Downloadable content if done right can improve upon the weaknesses of a game, adding new experience that weren’t easily discovered the first time around. Final Fantasy XV is an amazing title with precise combat, amazing character development, and a vast open world with many things to discover. The biggest problem with Final Fantasy XV, however, was its inability to tie its plot elements together, making the story seem confusing at times. Episode Gladiolus improves upon FFXV with an easy to understand story, tweaks to combat, and some new modes but ultimately ends up being just another DLC that could’ve been better.
After a crushing loss from high commander Ravus, Gladiolus begins to realise that he lacks the strength to protect the true king as his shield. In order to fulfil his duty and get stronger Gladiolus leaves Noctis, Prompto, and Ignis to complete the Trials of Gilgamesh. Gladiolus meets up with Cor, the only survivor of the trial and with Cor’s help Gladiolus embarks on a quest to defeat the founding King’s shield Gilgamesh.
Episode Gladiolus’s story changes things up by making players change the way they view the main story. Final Fantasy XV main story makes players assume the role of the true king however in Episode Gladiolus players have to see things through the eyes of the king’s shield. Gladiolus see’s the world differently than Noctis; every reaction, conversation, and battle feels authentic to Gladio. The story has solid moments, the best being the conversations between Gladiolus and Cor, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that the story was missing something and that maybe the developers played it safe.
If you’ve played Final Fantasy XV then there should be no questioning that Gladiolus is the strongest member of the party. The DLC emphasises this through an impressive set of choices in its sound. Gladiolus charges through the battlefield to a heavy metal-inspired soundtrack, roaring out as he strikes opponents, yelling as he parries opponents, there were very few moments that the sound failed to compliment his destructive force. The heavy metal music was great the but due to a lack of diversity in the music choice, you hear the same song over and over again which ultimately takes away from experience.
Final Fantasy XV combat utilised Noctis’s warp-strike, along with the abilities of his friends to launch devastating attacks, and although Gladiolus can not warp, it doesn’t make him any less of a threat. Gladiolus is all about power and the DLC introduces the “Rage” and “Valour” systems exclusive to Gladiolus. Rage is built up by defending and countering against attacks increasing your rage meter and attack strength. These attacks also fuel his valour meter which changes the attacks you are able to use depending on the amount of Valor you have. Valour moves are capable of unleashing devastating attacks, which can hit multiple opponents.
Video game characters that are strong often get put into the category of being all muscle with little room to think. Combat in Episode Gladiolus breaks this stereotype by providing a slower, and more calculated style of fighting. Gladiolus is a Shield for the true king and the tweaks in combat shows this. Gladiolus swings his sword with incredible power but in an instant can disrupt, parry, or dodge an enemy with grace. There are times, however, when being tactical goes out the window and you’ll need to rely on pure strength; Gladiolus is capable of picking up pillars to use as weapons to deal large amounts of damage. There might come a time when you need some help and who better to help than the “Immortal” Cor who was the first to complete the trial of Gilgamesh. Cor is an amazing fighter and working together with Gladiolus they are able to take down enemies in no time. There is a valour move that involves the Immortal and Gladiolus working together that decimates opponents.
As a fan of Final Fantasy XV I went into the DLC with an open mind. I was impressed at how the developers crafted a Gladiolus specific DLC that was able to capture the essence of its character but aside from that it does very little for me to recommend it to people who are not serious fans, The DLC last approximately 2 hours, and has a price tag of $4.99 unless you have the season pass. The game offers two bonus modes ‘Final Trial” which is a battle against the Immortal himself and “Score Attack” involves getting the highest score possible by defeating your enemies.
Although the DLC wasn’t perfect it managed to show fans that there are differences in the fighting styles of its main characters. Episode Prompto has been confirmed to release in September and Episode Ignis, along with multiplayer DLC have yet to receive release dates. If you are a die hard Final Fantasy XV fan then I recommend buying but if you’re just curious then you’re not missing much.
- Gladiolus/ Cor
- Bonus Modes
- Minor Tweaks to Combat
- Cor's character development
- Safe Story
- Short Campaign