Final Fantasy 16 The Rising Tide Review – A Fantastic Send-Off To 2023’s Greatest Hits

Press L3 + R3 to accept the truth that Final Fantasy 16 belongs in the series.

Final Fantasy 16 The Rising Tide Review
Overall
4
  • Story And Setting
  • Gameplay
  • Visuals And Performance

Verdict

The Rising Tide DLC offers great gameplay additions, a masterful Eikon fight, and a decent tie-in story to conclude FF16’s experience.

Pros

  • Great Gameplay Additions & QoL Improvements.
  • Amazing Boss Fights.
  • Variety Of Sidequests.
  • Gorgeous Visuals.

Cons

  • Decent Yet Still Insufficient Storytelling.
  • Still No Dedicated Sprint Button.

I was fortunate enough to review Final Fantasy 16 when it was first released in the Summer of 2023, and it is safe to say that it lived up to my three-year-long hype, albeit with some issues. Now, roughly ten months later, I am pleased to present my review of its latest and final expansion, the Rising Tide.

While the previous one, Echoes of the Fallen, offered nothing meaningful aside from being a glorified combat-focused side quest, I could tell you right now that it was great nonetheless due to the final boss fight against Omega. However, today’s discussion is primarily on The Rising Tide DLC and how it proves to the haters that Final Fantasy 16 is here to stay, whether they like it or not, without even playing it in the first place.

Key Takeaways
  • Developer: Square Enix Creative Business Unit III
  • Publisher: Square Enix
  • Release Date: April 18, 2024
  • Platforms: PS5, PC (TBD)
  • Game Length: 8-10 Hours
  • Time Played: 15+ Hours

Story And Setting

ff16 review
The Story. (Screenshot Grab: eXputer)

After the recency bias and honeymoon period with the game, I would honestly tell you that my thoughts on the base game narrative of FF16 were slightly mixed. I won’t go too much into detail on that, but let’s just say that while I heavily adored the Game of Thrones-esque inspirations, performances, and overall lore, the game mismanaged a few antagonistic characters that could’ve been fleshed out better.

Moreover, I don’t particularly appreciate how the game handled pacing between its grandest and lighthearted moments. Despite the issues I addressed here, I’ll give credit where it’s due to Naoki Yoshida and his team for still nailing a solid medieval fantasy setting with a high emphasis on political warfare while maintaining the spirit of a JRPG.

I expected the DLC to focus on Jill Warrick a little more, given that a particular encounter hints that she’s somehow connected.

FF16’s Rising Tide DLC expands on the Eikon lore, finally giving us much-needed answers on Leviathan the Lost, who was absent during the base game events. The main setting of the DLC is in the land of Mysidia, a land believed to be lost to the Blight but is, in fact, teeming with life and occupied by the Motes of Water tribe.

Clive and his crew at the Hideaway are contacted by a mysterious figure who wants us to save Leviathan and free his Dominant from captivity. This figure is Shula, the leader of the aforementioned Motes of Water tribe, tasked with maintaining Leviathan’s safeguard and the one who takes us to the Mysidia for the DLC.

A Short-Handed But Much-Needed Extension To The Lore

ff16 the rising tide review
Clive and Crew arrive at Mysidia. (Screenshot Grab: eXputer)

Regarding my thoughts on the Rising Tide DLC’s storytelling, I won’t go too much into spoilers here since this major quest takes place before the penultimate finale against the main antagonist; you’d be better off experiencing those sections yourself, even if his involvement is not anything major.

I expected the DLC to focus on Jill Warrick a little more, given that a particular encounter hints that she’s somehow connected. While much of the storytelling is concluded with Clive saving Leviathan after he clashes with him, the sidequests found in Haven are mainly focused on the stories of tribe residents.

ff16 rising tide dlc review
Haven, AKA the safe hub of this DLC. (Image by eXputer)

Now, I’m not saying that’s bad or anything since I actually liked most of these NPC sidequests, especially the one that backtracked on the origins of a certain boss fight character in the DLC. Aside from that, there’s nothing too much to dislike here since Shula, Leviathan’s infant Dominant, and the Tribe NPCs are fairly decent characters with their own stakes in the lore with a decent conclusion.

However, I would’ve loved it if this DLC had given me actual party banter, especially in certain sidequests since it felt like the base game’s exploration all over again, where the only actual characters were Clive and Torgal.

Gameplay

ff16 the rising tide dlc
The gameplay. (Image by eXputer)

Final Fantasy 16’s action combat and lack of RPG elements were probably the most controversial aspects of the entire game. While I mostly agree with those who said that, let’s cut the game some slack and accept the fact that this change was a great refresher for people who dislike the turn-based gameplay formula.

The one-on-one major boss encounter is fantastic since it reminded me of fighting a high-octane boss battle like Slave Knight Gael from Dark Souls 3.

After all these months since the original release, the Rising Tide expansion offers significant additions to the gameplay. There are two new Eikons, one being Leviathan and the other a secret one (which I won’t tell due to spoiler reasons, obviously) that unlocks when you jump into the Kairos Gate for the first time.

ff16 kairos gate
The Kairos Gate mode. (Image by eXputer)

The Kairos Gate is essentially a post-game activity that unlocks after you end the DLC’s main story quest, which pits you against 20 encounters, each with three waves, all of which you must complete in a single sitting. It truly tests your knowledge of the enemies and how to utilize every Eikon ability to defeat your targets with finesse.

Now, while I’m still trying to get through this mode, let me iterate that it is optional; the secret Eikon abilities unlock at the start, and the minor story additions here aren’t really worth the hassle if you’re not someone skilled at this mode. On the positive side, if you do wanna complete it quickly, you can, of course, use the Accessibility Rings, but keep in mind that it may impact your score/ranking for each encounter.

New Grand Spectacles To Experience, New Eikons To Master

ff16 rising tide leavitahn
Leviathan’s abilities are extremely pleasing to use. (Image by eXputer)

The two new Eikon ability wheels are fantastic, almost making me wish there was 4th Eikon Hud for combat since the roster is now huge with all the Eikon options available. From Leviathan’s superb ranged abilities for stagger damage to the secret Eikon making Clive feel like an overpowered God, they quickly became excellent additions to my Final Fantasy Difficulty build for the DLC.

The one-on-one major boss encounter is fantastic since it reminded me of fighting a high-octane boss battle like Slave Knight Gael from Dark Souls 3. However, the true highlight for me was the Eikon boss battle against Leviathan, which is easily the best Eikon battle in the entire game next to Bahamut and Titan, regarding raw difficulty and grandeur.

ff16 the rising tide review
Leviathan’s Eikon fight is insanely spectacular. (Image by eXputer)

Aside from a certain DPS check in the fight, Leviathan’s moveset is incredibly fun to fight and evade, with an instant death attack that completely mesmerizes you as you see the game over screen. Plus, the fight OST, being a remix of the original reveal trailer from all those years ago, was the icing on the cake for me as a diehard fan being able to bid farewell to this amazing title.

Visuals And Performance

ff16 rising tide dlc review
The visuals. (Image by eXputer)

Regarding the Rising Tide DLC’s visuals, the developers at CBU III do not disappoint with their efforts, as the lush fields of Mysidia are absolutely breathtaking at every end. I underestimated how much the visuals would make me feel in awe since the screenshots I took to showcase them can’t all be included in this section, unfortunately.

From the ruins frozen in time to the sheer majestic backdrop you get to experience with the Leviathan fight, it truly felt as if they went all out for the last journey of this game. Aside from the visuals, there’s not much to say about the performance since it largely felt the same to me, with the usual framerate hovering between 40FPS while exploring to locked 60FPS during combat.

Verdict

ff16 rising tide dlc review
The Verdict. (Image by eXputer)

The Rising Tide DLC offers great gameplay additions, a masterful Eikon fight, and a decent tie-in story to conclude FF16’s experience. Despite its lowest points leaving a sour aftertaste, I’ll always defend this game with pride due to what it accomplished for the series for being different. Whether you pick this or Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth as the best modern FF title, it can be argued that both games have flaws.

While much of what makes the series an RPG gem is missing, it makes up for that with its mature dark fantasy setting and unique storytelling style. Plus, with both these Expansion Pass DLCs, I was able to experience more of Clive Rosfield’s character since he’s one of the best Final Fantasy protagonists since the classic titles.

This concludes my Review of the Rising Tide DLC in FF16. If you enjoyed reading this, then be sure to check out similar articles below:

This is box title
Get This Game
If you’re a fan of Final Fantasy 16 and enjoyed it’s boss battles and gameplay elements.
Dont Get This Game
If you didn’t enjoy FF16’s action-based gameplay format or dark/mature setting.
Do I Need To Get This Game
Yes, if you largely enjoyed what FF16 offered in the base game, you’ll absolutely love both the Rising Tide and Echoes of the Fallen.
Alternative Games
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Usama Mehmood is a Games Specialist, and writer on eXputer who's either hunting for the richest loot in Destiny 2 or endlessly playing his favorite games such as Yakuza or Final Fantasy. Usama has been gaming for 15+ years during which he has accumulated 4000+ hours on Destiny 1 & 2. His constant adoration for video games has allowed him to pursue eXputer as a platform to showcase his striving talents in writing helpful articles. Get familiar with Usama's extensive gaming library on his Steam, PSN, and Xbox profiles.

Experience: 2+ Years || Mainly Covers Reviews And Guides || Education: Bachelors in Physiotherapy.

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