Episode: Gladiolus is the first major DLC for Final Fantasy XV and, as is hopeful you noticed, it focuses on Gladiolus.
With the second DLC pack set to release in just over a week, I figured it was about time I got off my lazy ass and post this. So without further adieu.
This DLC tells the story of when Gladiolus decided to ditch the party for a short time in order to be stronger for Noctis. He apparently thinks the best way to do this is by fighting the greatest swordsman to ever live. Getting to play as Gladio with a different fighting style from Noctis, different skills, and a new area previously un-visited before, does this live up to the main game?
The DLC keeps what had a huge impact on making the main game so memorable, conversation between the characters. While Gladiolus is the focus of the DLC, Cor Leonis is also present and is sort of your guide through the add-on, even if the pathway is straight and cannot be deviated from. The conversations, which are sometimes optional if you decided to rest at a fire, give some much needed back story on Cor and why he was important to include in the game in the first place. While at the same time giving us Gladio’s side of the story for why he ditched Noctis and friends for this little foray.
As mentioned above, the path for this DLC is very straightforward and is almost reminiscent of the first several hours of FFXIII, in that it’s basically a straight line and getting lost is entirely impossible. They do hide Potions and Phoenix Downs in and around the pathways though, so exploring isn’t entirely unnecessary. Since this DLC is handled like a dungeon, you don’t heal after battles so searching for those healing items is vital to your survival to the end, those and the aforementioned campfires. It does feel a bit odd having the almost corridor feel to it though since you’re on such a narrow pathway most of the time.
The combat, on the other hand, is handled quite well. They don’t make the pathways too small so as to make you feel claustrophobic. Given that you are Gladiolus this time around, combat feels a bit heavier and less reactionary. You have to be more direct with your attacks and block more frequently so you don’t fall to enemies, which come in droves and show no mercy. Gladiolus has some unique abilities which differentiate himself from Noctis as well. One of which is a sort of rage meter called the ‘Valor Meter’ in which it charges over time as you attack or take damage. This allows you to use the Glaive Arts abilities which are tied to the king of Lucis. There are more than one, and they are sort of like a Limit Break seen in the older games which help you take out multiple foes at once, or can be saved for boss fights.
Other than that, the $4.99 DLC doesn’t have much. It’s roughly 90 minutes and gives us a little back story on Cor, some additional info about Gladio (though the free anime does a better job of doing this for us), a new dungeon, and a new combat style. It does also offer a ‘Score Attack Mode’ wherein it basically turns the DLC into a speedrun like mode which removes all the cut-scenes and allows you to just enjoy the combat and new area.
Once you beat the pint sized DLC, you will get 2 new items to bring over into the main game. Luckily the DLC is also priced cheaply, as it was sort of disappointing. It was ultimately worth playing, but it’s short length, little addition to lore, and with the knowledge of how the main game ends, it almost feels like it should have been included in the main game to begin with. Hopefully, they realize this and make the others longer and more meaningful. Is it worth the $5 asking price? If you’re a fan of FFXV, I’d say it’s worth getting to be with the gang again. Otherwise, feel free to skip it.