Final Fantasy XV's first real slice of downloadable content, Episode Gladiolus details a part of the story from the main game that was left frustratingly vague. A decent way into the adventure, burly bodyguard Gladiolus - Gladio for short - up and leaves the party with little explanation. He comes back later brandishing a fresh scar on his forehead and a newfound confidence. This character episode fills that narrative gap, as you guide Gladio through a linear combat-packed dungeon in his quest to become stronger.
To start with, it's worth pointing out that Episode Gladiolus only costs £3.99/$4.99, assuming that you don't own the season pass. It's certainly an affordable add-on, but don't go expecting more than what you're paying for. It took us just over an hour to complete the DLC on its normal difficulty level, and although it has its own list of Trophies and extra modes - such as score attack and a tough optional boss fight - we didn't really feel the urge to stick around once we saw the credits roll.
This is mostly because playing as Gladio just doesn't quite cut it. Final Fantasy XV's combat system definitely isn't perfect, but it has a nice rhythm to it and pairing up with your allies to dish out special attacks gives the otherwise standard hack and slashing a much needed kick. But here, you're stuck with Gladio's somewhat monotonous sword swinging, and your comrades are obviously nowhere to be seen.
For much of the adventure you'll be joined by Cor - a reasonably cool character that the main game utilised for all of five minutes - and even though he does his best to help you during smaller skirmishes, his presence is no substitute for the dynamic that Noctis and his buddies have.
Speaking of the wayward prince, Episode Gladiolus unsurprisingly does away with all that teleporting business in favour of a more predictable defensive option in the form of Gladio's shield. When you're not cleaving beasties with your great sword, you'll be blocking incoming attacks. Raise your shield at just the right time, and you'll be able to perform a counter hit that does big damage. It all works well enough, but the combat system's fundamental lack of depth really begins to show once its flashy exterior has been stripped away.
As such, the DLC's battles quickly start to feel like you're just going through the motions. This is especially true once you're used to the timing of Gladio's aforementioned counter attack, allowing you to smash the add-on's few boss enemies with relative ease. That said, the final encounter does make for a pretty engaging duel, so at least the episode ends on a high note.
And that's just about it, really. There's not much story here - just the odd typically stilted conversation between Gladio and Cor - but we do like the setting. Caves can often end up being some of the most boring locations in gaming, but this particular set of tunnels and treacherous pathways kept us engaged thanks to some pleasant lighting and a load of interesting environmental details.
For its asking price, Episode Gladiolus is a decent little distraction, but a distinct lack of substance keeps it from being an essential addition to Final Fantasy XV. Combat doesn't have the same spice without the usual party members, and although the DLC ends with an enjoyable boss fight, it's not quite enough to make this a memorable test of strength.
Ahhh.. I'll wait till they are all released, and for a rainy day.
Maybe one day SE will have assembled a complete game.
If anyone who hasn't picked this up is hankering for some Final Fantasy, I recommend you pick up the PS4 remaster of XII. Fantastic game. I might pick it up and add the PS4 steelbox next to my PS2 steelbox.
Exactly as expected... But I kinda want to play through it for £3.99...
I liked it. Worth 5 bux.
Now that some time has passed and I've removed the fanboy glasses, Square really has dropped the ball with FFXV. I loved the game, spent almost 100 hours on it, but does anyone still care? No way is FFXV hitting 10 million. Think they only just passed 6 million. Noctis and co deserve better.
They've been too slow with meaningful content, yet have a majority of the team still working on it & have obviously butchered the story for monetary gain.
Compare that to Horizon which tells a fantastic story from start to finish. It's a 'complete' game and only now are GG thinking about expansions. No season pass, no BS. Just a great game.
I didn't expect alot from Episode Gladiolus. Hope the upcoming episodes are better. I'm sure I'll enjoy it, but I'll wait till they are all out.
i really enjoyed the music!
I'm gonna wait for the eventual GOTY edition, it looks like the package will be certainly something when it's eventually released.
Spot on review, nothing else to say or see.
My biggest problem with it is that it still doesn't explain why Gladio comes back when and where he does.
@Bliquid Maybe his secret dream was to have the lamest reappearance of any character in gaming ever.
I have the season pass so I'll probably play this in the next week or so. There are some definite great moments in the main game but it doesn't go anywhere near a Horizon or probably a Persona in terms of quality. That story definitely wasn't what it could be.
Are they going to have an episode that explains how exactly Ignis randomly became blind during the Leviathan battle?
I enjoyed it although it was very short - the Bossfight was great though! Looking forward to the next episode but until then - P E R S O N A !!!!!!!
It was a nice distraction for an hour, the boss fight was fun but I don't feel it really added to the story and the rewards weren't great. As with all the dlc so far it's been very lightweight and added nothing of use to the main game
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