Final Fantasy 16: How to unlock Hard mode

Final Fantasy 16 is an exciting game, though it's a bit too easy for some.

Final Fantasy 16 has been out for over a week now, and while lots of players are loving it, some are wondering where the hard mode is. This is because, while the game has been praised by critics and fans for its exciting combat, many consider the game a bit too easy.

It’s fair to say that FF16 is the biggest departure from the other mainline entries combat-wise. After all, the game is noted to play more like Devil May Cry than previous Final Fantasy titles. In fact, while the protagonist Clive has access to fire, wind, and other abilities, the game features no elemental damage or status effects.

Despite the focus on the action, critics have praised the game’s combat system for being fun and engaging. And while there are players who aren’t fans of this new combat, many are happy with the action-heavy gameplay.

Though one thing that many players noted is that the game is a bit too easy, even in the Normal difficulty setting (or the Action-focused difficulty as it’s called in the game).

To get a more satisfying experience, playing Final Fantasy 16 in Hard mode should be the way to go. While the game does actually have a Hard mode, it’s sadly not available at the start.

At the beginning, you’ll only have access to the Story-focused (Easy) or the Action-focused (Normal) difficulty settings. To unlock the Hard mode or the Final Fantasy mode as it’s called in the game, you’ll need to finish the game’s story at least once and then play on New Game+.

This is similar to Final Fantasy 7 Remake which also only gives access to Hard mode only after beating the game once.

Aside from the more challenging difficulty, playing the game in Final Fantasy mode will also raise the level cap to 100, as well as give players the ability to craft the Ultima Weapon which is perhaps the strongest weapon in the game.

Sadly, for players who find the Normal difficulty to be too easy, there’s no way to make it harder until after beating the game. Hopefully Square Enix takes player feedback into account and releases a patch in the future that unlocks Final Fantasy mode right at the beginning for more experienced players.

Final Fantasy 16 is out now, exclusively on the PS5. In case you haven’t bought it yet and need more convincing, you can check out our review here:

Final Fantasy 16 Review | Reinventing an ‘Eikonic’ Franchise