis' cooking skill is also quite easy. Simply buy a lot of Luncheon Meat and cook "Mystery Meat Sushi" every time you camp. The recipe will be unlocked as soon as you purchase Luncheon Meat, and although you'll have to put Noctis and company's stomachs through the ringer to do so, it's well worth it to unlock all of Ignis's recipes. Just recamp as often as you need to in order to max the skill.
More Final Fantasy 15 news, updates, tips and tricks
If you're ready to get your bromance on, you'll want to read up on all of Mic's Final Fantasy coverage. Here's a roundup of the most mouthwatering food from Final Fantasy 15, a big list of tips and tricks, a guide to finding all the royal arms, a guide to fishing in Final Fantasy 15, a guide to changing your chocobo's color, a guide to summoning, a review roundup from all the big gaming outlets, rumors about a PC release and Conan O'Brien's reaction to the game on his show.