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FAQ/Walkthrough by Krystal109
/ Bkstunt_31

Version: 1.36 | Updated: 03/19/14

Table of Contents

  1. Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII - FAQ/Walkthrough
  2. Introduction
  3. Gameplay
    1. Controls
    2. Story & Quests
    3. Time Sensitivity
    4. Schemata
    5. Outerworld Services
    6. Combat
  4. Tips & Tricks
  5. Speed Walkthrough
    1. Prologue
    2. Day 1: The Ark
    3. Day 1: Luxerion
    4. Day 1: The Wildlands
    5. Day 1: The Dead Dunes
    6. Day 2: The Ark
    7. Day 2: The Wildlands
    8. Day 2: Luxerion
    9. Day 2: Yusnaan
    10. Day 2: Luxerion Revisited
    11. Day 3: The Ark
    12. Day 3: The Wildlands
    13. Day 3: Luxerion
    14. Day 3: Yusnaan
    15. Day 3: Luxerion Revisited
    16. Day 3: Yusnaan Revisited
    17. Day 3: Dead Dunes
    18. Day 3: Clean-up
    19. Day 4: The Ark
    20. Day 4: Dead Dunes
    21. Day 4: Yusnaan
    22. Day 4: Luxerion
    23. Day 4: Yusnaan Revisited
    24. What's Left?
  6. Story Missions
    1. 0-1: A Different Snow
    2. 1-1: An Evil Savior
    3. 1-2: In the Shadow of the Heretics
    4. 1-3: Find the Code
    5. 1-4: Rites for a Goddess
    6. 1-5: Hunter in Light and Shadow
    7. 2-1: The Great Break-In
    8. 2-2: The Legend of the Savior
    9. 2-3: A Solitary Patron
    10. 3-1: The Angel of Valhalla
    11. 3-2: Healing an Angel
    12. 3-3: Where Chaos Sleeps
    13. 4-1: Bandits of the Desert
    14. 4-2: Aspiring Bandit
    15. 4-3: Where the Clavis Lies
    16. 4-4: Murals of the Gods
    17. 4-5: The Holy Clavis
    18. 5-1: Father and Son
    19. 5-2: Follow the Chocobo Chick
    20. 5-3: Wishes on a Canvas
    21. 5-4: What Soul Seed Traders Want
    22. 5-5: Battle's Bounty
    23. 5-6: Beyond the Sandstorm
    24. Ultimate Lair
    25. Luxerion - Final Day
    26. God's Sanctum - Final Day
  7. Side Quests
    1. Luxerion SQ
    2. Yusnaan SQ
    3. The Wildlands SQ
    4. The Dead Dunes SQ
  8. Canvas of Prayers
    1. Luxerion CoP
    2. Yusnaan CoP
    3. The Wildlands CoP
    4. The Dead Dunes CoP
    5. Global CoP
  9. Inventory
    1. Garbs
    2. Weapons
    3. Shields
    4. Accessories
    5. Adornments
    6. Components
    7. Other Items
    8. Key Items
    9. Recovery Items
  10. Abilities
    1. Ability Upgrading
  11. Shops
    1. Luxerion
    2. Yusnaan
    3. Wildlands
    4. Dead Dunes
    5. Final Day
    6. Rare Merchant
  12. Bestiary
    1. Chaos Beasts
    2. Feral Creatures
    3. Man-Made Units
    4. Human
    5. Special
  13. Trophies / Achievements
  14. Contact Information
  15. Version History
    1. Current Version
    2. Older Versions
  16. Copyright & Disclaimer

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Contact Information

Current Version: Ver 1.36 - Mar. 18, 2014


Welcome to the Bkstunt and Krystal109 show! We welcome you to this co-op guide writing experience in the hope of bringing you the best of both world: Bk's detailed guides and Krystal's formatting skills.

This guide is intended to not only walk you through the individual quests, so that you may complete them at your leisure, but create a Speed Run for those who want to complete the most events in the least amount of time. The Speed Run will cover all the Story Missions and Side Quests, but will not cover the Canvas of Prayers. We will also be covering the major gameplay features, such as the crafting of Abilities and Weapons/Shields available only in NG+. We will be adding much more in the coming weeks, but if you would like us to change or add anything specific, please see the Contact Information for how to reach us.

Donation Info

Firstly, thanks to everyone who takes the time to read this. If you find yourself using this guide and found it to be handy, please consider sending a donation to support the time and effort we have put forth to make a comprehensive and useful guide. Bk has insisted on not receiving any donations, but if you send them to me specifically noted to be forwarded to him I will make sure he gets them, even if he doesn't want them!

If you DO wish to donate anything:

  • Send a GIFT through Paypal to krystalnexus(at)yahoo(dot)com
  • Send an Amazon Gift Card to the above email

We in no way want you to feel obligated to donate, your support via emails is always appreciated though.


PS3Xbox 360Field ControlsBattle Controls
L AnalogL StickMovementMovement
R AnalogR StickCamera ControlCamera Control
D-PadD-PadMenu NavigationChange Target
XAInteract / Stealth WeaponUse Ability
OBJumpUse Ability
TriangleYEnter Main MenuUse Ability
SquareXView MapUse Ability
R1RBAttack / Ready WeaponSwitch Schemata
L1LB-Switch Schemata
R3R3Center CameraChange View
Start>PausePause / Use Items or EP
Select<Enable / Disable Map-

Story & Quests

Unlike the previous Final Fantasy XIII games, Lightning Returns is an open world game with the objective to finish quests for the citizens of Nova Chrysalia as the Savior rather than following a linear story. With a growth system based purely on the accepting and completing of quests in a efficient matter, rather than through battle encounters, this non-traditional approach can easily throw off many players and knowing when and where time sensitive quests open up can be the difference between the game being easy or hard.

Each quest grants a certain amount of gil, at least one adornment, ssuch as boosts in attributes, items and equipment, and Eradia that is transferred to Yggdrasil at the end of each day to add additional days to the deadline.

Main Quests

These are multi-chapter quests that revolve around the main characters of the series and are numbered based on their region of Nova Chrysalis. To continue to the end of the game, all main quests must be completed by the end of day 12 or a Game Over will result in starting over from Day 1.

Side Quests

These quests are shorter and can be anything from fetch quests for key items or helping citizens resolve their problems by visiting other NPCs. These quests are marked in difficulty by a number of stars out of three.

Canvas of Prayers

Outside of every Monorail Station is a Canvas of Prayers, a notice board that can be checked by talking to Chocolina. These usually require turning in items obtained from enemies and are unlocked by the completion of previous events in the chain or on a new day.

Time Sensitivity

The deadline for the end of the world results in a persistent clock, displayed in the top-right corner of the screen. With time running quickly, the clock is only halted in the following situations:

  • During cutscenes and talking to NPCs
  • During battles
  • Inside a menu
  • When the Chronostasis EP ability is active
  • While on the Ark

While the pressure of a constant countdown may make players feel like they will not have enough time to complete every quests, the game gives plenty of time to finish most, if not all, side quests. Additionally, early in the game Lightning unlocks the ability Chronostasis EP, which allows time to be frozen for a short period of time. This ability is limited, but by defeating enemies to gain EP a player can freeze time for extended periods with a minute of in-game time adding up to hours in real life hours.


Your schemata controls what you can and can't do on the battlefield. As you play through Lightning Returns, you will find yourself often customizing and tinkering with your schemata. Every schemata consists of:

  • Garb: Your choice of clothing that often comes with locked abilities.
  • Weapon: Which affects your Strength and Magical power. These often have addition Auto-Abilities unique to the weapon.
  • Shield: Which often affects Guard Defense, ATB values and HP amounts. These also sometimes have Auto-Abilities.
  • Head Accessory: An accessory that may grant a wide variety of benefits to that single schema.
  • Arm Accessory: An accessory that may grant a wide variety of benefits, but affect all schema equipped.
  • Adornment: An accessory that does nothing but make you look different. Fashion?
  • Abilities

While the garbs, shields, weapons and abilities you pick are entirely up to you, it is wise to have a good mix of abilities and stats across all three garbs. As a general rule of thumb try to have one garbs set up for debuffs, one set up for magical attacks, and the third set up for your big-hit physical attacks. That is just a general rule of thumb though, as every boss fight and major enemy may cause you to tinker with your schema.


You can equip up to four abilities per schema. Note that some garbs have up to two abilities locked that you cannot replace, which does factor in to which garbs are "Must Have" and which aren't, especially as you advance in power.

Abilities themselves are divided into four main groups:

  • Physical: These abilities focus primarily on your Strength, but can also include elemental-imbued attacks like Galeslash.
  • Magical: These abilities focus primarily on your Magic, but do include some utility spells like Magnet.
  • Defensive: These abilities focus primarily on defense, blocking a portion of incoming damage.
  • De-Buff: These abilities focus primarily on Status Effects, with a wide variety of de-buffs like De-Protect, De-Shell, Slow, Poison, etc.

Abilities are usually acquired after a battle as a prize from your fight, although you can find several useful and powerful abilities in treasure spheres. Certain enemies drop certain abilities, usually based on their elemental strength and/or combat style. In the early game, all abilities dropped by enemies will be fixed at Level 1, but as the days progress, and therefore the enemies become stronger, they will drop higher level versions. That being said, you do not have to wait until the end of the game to obtain high level abilities, as visiting a Sorcery Shop will allow you to level up your abilities once you acquire components, further increasing their attack power and even reducing their ATB cost.

See Ability Upgrading for more details on this and the Auto-Abilities that can be obtained on abilities.

In addition, some equipment and abilities in the game will give you various automatic bonuses to your stats, damage output in combat, or other unique abilities. Represented by a circle inside of a circle when you look at your equipment and abilities, many of these are represented by a simple name instead of what the auto-ability actually does, such as "Soul of the Black Mage". Be sure to check the description of the auto-ability you are considering by hitting the R2/RT button to determine exactly what each one does.

Outerworld Services

Outerworld Services can either be enabled or disabled when you start a new game or, later, when you wish by toggling them in the settings in the main menu.

So, what are Outerworld Services? Basically it is Square-Enix's shot at including some form of online experience into the game. When you turn it on the game will start to include random NPC's into the game as a form of another player's "Persona". You can easily tell these NPCs from game NPCs, as they have a blue name above them instead of a white one. Once you interact with one of these blue NPCs you can see any screenshot they left, cheer them on and see if they have put an item up for sale. If you like the item, you can even buy it at the NPC store price that SE determined, not the buyer.

If you wish you can also set up your own persona by pausing the game and submitting a screenshot yourself, your surroundings, events, and more. You can also share weapons and items in your post to help other players without the item leaving your inventory. Why is this good? Well, you can share items that others may not have gotten, such as a rare drop, or just flood the market with the all-powerful Ether and Turbo Ethers.


Combat in Lightning Returns is fairly simple: Pick the ability you wish to use and press its button to use it, provided you have the ATB to do so!. However there are some other things that should be noted.

Battle Begins

Engaging in combat begins when Lightning comes into contact with an enemy. Depending on the type of contact, you will gain a bonus or penalty.

  • Taking an enemy by surpise, before the triangle above their head turns red, will get a "Great" result, causing the enemy to have 25% less HP.
  • Striking the enemy after the triangle above their head turns red will get a "Good" result, causing the enemy to have 10% less HP.
  • Being struck first will result in a "Poor" opening, causing Lightning to begin with 5% less HP.


The Active Time Battle gauge returns in Lightning Returns, but is slighty different, as Lightning is the only combatant. To eliminate downtime, each schema has their own ATB gauge that is used separately and recovers when not in use. Since several pieces of equipment will affect your ATB, reducing the amount you begin with or reducing the ATB recovery speed, the equipment you choose for each schema becomes much more important.

Perfect Timing

Both offensive and defensive abilities can be enhanced by doing them with perfect timing; in other words by hitting the button at the right time. This timing window is very small and takes place in the final section of each other the previous ability's animation. Most people will find that the ability to perform a perfect guard, guarding just before an attacks impact, will be easily learned as they progress through the game. On the other hand, even after playing through the whole game once will not make you a master of perfect attacks.


Knowing the basics of staggering and how it works is going to make your life in Lightning Returns much easier. Staggering an enemy allows you to break down their defenses and inflict huge amounts of damage. While not necessary for every fight, you'll soon find that staggering helps immensely against tougher enemies and bosses. Gamers who have played the other games in the Final Fantasy 13 series are likely already familiar with staggering, and for the most part things haven't changed a whole lot.

In a nutshell, Lightning will need to use various abilities to build up a stagger gauge. This stagger gauge builds from a blue sine wave and changes from blue to yellow and finally to red as you continue to pour on damage. The sine wave also intensifies as it changes color, showing you that you are getting close to breaking the enemy down. Once you actually stagger an enemy, it will often fall down or show some physical indication of being hurt, as well as the possibility of some sort of status ailment. This is often the time to pour on damage and use Overdrive to really lay into your foe.

So now that we know what staggering is, how do we do it? Just saying "attack the enemy" isn't good enough, so let's get in-depth here.

First off, it's important to note two fundamental basics:

  • Every skill you have, aside from defensive skills, has a "Stagger Power"
  • Every enemy in the game has a "Stagger Point".

There are two other forces at work here as well though: Stagger Preservation and Stagger Decay. Let's go over them.

Stagger Power

Stagger Power is the power of your ability to add to the stagger meter. This is rated from E (lowest) to A (highest). You obviously would prefer a higher stagger power point if you could, but keep the ability's ATB cost in mind as well. Note that you can sort your ability list by stagger power to help. We should also note that the vast majority of enemies have several specific stagger notes that provide bonuses to your stagger power when followed. These can be viewed in the Bestiary or inside the in-game datalog.

Stagger Preservation

Stagger Preservation is the power of your ability to stabilize your current stagger level. Remember how the Commando role was used to stabilize the stagger points that Ravager's could do in the previous games? This is the same concept and is used to help against stagger decay.

Stagger Decay

Stagger Decay is the unseen force at work that lowers your stagger wave over time. After all, if you aren't hitting the enemy you can't expect your stagger wave to stay the same! This is the reason stagger preservation is even on our radar. Note that for some battles you may never have to worry about preserving your stagger progress as you should be able to stagger lesser foes well before you completely run out of ATB.

Stagger Point

The enemy's Stagger Point is the hidden threshold that all enemies have before they succumb to your stagger attempts. This is naturally higher on tougher enemies and bosses, and some enemies may even have multiple stagger points and thresholds.

So the key to staggering a foe is to combine stagger power and preservation. This is ideally done with a series of power attacks and capped off with a high preservation strike while you recharge and/or defend. Take that basic concept and add in your foes specific stagger bonuses to emerge victorious.

Status Effects

Status Enhancements and Ailments are a key part of RPG's. Since you'll be seeing these enhancements and ailments throughout the game, often in icon form, let's go through them below:

Status Enhancements

Again, you are unable to put any of these enhancements directly on Lightning, since Lightning Returns takes out every Synthesist ability. The only way to gain these enhancements is by either equipping a piece of equipment, by using a potion that gives these affects, or stealing them from an enemy. Sad Lightning is sad!
BraveryBoosts the damage inflicted with physical attacks.-
FaithBoosts the damage inflicted with magical attacks.-
HasteAccelerates the ATB gauge recharge rate.-
VeilIncreases resistance against status ailments.-
ProtectReduces the damage inflicted by physical attacks.-
ShellReduces the damage inflicted by magical attacks.-
VigilanceDecreases the likelihood of being interrupted by enemy actions.-
EnfireGives physical attacks the element of fire.-
EnfrostGives physical attacks the element of ice.-
EnthunderGives physical attacks the element of thunder.-
EnaeroGives physical attacks the element of wind.-
ReraiseTarget is revived from death.-
RegenHP will be healed over time.-

Status Ailments

Ailments can turn the tide of battle in your favor and should always have a place in your schemata. Removing these effects from yourself is hard to do with no esuna spell, but things like Esuna Guard, wearing ailment reduction equipment, Remedy Potions or even overwriting the negative effect with the opposite enhancement will get rid of it. If nothing else, most negative effects do clear over time.
PoisonDamage is inflicted over time.-
FogDisables the target's magical abilities.-
DeprotectReduces the target's resistance to physical attacks.-
ImperilReduces the target's resistance to elemental attacks.-
PainDisables the target's physical abilities.-
DeshellReduces the target's resistance to magical attacks.-
CurseThe target can be interrupted easier.-
DebraveReduces the target's physical attack strength.-
DefaithReduces the target's magical attack strength.-
SlowReduces the target's ATB recharge rate.-
DazeRenders the target unable to act, and increases the damage received.-

Stagger Status Ailments

These ailments are easily identified by being in a HEXAGON box versus a square box. For the most part you'll only see these ailments when you stagger noteworthy foes. Many of them do the same thing as the above status ailments, but are more of a "condition" the enemy is under than an ailment, and can be multiplicative. For example, an enemy can be "Unshelled" and have Deshell on them.
FoggyDisables the target's magical abilities.-
UnprotectedReduces the target's resistance to physical attacks.-
ParchedThe target to become weak to fire attacks.-
ExposedThe target to become weak to ice attacks.-
ConductiveThe target to become weak to thunder attacks.-
BrittleThe target to become weak to wind attacks.-
PainedDisables the target's physical abilities.-
UnshelledReduces the target's resistance to magical attacks.-
CursedThe target can be interrupted easier.-
HinderedReduces the target's movement.-
DazedRenders the target unable to act, and increases the damage received.-
ConfusedCauses the target to attack friends and foes.-
InfectedThe target becomes more susceptible to status ailments.-
BrokenThe target can be staggered much easier.-


After major story fights you will receive a score based on your performance. "What's it for?" some of you may ask. Good question. Nothing more than showing off on the Outerworld Service.

Battle scores are made of of three different types of stars from 1 to 5: Gold, Silver and Bronze. These are determined by your ultimate score with 5 Gold stars being the best and no-stars being the worst. The follow are the major things that affect your battle score:

  • Enemy ranking affects how your battle score will be determined, with lower ranked enemies being expected to be easier and graded harshly. No one should be sweating the Gremlin Omega, but a Dreadnought Omega will obviously be given much more consideration.
  • Battle time is directly tied to your score, after taking into consideration the enemy rank. Defeating a boss faster is more advantageous to your score than having to take forever. Faster isn't always better though, since you have to take the below points into consideration as well!
  • Using EP too much can hurt your score, as you are expected to complete a battle faster due to the use of EP. Using something like Overclock during prime stagger chances isn't going to kill your score, but abusing EP will lower your score drastically.
  • In conjunction with abusing EP, over-dependence upon item will hurt your score as well. This means that 1 item that is highly effective is more useful than a bunch of lower level ones, so use them wisely.
  • Your remaining HP at the end of the battle actually makes a difference!

Hopefully these tips help you out in whatever quest you may have to boost those scores. Krystal and I both posted scores throughout this walkthrough, so you can always try to beat us at the very least! Just don't email Bkstunt about it, his psyche is fragile enough as it is!

Tips & Tricks

Here we'll list a variety of tips and tricks, which you can, and should, read to help get the most out of your play-through. Given the wide-open and timed nature of the game, some of these tips can greatly help you out. Enjoy!

Basic Tips

1) The MOST IMPORTANT THING in the entire game is to realize that battling enemies DOES NOT make you stronger. In order to increase your stats, you must complete quests. Since the game is so open in what you can do, it is best to get some quests under your belt first before trying to tackle the major bosses in the game.

2) Keeping the above tip in mind, if you find yourself having a tough time with a boss and/or our suggest "speed" guide isn't helping, don't be afraid to go pursue the game's various side quests. You have more than enough time, so don't feel rushed.

3) As you play you'll come across treasure spheres that you can only unlock by spending EP on. These are best saved for later days when you have EP to spare. Be sure to look up what accessories are in the spheres to decide if it's worth sacrificing EP for or not when you could always come back later.

4)The story bosses and Last Ones drop their 100% drop on the ground, NOT in your inventory. Make sure to pick it up before you leave or you will lose them.

EP Ability-Related Tips

1) Learn to abuse Chronostasis. You get this ability early and can use it to freeze the in-game clock. Plus, it only costs 1 EP! Once you start fighting enemies that reward you with multiple EP and/or run into Chaos Fields, you can effectively start to chain Chronostais back to back and end up being able to accomplish a LOT more in one day than you could ever hope for without it. Always make sure that you are NOT at full EP, allowing battles to refresh your EP.

2) Arise says that it costs 3 EP, but in fact this is the cost to Arise with full HP. You can use Arise with 1 EP left, but it will only heal Lightning a small amount.

Quest-Related Tips

1) Many of the Main Quests in the game will lock you out of progressing them for certain periods of time (notably Luxerion and Yusnaan). Use this time to explore other regions, complete side quests, and advance other main quests.

2) Until you get to the later days of the game, you don't really need to focus on the Canvas of Prayers quests. The vast majority of these require monster drops, which you will accumulate naturally as you play (provided you aren't skipping every monster you come across).

3) Some Main Quests are easier than others. Notably the 1-1 set of missions (Luxerion) and the 5-1 set of missions (Wildlands). Especially the 5-1 set, as the "bosses" you need to face are rather trivial.

4) Doing certain quests or killing certain enemies as soon as you can will help you prepare for later challenges. Some examples:

  • Visiting certain Outfitters early in the game can net you some decent garbs that will serve you well. Examples include the Canopus Farm Outfitters for the elemental garbs and the Dead Dunes Station Outfitter for the Passion Rouge).
  • Every world has multiple free treasure chests you can usually get to right away. Many of these have very helpful accessories that will serve you well.
  • The Shard Blade dropped by Reavers is an EXCELLENT weapon that can carry you into the end-game (until you are ready to defeat "Last One" enemies). Try to farm for one as soon as you can. Get two if you are patient. Note that this weapon ONLY DROPS if you let the Reaver get to its "Sword Phase" and then Perfect Guard one of it's sword attacks. Even then there's only a 10% chance, but if you can get one or two you are set.
  • The "Skeleton in the Closet" quest in the Dead Dunes is lengthy, but worthwhile. The weapon drop from Skeleton Omega is a very good weapon that can carry you through the game.
  • Many unique garbs come from side quests. Be sure to check out the garb list to see what quests you can do and what garbs you can get sooner rather than later.

Combat or Schema-Related Tips

1) As a general rule of thumb, out of your three schemata try to have one focus on debuffs, one focus on magical attacks and one focus on physical attacks. Certain enemies and bosses will often require a more specialized set-up, but for most enemies this general set-up is good.

2) A note on accessories: Head Accessories ONLY AFFECT THE SCHEMATA THEY ARE EQUIPPED ON. Arm Accessories affect every schemata across the board. This is why you can equip auto-faith on your third schemata and see the effects as soon as you start a new battle.

3) Locked abilities on schema can not be removed, but they can be moved around to allow you to keep abilities on the keys that best suits you.

4) When you first start the game there are just some monsters you DO NOT want to fight. Seriously. Things like the Dreadnought and Earth Eaters will wreck you if you haven't got some time under your belt. If you are really in doubt, save the game manually before you try to battle them. That way, if you lose, you can reload and save the hour you lost.

5) Learn early the difference between guarding and Perfect Guard. Do your best to Perfect Guard any attacks you can, as doing so not only helps negate incoming damage but will also often help stagger (or downright stagger) your foe.

6) Consider putting Mediguard on one of your schema when you are fighting trivial enemies. Abusing Mediguard during an easy fight can often save you the hassle of using your recovery items and will save you money.

7) Don't underestimate the importance of saboteur spells! Imperil is one of the best abilities in the game, hands down, as it can open enemies up to a weakness that may not have existed before. Combine that with Deshell and magic and you're in business. Curse, Poison and Slow are also very useful abilities that will often make boss battles 100% easier when exploited (circumstantially of course).

8) Later in the game (after beating some main quest bosses) you'll receive some items that negate a huge chunk (75%) of magic or physical damage. You can combine these with garbs and accessories to negate 100% of that type of damage. For the most part this is un-needed throughout the game but remember it for certain difficult boss fights or enemy encounters, such as Aeronite, as it can literally save you.

Enemy-Related Tips

1) Late in the game you may be working on exterminating species (or early in the game, if you are following the guide). This can undoubtedly be a tedious process. If you want to speed this up, you can wait until later days (Day 11, Day 12) and often find many of the lower level enemies now spawn in large groups. Examples include Goblins, Hoplites and Gremlins.

Speed Walkthrough

Note that this walkthrough is intended to be a speed run, rather than a quest by quest guide. This means that we will not always be doing events in the linear order, but jump around from mission to mission to fill in the gaps in the most effective way.

This is based on the Piggyback Ultima Walkthrough Flowchart, but is the original authorship of our work.


We do cover each quest individually in their own section here: Story Missions, Side Quests, and Canvas of Prayers.


Enjoy the beautiful opening cutscenes that let us know what has happened since Serah's death and the strange new things that have changed in five centuries.

After the opening scenes we'll be given the opportunity to fight a tutorial battle, which is worth doing if you're new to the game. In a nutshell it explains how to switch between schemata and how each has their own ATB bars that regenerate when not in use. After the first fight you will get the opportunity to preemptively strike the enemies on the field, which is always a good idea as it makes your foe start out with less HP than normal. Practice getting behind your enemies here and hitting them from behind!

Interested in knowing the stats of the enemies you are fighting? No problem, just hold down R2 to use Libra and view your enemy's weaknesses.

Black Market Dealer

The second fight will also be a tutorial battle, giving us a chance to learn about guarding. Guarding is of the utmost importance, of course, but it's important to note that there is guarding and then perfect guarding; guarding at the last second is more beneficial, but also riskier. Players who are confident in timing the enemy's attacks are the only ones who should try this.

Clear out the Anubys and Niblets using magic attacks from both schemata, Lightning and Blizzard is best, as they make the enemies stagger easily. After they are gone the door will open in the distance. Head over there and up the stairs, where we'll run into a "Black Market Dealer". He will introduce the use of general stores, which also starts an item tutorial.

On Normal Mode or higher, Lightning's HP is not restored between battles. Keeping a healthy stock of potions and other remedies is a necessity to survival. On the flip side, if you have the Collector's Edition, using Aerith's Mediguard in battle will allow you to regen your health and since battle times do not affect the clock, this will be a great place to restore health and save money.

Go ahead and buy the Potion that the game makes us buy and then buy three more; after all, they cost 0 gil, so we might as well. Say goodbye to the friendly merchant and head up the stairs. Snow will appear and run away. Go ahead and follow him, as the right path only circles around, and take a look at the green circle on the map. This would take us back down downstairs, but there's no need to go down there as it's a dead end. Also note that you can also hold R2 to run.

Don't run into a battle, as it takes Stamina to run and if you have no Stamina you will be unable to perform a preemptive strike. Instead, let off the gas whenever you spot an enemy you want to fight.

In the upcoming hallway, fight the enemies to get a tutorial on how to change targets. Good to know! Keep following the linear path until a bunch of boxes block the path and jump up and over. Why Lightning, I'm impressed with your jumping skills! Kill the enemies as Hope explains what exactly happened to Snow. Follow Snow up a ladder and then keep going until we end up in front of a gate. Where did he go? I guess we should try and press this super hard to find button on the right here in the center of the column. Head onwards and soon we'll run into a room filled with Chaos and trigger a cutscene with Lumina.

Like all bad girls, Lumina will thrust us into a boss fight, and we use the words "boss fight" loosely as this is really just another tutorial battle on the all important issue of Staggering.

Boss: Zaltys

Attack TypeStatus Immunities
Firewyrm Scale
Firaga (Day 7+)
Holy Forgefire (Hard)

Basically all we need to do is use magic attacks until he is staggered. Once staggered, the game will teach us about Oveclock and how to use it. Use it now and lay into the beast with regular attacks. Once overclock is over continue the assault and by the time he recovers it will be nearly dead. Make sure to defend if he gets off an attack and then finish it off.

Compare your score with ours listed below and see if you can do better.

Battle Time00:00:4300:00:45

For more information on Scoring see our section above.

After the fight, continue onward ignoring the ladders in the "boss room". Eventually we'll run into a dead end with another cutscene, ending this prologue mission.

Day 1: The Ark

Well, Ms. Savior, Welcome to the Ark!

Our first order of business here is to get ourselves some loot. Look for the square boxes floating around, glimmering beautifully and open them up for Lightning's Devil's Daughter weapon, Mist Wizard garb, Blizzard Lv. 1 and Light Guard Lv. 1 abilities, and the Prytwen shield. If playing NG+ the Proof of Overcoming Limits will be standing there instead, which allows Lightning to exceed limits but prevents battle scores from being posted.

You can also visit the Rewards Barter Shop to obtain free schema items from DLC or by having a Final Fantasy XIII or XII-2 save.

Once we obtain the Mist Wizard outfit, we will be given the Customizing Schemata tutorial. This will walk us through how to create a new schema using all the items we have obtained. Go ahead and create the Mist Wizard schema and save it to an active battle slot, giving us three schemata in total. After we're done, exit the menu and gain the Escape EP Ability. This ability lets us escape from battle by choice or from reaching 0 HP. We can also examine the bookcase, the full one, in the middle of the area to re-challenge bosses. Go ahead and fight the Zaltys again to take the EP ability tutorial and use the new ability to flee the battle.

Using Escape costs no EP, but does drain an hour of time from the clock on Normal difficulty or higher, meaning you should not be using it if you don't have to.

After that we can go talk to Hope, finally! This will start a series of cutscenes, explaining quite a bit of the game and story. Talking to him again will unlock more options and the warp device that allow us to finally continue on with the game.

At the beginning of each section I will be giving you a time frame in you should stick to, trying to complete each section within the timeframe. These are rather fixed time frames, but I will try and make them as easy to achieve as possible. If you are worried, I suggest making a save at the beginning of each timed section and trying it out to learn where things are and see if you can make it, if you fail, reload and try again with the new knowledge.

The first time we set foot in Nova Crystalis is rather linear, but that will not be the case for the majority of the game.

21:00 - 22:00

After leaving the Warp Gate from the Ark we'll see another series of cutscenes and finally enter Luxerion, the capital of what's left of the world. In front of the Station the remains of a young girl have been put on display. Someone is targeting women with hair like yours! We'll have to investigate this.

Whither Faith
Difficulty: 2 Stars
The body of a young woman has been found in the plaza in front of Luxerion's North Station. It is just the latest in a string of murders in which the victim was a woman with the same color hair as Lightning. Could someone be going after the savior herself? Lightning needs to question witnesses in the area and report whatever she learns to the inquisitor in charge of the investigation.
Client: Inquisitor

To complete this quest we need to gather "Valuable information" and then report to the Inquisitor. There is a variety of information to be had, so let's go through it in bullet form!

  • From the Inquisitor, turn the camera around and spot the glowing pile of papers on the ground and examine them.
  • North of the pile of papers is a man near the ramp to the station named Thorton that can be talked to for the quest Where Are You, Holmes?
Where Are You, Holmes?
Difficulty: 1 Star
Inside Luxerion North Station, station attendant Thornton is worried about his colleague Holmes, who has failed to turn up for his shift. Can Lightning help find him? The quest must be completed by 6 AM. Try searching for a man in uniform near the town hotel in the station plaza.
Client: Thornton

Fighter's Emblem
  • Turn left of Thornton's location and head northwest to the Innkeeper and talk to him.
  • Head west along the corner of the Inn and talk to Holmes, who will follow Lightning around, slowly.
  • Turn around from Holmes location and talk to the owner of the Outfitter's Shop.
  • Talk to the man up the ladder to the east.
  • Instead of heading back down, jump off the north side of the scaffolding to grab on to the wall to pull up for the Fighter's Emblem.
  • Talk to the Officer by the treasure for more info.
  • Head into the Station and talk to Thornton to complete the side-quest for 300 gil, the Railworker's Cap and Railworker's Beret adornments, Maximum HP +30, and Strength +3.
  • Talk to the people inside the station.
  • To the south, by the water's edge we will spot a man fleeing. Catch him and talk to him for more info.

Once we have all that info, go talk to the Inquisitor to share what we know, completing Whither Faith and gain 800 Gil, the Scholar's Glasses adornment, Maximum HP +80, Strength +6, and Magic +6. This also unlocks the Chronostasis EP Ability, which is vital to slowing down time and letting us complete more quests.

Chronostasis is your friend; it will help you get many things done in a short period of game time.

But what about using up all my EP, you ask. Well, EP is commonly only used for 2 things: Chronostasis and Overclock. Since you will not need to use Overclock in anything except tough fights and boss battles, this makes Chronostasis the best use of your EP.

22:00 - 0:00

NibletThese enemies are weak to fire spells, but can also be staggered when they go to use Glutton. Instead of defending when you see this, go for the attack to get an instant stagger and finish them off.
GremlinThese enemies are weak to stagger when they are casting, which they always begin the fight with. Go in for the attack right away and you should have no problem finishing them.

Story Mission 1-2 starts at midnight by being in the North Station Plaza and does not give us a quest introduction like Mission 1-1 did. Until midnight we can spend some time clearing out the surrounding area.

As you walk around you may find shining spots on the ground that grant random items, generally Medals. These items are not used for anything in the game, but can be sold as a great source of money. Anytime you have some on hand and are at a shop, you should sell your Medals.

Now that the shops are open we can see what they have to offer and even talk to Chocolina to learn more about the Canvas of Prayers. Chocolina is standing besides the North Station entrance and will appear by all stations in all regions, though the quests she offers are limited to the region she appears in.

Quill Pen

There are multiple shops in the Plaza and even more to the northwest that should get checked out. We suggest the purchase of the Nocturne outfit at the Outfitters to make a better schema than the generic ones that we begin with. The Adventuring Essentials is a new feature in the Final Fantasy XIII series that allows us to purchase Libra info on enemies prior to even encountering them. While this may seem great, this information can be gained naturally as we fight. That being said, sometimes it is good to find out more about the higher level enemies or enemies you will be encountering in an area to set up proper schemata.

To the southeast is Old Town, which is split into an upper level to the south and a lower Marketplace to the north. Start by taking the right path to the upper section and jumping off the scaffolding to reach a Runic Ring (1,500 gil) and then drop below. Directly northwest, inside one of the market stalls, is a Sparkstrike Lv. 2. There is nothing to the east, so check the first stall on the northern wall and strike the red boxes to obtain the Quill Pen quest item and then check out the rest of the shops. The Sorcery Shops has a great tutorial, but ignore the man selling a shell for 600 gil for now.

We should now spend time looking for the medals until nearly midnight and then make our way to the North Station Plaza and wait for midnight.

0:00 - 1:00

FanaticUnless you are in NG+, these enemies will gang up on you and take you out fairly quickly. They cast deprotect for increased damage on Lightning, but are weak to AOE spells, as they usually appear in groups.


At midnight a group of people in white robes, The Children of Etro, will show up near Old Town. They'll slowly make their way to the far gate in the northwest and we'll need to tail them, stealthily. Since we know where they'll spawn in, go stand on the northwest side of the big central column in the middle area so they don't see us.

Channel your inner Solid Snake and move around the central column, while keeping an eye on them. If they do spot us we can climb the clock tower and watch them from above. They take their time, but will eventually get through the gate and take a right up the stairs to a narrow pathway. Keep following them, staying out of sight behind corners and crates in the pathway.

Soon we'll catch up to them for a cutscene and learn more on their little meetings and how to get to them. And with that this mission is over. Easy!

On the flip side, you can defeat the group and head straight for the phone booth by the Forsaken Graveyard to save some time if you are in NG+.

1:00 - 2:15

Head back to the North Station Plaza and talk to the young girl by Chocolina with to begin The Things She's Lost quest.

The Things She's Lost
Difficulty: 1 Star
A tearful Dolce tells Lightning that she has lost her prized treasure, a green Carbuncle doll, somewhere near North Station. Perhaps Lightning can find it - but it won't be easy, if the toy has come into contact with another dimension.
Client: Dolce
Quest Item: Green Carbuncle Doll x1

Green Carbuncle Doll

Head to Old Town in the southeast and grab the Green Carbuncle Doll next to the singing bard and return it to Dolce for 100 gil, Carbuncle Figurine adornment, Maximum HP +30, and Magic +3.

Use Chronostasis and then head west through the gate and then south into the Commercial District. Keep an eye on the left side of the area for a ladder and climb it to a Twist Headband on a high ledge. Continue south up the zigzag stairs and then turn around and jump over on the ledge for a Magician's Token.

Ignore most of the next area and take the south stairs to a man named Baird in the Arcade, the dude with the black mage type hat. This guy opens up the quest Soul Seeds by purchasing a Seedhunter Membership Card for 2,000 gil. While this seems like a lot of money now, the rewards will cover the cost quickly.

Soul Seeds
Difficulty: 1 Star
In the North-South Corridor, in the Arcade, Lightning encounters Baird, a merchant of sorts. He tells her that he will pay handsomely for any soul seeds she can find. A select group of daring seedhunteres make a living by jumping into the Chaos and grabbing soul seeds. Lightning can join their ranks and sell any seeds she finds to the soul seed traders. Easily spotted because of their distinctive hats, one of each trader can be found in Luxerion, Yusnaan, the Wildlands and the Dead Dunes.
Client: Baird
Quest Item: Soul Seed x1

Accept the membership and then trigger Chronostasis, since we will be getting a free charge in a second. Head south into the Chaos Infusion, which offers Soul Seeds as shining purple objects on the ground and also boosts the enemies found within. Here we will need to kill the enemy in our way and then pick up Soul Seeds that can then be handed over to Baird to complete the quest for 400 gil, the Black Tattoo adornment, Maximum HP +40, Strength +2, and Magic +4.

Activate Chronostasis again, if needed, and head south to take the first left to start the Born from Chaos quest and then continue to South Station.

Born from Chaos
Difficulty: 3 Stars
In the North-South Corridor that extends south from the warehouse district, a mighty Zomok from the Chaos is terrorizing local residents. Thirteen hardened bounty hunters tried to slay the menace, but only a fighter called Solandra survived to tell the tale. Can Lightning defeat the Zomok on her behalf?
Client: Solandra
Quest Item: Cursed Dragon Claw x1

Proof of Courage

South Station is a pretty large area, but we can ignore most of it, as much of it is just shops and treasures we can't open. Turn left and head down the stairs and then follow the wall to a treasure with Guard Lv. 2 and then follow the wall south into the main plaza and continue left (east).

Don't check any of the stands to the left, as they are all empty, and instead head straight for the stairs on the right to an upper level directly east with a Violet Amulet on the other side of it.

Head east more, through a door, and check the glowing pile of debris for the Proof of Courage and then backtrack and follow the south path to a small section with a cat called Gem to accept the Stuck in a Gem quest.

Stuck in a Gem
Difficulty: 2 Stars
On Pilgrim's Passage in the holy district, Lightning meets a talking cat who begs for help. Can this really be part of the savior's mandate? Must Lightning help cats as well as people? The talking cat is really a young boy called Ronan, whose soul has ended up in a cat's body thanks to Lumina's trickery. The only way to return him to his true form is a dose of an antidote called starlit spice. The first step is to find a merchant in Luxerion who sells the concoction.
Client: Gem
Quest Item: Starlit Spice x1

Grab the Guard Glove (1,500 gil) in the area with the cat and then follow the path west to the South Station and catch the 2:15 train to The Wildlands.

Day 1: The Wildlands

TriffidThese flowery enemies are weak to fire and are generally pretty weak if their attacks are guarded properly.
MiniflanThese usually come in pairs and are weak to lightning, especially AOE spells.
ValiThese guys are weak when they appear alone, which they do on the Grasslands. Simply use wind-based attacks and they will die quickly.
ReaverThese deadly enemies should be avoided on your first trip to The Wildlands. If you feel you want to try them out, or you are in NG+, these enemies are weak to ice and lightning. After taking significant damage, they will get on their hind legs, pull out a sword and recover their health. They will then be even more deadly.

2:30 - 3:15

The Wildlands are a vast area that we could spend ages exploring, but our visit is going to be short and sweet. After gaining the EP Ability Teleport approach the exit to learn more about the Angel of Valhalla. Um... OK. I guess we're off to Canopus Farms!

Save before you enter The Wildlands

As you can easily run into Reavers that will cost you an hour to escape, as they are very dangerous. If you do run into one, use Ice and Lightning abilities to stagger it, but Perfect Guards are the key to staying alive and taking no damage from their massive attacks.

Start by hitting Chronostasis and from the station head out into the Wildlands and south down the path. We will want to collect the flowers that bloom in the Wildlands every time we visit, but for now we will only be getting the three that stand between us and Canopus Farms. As we head south, look to the left for the first Moonsoul Bloom and then check the right side for the second Moonsoul Bloom at the end of the metal railing. Ignore the path leading to the right and head straight for the windmill in the distance, grabbing another Moonsoul Bloom on the way.

Dr. Gysahl

Talk to Dr. Gysahl standing still by a blue hut, past the farm area. Although he will initially tell us to go away, after hearing the cryptic words that Lightning heard he'll be more than willing to help. He'll explain a few things about the White Chocobo and the temple of the Goddess, the place from which Chaos first flowed 500 years ago. After talking to the Dr. Gysahl we will need to talk to his student.

The man we're looking for is standing directly across from Gysahl with red-hair. After talking to him we'll learn the best way to actually find the white chocobo is to search for its predator, the Chocobo Eater. Great, the bird has a deathwish! You can probably foresee this, but we're going to be fighting that deathwish, but not now.

Make sure to check the east side of the farm to purchase the Ignition and Woodlands Walker garbs before heading back to the station and getting the 3:15 to the Dead Dunes.

Ignition comes with Fire Lv. 2 and Woodlands Walker has Aero Lv. 2. Both of these are very useful in the Dead Dunes, where we will be heading next. As such, we suggest you make a schema setup with it these ASAP.