At long last Final Fantasy XV is here, and it’s a doozy. It’s a massive open-world game with an almost overwhelming amount of things to do and places to explore. When you’re not munching on burgers at the local diner, you’ll be out in the field collecting treasures and fighting monsters. It can be easy to miss out on some of the smaller details. Here are a few tips to help ease yourself into Final Fantasy XV.

Final Fantasy XV Brotherhood
'Brotherhood' does a good job fleshing out the main characters. 

Watch the Movie and the Anime

It’s a sad truth that a lot of the game’s story is hidden in the Kingsglaive film and the Brotherhood anime. Fortunately, they’re both entertaining. Kingsglaive tends to meander and is exactly what you’d expect if you’ve seen previous Final Fantasy movies. On the other hand, Brotherhood is a series of short anime episodes that focus on the characters and their backstories, and it’s actually very well done. It’s worth the extra effort if you really want to sink yourself into the world.

Final Fantasy XV tutorial
You'll be doing yourself a favor. 

Play the Tutorial. Seriously.

Final Fantasy XV’s battle system is fast-paced and fun, but there are a lot of nuances that can fall to the wayside if you don’t take the time to learn them. Take a few minutes to dig into the combat tutorial to sneak in some important practice time before you start the game.

Fishing in Final Fantasy XV
Mmm. Lunch. 

Gather All of the Things

The materials you gather will help you craft spells and make hearty meals. Even seemingly random junk can be turned in for rare items and upgrades. Keep a keen eye out for any materials you can gather from the environment when you’re out exploring the wilderness.

A Final Fantasy XV Diner
Chat with the locals. 

Visit the Local Watering Holes

Not only are they great for grabbing some grub, diners are a valuable source of gossip whenever you wander into a new town. Chat up the people at the diners to get new quest markers, treasure locations, and hunts. Doing these extra side missions will help your characters grow strong and earn some extra cash, which is a bit harder to come by than usual in Final Fantasy XV.

Final Fantasy XV
Ahh, this is the life. 

Get Strategic About Sleepytime

Nothing beats sleeping under the stars and communing with nature. Plus eating a nice homemade meal over the campfire can do wonders for your team’s spirit and abilities, so camping out with your buddies is a great idea on a normal day or if you know you have a big fight coming up.

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However, hotels have the advantage after a big fight. Sleeping in a hotel or RV gives your party a nice experience bonus, and since experience isnt tallied until the day is over, that could give you a very hefty boost to the huge bump in experience you get for beating an especially tough enemy.

Final Fantasy XV
Go easy on the O button. 

Don’t Button Mash

Since you can chain attacks, it’s easy just to button mash your way through enemy encounters. Try to hold back — combat is a lot more complex than that. You can partner up with your party members to create coordinated attacks, and rolling, blocking, and parrying are all better ways to come out of battle victorious, especially when you’re up against a difficult boss. And in case you ignored our earlier advice, here it is a second time: Play the tutorial.

Final Fantasy XV
Mastering the battle system takes some time. 

Get the Hang of Targeting

Targeting is super important, especially when you’re facing off against a bunch of different enemies. You may have noticed when, say, you’ve target an enemy using R1 and triggered a Warp Strike only to jet off in the wrong direction. That’s because you’ll lose the target if you’re not holding R1 continuously. That’s annoying, sure, but you can get around it by targeting a monster with R1 and then pressing R3. You’ll be permanently locked to the mob, but you can change targets by moving the right analogue stick. To Warp Strike in this mode, one simply has to tap triangle. This will make combat a lot more manageable. (At least on the PS4.)

Final Fantasy XV
Slow things down a bit. 

Switch to Wait Mode as Needed

Final Fantasy XV actually has two battle modes — Active and Wait. If the action gets to be too intense, you can switch to Wait Mode in the menu. In this mode, time will stand still as Noctis evaluates the situation. He can scan enemies’ HP and weaknesses, and take a few seconds to assess the best strategy for the battle.

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Final Fantasy XV
Noctis looking pensive. 
Photos via RPG  Valiant, US Gamer, RPG Site, RPG Fan, Digital Spy, DualShockers (1, 2), IGN, Gamer Assault Weekly, Final Fantasy Wiki