As a bonus feature exclusive to North American, European, and Australian releases, and later put in Universal Tuning, the Arcade Mode is a gameplay mode that converts the game into a typical free-flowing action-based arcade-style fighting game, with all RPG elements and aspects removed and all characters' abilities stripped down to the basics to balance the playing field. All 20 main characters in the game, including the villains, are playable at start in the Arcade Mode, although the two extra secret characters, Shantotto and Gabranth, are not. Characters cannot level up in Arcade Mode, and customization is limited only to switching between normal and alternate costumes (if available).
The Arcade Mode lists three options to choose from: Normal, Hard, Time Attack. The last two have to be bought in the PP Catalog for 3000 and 10000 PP respectively; Hard Mode is available for purchase immediately, but Time Attack Mode can only be unlocked after clearing Shade Impulse chapter 4.
Normal Mode Edit
Normal mode utilizes level 10 characters, and consists of a sequence of battles against five randomly-selected CPU-controlled characters in the game (three heroes and two villains). Beating this mode will reward the player with 300 PP and a Chocobo Cologne. Summons and accessories are not equipped, and all characters start with their default abilities.
Hard Mode Edit
Hard mode utilizes level 50 characters, and consists of a sequence of battles against eight randomly-selected CPU-controlled characters in the game (alternating between heroes and villains, starting with a hero). Beating this mode will reward the player with 400 PP and accessories to make a Rosetta Stone. Summons and accessories are not available, and only have their default basic abilities.
Time Attack Edit
Time Attack utilizes level 100 characters, and consists of a sequence of ten battles against pre-set enemies (Sephiroth, Exdeath, Cloud, Tidus, Terra, Jecht, Ultimecia, Cloud of Darkness, Zidane, Chaos; note that the enemy character has a different build than the selectable character). Every character (except Chaos) is equipped with their level 92 weapons and level 99 armors. Each can also use a preset summon, but the player's chosen character can only use his or her summon three times throughout the course of the game. Beating this mode within 20 minutes will reward the player (Missions-Accomplishment 61) at least 500 PP and accessories depending on the time cleared.
- <15 minutes: x10 Megalixir, x10 Rosetta Stone components
- 15-20 minutes: x5 Chocobo Cologne, x5 Elixir, x5 Hi-Elixir, x5 Megalixir
- >20 minutes: x10 Transmogridust