Final Fantasy XVI: The Rising Tide Review

by Gamingstry
Final Fantasy 16 The Rising Tide

Four months after the release of the first DLC, Final Fantasy XVI gets a second one in April. While the first expansion was rather thin in terms of content, The Rising Tide offers something big, with a new zone, new abilities, and new Eikon battles. Enough to make you want to give this special episode another go?

While it was initially announced that Final Fantasy XVI would not have any DLC, the latest episode in Square Enix’s flagship saga eventually got two additional adventures released after its launch. These DLCs were officially revealed at the Game Awards ceremony. The first, Echoes of the Fallen, was available immediately after its announcement last December.

As we mentioned above, this short additional adventure was only intended for those who enjoyed the original game, providing an extra challenge and that’s all. Meanwhile, this second DLC, The Rising Tide, promised to be far more ambitious, with a brand new zone, new powers, and new Eikon battles. After completing 100% of it, here’s what you need to know to decide if you should dive back into Final Fantasy XVI or not.

The Price

The Rising Tide is priced at $19.99 alone and $24.99 as part of the season pass with Echoes of the Fallen. The total lifespan for the main content of these two expansions combined is less than ten hours, so we’ll let you make up your own mind. However, note that this second DLC provides two new powers and an additional game mode in addition to its main quest, but the first only offers one new dungeon.

Like the first DLC, The Rising Tide takes place just before the final battle, and requires you to complete certain side quests in order to access it. One day, Clive receives a mysterious, unsigned letter asking him to save Leviathan, the lost Eikon. Surprised by the request, he decides to seek out its author, which leads Clive, Jill, and Joshua to the region of Mysidia. In this green oasis of magnificent blue skies and rich jungle, they discover the northern tribe’s dilemma and the secrets behind the story of the lost Eikon.

Right, it’s clear that The Rising Tide doesn’t shine for its story. Although the core of the plot can be quite touching, everything is presented superficially and straight to the point, which doesn’t really help you feel involved. It must be said that the main quest of this DLC only lasts about 3 hours straight, from the time you arrive, to the new dungeon and the fight against Leviathan. For a $20 DLC, that’s not much. Not to mention that it’s hard to feel a sense of involvement in the boring staged dialogues as in the original game. Unfortunately, we can’t say that the extra eleven side quests add much, apart from a little more lore about this northern tribe. However, these side quests are not disposable, as two of them feature boss battles similar to the hunts in the main game. While The Rising Tide won’t be remembered for its plot or lifespan, it does make up for it in everything else.

The Rising Tide shines first and foremost in its visuals. The Mysidia region is truly charming, with its blue skies and lush vegetation making a wonderful break from the gloomy skies everywhere else in the world. You can tell that the developers were aiming for an eye-popping effect, with this magnificent wave frozen by a beam of magic cast from afar, looking more Final Fantasy than ever. The same goes for the only dungeon in this expansion, which takes place in a city where time appears to be on hold. Plus, the arena where you face Leviathan is kept to a minimum, allowing you to enjoy the full scale of the battle. Still, it’s a shame to have exploration take a back seat once again. But from an artistic and visual point of view, The Rising Tide is a real success.

As announced by the director of this DLC, The Rising Tide is a new adventure dedicated mainly to challenge, to keep players coming back for more. While Echoes of the Fallen offered a major challenge, this second expansion goes even further, with the final boss of its dungeon having a fearsome and spectacular pattern. You must never drop your guard, especially in Final Fantasy mode, which offers the game’s highest difficulty. This challenge is also reflected in the battle against Leviathan, which is both impressive and challenging in New Game+. Without going too far, this is one of the most spectacular confrontations in the game, not too far from the one against Bahamut. But what really makes this expansion worthwhile in terms of gameplay is the new powers it introduces.

No surprises here, The Rising Tide enables Clive to control Leviathan’s powers, and the good news is that you get them right from the start of this adventure. In addition to the new skills available, Leviathan’s set also changes Clive’s gameplay allowing him to shoot from a distance. Several shots are available, and there’s even a Gears of War-style reload mechanic to spice things up. Better still, it doesn’t stop there. Without spoiling too much, The Rising Tide offers a second set of powers that also change Clive’s basic gameplay. It seems that the developers have been listening to players’ complaints about the repetition of basic moves, and have decided to offer greater variety through these new powers. And the perfect thing is that there’s a mode to try out all these new elements.

After completing The Rising Tide’s main quest, you unlock Kairos Gate. In short, it’s a sort of survival mode with roguelike elements, without actually being one. Basically, you fight your way through 20 circles, during which your performance is scored and converted into points. Between battles, these points can be used to acquire permanent or temporary buffs that only last a few circles. Obviously, if you die, you start all over again. And once again, the challenge is great, to say the least: in Final Fantasy mode, it’s really hard to get past the first few circles. In other words, this mode is designed for those who want to put their skills to the test, as you’ll need a lot of dedication to see it through.

Even more than Echoes of the Fallen, The Rising Tide is intended for those who enjoyed Final Fantasy XVI and are looking for more. Set in a breathtaking location, this DLC highlights challenge at its core, with a series of fearsome and spectacular battles. Gameplay also evolves with the introduction of new powers that finally bring more variety to the basic moves. However, in addition to the original game’s shortcomings, this expansion only offers a brief scenario and, above all, a very short main quest, putting its price in question.

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