Final Fantasy XVI's First DLC Adds a Feature the Game Sorely Needed
Bring on the endgame.
Final Fantasy XVI has a lot to love for fans of the franchise, especially its main cast and drama-infused story. Yet for everything it does right, FFXVI does have a few gaps in its story. Chief among those is a complete lack of a final dungeon. Instead, the game’s final boss appears suddenly with hardly any build-up. That problem is directly addressed by Echoes of the Fallen, the first paid DLC for FFXVI. It’s an absolute must-play for fans that doesn’t just feel like a side story but a necessary piece of the puzzle enhancing an already memorable finale.
The implementation of Echoes of the Fallen is a bit strange, as there are multiple requirements you’ll need to meet before you can even enjoy it. The only time you can access it is directly before heading to the final boss, but you also need to complete two different late-game sidequests, “Where There’s a Will” and “Priceless. “
The nearly three-hour DLC effortlessly slots into the end of FFXVI, which is a bit surprising considering director Naoki Yoshida previously said the team didn’t plan DLC but rather did it due to fan requests. With that in mind, it feels like Echoes of the Fallen is something the team always wanted to do but maybe didn’t have time to accomplish before.
After picking up the first quest, Clive and his friends enter the Sagespire, an ancient building that belonged to the ancestors of Valisthea’s current humans called the Fallen. There’s some fascinating lore to dig into in the Sagespire, giving more insight into what happened in the distant past before the main story. At the same time, it’s clear the game’s voice cast had fun with this extra story, as Clive, Joshua, and Jill throw out a number of quippy lines.
What’s really important about Echoes of the Fallen, however, is the challenge it adds as an endgame series of battles. While FFXVI’s final boss didn’t disappoint in terms of design and combat challenges, it suffered from a lack of build-up. It was a finale with no crescendo.
Echoes of the Fallen pits you against some of the best bosses in the entire game with some extremely challenging and truly unique battles. It’s clear the development team took inspiration from its work on Final Fantasy XIV for these battles, especially the final fight with a classic series enemy, Omega. These battles put a huge emphasis on dodging and avoiding area attacks, oftentimes filling the screen with projectiles and beams.
In a way, it feels like FFXVI has finally fulfilled another series tradition: the superboss. Almost every Final Fantasy has featured a super-tough optional boss, and Omega fits that bill to a tee. Even regular battles have been souped up with more aggressive enemies and a new system that can grant a foe a shield that reflects melee damage back on Clive.
Essentially, Echoes of the Fallen functions as a hard-mode piece of endgame content, which is a huge area the larger game suffered from. It’s interesting to see a DLC release this soon, but have it feel so reactive to points of criticism. Even with its short runtime, Echoes of the Fallen feels like it plugs a hole in the original game, and the entire experience is richer for it. Past that, it sets some lofty expectations for the game’s next DLC, Rising Tide, which could help turn Final Fantasy XVI into something truly special.