IntroductionAfter a long wait, the first DLC episode for Final Fantasy XV is here. In this first of three episodes staring the supporting characters of the game, we take control of Gladiolus for the first time as he aims to become stronger by taking on the Trial of Gilgamesh. It's a cool premise, and the DLC has it's moments, but overall this was a disappointing extra chapter. It may only be $5, but what we get here doesn't feel unique enough to warrant two more episodes of our supporting heroes.
StoryAfter the party gets their asses kicked in Chapter 6, I'm sure you remember that Gladio decides that he needs to leave the party for awhile in order to become stronger. If you wondered exactly where he went and what he did, Episode Gladiolus will show you. Gladio brings Cor along with him in order to take on the Trial of Gilgamesh; a series of fights that only the strongest warriors and shields of the king stand a chance to complete.
It's pretty simple stuff here. It's not much to go on, but it's simple enough to where you buy what's happening and are willing to go on the ride to see what happens. There's nothing too shocking or groundbreaking here story wise, but there is some interesting lore/exposition dump by Cor whenever you rest at a camp, which I myself and other fans of the game will appreciate.
GameplayThe biggest draw here for Episode Gladiolus is being able to play as Gladio himself. He operates somewhat differently than Noctis when it comes to his combat abilities. Instead of dodges, Gladio can only block attacks with his shield. This will help build up a "rage" gauge that will allow him to hit harder when his rage goes up. You can also use special moves once his energy gauge fills up. You'll be able to perform moves that he learns in the main game, with the stronger moves taking more energy. Gladio also has the ability to pick up large pillars and use them as weapons against enemies in combat. Attacks are super strong with these, but they only last a few hits.
There are a few new enemies here, but none of them really feel that unique or difficult. There are several sections where Gladio will have to fight a boss by himself. These are pretty engaging fights, but they are really just against enemies you would find in the base game. You'll be fighting most of the time in this dungeon, which I wasn't too happy with. Don't get me wrong, the combat here is probably the best aspect of the gameplay, but it tends to get monotonous after a bit. It would've been nice to break up the combat with some puzzles here and there.
There's also a score attack mode where you go through the dungeon and just fight enemies for a high score. This can be a fun little distraction, but it doesn't do much to bring up the complete package here.
ConclusionEpisode Gladiolus is a bit disappointing for me. I wasn't expecting anything too amazing, but I wanted a little more effort than this. It has some fun combat and interesting backstory and lore, but ultimately it feels rushed and not really worth the time. It is cheap, though, so maybe pick it up if you loved Final Fantasy XV like I do.
At the very least, we got confirmation that the next DLC, Episode Prompto will be coming sometime in June. Hopefully, that DLC will have a better story and gameplay design. The teaser seemed interesting, so here's hoping that they learn from their mistakes here and make that DLC awesome.
|+ Fun combat||- Very linear dungeon|
|+ Interesting lore/backstory dump||- No variety|
|+ Cheap||- Only 1 hour|