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Final Fantasy XIII is a linear role-playing game, featuring multiple systems for managing your equipment, party and character growth. A good understanding of the basic gameplay systems is necessary to get the most out of your party and allow you to continue advancing through progressively harder enemies without too much complication. Choices you make in your party's development will affect the rest of the game, so you should take the time before you start to eliminate some of the guesswork by reading through the Getting Started pages of this guide. While playing, you will gradually be informed through tutorials and trial and error how everything works, but you can get a head start by learning the basics.

Before you begin
  1. Familiarize yourself with the characters and roles available, and start thinking about your long-term party.
  2. Understand the different synthesis abilities, which will inform your decision on weapons and accessories throughout the game.
  3. Fully understand everything about how combat in the game works.

There is a lot to do post-game, and once you've completed the last chapter you'll need to expand your Crystarium quite a bit and upgrade your equipment. There is no need during the course of the normal game to upgrade anything. However, if you do, be sure to understand the efficient methods so you don't waste time and Gil. In addition, it is generally not efficient to grind for experience until Chapter 11.

Rare equipment and items

It is important that you don't sell or dismantle your weapons and accessories unless you really know what you're doing. The Treasure Hunter achievement/trophy can be missed in this way, and some rare items are only obtained once.