After exploring the origins of the Fallen in the Echoes of the Fallen DLC back in December last year, Final Fantasy XVI players can now face off against Leviathan in the recently released The Rising Tide DLC. It caps off the Expansion Pass content for the game in a wonderful fashion, with the tantalising storytelling and exquisite boss fights complementing the memorable journey players would have already experienced in the base game.

Check out some screenshots down below:

I was a BIG fan of Final Fantasy XVI when it launched last year, with my review stating:

“There has been a big leap in the evolution of the gameplay as the series moves into action RPG territory, but the results are astounding, with the game offering some of the best combat I’ve seen in any action title. Add to that the gripping narrative, the astounding visuals, the wonderful soundtrack, and the sheer scale of the epic adventure, and it’ll be hard not to be wowed by just how magnificent it feels to play.”

Even after completing my second playthrough, my opinion remains the same that it stands out as one of the more unique yet brilliant entries in the series. I actually think it’s a bit of a shame that there are only two pieces of DLC releasing for the game, especially since I’m not quite ready to be done with its world just yet, but at least The Rising Tide signs things off in style.

Taking place in a northern territory known as Mysidia, The Rising Tide sees Clive and his allies assisting a group of people known as the Motes of Water as a means to rescue the lost Eikon Leviathan. Leviathan’s appearance was teased in the main game, so getting to encounter the sea serpent in all of its glory is certainly a treat. It helps that the narrative that spins within The Rising Tide is engaging throughout, with the Motes of Water not only facing their own emotional struggle but also bearing a painful history that they look to overcome. Fortunately, Clive is on hand to help save the day.

“The pinnacle of the experience comes with the showdown with Leviathan, with it maintaining the incredibly high standards of the base game’s confrontations with Eikons thanks to its phenomenal over-the-top cinematic presentation.”

The Rising Tide doesn’t really evolve upon the gameplay mechanics established in the main game, but it does bring with it some cool extras that are a treat to play around with. The most prominent come with Clive’s new Eikonic abilities, with the power of Leviathan granting him water-based skills that are a LOT of fun to use in combat. These abilities focus on utilising range to your advantage, with Deluge allowing you to unleash an influx of water-bullets upon enemies and Serpent’s Cry seeing Clive’s arm take on the form of a serpent and blasting out powerful surges of water to deal some hefty damage. The best ability of all? It has to be Tsunami, which doesn’t only bring with it devastating range across the battlefield but also looks phenomenal. There are other abilities to unlock too, and with each bringing their own strategic use to battle that differs greatly from the Eikonic abilities found in the base game, it certainly helps make Clive a more formidable force on the battlefield.

You’ve also got an additional party member to help you out in battle, whilst the new areas you get to explore bring with them some impressive showdowns with some familiar foes – including a certain ‘king’ who would’ve caused long-time Final Fantasy fans a lot of pain over the years with his deadly knife. However, the pinnacle of the experience comes with the showdown with Leviathan, with it maintaining the incredibly high standards of the base game’s confrontations with Eikons thanks to its phenomenal over-the-top cinematic presentation. Not only does it stand out as a memorable battle from a gameplay perspective, but it’s also utterly breathtaking to witness in motion. Final Fantasy XVI is a visual spectacle in itself, but The Rising Tide takes things to the next level.

You’ve got your other typical extras that you’d expect of DLC too, with new side quests to complete, new items to find, some gorgeous new locations to explore, and an increase to the level cap to continue to build upon Clive’s skills. The side quests each bring something extra to the lore of the land, and whilst there aren’t any that’ll stick with me long after playing, they’re definitely worth diving into if you want to learn more about Mysidia or the Motes of Water. It took me around eight hours or so to see everything on offer, and whilst it would have been nice to have more, it offered plenty to ensure my journey across Mysidia was memorable.

Check out some screenshots down below:

Those seeking an additional challenge post-completion can take on the newly introduced Kairos Gate, which sees players facing a rogue-lite experience as they battle through twenty combat challenges. Progressing further and further in each run is addictive in itself, but the implementation of Enhancements (permanent boosts to your capabilities) and Boons (temporary assists that last a set amount of battles) adds an exciting twist that makes each attempt all the more interesting. Honestly? I haven’t beaten it just yet, but I keep coming back for more, with Kairos Gate standing out as a really neat addition that gives players a different fix of Final Fantasy XVI action.

Whilst The Rising Tide brings with it a substantial amount of content, I’d be remiss not to mention the free update the launched alongside it. Not only are players able to freely customise controls, set up additional skill sets, or even fine-tune their snaps in greater detail in Photo Mode, but there’s also the inclusion of a ‘Quick Complete’ when clearing side quests – this allows you to return to the quest giver immediately, which alleviates a lot of unnecessary backtracking. It might not sound like a big deal on paper, but as someone who has finished the game twice already (and is already planning a third playthrough), I’m always happy to streamline the experience for myself.

Final Fantasy XVI: The Rising Tide DLC

The Rising Tide is a fantastic piece of content that builds upon the brilliance of Final Fantasy XVI perfectly. With its engaging storytelling, gorgeous landscapes, thrilling battles, and additional challenge with the Kairos Gate, there’s plenty to get stuck into to ensure it stands out as a worthwhile expansion to the tale of Final Fantasy XVI. And come on… who doesn’t want to use Leviathan’s abilities in combat?

Developer: Creative Business Unit III
Publisher: Square Enix
Platform(s): PlayStation 5 (Reviewed)