The efficiency of certain abilities can be enhanced by performing them with Perfect Timing, which usually means that you execute the move during the final animation frames of a previous action.

  • Offensive abilities that you can link in a combo will be ever more powerful if you unleash them right as the last physical attack strikes or when the prior spell is unleashed. Perfect attacks deal more damage, but they require you to tap the relevant face button of your controller with the right tempo. They are, naturally, impossible to achieve if you hold the button instead.
  • Defensive guard abilities are also far more effective if you activate them right before the enemy's attack lands. Perfect Guard reduces (and may even negate) the damage sustained by Lightning, and can trigger an instant stagger on certain enemy types as a fringe benefit.
  • Striking certain enemies just before or after they perform a signature attack can also trigger an instant stagger.


Whenever 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 judgment and extensive practice, though its merits are substantial.

The Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII Complete Official Guide reveals the exact duration of all Perfect Timing intervals, how you can extend this time window, and the bonuses applied to every single ability when you successfully perform it with Perfect Timing.

Pre-order the Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII Complete Official Guide so you can have Perfect Timing, and be sure to order the Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII Game.