There’s no questioning the massive scale behind Final Fantasy XV when it comes to the large open world to explore and the various gameplay systems placed behind the minute-to-minute gameplay. If you haven’t touched a Final Fantasy title in years like myself, you’ll probably be surprised to see so many new systems in play. The active approach to combat changes Final Fantasy into a whole new beast, one where knowing and practicing a bit before diving into the game is certainly worth your while as a returning player.

When I first started up the game, I made the mistake of skipping straight past the tutorial, and boy was I frustrated when I was consistently beat up in battles, so much so that I ended up going back into the tutorial and practicing for nearly an hour before continuing my game.

Basic combat in Final Fantasy XV is a relatively straightforward system which relies on a few different buttons to perform standard attacks, block, and move around the battlefield (depending on which control scheme you pick). Square (or X on Xbox) will always perform Phasing, allowing you to dodge attacks. Circle (or B on Xbox) allows you to perform a chain of auto attacks with your selected weapon, and Triangle (or Y on Xbox) allows you to Warp forward like teleporting. Simple, right?

Each of these mechanics are highlighted during your first few engagements with enemies out in the wild. But, what the main game doesn’t cover is all the important advanced combat mechanics that you’ll want to master to truly enjoy the new active combat system. There’s parrying, counter attacking, blindside strike bonuses, resistance types, spell casting, techniques you can use with your party, and so much more — each of which is key to making the most of combat in Final Fantasy XV.

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The game’s tutorial introduction will cover almost every nuance available in the new active combat system, giving you detailed explanations and opportunities to master each technique in roughly 20 minutes. Without this basic knowledge, you’re going to have a tough time enjoying the combat system at the heart of FFXV for quite some time due to the dire circumstances the game immediately puts you in. Even a small pack of beasts can serve up a hefty whooping if you don’t Point-Warp around them and slide back in with a Warp-Strike before finishing them off with one of your partner’s techniques.

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So, if you’re having a difficult time with combat or feel that something is missing with every engagement — know that you’re probably right, and it’s just going to take some time with the tutorial to figure it out. Don’t make the same mistake I did: Spend a little time practicing.

Photos via Nicholas Bashore