Techniques are acquired via the Ascension Grid, and can be used in battle by pressing or when using the Type A control scheme. Using a Technique for the first time earns the Brother-in-Arms achievement/trophy.
Each character has one base technique available at the start. Some techniques level up with use; each time they do, their power and critical rate increase. Critical techniques, indicated by a yellow bar rather than a green one, have strengthened effects. Some food dishes will be favored by a party member, guaranteeing critical versions from them (or in Noctis’s case, boosting the tech bar replenish rate). Techniques can be swapped with the Gear option in the main menu. Guests' techniques cannot be changed, nor do they appear in the Ascension, but they can be levelled up with repeated use.
Techniques' use is mandated by the tech bar, a gauge that fills over time during battle. It is segmented into three, and the bar must first fill to either the first, second, or third to use a specific technique. The tech bar can be upgraded via the Ascension Grid.
Noctis cannot use techniques, and instead has Armiger. He can follow up on the techniques if positioned right, however. For example, when using Gladiolus's Cyclone, the player can at times initiate a follow-up attack where Noctis spins from Gladiolus's sword and deals damage to surrounding enemies. The characters involved in the technique, as well as Noctis, are invulnerable to damage during the tech animation. Some 1 or 2 bar techniques can be performed simultaneously, but then the player cannot do the follow-up to the first technique.
Gladiolus's techniques damage enemies, and often break appendages, making them vulnerable to further harm. Ignis's techniques aid the player by healing, providing warp points, and bestowing elemental buffs. Prompto's techniques are ranged, from shooting through enemies from afar to using flares to combat daemons, to using his photography skills in battle (although he will always take photos in battle randomly). Iris has two versions of her technique; it instantly kills magitek troopers, and damages other enemy types.
When the ability to play as the other party members is unlocked, they gain the same techniques available to them in their respective DLC episodes. Like in the DLC, these techniques will never trigger critically. Noctis, Ignis, and Prompto have their tech bars fill even when not playing as them. Gladiolus retains his vigor level when switching to another character, then back to him.
Techniques and related Ascension Grid abilitiesEdit
Noctis uses Techniques as part of his Armiger Unleashed mode in the Windows and Royal Editions. Armiger Unleashed replaces techniques with Unleashed techniques and the tech bar carries over from before activating the mode. The bar keeps replenishing unless frozen by the Armiger Accelerator accessory. Noctis is invincible during technique animations. Equipping Tech Turbocharger while in Unleashed lets Noctis use techniques more often, but stops the Armiger bar from filling.
Cloaks a sword in a magic aura and slashes forward once. Has a huge knockdown multiplier and hits up to three times. Deals Light-elemental damage.
Brings the royal arms in front of Noctis in a cylindrical formation that damages foes and shoots it forward, splitting into multiple homing bolts. Deals ballistic damage.
Takes a stance and summons phantom swords around Noctis. Swords will rain down as Noctis use normal attacks.
Legacy of the Lucii
Executes a flashy combo using many royal arms and finishes with an Area of Effect magic attack on the ground that deals Light-elemental damage.
Royal Cleave can be used to knock down enemies to set up combo finishers and as part of a regular combo, useful for avoiding damage mid-combo. Apocalypsis is useful to unleash near a target. Dynastic Stance is good against groups of enemies, or when fighting Light-immune foes. Because the blades will often not fire when using finishing moves, it may be better to simply use regular combo attacks while under its effect.
Legacy of the Lucii performs a damaging combo and many of its hits deal area damage. The final swing is very powerful and often hits multiple times.
Along with Highwind, the player can again invoke Aranea to use Dragoon Dive indoors with the Technique command, costing 2 tech bars. Aranea downing enemies can set them up for Prompto to use his crackshot for critical damage.
Prompto can also use Starshell and Selfie Shot to light the battleground with flares and to take selfies in battle, like in the main game, though Selfie Shot costs 2 bars and is always a selfie. After beating the episode once, Prompto gains the ability to use Trigger Happy, which works much like how it does in the main game, albeit with quicker shots that are always critical, and a strong explosive ending shot that can stagger groups of enemies.
Ignis has three Tactical Art techniques. High Jump acts similar to Aranea's Dragoon Dive at the cost of one tech bar. Ignis leaps towards his target (or straight down if there is none), dealing strong area damage which scales off the damage meter and breaks off enemy appendages, also granting AP for kills similar to Noctis's warp-strikes. Overclock doubles the damage meter for a random element at the cost of two tech bars, able to reach 8.0 and also doubling its growth rate. A higher damage meter may visually intensify the elements. Using Overclock again overwrites the last buff.
Additionally, while he acts as a guest party member, Ravus has a technique known as Last Rites, which costs one tech bar, in which he empowers his artificial arm with electricity and releases a Thunder-elemental AOE attack.
After beating the episode once, Ignis gains Quick Recipeh in the main game when he is in the lead, and after acquiring the necessary items from shops during subsequent playthroughs of the episode.
Quick Recipeh allows Ignis to cook a meal mid-battle. Its result is random, yielding either a buff or a debuff with four possible outcomes. Both the buffs and debuffs wear off if switching away from Ignis.
"Terrible": Ignis hunches over and is afflicted with two debuffs exclusive to him (damage and Total Clarity meters drop to 0, and he can't build them up again until to effect wears off), plus poison. The debuffs, including poison, ignore Ribbons, though poison can be still be healed with an item.
"Bad": Ignis shakes his head and is afflicted with the two exclusive debuffs neutering his damage and Total Clarity meters.
"Great": Ignis holds his fist in front of him, granting a unique buff the fills the Total Clarity gauge automatically.
"Perfect": Ignis holds out a dish, granting the previous buff and making him immune to damage and stagger.
Only one Technique is available: Sarah's Salvation, which is a sword attack against one target with a possible follow up from Noctis. It becomes available in the battle after meeting the Hiso Alien Elder and costs one tech bar to use. When the player invokes the tech in the boss battle, Noctis will accidentally call Sarah either Gladiolus, Ignis or Prompto, before correcting himself.
Prompto is the only one to use his Techniques against the player when fought as a training partner at camp: he uses Recoil, Gravisphere and Starshell, although the latter has a different effect (inflicting Confuse). Gladiolus also uses Dawnhammer in the training room (in Parry and Rescue tutorials), Cor uses Lion's Roar when fought in Episode Gladiolus, Aranea frequently uses Highwind during her boss fights, and Ravus uses Last Rites when fought in Episode Ignis.
The "Prompto" who fights alongside Noctis in Chapter 11 at Eusciello is actually Ardyn in disguise. If the player invokes Techniques during this time, "Prompto" doesn't say the lines the real Prompto says, rather, he uses lines Prompto will use in Chapter 14. Starshell is an exception, but the player is unlikely to use it in this battle. It is not possible to use Snapshot at this time.