Final Fantasy XV: Episode Gladiolus DLC Review
It’s been four months since the release of Final Fantasy XV and after a few updates and promises of premium DLC content Square Enix’s first major downloadable content has launched in the form of Episode Gladiolus. The sad truth, however, is that it’s not the premium content we thought it would be.
As most already know, Episode Gladiolus stars the titular Gladiolus, great friend to Noctis and my favorite character from Final Fantasy XV. Episode Gladiolus follows Gladio at the point where he leaves the group in XV for unknown reasons. The episode shows us what exactly he went to do.
Gladio sets off to find a way to become stronger to protect Noctis and his friends and enlists the help of Cor, who if you remember vanished from XV without any explanation after his initial introduction. In order to help Gladio, Cor takes him to the cave to challenge the greatest swordsman to ever live, Gilgamesh, in which Cor hopes Gladio will win the respect of and gain more strength by defeating him.
Throughout the hour-and-a-half DLC you’re joined by Cor as he guides Gladio through the trials he must face. We do learn a little more about Cor and his own history with Gilgamesh as well as Cor’s relationship with Gladio’s father. It doesn’t add anything to the main story of XV but it’s always nice to get a little more information about the supporting cast.
Episode Gladiolus is a linear adventure as Gladio and Cor trek through a rather bland cave system facing off undead soldiers who have tried their luck and lost their lives to Gilgamesh — and throughout the journey Gladio is aided in combat by Cor. The first thing you’ll notice about Gladio is that he plays drastically different to Noctis. Episode Gladiolus plays more like an action game with Gladio favoring a more action-oriented combat system. The one major difference between Gladio and Noctis is the dodge functionality.
While Noctis will dodge incoming attacks Gladio instead chooses to pull out his shield and block attacks. When timed perfectly to an enemy attack Gladio will deflect and allow you the opportunity to counter attack. Gladio can also dodge but it’s more of a traditional roll or side-step. The other unique addition to Gladio’s arsenal is his glaive attacks. While in combat a skill-bar will fill up and allow you to simply execute Gladio’s glaive attacks with the press of a button. The more it builds up the better and stronger glaive attacks you will be able to pull off. It’s a nice system and kind of works like it did in XV but with better control for the player.
There is a score attack mode which allows you to hurry through the DLC as fast as possible without any save points and scoring points which you can then compare to other players. The only other thing you can do is fight against Cor himself in a training battle which is actually pretty damn challenging and took me a few tries.
The worst thing about Episode Gladiolus is the music. Gone is the great combat music from XV and and in its place comes some heavy death metal-style music. It’s bad, even if you enjoy death metal. The only good thing about the DLC’s music is the new rendition of Gilgamesh’s theme song which mixes his theme with some the heavy metal and it works fairly well. The only other problem I ran into is the terrible response time when it came to attacking and blocking. If you haven’t noticed Gladio swings a pretty big sword so his animations can take a while, the problem is that if you are being attacked mid animation you can’t block. Gladio, a lot of the time, has to go through the entire animation before he’s able to block, though thankfully he can still dodge mid-animation.
That’s pretty much all there is to Episode Gladiolus. It doesn’t offer a lot of content but it’s also priced fairly reasonably at $4.99. It’s not the great DLC we were hoping for but it at least shows us how Gladio will play once the multiplayer DLC arrives.