Final Fantasy 16 best starter abilities: Which skills should you unlock first?

Final Fantasy 16 best starter abilities: Which skills should you unlock first?
Images via Square Enix

Written by 

Harry Boulton


22nd Jun 2023 00:00

Figuring out what the best starter abilities in Final Fantasy 16 are is key if you're wanting to maximise your ability point usage, and we've got all of the details you'll need on prioritising which skills you should unlock first.

Final Fantasy 16's move to a more action-focused combat system has seen the traditional turn-based skills replaced with new real-time abilities, but with the sheer amount of them in the game it can be quite challenging to know which ones to prioritise.

Thankfully, we've done all of the hard work for you and worked out which abilities you should unlock first in Final Fantasy 16, so make sure to read the rest of this guide below for all of the answers.

What are the best starter abilities in Final Fantasy 16?

Image of the downthrust ability in Final Fantasy 16
Click to enlarge

Here is a list of the best starter abilities that you should unlock first in Final Fantasy 16:

  • Swift Recovery
  • Burning Blade
  • Downthrust
  • Lunge
  • Heatwave

The first four in the list above are part of the starting skills, but are very much worth prioritising when you have the ability points spare.

Swift recovery is one of the simplest but most useful skills that you can pick up, as it will let you get back into the action quicker after getting hit. Burning Blade gives you the option to enhance your attacks with imbued fire, which is excellent for when your abilities are on cooldown.

Downthrust and Lunge somewhat join together as one, considering that they both use the same button combination. Lunge is - as the name suggests - brilliant at closing the distance on your foes and keeping combos alive. Conversely, Downthrust is great for in-air combat, and can deal important damage to any target it hits.

Finally, while it takes a couple of hours to get the chance to pick up Heatwave, it is by far the best early Eikon ability to pick up in Final Fantasy 16. It deals high melee and ranged damage and can hit more than one enemy if you aim your waves correctly. We recommend pairing this with Rising Flames, and was a combination we used for the majority of our time in the game.

What are the best abilities to upgrade first in Final Fantasy 16?

Image of the rising flames and heatwave abilities in Final Fantasy 16
Click to enlarge

Check out the list below to see all of the abilities that you should upgrade first in Final Fantasy 16:

  • Burning Blade
  • Precision Dodge
  • Rising Flames
  • Heatwave

While it is strong on its own, the upgrade to Burning Blade makes the ability far more ubiquitous in your arsenal. It speeds up the charge time for the attack, meaning that you only need to hold the button for a short while to unleash your fury, often making it ready by the time an attack animation has finished.

The upgrade to Precision Dodge is also one of the great stapes that you can opt for, as it simply increases the window for a Precision Dodge to occur. This is great for ensuring that you take less damage, and can also capitalise on your skills to deal more stagger damage to bosses.

For our final two picks, it is generally dependent on your Eikon ability choices, but we think that Rising Flames and Heatwave are definitely the best, and their upgrades make this choice even more clear.

Both upgrades deal more damage, but the upgrade to Heatwave in particular adds another projectile to the attack, making it even more effective against bosses and crowds of enemies.

The one thing we don't recommend, however, is upgrading Phoenix Shift, as all it does is increase the eligible phase distance. You can, of course, spend your ability points how you please if you think this is a worthwhile investment, but we scarcely found an opportunity where this would be worth it in the game.

So, that wraps up this guide on the best starter abilities in Final Fantasy 16, showing you which skills you should unlock and upgrade first in the game.

Find more Final Fantasy news and guides with ease by checking out our own dedicated game page.

Harry Boulton
About the author
Harry Boulton
Harry is a Guides Writer at GGRecon, having completed a Masters of Research degree in Film Studies. Previously a freelance writer for PCGamesN, The Loadout, and Red Bull Gaming, he loves playing a wide variety of games from the Souls series to JRPGs, Counter-Strike, and EA FC. When not playing or writing about games and hardware, you're likely to find him watching football or listening to Madonna and Kate Bush.
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