The best, strangest and hardest dungeon in Final Fantasy 15 will take several hours to beat from start to finish, but you'll never fight a single enemy. And most people probably don't even know it exists.
In every single way, the Pitioss Ruins dungeon tries to stay hidden, making it one of the coolest experiences I've had with Final Fantasy 15 so far. I first heard about it through Kotaku — there's no way I would have found it on my own — and I knew I had to try it out for myself. Be warned, though, it's not for the faint of heart.
Editor's note: Spoilers ahead for the Pitioss Ruins dungeon and the Final Fantasy 15 post-game in general.
Final Fantasy 15: Secret Pitioss Ruins dungeon location
So where the hell is this super secret dungeon? It's hiding by that mysterious, random strip of road on the world map near the Rock of Ravatogh dungeon. You probably didn't even notice it, right?
"Wait a second — there are no roads leading to that road," you might be saying, and rightly so. In order to even access the Pitioss Ruins dungeon — let alone beat it — you have to complete the main storyline and unlock the flying version of the Regalia from Cindy back at Hammerhead. If you're as bad at flying (and landing) the Regalia as I am, it'll probably take you a couple tries to land on that itty-bitty strip of road without crashing.
Like the Costlemark Tower dungeon, you can only access the Pitioss Ruins building at night. So you'll probably have to kill time by fighting some of the high-level monsters walking around nearby.
Final Fantasy 15 secrets: Pitioss Ruins dungeon guide and tips
Once you do get inside, you're in for one of Final Fantasy 15's most grueling and rewarding dungeons. There are no monsters, just several hours of incredibly difficult puzzles and platforming challenges. It feels decidedly old-school. It's like Final Fantasy had a baby with The Legend of Zelda and Super Mario. Some of these influences are subtly felt, but others — like the section where it actually transforms into a 2-D side-scrolling platformer — are more explicit.
My favorite Zelda-like section was a room with a massive, spiky, skull-adorned wall that slowly slides back and forth. You have to run around the room as quickly as possible, timing your progress with the little rivets and safe zones hidden along the wall so as not to get impaled along the way.
That said, the dungeon is far from perfect. Final Fantasy 15 was not built to handle precision platforming challenges — and it shows. All too often, Noctis would keep moving a step or two after I had stopped pushing on the thumbstick, causing him to plummet off the side of a ledge to his death. The platforming is unforgiving, and Noctis' movement is nowhere near precise enough. It works most of the time, but when it doesn't it's excruciating.
For example, there was a single jump in a platforming section that took me — without exaggeration — a solid two hours of dying over and over again until I finally nailed it. I almost gave up on the dungeon entirely at that point. (If you're curious, it was during the section where the giant statue of the woman lingers in the background as the whole stage rotates underfoot, just after the part where you have to crawl down a minotaur statue's ass. You'll know it when you see it.)
The good news is that there are a number of little shortcuts within the dungeon itself you uncover along the way that function as save points. My recommendation is that every time you open one of these shortcuts — the ones marked by the scarlet-colored barriers — you should leave the dungeon, save your game once you get back into the main world, and then head back underground. Otherwise, you might be looking at a solid five hours (or more) of dungeon crawling.
Despite its janky shortcomings, Pitioss Ruins offers Final Fantasy 15's most compelling dungeon design. At its best, it made me nostalgic for my favorite childhood gaming memories — the kind where I swapped urban legends with my friends about secret characters and looked up puzzle solutions on GameFAQs. It's a shame — or maybe it adds to the magic? — that most people won't even know Pitioss Ruins exists at all.
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.