New Final Fantasy Expansion Worth It

“Episode Gladiolus” exceeds expectations

By Elliott Gatica Music Editor

The first major expansion for Final Fantasy XV has arrived with a very manly approach in the downloadable content (DLC) add-on, “Episode Gladiolus.” It focuses on the shield of King Gladiolus and unveils why he parted ways with Noctis, Prompto and Ignis after being unable to beat Ravus in their initial encounter on an Imperial base.

Gladio wanted to take on a series of trials in order to become stronger and more able to protect Noctis. He calls Cor Leonis to aid him in his conquest to gain more power. This actually fleshes out Cor’s character even more and finally explains that scar Gladio got on his forehead.

This DLC add-on allows you to assume control of someone other than Noctis and it’s a refresher. Though Gladio’s weapons of choice are greatswords and large shields, the gameplay doesn’t feel as slow as it feels when Noctis uses the weapons. It makes sense since Gladio is such a big guy.

Also, it’s important to note that this is almost like a standalone game. The interface does borrow aspects of the original FFXV game, but certain elements like the combat system focus more on the new rage system. When Gladio takes damage, guards from attacks and parries successfully, the rage meter increases, granting him more attack power. Unlike Noctis, there is no magic like warp-striking or element casting. It’s just a meaty young guardian of the prince going through the Tempering Grounds with the Marshal of the Crownsguard.

Gladio takes on huge monsters like the Brunnrsormr, Enkidu and Humbaba. However, the final trial he faces is none other than the blademaster Gilgamesh and it’s nothing short of epic. And yes, this is a battle on a big bridge. This battle actually felt tougher than most of the bosses I faced throughout this entire game. The player has to really utilize dodging and parrying as he has a plethora of lethal moves.

Upon completion of the chapter, you are rewarded with the Genji Blade which carries over onto the main game and a glaive art for Gladio to use in other modes. It also unlocks a score attack mode and an extra ‘final battle’ against Cor himself. However, beating the score attack mode with at least 500,000 points rewards the player with a fully shirtless Gladio outfit which is also carried onto the main game.

For an add-on that’s marked with a $5 price tag, this is worth it, although it is a travesty that this wasn’t in the initial release of Final Fantasy XV.

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