Episode Prompto is the second story DLC released for Final Fantasy XV. Like how Episode Gladiolus focused on its titular character, this new chapter focuses on the young photographer/gunslinger Prompto and is a improved offering than what was presented with Episode Gladiolus – better exploration, more content, and a drastic new playstyle.
Episode Prompto takes place after Prompto is knocked off a train under assault by the magitek soldiers in the core game. Prompto is captured and essentially released by Ardyn in a magitek military facility in a snow-capped mountainous region. It’s in this facility that Prompto learns about himself and where he actually came from. Without any spoilers, there just isn’t much to know that we didn’t learn about Prompto during chapter 13 of the core game. However, I did enjoy the various audio recordings and notes scattered throughout the four-hour adventure, as it provided a bit more backstory about the magitek soldiers and how they were created.
Prompto plays drastically different than either Noctis or Gladio. Being a gunslinger most of the adventure plays like a third-person shooter. Prompto can take cover behind objects and aim to shoot at enemy weak points. Prompto comes equipped with a trusty pistol that he can shoot while running and dodging. While it doesn’t do much damage, it comes with an unlimited ammo supply. Outside of the pistol, Prompto can choose between picking up an assault rifle, sniper rifle, or rocket launcher. Various weapon cabinets are scattered throughout, but you can only carry one of these weapons at a time.
While using his gun, Prompto simply runs around shooting and doesn’t require much of anything from the player outside of holding the R1 button. While using any of the other weapons like the assault rifle, the camera goes over Prompto’s shoulder, allowing you to aim and shoot however you like. I found it quite odd that I couldn’t aim with my pistol at first but quickly understood that I couldn’t really move fast or dodge while aiming down with any other weapon. It’s also incredibly frustrating that in order to get more ammo for my weapons, I couldn’t simply walk over guns dropped by the enemy. I either had to find another weapon cabinet and grab a whole new gun or take it from an enemy while they’re stunned.
During combat I was able to land enough hits on enemy weak points (their head). Sometimes they would get stunned and emit a blue hue. During this stunned phase, I could run up to the enemy and attack them to steal their weapon with a melee attack, or I can simply do “break shot” to cause immense critical damage. You could also perform sneak attacks and stealthly kill the magitek soldiers but this was mostly scripped and can only be performed during certain sections of the DLC.
Prompto’s skills essentially are useless. He has three of them but only two are usable by him: a flair that blinds enemies that pretty much never worked and being able to take selfies in the middle of combat. Yes. you read that right. Prompto can use a part of his skill bar to take a selfie with any of the enemies he’s in combat with.
Prompto isn’t the only one featured in the DLC. Aranea joins Prompto for much of the adventure, lending her close quarter Dragoon skills to accompany Prompto’s long range style. Aranea doesn’t add much of anything to the story outside of telling Prompto to stop crying and whining about who he is and if his friends will still accept him, which he does throughout most of the DLC.
The location Prompto visits reminded me a lot of Shadow Moses from Metal Gear Solid. The military compound surrounded by oh-so-beautiful snow is yours to explore. The compound itself is fairly linear, but the outside mountainous region can be explored on a snowmobile. The snowmobile honestly controls quite badly. The turning is horrible and, for whatever reason, the camera always moves on its own completely, throwing off my sense of direction. The open area you get to explore is full of side quests that pop up only once you finish the previous sidequest, as to not overwhelm you.
Completing these side quests will net you gear to upgrade your snowmobile with better handling, faster engines, and higher jumping capabilities. These side quests add to the longevity of the DLC but aren’t required as you don’t level or get any stronger from completing them.
Outside of the side quests, Episode Prompto features some ranked timed trial races and training fights with Aranea, which is much easier to defeat than Cor was from Episode Gladio.
The worst part about Episode Prompto is the weird selection of music. It started off with beautiful piano music but quickly turned into some god-awful dubstep/house music which ruined almost every encounter in the second half of the adventure. It’s truly awful.
Episode Prompto is a better experience than Episode Gladio but not by much. The drastically different type of play Prompto requires may put some people off but in all honesty it’s a nice breath of fresh air. It’s story doesn’t really add much of anything that we didn’t already known about Prompto. Some of the design is also questionable, and don’t even get me started on the music.