This achievement can be obtained on either Normal or Easy difficulty. Unlike other DLC episodes for XV, Ardyn's challenging battle unlocked upon completing the story is not the required target. You also do not necessarily need to create a new save file after clearing the game, although unless you're reading this in advance you most likely will.
To earn the A+ rank you:
- Must not take more than 30,000 cumulative damage from enemies, including the tutorial and final bosses
- Must not get KO'd and put into the powered up "Overkill" state
- Must not fail any of the four "strategy" tutorial popups near the beginning of the game
So long as those conditions are met, you still have an avenue towards the achievement using an existing save. Obtaining the Absolutely Astounding title (A+ rank) requires nearly all categories to have an A+ rating. You may either have all but one category with an A+ and that final category having a B, or two categories with A ratings and the rest with A+. Having a C or lower anywhere will drop the overall rank down to A.
The categories and known/assumed values to aim for are as follows:Total Score
: This is the combined amount of points earned via combat and by destroying certain types of objects (e.g. billboards, balloons) in the city. 1,500,000 points yields the A+ rating; 1,000,000 points are required for an A rating.Max Combo
: What it says on the tin. You need a combo of 400 for an A+ rating. The middle group of four soldiers along the central strip leading towards the palace are good targets for this if you haven't obtained it by the end of the game. Hold B and press the control stick left or right to strafe around an enemy and leave a saw-like projectile in your path that can hit multiple enemies several times.Enemies Defeated
: Exact value unknown, but this will happen automatically.Daemonifications
: This is the reaction command that pops up after hitting soldier-type enemies with the final part of your basic 5-hit combo. Minimum known number is 114; assumed actual value is 100 (same as the achievement).Sectors Controlled
: Your primary mission objective. You only need to complete 3 to finish the game, however you'll need all of them for your achievement and A+ rating.Undying States
: As explained in the opening tutorial, Ardyn's HP hitting zero puts him in a desperate state wherein his attacks become more powerful. To obtain the A+ rating, simply never let yourself fall to 1 HP.Damage Incurred
: Total damage done to you throughout the playthrough, including the tutorial and both end bosses. There's no way to track this number without killing the final boss and seeing your results page, so pay close attention and reload a save if you take too much damage during battle. To get an A rating you need to take less than 20,000 damage, whereas for a B rating it's more comfortable at an assumed 30,000~35,000 damage (more data points necessary for exact amount). Assumed value for A+ is 15,000 (credit: Guilty115) and it's not advised you intentionally try for that.Successful Strategies
: These appear during the tutorial segment before you're given full control of Ardyn in Insomnia. Simply clear all four of them for your A+ rating. As per MemoriesOfFinal, the four strategy tutorials are:
- Daemonify the enemy (the island)
- Daemonify five royal guards (the lab)
- Inflict Royal Retribution (the lab)
- Issue Ifrit a command (Insomnia)Battle Time
: This is the amount of time spent in active combat, not
your actual playtime. Unless you're being too cautious this should not be a concern; A+ rating requires less than 50 minutes spent in combat (credit: Silver Mitsuki & ArkhmInmate0801). We currently don't know what the cutoff for the A rating is, however SilverArrow20XX in the comments lists 01:12:XX as being a C rank. Based upon that, assumed that 60 minutes is the cutoff point for the A rating.
For further clarity, notes or information you can refer to the launch day thread located here