This review avoids major story beats and is spoiler-free.
In my original review of Final Fantasy XVI, I noted that the game does may improve after patches and while we have received performance improvements, gameplay has remained largely the same. My opinion of the game has also largely remained the same and will probably not change but in-keeping with that original review, one thing I did not mention was the lack of an endgame dungeon. Many Final Fantasy installments have created their final boss castles and dungeons as gauntlets where players will have to contend with some of the toughest encounters in the game. Final Fantasy XVI did not have such a dungeon although I did not talk about this as the S-class hunts did a good job keeping me satisfied for further challenges. Still, the endgame dungeon is Final Fantasy trope and this new DLC aims to give players a semblance of that experience.
The first DLC for Final Fantasy XVI is Echoes of the Fallen, one of the two announced DLCs with Rising Tide having no set date aside from Spring 2024. Echoes of the Fallen is a $9.99 DLC so in this review I’ll walk you thru what it offers and tell you my thoughts if its worth it or not.
The Echoes of the Fallen quest can be accessed by Lady Charon once you’ve completed specific sidequests and is pretty much just one quest away from the final battle. If you’ve cleared the requirements, Charon will have a dialog option which unlocks the Echoes of the Fallen sidequest. Once selected, Clive will be sent to investigate the case of bootleg crystals and quakes in the area. A brief lore setup is provided which eventually leads us to the tower. Bits and pieces of the lore of this tower’s origin is peppered throughout and a connecting thread to Ultima will be made by the end of the final lore dump at climax of this DLC.
Clive accompanied by Joshua, Jill and Torgal will need to climb the tower to discover what’s causing this phenomenon. We’re introduced to some throwaway characters that set-up this DLC, all of which add to my frustration of how Creative Business Unit III’s lack of creativity in providing depth to most characters. With these clowns out of the picture, the actual progression begins. Climbing the tower is a start-to-finish affair which gives it a very long side-quest vibe. It will be pretty linear though with no backtracking to gain access to something, none of that.
The tower is obviously of Fallen origin, the game’s ancestral beings who have left many remnants of their civilization in the Twins but are non-existent anymore. The DLC tower aka the Sagespire houses a relics of the Fallen but far more sinister than what Clive has encountered in the game. The opening encounter should give players a glimpse of what’s in store and yes, those who are craving for more combat, this is definitely that DLC you are looking for.
As more and more lore is dumped onto the Clive, we realize we’re dealing with the reason why Ultima got rid of the Fallen. The race has bitten of more than they can chew with their quest for power and the Sagespire houses what could’ve been the Fallen’s greatest achievement.
As you near the top of the tower we’re given much more grotesque scenery, perhaps the most shocking use of biological mass in this game. The Resident Evil-esque visuals is a staple of science-gone-wrong stories and after you’ve cleared everything on your way here, even if you skipped the dialog on those segments, you should have an idea by this point of what you’re dealing with.
The final level then leads us to a battle with Omega, Final Fantasy XVI’s true superboss. If you felt Omega from Final Fantasy XV looked like crap then Final Fantasy XVI’s version should be a more welcoming sight. Barring Eikon fights, Omega is the pinnacle battle this game has to offer and this multi-tiered battle will really tire you out.
Before I continue with Omega, I have to note that this DLC also grants some very significant drops with Omega Weapon Reforged an alternative to Ultima Weapon as it has similar stats but bears only a different aesthetic.
Omega has 3 major phases to his battle and will comprise of an initial phase with slower attacks, a second phase with a larger onslaught of attacks and a final phase which sees Omega jumping to the top the screen as well as flailing tentacles around, reaching you from so far away as well as being a multi-hit attack. Its a tough but fun battle and for those that revel in really maxing out Final Fantasy XVI’s combat system, it truly is a great boss fight.
So is it worth $9.99? Again, its a very layered question. If you’re just after story, its definitely not worth the asking price as I can give you the major gist of it in 3 words: don’t play god.
With that said, much of what Echoes off the Fallen lies in tower run itself and while its a good 2 hours of additional gameplay, it also gives you some new gear you can use to add to the main game but if you’re already at this point then its just Ultima waiting for you so its mostly those that play the game for the arcade mode that would really benefit from this DLC.
So yes and no, Omega is worth the asking price for the ticket to fight him but for those that just casually play this game and who might be underlevelled, then you’re not missing much.
Which leads me to my experience: as hard as Omega is, if you already have a NG+ combo that lands 400K-500K stagger damage especially players who are well-versed in “Rift Snap” long combos then they will easily trounce the tower including Omega. It certainly will not get you to love Final Fantasy XVI but if you enjoy Final Fantasy XVI’s arcade mode, then Echoes of the Fallen would be a great way to land those insane combos but if you’re looking for a Bloody Tower experience, this is definitely not that.