I have had this problem with both Final Fantasy XIII and XIII-2. I don't like using Auto-Battle because I like actually choosing my attacks rather than just picking a paradigm and pressing Auto-Battle (Auto-Battle just feels dirty to me). The problem is that star score ratings are based on how quickly you finish off your opponent. Shorter fights I can usually still get five star ratings, but longer fights I sometimes struggle to meet the target times.

What can I do to try and achieve five star ratings without stooping to Auto-Battle or just mashing my attacks in as fast as I can?

  • The current (accepted) answer is quite good at explaining the points system but doesn't seem to address your real question very well. As to that, I would suggest memorising the location of important attacks and being very quick with your fingers. Sometimes this is better than auto-battle, for example using 'thunder' (it is fastest animation) on turtles, buffing, using one of the super moves (highwind, death, ...). Feb 28, 2012 at 13:45
  • @GlenWheeler I fail to see how I didn't directly address the question: to improve your chances of getting a five star rating, decrease the battle duration or increase the target time using any combination of the methods I provided. Having different methods for decreasing the battle duration is fine (you should really leave them as an answer, not a comment), but it's all accomplishing the same thing.
    – user3389
    Mar 12, 2012 at 11:42
  • @Mark I was just referring to the "without using Auto-Battle" part of the question, which seems quite critical. Your answer addresses the issue of how a 5-star can be obtained, but does not discuss the particular point of obtaining it without the usage of auto-battle. Mar 12, 2012 at 22:10
  • @GlenWheeler None of the suggestions I provided require the use of auto-battle: quickly selecting abilities (either through motor memory/button mashing or auto-battle) is only one small part of maximizing five-star ratings. You give yourself more time to select abilities manually by optimizing everything else with respect to target time.
    – user3389
    Mar 12, 2012 at 22:16

1 Answer 1


Battle ratings are directly related to battle points, which are a function of your battle performance over the time it took to complete a battle. The Final Fantasy Wikia has the full formula analysis, and in a nutshell:

(e is a single enemy, p is a single party member)

But more basically,

  • Completing the battle faster increases points.
  • Taking on enemies that outmatch you increases points, while taking on enemies you outmatch decreases it1.

Since you want to maximize the number of five-star ratings you get, the enemy strength part of the formula (HPenemy and Levelenemy) are going to be constants. And unlocking ATB meter segments doesn't have an undo, so let's assume that's constant as well.

So, to maximize your points (and thus the frequency at which you get five-star battle ratings) you have two options:

  • Decrease your party's combined attack power (FF13)
  • Decrease the time you take to complete a battle

Decreasing your party's combined attack power (FF13)

This is easy: wield poor-quality weapons. Some battles this is pretty effective, others not so much, where you'll find the battle takes longer due to the lack of attack power.

Decreasing the battle duration

There are a few things you can do to complete a battle faster:

  • Invest in haste/ATB rate gear. Faster ATB gauge filling allows for more attacks per minute

  • Research the weaknesses of the opponents you're fighting. Check the bestiary and focus your attacks on what they're weak in.

  • Stagger quickly. Use paradigms like Relentless Assault (RAV, RAV, COM) to fill up the chain gauge as fast as possible. If you have three excellent ravagers, using Tri-disaster (RAV, RAV, RAV) to stagger might be a gamble, but should be doable if you outmatch your opponents. Items with quick-stagger will also help with this.

  • Maximize damage after stagger. Because the chain bonus from stagger is so large, it's almost always better to switch to a commando-heavy paradigm, like Cerberus (COM, COM, COM) or Aggression (COM, COM, RAV) after the stagger instead of continuing to build up the chain bonus with ravagers.

  • Single-target DPS difficult opponents first, then AoE everything else. Make use of the "cross" and "wide" paradigm modifiers (FF13-2) to switch between paradigms that focus fire heavy opponents (or healers) first, then take out the rest with wide attacks.

  • Get preemptive strikes. Maximize pre-emptive strikes by getting a "Great!" rating on the Mog Clock (FF13-2). Besides getting a head start on the battle, pre-emptive strikes increases your points by 20%, so it's definitely something you want to do often.

  • Cheat time (FF13). The Gold Watch accessory is killer for getting 5-star ratings: it increases the target time by 10%.

  • Cheese your opponents (FF13-2). Because target time is not affected by your party's strength in Final Fantasy XIII-2, most of the time you can secure five-star ratings by overmatching your opponents by expending more CP or buying better equipment.

  • Utilize the ATB Refresh mechanic. Due to a quirk of the paradigm shift, your ATB gauge immediately fills up when you perform a paradigm shift, allowing you to instantly execute another series of moves. You can even duplicate paradigms in your deck: for example, create two Relentless Assault (COM/RAV/RAV) paradigms next to each other so you don't have to worry about juggling ability sets. ATB Refresh has a ~10 second cooldown, though; I've been able to maximize it by doing:

    1. Get a preemptive strike to instantly fill up the ATB gauge
    2. Execute the first set of attacks
    3. Shift paradigms when the last attack is landing to instantly fill up the gauge again
    4. Execute two more sets of attacks
    5. Shift paradigms again to get a free ATB refill
    6. Go to step 4.

Note 1: Target time calculation was simplified somewhat in Final Fantasy XIII-2 and a party's power compared to its enemies no longer affects it. See my answer here for confirmation tests.

  • Paradigm shifting more (for staggers) and then going COM COM COM, and getting preemptive stikes (I completely forgot about the bonus from them /headslap) worked great for the fights I did last night. Thanks Mark. Question for you which might be worth another question, but I haven't researched it at all first... Does changing the fight battle speed to slow (which makes the ATB gauge fill slower) increase the target kill time? I would think so but I have never tried it.
    – Adanion
    Feb 15, 2012 at 14:51
  • @Adanion It doesn't.
    – user3389
    Feb 15, 2012 at 20:42

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