Published on April 30th, 2024 | by Daniel

Final Fantasy XVI: Rising Tide PS5 DLC Review!

Final Fantasy XVI: Rising Tide PS5 DLC Review! Daniel

Summary: A short but well written story, a new game mode and some updates to Clive's abilities. The Rising Tide caps off an amazing pair of DLC stories that leaves me wanting so much more.


Bloody Palace!

Spoiler Warning: This content is DLC and is only a few days old, please make sure you have played the Main Story up to the quest; Origin. You do not need to have played the previous DLC Echoes of the Fallen to play this, however it is recommended that you do before doing this to get the full experience. With that warning aside, onto the review.

Additionally, this article contains spoilers for the DLC itself, if you haven’t played the Rising Tide. Do it before you continue reading!

A mysterious letter has arrived at the hideout, within its contents is a request to rescue the Dominant of Leviathan, the Lost Eikon of Water. An Eikon that hasn’t been seen in nearly one hundred years. Clive and company must now journey to the land of Mysidia, a mysterious land that few have seen and even fewer know of in detail. Where the frozen wave of legend; the Surge, created by the devastating power of the Warden of the Sea that is Leviathan. Clive and his companions must unravel the tragic tale of the missing Eikon and put an end to all Mothercrystals.


After accepting the quest from the hideout, Clive is tasked with meeting a contact who points him to the original requester. Shula, a bearer with the element of water, a descendent of the dominant of Leviathan meets us on the outskirts of Northreach. A skiff ride later, the group pass through a veil. The dull purple sky shifts into a brilliant blue. Shula informs the group that they have maintained their secrecy with a glamour that covers the entire bay and their quaint little town. It works both ways too, shielding them from prying eyes outside and glamouring the sky to hide the gloomy sky outside.

After some exposition, we find out that Shula’s ancestors forced a newborn dominant of Leviathan to prime. Using a spell created by the previous dominant of Shiva, they froze the infant in time, with the intention to create another Mothercrystal. But the process failed and young Waljas was left frozen and aware of the passage of time for nearly one hundred years. Clive does his thing and takes the power of Leviathan from Waljas, but the job is half finished, Clive and company must journey to the Aire of Hours, a temple where the spell to freeze time was cast. The damage suffered at the hands of a raging Leviathan at the time of casting, completely frozen, suspended and showing the raw power of an Eikon. At the top of the temple, we fight a knight, dedicated to the service of the previous Shiva and granted powers over ice and time from her, dispel the magicks binding Waljas and freeing him.

Of course, it isn’t so simple as that. Waljas, furious about his imprisonment at the hands of ancestors that should have loved, revered and protected him. Primes into the great sea serpent Leviathan and the situation takes a turn for the worse. To stop Leviathan from flooding the town of Haven and its people, Clive must prime into Ifrit and bring an end to this childs’ tantrum. After a long, grueling battle that has a number of close calls, Clive is successful and the town is saved from harm. Shula takes up the mantle of guardian and promises to bring Waljas up the right way, to help him live free of prejudice and exploitation of Dominants and their Bearers.

A few of the side quests have Clive taking part in a ceremony to declare Shula and her brother Famiel (who we met back in Echoes of the Fallen) as Waljas guardians. Other side quests have some nice stories to introduce us to the inhabitants of Haven and some of their struggles. But the best one, is the “gift” left behind by Ultima in the Arete stone back in the hideout. Now that Clive has unlocked and absorbed all the power of the Eikons, Ultima grants him the power of himself in the hopes it brings Clive one step closer to becoming the complete Mythos that rejoins Ultima, allowing him to complete his goal.

Gameplay, Graphics and Audio

Much like the previous dlc, nothing about the core gameplay, graphics and audio have changed. So much like the previous article I wrote to cover Echoes of the Fallen, I’m going to compile it all into one and go over what’s relevant only to the dlc content.

Mysidia is a beautiful destination. A true diamond in the rough amongst the devastation surrounding the rest of Valisthea

The Rising Tide

In the core content, nothing has changed. The game plays the same as the base game, with basic attacks, magic and combos, if you’ve played hack and slash style games, you’ll feel right at home with this game. The main difference here with The Rising Tide, is that you have a part way into it, you have a new Eikon to channel and all new abilities as a result. Later, at the conclusion of the DLC you gain access to channel Ultima himself. This, is a huge change. Up till now, the game has offered a wide array of abilities that give the player a lot of freedom in what combinations to take into battle, with the option to mix and match abilities, even while channeling other Eikons. With the addition of Ultima, the game effectively breaks. Ultima is so overpowered, it begs the question. Why use anything else?

The range of his melee is threefold, the number of magick projectiles he fires is fourfold and both can be fired in unison with no need to swap between them. Meaning you can juggle even the biggest of enemy mobs, all while slashing them to ribbons and pushing back any who survive the first volley of swings. His abilities outclass any of the previous Eikons as though they were but child’s play. Who needs to freeze a foe in place, block and counter a beasts wild swings, dash to a distant enemy when anything you use as Ultima is vastly superior and some even making Clive invulnerable?

The cutscene introduction to Clive being granted Ultima’s power is great, seeing Clive adorned with the wings of and the floating headdress of Ultima had me in awe. Of course, the game has always been gorgeous, but there’s something about seeing Mysidia and it’s vibrant colours and almost tropical island feel that breathes new life into the game at the point that the story is at. Gone is the dreary and dull purple sky of oblivion, and in comes warms clouds, blue skies, deep green rainforests, golden sands and lush flower fields of Haven and beyond. I found myself taking photos galore every time I saw a new ravine, lined with waterfalls, thick foliage of the jungle and the glistening droplets of water from the Surge. Who could miss that giant frozen wave and not stop to take a selfie?

There are no new outfits this time around, however the dlc introduces a new game mode which I’ll detail below in just a moment. Some of the rewards from that new game mode, gives you new versions of weapons you’ve already previously obtained. At the time of writing I had unlocked several replacements including; Ifrit, Garuda, Ramuh and Shiva replica weapons. Each with a fancy new glowing effects, which are super cool, they really come to life when standing in shady areas of the game but look amazing all the same. The effects themselves matching the element of the Eikon they represent; fire for Ifrit, wind for Garuda and so on. These are excellent additions and ensure that the rewards for completing the new mode are worth the effort to grind it.

Voice acting remains top tier, though the addition of only a few new minor characters we only see in the side missions and one new mainline character is a little unfortunate. Echoes of the Fallen had three new mainline voice actors, but didn’t really add that much in the way of side content characters. So in a away it balances out. But let’s be real, we didn’t really come here for the voice acting, we came here for the new orchestrion rolls. They weren’t nearly as impressive as Echoes of the Fallen, how could they be? We were dealing with the super high tech Omega, of course it was going to have absolute bangers for music. But The Rising Tide manages to hold its own, with some wonderfully peaceful tunes to suit the tropical island theme of Mysidia to some epic orchestral battle music for the clash between Ifrit and Leviathan. They’re welcome additions to the game and the music team deserves top marks as always for providing us with masterpieces to suit every moment in the game.

Kairos Gate

Kairos Gate is the new game mode added into The Rising Tide DLC. Similarly to Arcade Mode, and Final Chronolith Trials, Kairos mode pits Clive against waves of foes. With each granting Clive a rank based on completion time and points for style, ability use and damage dealt/taken. The main difference here being that Kairos gate feels a lot like the Bloody Palace mode from the Devil May Cry franchise. Clive’s objective is to clear floor after floor of ever harder foes, with a boss every five floors.

The mode is unique in that it allows the player to spend points; Enhancement Points (EP) on things like better stats and longer boons. And Boon Points (BP) on things that grant Clive a boon in battle. Some are permanent passive boons, some are temporary buffs to certain stats or regeneration. Starting with 1500 EP and 5 BP you can choose to purchase some boosts, or go in raw. In most of my runs, I chose to go in without spending any of either point values for the first first circles. This allowed me to have a huge surplus going into later circles to power up Clive. Using Ultima makes the first ten or so circles perilously easy, subsequent runs I made with other Eikons and the mode felt a lot more balanced. But the further you go, the tougher the foes become and very quickly you’ll need to rely on Ultima’s overwhelming might to strike down such hardened foes.

You can change some items of gear and have full Eikon and ability customisation between each circle. Allowing for a change of tactics at almost any point between battles. This gives the player a lot more freedom to play their way, if you struggled last circle? Change the build you’ve got to something you’re more comfortable with. Not doing enough damage? Try some new abilities from other Eikons while channeling those you like most. I found a lot of fun in this game mode and I plan to play even more of this mode in my spare time. I want to see how many floors I can clear and what kind of rewards are waiting for me. I also loved Bloody Palace in the Devil May Cry franchise, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised here. I hope more games employ modes like this in future. My only improvement would be to allow the round start and end cutscene to be skippable, but I’m not sure if that’s simply to mask the loading screens, so it’s more of a me thing than anything bad about the mode itself.


Again, the DLC is incredibly short. The core content probably took an equal amount of time as in the previous DLC; about 2 – 3 hours before completion. But the additional sidequests pad the runtime out a bit longer. And as noted in my piece on the previous DLC, we did, in fact, get our Eikon that I sorely missed. And it was about as epic as the battles against other Eikons from the base game. I very much enjoyed that, with but one caveat.

The only content bloat was the incredibly difficult fight with Leviathan. Not because the fight itself was hard, but as a result of the sheer amount of health and short time in which to deplete it. It meant that I had to ace every attack to boost the damage output as much as I could just to finally put him down. Apart from that and a few more sidequests than the previous DLC, the content definitely felt marginally shorter. However, the story telling was probably on par, even if I did like the Omega story better personally. I did like a few of the sidequests as well, especially the one about the Tonberry King, even if it’s conclusion was a little lacking. The fight with Tonberry King was cool and I’m glad we got to see a throwback enemy with multiple entries throughout the series come to life in the world of FFXVI.

With the thirst for the missing Eikon battle now quenched. How does it stack up? Overall I’d have to give it to Echoes of the Fallen. It had better story, better battles, a cooler theme, better music and more far deeper lore implications that ties into the early part of the game and even beyond into Rosaria’s history and that of the ancient humans before who dared challenge the power of gods by trying to create their own man-made Mothercrystal. But I definitely enjoy Kairos Gate so much, it was absolutely the highlight of this DLC along with the aesthetic addition of Ultima and the implications it could’ve had on the story and more. It very easily could have changed the entire ending of the game, in some ways, I’m glad it didn’t but in other ways, I wish it had. And I say aesthetic addition, because playing with Ultima channelled, really does make the base game incredibly trivial. I’m curious to see exactly how trivial against Ultima himself, so maybe I’ll try that later.

All in all, for two pieces of free DLC, you simply can’t go wrong, albeit short. But oh so sweet, enough to make you hungry for more.


Game Details

Game Genre – Action Role Playing
Developers – Square Enix Creative Business Unit III
Publisher – Square Enix
Rating – MA15+
Year of Release – 2023
Platforms – Playstation 5
Mode(s) of Play – Single

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About the Author

Hi I'm Dan! 32 and Non-Binary. When I'm not writing reviews. I like to get deeply immersed in the lore of an mmo or rpg, cruise the forest or coastal roads of Victoria, watch anime, read manga, build model kits and do a bit of sketching on the side.

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