Final Fantasy XVI: Echoes Of The Fallen Review – Crunchy Crystal Appetizer

Final Fantasy XVI: Echoes Of The Fallen Review

I’ve noticed a pattern with DLC as of late. If the release is divided into two parts, the first one will be pretty light fare. An appetizer, if you will. Echoes of The Fallen, the first part of Final Fantasy XVI’s DLC, is exactly that. You get a few new items, some new music, and a brief yet brutal chunk of battles. If nothing else, my appetite for more content is mostly sated. At least, I should last until the second part is released next Spring.

As an aside, Echoes of The Fallen takes place at the very end of the game. So, spoilers incoming. The story is relatively light fare. We’re told there’s a brand new Mothercrystal to contend with. Unlike the others, this one was created by the Fallen, that lost race of lunatics who first challenged the gods. It’s up to Clive and company to climb the tower and smash that bad boy. Since the DLC is tacked on to the end, it all feels like a sort of last hurrah. Everyone’s ultimate fate looms over all the dialogue, it feels very weird.

One Last Ride

Somehow, I wasn’t as hopelessly compelled by the gameplay. FFXVI works best as a complete product, a whole ride from start to finish. Hopping on to a jaunty little interlude doesn’t hit the same way. Don’t get me wrong, the combat still slaps and the graphics are incredible. The music is top notch, as well. But the momentum of the narrative is shockingly crucial, it turns out. At least to me it is.

Final Fantasy XVI Echoes of The Fallen Review

But let’s dig into the combat a little. I wasn’t as wowed by the story, but oh man those battles still rule. Using special chains, perfect dodges, and air combos feels incredible all over again. Plus, Echoes of The Fallen featured some tough battles. Maybe I was just rusty, but that last boss fight was an absolute nail-biter. I only wish this first offering was a little bit longer.

More Fantastic Combat

This first DLC release felt pretty short. Like I mentioned before, this is a familiar structure. Less content now means more content in the future. Even so, I still found myself wanting more. In retrospect, I’m not sure what I wanted more of. Was it story that felt lacking, or was I hungry for more glorious battle? Would more of one made up for a lack of the other? Either way, I know the main course is yet to come. If nothing else, everything looked and sounded great.

Final Fantasy XVI Echoes of The Fallen Review

I mean, of course it did. The base game was a triumph on this front, the DLC should be no different. Even so, the tower you climb is beautiful. Fallen architecture feels majestic and spiritual. Like a giant cathedral on an alien planet. Once you get to the upper floors, sunlight drifts in through the open windows. The ceilings are a mass of arches hundreds of feet in the air. Even the music is an evolution of the original themes. You’re walking in the ribs of a colossal corpse, an exquisite mausoleum with malicious intentions. It’s downright remarkable.

Final Fantasy XVI is crammed with narrative momentum. Which is amazing, until it’s time to do things like sidequests and DLC. Then the guillotine of the climax hangs over your head, impatient and sharp. In other words, it’s hard for me to get as invested in the DLC as I’d like. The combat is terrific, the new dungeon is beautiful, but it feels like I’m spinning my wheels. At the same time, I’ll take any excuse to spend more time with this game. Echoes of The Fallen is a great addition to a perfect Final Fantasy Experience.

***A PS5 code was provided by the publisher***

The Good

  • Beautiful new dungeon
  • Tough new battles
  • Cool new music

The Bad

  • Too short
  • Story feels tacked on
  • Feels like an appetizer