For those of you that read my review of Final Fantasy XV's previous DLC, Episode Gladiolus, you'll know that I wasn't wowed by anything that it had to offer. It gave players very little to care about in almost every aspect. When I beat that DLC and saw the intriguing teaser trailer for Episode Prompto, my expectations were at a hard neutral. After playing it, I was pleasantly pleased with my purchase.
It is without a doubt better than Episode Gladiolus while still being affordable, being priced at only $5 for a good amount of content. Episode Prompto is in no way perfect, but it is an enjoyable, affordable piece of DLC that you may want to consider picking up if you just can't get enough Final Fantasy XV like me.
Episode Prompto is available for $5 on the PlayStation Store.
We open up with seeing where Prompto has gone after Noctis accidentally pushed him off of the moving train thinking he was Ardyn. From there, the Empire finds and kidnaps Prompto, taking him to his birthplace as a Magitek soldier. I don't want to go into too much detail as many things are revealed and talked about throughout this DLC that may be spoilers for those who haven't finished the main game. All that aside, I enjoyed the story for what it was, but it isn't incredible.
There are some cool conventions and moments here though. For example, we get to see what Prompto looked like as a kid and learn much more about him and why he puts on this fun loving persona around his friends. At times it borders on being a little too melodramatic as Prompto is much more serious in this DLC than he is in the main game. It's a mixed bag here in terms of his character development as we do get to learn much more about him, giving him more depth than before. But at the same time he acts completely different than how he usually does in Final Fantasy XV.
Other characters do make an appearance here, such as Verstael (pictured above) and Ardyn. Aranea also returns and plays a major role as a party member towards the end of the DLC. It is nice to see her have a bigger role in something FFXV related. Verstael is given a little more depth through collectible audio logs and newspaper articles, which is nice, but I feel that he should have had a bigger presence in the story.
Similar to Episode Gladiolus, Episode Prompto changes up the regular FFXV gameplay quite a bit. You'll notice right from the beginning that the game takes on a more 3rd person shooter vibe reminiscent of games like Metal Gear Solid. The game tries to give a bigger emphasis on stealth, introducing the player to stealth kills that not only kill the enemy silently, but also give you their weapon. Sneak kills then introduce the player to the other major aspect of Episode Prompto: gunplay.
There are four new weapons to try out in this DLC: an SMG, rocket launcher, and sniper rifle. You can aim down the sights like any other 3rd person shooter and fire away. It is interesting to see how Square Enix has implemented guns into the FFXV combat, especially because it works. Prompto is like a glass cannon: he can't take many hits, but he can pack a punch with his variety of weapons and grenades. Unfortunately, you can only carry one weapon at a time. Your other slots will contain his pistol with infinite ammo and a sword. I found it awkward that you couldn't aim down the sight of the pistol like you could with the other guns, but it worked fine.
After the DLC's opening chapter, you're thrown into a very small open world for Prompto to explore. In this open world, you can collect weapons, fight different creatures, and even do side quests. These side quests though are a bit of a disappointment. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't expecting anything to rival some of the side quests from the main game, but all these side missions are just defeating a large swarm of enemies, or a level 99 boss. The only one that's really worth doing is the against the Kaiser Behemoth, but that's mostly due to the fact that you get a trophy/achievement for doing so.
Completing side missions will get you CPUs that you can use to upgrade a snowmobile that you get. You're able to upgrade its speed, damage, jumping distance, and handling of the snowmobile. But honestly, its rather pointless. With such a small open world and lackluster side missions, what's the point? Some of the better things here though is the collectible goggle and mask costumes to find and unlock.
I do really appreciate a more thought out DLC here, especially after how linear and boring the Episode Gladiolus DLC was, but it isn't robust enough for me to fully enjoy it. Don't get me wrong, I had a fun time exploring this little area, but it doesn't have enough going for it for me to love it. I understand that this is a little DLC for $5, but if you're gonna include something like this, make it awesome.
Episode Prompto also comes with two little mini-games that unlock once you beat the main campaign. The first one is a time trial mode where you race against the clock with your snowmobile. These are actually pretty fun and intense. You collect small shards that give you speed boosts; the more you collect, the faster you go. You only have three courses to race through, but they are each equally fun to go through and try to get the fastest time.
The other optional mini game is a training fight against Aranea. Let me tell you: this is NOT for the faint of heart or a casual player. It is extremely difficult to take her down, so good luck if you attempt this. It is definitely a fun challenge though and worth the struggle for not only a trophy/achievement, but for bragging rights as well.
If I had to classify Episode Prompto from a gameplay standpoint, I'd say its "barely solid". I really enjoyed the gunplay and combat of this DLC, as well as the mini games that were present. But the odd mini open world with lackluster side quests, while being an awesome concept, didn't really grab me. That along with the occasional glitches I got and a kind of boring final boss bring down this admittedly fun package.
Graphics & Sound
Just like the main game it stems from, Episode Prompto looks and sounds great. The graphics are just as good as the main game, this time showing off a beautiful snowy mountainside. The environments here simply look jaw-dropping. Sound design is equally as good, with every pop of your gun firing sounding as satisfying as it feels.
But I absolutely have to give a special mention to the music here. Dear god is it beautiful. FFXV already had an amazing soundtrack, but the music in Episode Prompto is just as good if not BETTER. I could listen to the main menu theme alone for hours (in fact I'm listening to it now as I write this). This DLC continues Final Fantasy's tradition of having some of the best music in all of gaming.
While it is admittedly a mixed bag, I enjoyed my time with Episode Prompto. It is without a doubt the stronger of the two DLC episodes out so far for FFXV, and the one I would recommend the most. It has great combat and gunplay, beautiful scenery and music, and some interesting story bits, fun mini games and great character moments. But, with it's lackluster mini open world and side missions, along with some occasional glitches, Episode Prompto just barely comes off as a solid experience.
Here's hoping that the last episode, Episode Ignis, takes what worked from its predecessors and gives us something truly special. It is gonna be awhile till it comes out (sometime in December, according to the teaser), so here's hoping it's even better than Episode Prompto.
|+ Fun combat and gunplay||– Lackluster mini open world|
|+ Amazing soundtrack||– Boring side missions|
|+ Good character development & moments||– Occasional glitches|
|+ Fun mini games|