I don’t know about you, but I’ve been eagerly awaiting the release of Episode Gladiolus since I saw him leave the main party in Final Fantasy XV.

Story

The game opens up with the main cast sitting around a campfire and questions are asked about what happened to Gladiolus where he went missing during Chapter 6.

Gladio had embarked on a journey to seek new strength and prove himself as Noctis’s sworn shield. Gladio teams up with Cor, a badass who received little screen time throughout Final Fantasy XV and the two of the descent into Gilgamesh’s lair.

Those of you who are Final Fantasy veterans will expect Gilgamesh to be the same recurring character from past titles and I think you might be disappointed. This interpretation is serious, and he matches the tone of the overall game.

 

Combat

While the majority of the combat system is the same, when compared to the original base game, It has been tweaked to meet with Gladiolus’ character. The combat has been pushed into a more action orientated direction when compared to the original.

I understand the original game was action based, but had an underpinning strategy element which brought everything together.

Some of the elements which made the original combat system fun such as teleporting, flashy particle based dodges and summoning eidolons are missing from the expansion as the main protagonist, Noctis is elsewhere with Prompto and Iggy.

Throughout the main campaign I actively avoided using the greatsword as I felt it didn’t match with my playstyle. Gladiolus however uses a shield and a greatsword and there is no switching away from this. During combat you can attack enemies with your standard attacks which in turn increase your ability bar, allowing you to use skills that normally you would need to be instructed to use – this greatly increases the flow of combat and provides more connect.

Summoning his shield, Gladdy can deflect characters attacks and negate most of the damage he would otherwise receive. Also doing this, he builds up his rage meter which increases the damage dealt up to times four. Performing a perfectly timed counter will also allow you to perform a parry, with certain enemies this leads into a cinematic counter.

Some of the enemies which you’ll encounter throughout this content include those with heavy defences. You can keep throwing attacks their way in the hopes of knocking them down or Gladio can use his strength and uproot a nearby column and smash his enemies into submission.

 

Trial and Score Attack

After you have completed the main game, you have the option of undergoing a High Score Mode. Throughout this mode, you are tasked with getting through the dungeon as quickly and stylistically as you can. You earn points by chaining a large combo, parrying enemies and getting through as quickly as you can.

There are no items or drops in this mode, you are given a set number of consumables which throughout my attempts at this mode are more than enough.

 

Final Thoughts

The overall quality of the experience is what I would expect to receive from a Square Enix developed title and the quality was definitely there, this does meet the quality set by the original game. however it just doesn’t meet the expectation of the length of the experience.

This piece of downloadable content lasted me just over one hour for my first playthrough, and I know what you’re thinking – it’s incredibly short. The addition is exactly what you would expect, additional storyline all with voice acting and we get a little bit of additional backstory into both of the starring characters, Gladiolus and Cor..

While there isn’t a whole lot of conversation to be had between these character, the dialogue that is there can actually be skipped. While we should be accustomed to dialogue choices in Final Fantasy XV. In this experience it revolves around, “I’m interested in what you have to say” or “I’m not interested, let me complete this dungeon”.

While the experience only lasts an hour, you are guided through a beautifully linear set of caves, watch Gladio eat noodles a handful of times and ultimately get to fight Gilgamesh. A fight which was moderately difficult however by the time you are there, you would have gained the means to defeat the villain.

Overall I’m rating Episode Gladiolus a 6/10.

The experience isn’t long, there isn’t a great deal of replay value past running the score attack and doing the Final Trial. The questions on his disappearance throughout the main game have finally been answered – although I am disappointed that this content didn’t lead us directly into the factory where he has disguised himself and assists Noctis. If you’re a fan of the base game, then purchasing this is easily a no brainer.

I would hope that with Episode Prompto coming out in a few months time, that we will receive a longer experience.

 

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