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Final Fantasy XVI: The Rising Tide Review - Screenshot 1 of 3

The Rising Tide is the second and final expansion for Final Fantasy 16, adding another worthwhile chapter to the tale of Clive Rosfield. Only accessible near the very end of the base game, this DLC is designed to be something of a sendoff for the action RPG, providing a new storyline that brings additional weight to the title’s world building, while also giving players an opportunity to dive yet deeper into 16’s slick combat system.

Clive and his cohorts find themselves travelling to a northern region known as Mysidia, where the mysterious Leviathan — the final, previously unseen Eikon — is said to slumber. While there, the gang encounter a marginalised people known as the Water Motes, and in typically heroic fashion, Clive chooses to aid them in their quest to right the wrongs of their ancestors.

It’s a well-told chapter in Final Fantasy 16’s canon, as the Water Motes and their traditions shed welcome light on the game’s wider lore. Fresh party member Shula is also one of the title’s better characters, and, like the rest of her people, she comes equipped with with a thick Geordie (North East England) accent. Gav would feel right at home.

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The Rising Tide’s central questline takes roughly five hours to complete, but there are a bunch of side quests to tackle, and the region that surrounds the Water Motes’ settlement offers a decent degree of exploration. Speaking of which, the environmental design in this DLC is stunning; these are some of the prettiest locations you’ll find on PS5.

But as was the case with previous expansion Echoes of the Fallen — and the base game itself — it’s the boss battles that are the true highlights of this adventure. The DLC certainly doesn’t skimp on spectacle, serving up several brilliant, surprisingly tricky encounters across its runtime. One fight in particular is a genuine thrill, arguably pushing the combat system to another level.

What’s more, The Rising Tide hands Clive a number of new Eikonic abilities, many of which feel nice and powerful. Indeed, Leviathan’s skills give our hero a set of ranged attacks that actually make Final Fantasy 16 feel more like Devil May Cry than ever before, as Clive’s new water cannon lets you stroll about the battlefield, blasting baddies at a distance. It’s a great way to round out the title’s gameplay suite.

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Everything that The Rising Tide brings to the table is effective in building upon what the base game gets right — and that’s pretty much all you can ask of such a DLC. By the time you reach its conclusion, Final Fantasy 16 feels more complete, and so it’s an incredibly easy recommendation for anyone who enjoyed the base release.

And then there’s the Kairos Gate, which only serves to reinforce our opinion. Essentially a series of endgame combat trials, Clive is tasked with reaching the depths of this ancient training ground, battling through increasingly deadly opponents. The goal is to clear the whole thing in a single run, but in somewhat roguelike fashion, you get to permanently upgrade Clive’s stats little by little, and unlock temporary ‘boons’, like damage buffs, in order to make subsequent runs easier.

While the Kairos Gate isn’t quite the kind of endgame grind that’ll keep players coming back for another 200 hours, it’s effective in its pursuit of showcasing Final Fantasy 16’s combat. If, like us, you really gel with the title’s fast-paced and flashy action, then you’ll likely love this addition.

Conclusion

Final Fantasy 16: The Rising Tide is a great expansion to an excellent action RPG, offering up one of the game’s most intriguing and considered chapters. With yet more memorable boss battles, an emotional storyline, and some downright stunning environments, it’s the worthy sendoff that Clive and company deserve.

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