Final Fantasy XVI: Echoes of the Fallen


Spoilers for the game in question may follow. Please be advised.
Review by · December 12, 2023

Final Fantasy XVI continued the (now) long history of controversial releases in the series. While some, like me, think it’s close to the pinnacle of Final Fantasy, others have been more critical. But no one can say Yoshi-P and the rest of his team aren’t listening. They’ve done work to improve the frame rate and adjusted Arcade Mode to make scores more fair and fun, alongside a number of other tweaks and improvements since launch.

I had plenty of nitpicks myself, but one of my biggest criticisms of the game was its easy difficulty, even in the post-game “Final Fantasy” mode. As amazing as the combat is, there’s just not much challenge to the base game, especially by the end when you’re tearing through boss health bars with those sweet, sweet Eikonic abilities. Even when the spectacle was at an eleven, the difficulty was at a two.

If there’s one thing Final Fantasy XVI: Echoes of the Fallen does right, it brings the challenge while maintaining the epic. Sure, I wish it did more with its stories and characters, but regardless, I had a blast returning to Valisthea for the two or so hours of content this DLC offers.

Set right before the final sequence of the game, Echoes of the Fallen essentially plays out like one long side quest. There’s an icon to pick up a new quest at headquarters, and off you go. It turns out that someone has been peddling “dusk crystals.” They’re similar in shape and function to the regular crystals you see throughout the main game, but they’re dark and something is not quite right about them. Of course, Clive is Clive, so he brings Joshua and Jill along to investigate. They soon discover that someone is harvesting the crystals from a tower of Fallen ruins, and they proceed to discover more about the history of this ancient civilization.

A screenshot with Joshua, Jill and Clive in Final Fantasy XVI
Don’t expect much more characterization out of these three. Torgal still rules, though.

Many people leveled a lot of criticisms at the side quests in the base game, many of which I disagree with, but honestly, the story in this DLC mostly plays out like one of the weaker ones. The first half hour is especially pretty weak: you run from this NPC to that NPC, and it goes on a little too long. Getting some additional lore about the Fallen is nice, but it’s mostly inconsequential. There’s really no new character work, and while I’m always happy to spend more time with Clive, it’s a little bit of a disappointment. So, if you came here looking for more story, you’ll get a sliver; just don’t expect anything substantial.

That’s not really what the DLC is about, though. After finishing the menial part of the quest, you spend the rest of the time journeying up the Fallen ruins tower. And it’s easily my favorite dungeon in the game. I won’t give much away, but the setting of the dungeon slowly evolves as you ascend, moving from what you’d expect of the Fallen to something considerably more…alive. It’s both creepy and cool.

One of my favorite things about my climb was all the new accessories I found along the way. I’ll admit that after playing through the game twice, I realized there are really a limited number of good “loadouts” and the accessories were mostly pretty shallow. But the new ones you get in the dungeon add some fun variety to builds, like one that allows you to push the stagger gauge damage up to a full 200%. It’s disappointing that we didn’t get much else in terms of the combat here, but the new accessories were enough to sate my need for experimentation.

The setting of the new dungeon is amazing.
The new dungeon is just fantastic.

Luckily, these accessories are helpful in the DLC, because the bosses littered throughout the ruins are tough. Even the unique mini-bosses you encounter pose a threat: they have different attack patterns and designs, which is a breath of fresh air compared to the monsters from the base game. The major bosses are all fun and challenging, too. But the real highlight of this DLC, by far, is the final boss. As much as I loved many of the bosses in Final Fantasy XVI, they don’t come close to the spectacle and challenge of this final battle. It’s easily my favorite non-Eikon encounter in the game, and it justifies the price of admission for this DLC on its own. Oh, and the music for it? Absolutely stellar. I won’t link it here for fear of spoilers, but Soken just keeps outdoing himself.

If you weren’t a huge fan of Final Fantasy XVIEchoes of the Fallen isn’t going to change your mind. While it introduces some new things, it doesn’t address most people’s concerns with the base game. Even I was slightly disappointed with the story; I hope the next DLC, The Rising Tide, delivers more on that front. But if you love FFXVI‘s combat and want to fully engage with it while partaking in some of the best boss fights the game has to offer, you’ve come to the right place. I can’t wait to run through it again in Final Fantasy mode. It’s going to be an absolute blast.


Epic and challenging boss fights, a great dungeon to explore, new accessories add some build variety.


Story doesn't do much, no character growth, it's pretty short.

Bottom Line

If you loved the combat in Final Fantasy XVI, you're going to love Echoes of the Fallen.

Overall Score 80
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Zach Wilkerson

Zach Wilkerson

After avidly following RPGFan for years, Zach joined as a Reviews Editor in 2018, and somehow finds himself helping manage the Features department now. When he's not educating the youth of America, he can often be heard loudly clamoring for Lunar 3 and Suikoden VI.