Final Fantasy 16

Review: Final Fantasy 16 — The Rising Tide

It’s been several months since I’ve explored the world of Valisthea from Final Fantasy 16, but stepping back into the shoes of Clive Rosfield and his companions has been excellent.

Since December, Final Fantasy 16 has had two significant pieces of content revealed. The first DLC, Echoes of the Fallen, launched on December 7, 2023, while the second one, The Rising Tide,  launched on April 17, 2024.

The second expansion transports players to the previously undiscovered land of Mysidia, located in the northern region of the game’s map. Mysidia has managed to remain untouched by the Blight, an all-consuming plague, and still boasts a beautiful blue sky, which is a welcome change after the muted colours the closing chapters featured.

Final Fantasy 16’s New Expansion Is Fun But Lacks Narrative Impact

The main questline for Rising Tides takes around five hours to complete, with additional side content that takes approximately two hours. The journey takes Clive, Jill, Joshua, Torgal, and a newcomer, Shula, through various locations, including serene vistas and ancient ruins, to release Leviathan’s Dominant and unlock the Eikon’s power.

The DLC provides a fresh perspective of Valisthea and adds value to the game’s overall lore. It’s closely tied to the main game’s events, and Shula is a well-liked character among the DLC and base content. Clive gains a new set of Eikonic abilities thanks to Leviathan, which is one of the best aspects of the expansion.

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The Rising Tide content effectively complements the base game’s strengths. Whether or not it adds to the overall experience may depend on who you ask. I like that it adds a new Eikon, but I would like a bit more length. It contributes to the overall completeness of Final Fantasy 16, making it a suitable recommendation for those who have already enjoyed the base release.

Crowd Control

The gameplay mechanics in The Rising Tide do not introduce anything new or unique. However, the mechanics are well implemented and feel like a natural extension of the core gameplay in Final Fantasy 16. Although the size and scope of the game are somewhat limited, Mysidia is a beautiful and enjoyable location to explore. The region stands out thanks to its blend of exotic locales you wouldn’t otherwise see in Valisthea.

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Clive gains access to the Eikon of Water, Leviathan, which comes with new powers. This set also includes a new Eikonic Feat called Serpent’s Cry, which enables Clive to summon a sea-spitting serpent that deals precise strikes on enemies from far distances. Fans of the Final Fantasy series will appreciate the inclusion of the Tonberry, an iconic enemy type.

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Leviathan’s moveset is fun as it shakes up the established Eikon closeouts with a dynamic experience, as Clive can utilize the power of Leviathan to become a water-based shotgun. The mechanic will be familiar to fans of the Gear’s Active Reload. Clive’s newfound abilities are ideal for crowd control, making it a frontrunner for your Eikon loadouts.

The Kairos Gate is a series of endgame combat trials that Clive must complete by battling through increasingly deadly opponents. The goal is to clear the whole thing in a single run, with the ability to permanently upgrade Clive’s stats and unlock temporary boons for subsequent runs. This is a roguelike, with the chance to receive damage buffs and other upgrades to make the next run easier.

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Verdict

The developers indicated that Final Fantasy 16 was never meant to have expansions, but I’m glad The Rising Tide exists, as it has some great new mechanics. Sadly, the fortune isn’t shared with the narrative because it feels like a misprinted puzzle piece that should fit in the larger picture but has one side that struggles to slot neatly.

Recommended

[The publisher provided a copy of the game for review purposes.]

Reviewed on: PlayStation 5

Final Fantasy 16
Review: Final Fantasy 16 — The Rising Tide
Summary
Final Fantasy 16 — The Rising Tide is a great expansion but it's on the short side.
Liked
Stunning boss battles, Leviathan is one of the best of the entire entry
Wondeful new area of Valisthea to explore
Excellent abilities from the new Eikon
Didn't Like
Short run time
Very little to do with the main story in the base game