Final Fantasy XVI: The Rising Tide is more Valisthea goodness

Posted on April 25, 2024

Final Fantasy XVI‘s final DLC in ‘The Rising Tide’ debuted this past week and it offers more Clive and Friends goodness across Valisthea. A great big foreboding ocean storm is frozen in time. At its heart lies a dominant, in charge of the Eikon Leviathan. Something stirs within the storm, threatening a great flood and the awakening of Leviathan, bringing devastation to the surrounding towns. In the span of a few short hours, you’re thrust into a good series of combat encounters and thrilling boss fights to resolve this threat… it just once again doesn’t quite end up being the fantastic book-ending expansion it should be.

I love Final Fantasy XVI. Its biggest strength is the spectacle. Final Fantasy XVI is a game that simply, looks like a million bucks. The attention to detail, the visual fidelity, the environment design… all of the things I love about it return here. It truly is stunning to see that high tide frozen in time. Rolling up on a hill, overlooking a vista and seeing in the distance this violent storm begging to be interrupted, droplets suspended mid-fall… it’s a unique, picturesque sight I don’t think I’ve seen in games before.

The Rising Tide DLC also makes good on some of the areas I was left wanting in the original. In my fifty-odd hours with the game, despite all the Eikons and Chocobos, I was constantly wishing I’d see more classic Final Fantasy iconography. Finally, they have heard my prayers and have included Tonberries. Though I think their design is a little too edgy and could be toned down a little, there are several encounters where you’re taking on a group of Tonberries that are taller, bigger and more domineering than their original design. They tap into the threat of the Tonberry, especially when it comes to the gigantic ‘Master Tonberry,’ boss variant, who wields a giant cleaving axe. I’ve never had as much fun in this game as I had dodging fatal attacks and ducking in and out of big sweeps.

Depending on how much you engage in side content, The Rising Tide only takes a few hours. Like the Echoes of the Fallen DLC prior it’s worth it, amalgamating into a climactic, thrilling boss fight. It will again feel like an MMO fight, taking a page out of Final Fantasy XIV Online in demanding the utmost talent out of players. You are controlling transformed flame beast Ifrit once more, taking on Leviathan. Ten times Ifrit’s already sizable stature, the water serpent will send a torrent of water-based projectiles, beams and area of effect rings you must elude. The biggest skill check in this fight is at about the halfway mark, where you must beat a clock’s timer ticking down. This is essentially a DPS (damage per second) check, making sure you use ample use of your abilities and attacks at appropriate times to take out a shield before reaching the fail state that is a great big tsunami coming your way. It took me about a dozen tries and though this can be frustrating, I do appreciate a game testing me with just how knowledgeable and intimate I am with its combat.

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The Rising Tide also lets you play with its new Leviathan Eikon abilities. Though I can’t see it personally being a viable option as a main go-to for combat, it’s got some quality abilities in there that are good for chucking into the middle of a combo. The set of abilities is more heavy, slowing down quite substantially. I’d equate it to almost equipping our crystal-bearing hero with a transformative gun, a small serpent dolling out either rapid-fire water projectiles, punchy shotgun-esque blasts back and two streams of water that go on either horizontal side of a group of enemies, used to push foes together. It’s an Eikon that’ll take further time to master, compared to how straightforward others are. Thankfully, a combat gauntlet unlocks upon completing the story of The Rising Tide, a welcome playing field for the combat-obsessed to work through, gradually edging closer to unlocking a rare and secret weapon.

The Rising Tide is far from a bad DLC. It’s a lot of fun for the small handful of hours you’ll spend with it. However, this is also the DLC that is closing the book on Final Fantasy XVI. This game still has a lot of unanswered questions, with many pointing to its ending as being flawed and a little too unfulfilling. I’d be lying if I too didn’t want more of a momentous expansion to close the book on Clive and friends. Though it offers more combat goodness and time in the wonderful world of Valisthea, this isn’t quite the needed closure.

Regardless, Final Fantasy XVI’s two DLCs have now closed the book on the fantasy epic. They’re worth it if you’re in the mood for some unserious fun. Check them out.