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Combat Basics

Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII Walkthrough and Guide by mogg1342
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Combat Basics

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ATB Gauges

During battle, actions that Lightning performs consumes ATB from the ATB (Active Time Battle) Gauges, which refill again with the passage of time. Each schema has its own ATB gauge. The equipment choices that you make for each schema can affect things like your initial ATB value and your maximum, as well as how quickly the ATB recovers.

Each ability you use has its own ATB cost, which you can check when you set abilities to your schema in Customize Schemata. Watch your three ATB gauges so that you can choose the best schema for the situation.

Switching Schemata

During battle, Lightning can switch between three schemata. A schema is made up of a garb which increases Lightning's parameters and has abilities to set to it, a weapon, a shield and other equipment. Press L1 or R1/LB or RB to instantly switch schemata. There is a limit to how many times you can switch. Each schema has its own ATB gauge and you can affect how quickly your ATB recovers with the auxilliary equipment you equip to each schema.

The ATB guages for standby schemata that Lightning is not currently using will recover three times as fast. When one ATB gauge runs empty, quickly switch schemata to stay in the game.


Use abilities like Guard to reduce the damage that you take from an enemy's blows. or spells. To guard against an attack, you will need to set a guarding ability to one of your buttons, then simply press it during battle. If you hold the button down, you can maintain guard as long as your ATB lasts.

If you time the guard just before an enemy's attack lands, you achieve a perfect guard which is ever more effective than a normal guard. In some battles, a perfect guard against a particular attack might even stagger an enemy.

Better Results with Perfect Timing

Certain abilities such as Attack and Fire which you can link in a series, or defensive abilities like Guard will be ever more effective if you unleash them at just the right time.

    Physical Attack - Right when the last physical attack strikes.
    Magic Attack - Right when the last spell is unleashed.
    Guarding - Right before the enemy's attack lands.

If you perform an action with perfect timing, you will see a glowing aura surround Lightning. Perfect Timing is a high-level technique that requires quick judgement and lots of practice.

Using Recovery Items in Battle

If your HP is getting low during battle or if you have been afflicted with status ailments,you can use recovery items to get yourself out of a tight spot. Open the pause menu and switch to the recovery items screen using L1 or R1/LB or RB. Using these items will not deplete your ATB gauge. Recovery items take effect immediately.

Staggering Enemies

By striking your enemies' vulnerabilities, you can break down their defenses and stagger them. Attacking a staggered enemy will deliver far more damage than usual and you'll be able to end battles more quickly. When you hit an enemy with attacks that can stagger it, you will see a stagger wave on its HP gauge.

The greater this wave, the more effective your attack was. As you get closer to staggering your enemy, the stagger wave will turn red, Keep hitting the foe until its staggered.
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