If you've ever played a Final Fantasy game, then you've met the unofficial mascot of the franchise: the Chocobo. These giant chicken-looking birds are the easiest way to explore hard-to-reach tracts of land by foot, or to cover a large amount of ground very quickly. While Chocobos might not always be the smartest animal you'll run into, they are adorable and they add plenty of fun to your gameplay. While they only really mattered in the past for exploration, Final Fantasy XV has delivered Chocobo races and battle abilities that you can unlock for your trusty steed.
Find the Chocobos
While you'll start to see Rent-a-Chocobo stands in many outposts at the beginning of the game, you'll have to actually unlock the ability to use them. To do this will require you to travel to Wiz's Chocobo Post. The first time this side quest opens up will be at the beginning of Chapter 3 when Prompto suggests a visit.
The side quest is called Friends of a Feather, and it's actual the first of several Chocobo based sidequests. Completing each of these sidequests at Wiz's will open up the ability to use Rent-a-Chocobo stands to access Chocobos no matter where you happen to be in the big, wide world. While the stands open up after the hunter quest "A Behemoth Undertaking", there are several more sidequests that you can undertake to help out Wiz and the chocobos.
After you finish the Behemoth hunt, you'll also get a special gift from Wiz for your help. The Chocobo whistle is how you can summon a Chocobo to you in the field. To do this you'll need to pay to rent a chocobo for the day from a stand, but then you can whistle to summon it to you in the field. This can be a seriously handy way to go ahead and get out of a nasty situation in a pinch.
Upgrade your Chocobo
In previous Final Fantasy games, Chocobos were an awesome addition to gameplay they never really changed or evolved much. The exception to this was if you completed specific quests to change or alter your Chocobos. In Final Fantasy XV your Chocobo can actually receive upgrades to its stats, as well as learn a handful of abilities that may be useful to you in the heat of battle.
There isn't an ascension tree, or any way to decide how your Chocobo upgrades though. Instead, it will level up as you ride it, capping out at 10th level. These boosts vary between battle skills, stamina, and new overall skills. The longer you have spent riding your Chocobo, the higher its level will rise and to get it all the way leveled up you only need to spend 30 minutes riding around.
At levels 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10, your steed will learn new abilities. These allow the Chocobo to flee from a battle with you riding, the ability to kick enemies mid-battle, buff Noctis in battle, attack enemies in battle, and even finally join Noctis to unleash Blindside link attacks. At other levels you'll get a boot to your stamina, speed, jumping height and stamina recovery rate.
You'll also have the option to customize your Chocobo. At Wiz's you'll find a woman standing next to a set of stables. By talking to her it gives you the ability to equip medals you have won for races, as well as customizing the look of your bird. While all you're really able to do is go ahead and change the color of your Chocobo, it's still a fun way to make your steed stand out amongst the others.
While Final Fantasy XV has a plethora of side quests and plenty of mini games to steal your time, none of them are quite as much fun as the Chocobo races. There are 7 races in all, and they will open up at different points during the game. While some of them will open up from completing missions, and for the most part you need to successfully win one race in order to unlock the next one.
In each race you'll be competing against your friends, starting with Prompto. During races, the most important thing to do is to keep an eye on your Stamina. While Chocobos always run at a trot, you can go much faster — it just drains your stamina in the process. By keeping an eye on your Stamina and dashing with only short breaks in between, you can ensure that you're moving at top speed at all times.
You'll be able to see your opponent on your mini-map, which is also a serious boon. That's because you can keep an eye on how close they are, allowing you to use a bit more strategy while racing. If you're running low on Stamina and you can see that your opponent is fairly far behind you, then it's easier to decide when to dash and whether you need to do it now or later to stay in the lead.
Chocobos can also perform slides, or drifts while running. This is an easy way to take a turn at a slightly sharper angle, and you can also regain stamina in a pinch. Sliding will keep you moving a bit faster than a trot, and with the stamina boost it's a great way to refill your gauge if you start to fall behind during a race.
There is also a way to enhance the abilities of your Chocobos, which can be particularly handy when trying to win difficult races. Greens are sold at the Chocobo Salon and can give your steed a serious boost. In order to feed your Chocobo any particular type of green, then you'll want to rest overnight at the Killiam Haven. Once you make camp, you're given the option to feed your Chocobo and the next day it will receive the bonuses.
Time Trial races
While most of the races have Noctis trying to beat one of his friends to the finish line, that isn't always the case. There are several Hoop races in which Noctis is basically racing against the clock, and trying to make his way through a variety of obstacles. These includes hoops you must literally jump through and obstacles to avoid.
In this mode, the point is not to pass the finish line first. That would be a moot point, as Noctis is the only one racing. Instead you'll have to pass through checkpoints and get through all of the hoops on the track successfully. For the most part, obstacles are pretty easy to avoid. You can swerve to get away from them while running, or if they pop up as you're completing a jump, you can glide and steer in order to hit the ground safely.
Hoops come in two different kinds. There are normal hoops which will just require you to jump through them. These can be a bit from the ground, and while you will need to time them appropriately, they are still fairly easy to get through without too many issues. During the Rocky Road race, you may see obstacles that require you to climb them and then jump through the corresponding hoop. These may take a bit more practice, but you should still be able to rocket through them by your third or fourth try on the course.
During some races there are also vegetables that Noctis can grab while riding a Chocobo. These vegetables will provide a pretty significant boost to speed boost, provided that Noctis can grab them at the correct time. If you can get the timing right, grabbing these veggies while running can ensure that you are always moving at top speed, even when you aren't actively dashing at the time.
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