You will encounter dozens of different enemy types during your travels through the main regions in Lightning Returns. Many roam alone, but some are found in pairs, or even larger groups. With certain battles being unavoidable, and the rewards for taking down enemies very valuable (new abilities, pieces of equipment, quest-related drops, gil), it is essential that you get to know the strengths and weaknesses of your foes. Even more important is the need to react accordingly by adapting your Schemata and tactics.

You can view “Libra” information on your opponents during battles or using the in-game Bestiary. Most fields will be blank on a first encounter, but additional data will appear during combat, and on subsequent meetings. It usually takes a handful of separate battles to build a fairly complete picture of a particular adversary’s strengths, weaknesses and special attributes. Once an entry is fully revealed it is marked with a checkmark in the in-game bestiary, which has one practical benefit: it increases your chances to obtain “rare abilities” – in other words, those featuring an auto-ability – every time you defeat a creature of the species in question.

To speed up the process of revealing enemy data, you can deliberately try out all types of attacks as the battle begins: quickly cast all four varieties of elemental spells with your magic-oriented Schema, then switch to your ailment Schema and cast all available spells, then switch to your physical-oriented Schema and unleash a physical attack. This short round of moves will uncover most of the creature’s essential information.

Alternatively, you can purchase monster notes from Adventuring Essentials merchants, which offer you the benefit of a fully-revealed Libra page for a relatively minor investment.

Much of the data obtained for each enemy concerns their susceptibility or capacity to withstand elemental forces and status effects. This is vitally important, as exploiting these weaknesses is the only way to stagger and defeat your opponents quickly. Indeed, if you have not discovered that a foe has a high resistance to (or, worse, absorbs) Wind-based damage, for example, any ability infused with that element will heal your target instead of damaging it. 

As you establish that different kinds of attacks are more or less effective against different enemies, you will simultaneously discover each creature’s stagger conditions. These list the most efficient ways to stagger your foes – an essential step for painless battles.

There are a few final tips that you should know to fully understand the danger posed by monsters:

  • Monster Evolution: From Day 7 onwards, all monsters grow stronger at regular intervals in the timeline (see the Complete Official Guide’s Bestiary for details), dealing more damage to Lightning and taking less damage from her. This is a critical factor that you need to take into account when planning your journeys and the order in which you will be completing main storyline missions and secondary quests.
  • Item Drops: As monsters grow stronger from Day 7 onwards, they also yield better rewards. You receive more gil, but more importantly you also have a better chance to obtain superior item drops, and high-level abilities. For example, an enemy type that regularly drops a standard version of Ruin Lv. 1 in early days will start to drop Ruin Lv. 2 or Lv. 3, potentially in rare versions, on later days. This makes the process of hunting down enemies far more rewarding, though more difficult, during the later stages of the story.
  • Last Ones: There are a limited number of monsters inhabiting the lands of Nova Chrysalia. Once you defeat all the individuals of a species, it will have been exterminated, never to appear again. However, when ridding the world of monsters, you must take heed of the Last Ones. These are the very last specimens, appearing when their species is on the brink of extinction. Last Ones are magenta in color, and far more powerful than their predecessors. They’re also easy to identify from the letter “Ω” (omega, the final letter of the Greek alphabet) that appears in their name. Eliminating them usually offers valuable item drops, as well as a piece of equipment to collect on the ground right after the battle ends. It’s worth noting that a handful of species cannot be exterminated – these are all clearly identified in the guide’s Bestiary.

The Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII Complete Official Guide features an all-encompassing Bestiary chapter, with complete coverage of all monsters, highlighting their weaknesses and how they can be defeated with ease with reliable five-star strategies. The information you have access to for each enemy type includes:

  1. Main attributes (HP, Strength, Magic, Keep)
  2. Rewards (Item Drops, Gil, EP)
  3. Data (Habitat, Extinction Value, Launch & Disruption)
  4. Damage Types & Modifiers
  5. Status Ailment Resistances
  6. Stagger Details (Stagger Point, Stagger Decay, Maximum Wave Preservation, Stagger Duration, Added Effects, Effect Duration, Iterative Resistance, Stagger Modifiers)
  7. Conditional Changes
  8. Strategy (Schemata Preparation, Overview, Power Play, Last One Notes)
  9. Summary
  10. Abilities Tables (for all significant foes: large-scale enemies and bosses)

The guide also reveals the various attribute and parameter modifiers applied to enemies depending on your chosen difficulty mode and current progress in the in-game timeline. Last but not least, you will find two complete enemy directories in the guide: one sorted in the same order as in the in-game Bestiary, and one sorted alphabetically. You can use this to track down any creature with ease.

Get your copy of the Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII Complete Official Guide and be sure to order the Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII Game as well.