Final Fantasy XVI: The Rising Tide Review – Rocky Start, Strong Finish

Final Fantasy XVI: The Rising Tide DLC Review

Adding DLC to a story as complete as FFXVI comes with some risks. Stories have their own momentum, after all. It can feel very weird to try and come back to a finished tale and sort of putter around. The apocalypse is in the skies, the mood is grim, and certain characters are patiently waiting to die. To be clear, The Rising Tide does not avoid this problem. And how could it? FFXVI is a well-oiled rollercoaster. You can’t extend the thrills by adding more track on the end, no matter how it twists about. But, this second DLC release does manage to have a bit of fun while it lasts.

Final Fantasy XVI: The Rising Tide Review

Rising Tide takes us to a new region, with a whole new Eikon to master. It’s finally time for Leviathan! Clive and the gang need to free Leviathan’s Dominant from a century of ceaseless torment. Like the previous DLC release, this one is pretty short. But at least the boss fights are a major improvement. Honestly though, I found the story even more forgettable this time around. There’s just something about the main narrative that makes any additions to it feel extraneous. The sidequests and the regular battles are pretty tame as well. We finally meet the Tonberries, and they’re just not deadly enough? I survived every encounter with no issues, and that feels wrong. All of this was just prep work for the boss battles, however.

Brutal Boss Battles

Spoilers ahead! Well, not ahead. Here, specifically. Both of these boss fights were absolute nailbiters. The time-stopping ice knight beat the pants off me a half-dozen times. Then came the Eikon battle. I thought I was in for a cool, thrilling QTE slugfest. You know, like a reward for surviving the previous battle. Hahaha, nope! Leviathan is a brutal boss battle. He’s so tough that I tried (in vain, mind you) to adjust the difficulty settings. This most definitely did not help. Not to say that I didn’t enjoy myself, because I very much did. I just wasn’t expecting the challenge level I encountered.

Another cool surprise came after the story section of the DLC was completed. You get access to a hefty chunk of endgame battle content to slog through. In fact, I’m pretty sure this postgame bonus is longer than the main DLC campaign by a wide margin. The difference in size is so pronounced that the DLC itself feels inaccurately named. Maybe I’m exaggerating a little. But the point is, you’ve got a lot more battling to do once the tale of Leviathan has been told.

Final Fantasy XVI: The Rising Tide Review


Good DLC should pull you back into the game’s world. Final Fantasy XVI’s DLC sort of achieves this goal. You want to spend more time there, but the version of the world on offer feels a bit bleak. Maybe this is just the ‘end of days’ vibe that permeates the final chapter. Perhaps I’m just cursed with knowledge about these characters and their ultimate fates. Either way, the actual tangible content is mostly pretty fun. Yes, the sidequests are a bit dull, and I wish the main quest was a bit longer. And while I don’t care about the plight of Leviathan and his Dominant, the ensuing battles are a blast. Plus, there’s a boatload of postgame content to dive into. Though the Rising Tide DLC doesn’t quite hit the same story highs as the main game, that gameplay is still tons of fun.

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

The Good

  • Thrilling boss fights
  • Lots of postgame content
  • New region to explore

The Bad

  • Uninspired story beats
  • Boring sidequests