While not quite as sprawling as previous games in the series, Final Fantasy 15's Eos is still a huge place with numerous dungeons, landmarks and cities to explore.
A self-proclaimed Final Fantasy game "for fans and newcomers alike", FF15 has gone through multiple changes over its 10-year development cycle. The result is an entry into the venerable franchise that can be daunting, with many familiar traditions and mechanics thrown out during its protracted and tumultuous creation.
With plenty of wild beasties to slay and secrets to uncover, IBTimes UK has collected a few tips to ease you into Square Enix's road-trippin' adventure.
Final Fantasy's de facto currency, Gil (g), returns in FF15, but in much shorter supply than usual. To pile on the misery, there is also seemingly more items than ever to spend your money on, be it weapons, food ingredients or even fishing tackle – seriously, the best fishing kits come at a premium.
Hunting Contracts and farming can be a good source of income, but the simplest way to earn money is by selling Treasure found throughout Eos and dropped by enemies. When speaking to a vendor (or while driving in auto mode), toggle over to the Treasures tag and get selling.
Be careful not to sell the most expensive items, however, as some of these can be mixed with magic to create spells with additional buffs. Never sell Oracle Ascension Coins either – there's a chap in Altissia that will give you special items in return for each one.
Unlike previous Final Fantasy games, experience points (XP) don't apply to Noctis and co. directly after each encounter or completed mission. Instead, the XP rewards don't trigger until the motley crew goes to sleep at an outpost or campsite.
Camping prompts Ignis to whip out the cooking utensils for bonus stats the following day, but crashing at a van or hotel adds a multipler to your XP gains by 1.2% and 1.5% respectively. The hotel at the Golden Quay, meanwhile, doubles all XP gained on the previous day. The downside? It costs 10,000g per stay. Pricey, but worth it after a long day of farming side quests or hunting.
Travelling around Eos in Noctis' plush car – the Regalia – or on the back of a Chocobo are much quicker than exercising the ol' legs, but sometimes you'll have to get out on foot and get trekking to reach certain objectives and waypoints.
Sprinting is performed by clicking in the left thumbstick (L3), but Noctis' stamina isn't the best around. Thankfully there's a way to sprint forever without the need to stop for breath.
First off, switch on the Stamina Meter in the options menu to activate a green bar whenever you sprint. When running, wait until the bar gets with touching distance of the end and clicked L3 in again to make Noctis phase forward in a green silhouette – you can do this indefinitely.
Manual save often
A seemingly obvious point, but easily forgotten. Auto-saving in FF15 is fairly reliable, but sometimes the gaps between each save can be lengthy. Remember to manual save in the options menu at key points.
Always talk to Tipsters
Whenever you reach a new city, outpost or road side cafe, make sure to talk to the local tipster. These wise vendors are crucial in filling out your map with markers showing the location of rest spots, food ingredients, magic sources and treasures scattered throughout the world.
Alongside several distinct side quests, Tipsters also offer Hunting Contracts which reward you with significant bounties as you progress. Just make sure you don't bite off more than you can chew with high level targets, unless you fancy putting your own hide on the menu.
Blindsides and Breaks in combat
While an optional tutorial does a decent job of teaching players the basics of combat in Final Fantasy 15, some of the crucial points are omitted.
Blindside attacks are covered briefly, but play a key role in gaining an advantage over stronger enemies. In short, aim for the rear – use rolls to dodge around and stab away. This will often trigger a dual attack where Noctis teams up with one of his buddies for a vicious assault that staggers the target.
Breaks are equally important and rely on targeting weak points on each enemy. These can vary, but it's usually the legs or appendages that stick out in some way. A successful Break leaves the enemy in a 'vulnerable' state where all damage it takes increases for a few crucial seconds.
Final Fantasy 15's combat takes another huge step away from the franchises' turn-based roots with its 'Active X Battle' system, with a free-flowing, all-action style that never pauses the action.
It doesn't have to be that way, though.
Under the 'Combat' settings in the options menu you'll find an alternative battle style which the developer has called 'Wait Mode'. This mode does exactly what it says on the tin, giving the player ample time to plan a strategy, aim attacks, lock-on to a specific enemy and other tactical options.
Wait Mode occurs every time you stop moving Noctis around, freezing time in place for a brief period (around 20 seconds) until a large status bar depletes. You can turn this on and off at any time, so if you get caught by a particularly tough baddie, by sure to switch it on.