*slight spoilers for Final Fantasy XV*
From the get go, Square Enix announced a plan to release three separate DLCs across 2017, one for each of Noctis’ band of bros. At last, we have a good glimpse how Final Fantasy XV will treat its episodic, character-driven DLCs, starting with Episode Gladiolus.
Gladiolus is, in all meanings, the “shield” of the group. He inherits his family’s role of protective duty for the royal line of Lucis, a job Gladiolus takes very seriously and with pride. After a subtle defeat in the main story, Gladiolus feels that he cannot live up to his role as the Shield of the King. This unbalance causes him to reach out to General Cor, a talented sword master and friend of King Regis, for assistance on embarking the Trials of Gilgamesh, the ultimate test of strength.
Episode Gladiolus allows us to play as Gladiolus for the first time with new and fun battle mechanics. First off, Gladiolus has a “Rage Meter”, which increases its counter every time he takes damage, blocks or counters enemy attacks. The higher the counter number, the more damage you will inflict. On the flip side, the meter decreases when you go aggro with attacks. In essence, the combat system emphasizes a balance between heavy attacks and defensive cues, making for some thrilling fights.
Similar to the Tech Bar in FFXV, Gladiolus has up to four varying levels of special moves he can use. Saving up meter until the bar is full grants a powerful, knock-your-ass to the ground sweep, while using a portion of the meter right away uses an alternate, lesser-powered attack. FFXV just knows how to make awesome-looking moves feel satisfying, and the DLC is no different. Did I mention Gladiolus can pull pillars from their upright position and smack the living hell out of enemies? Yeah, he can do that. And yeah, it’s freakin’ cool.
Since Gladiolus is taking the Trials of Gilgamesh, Final Fantasy fans can only guess who the final boss is. Gilgamesh has been a recognizable character since his debut in Final Fantasy V. In Final Fantasy XV, he gets an impressive redesign and is a formidable foe. The boss fight won’t win over God of War 3 enthusiasts, but it’s enough to be good.
Also, shout outs to Keiichi Okabe, composer for the excellent Nier: Automata, for composing two great tracks for Episode Gladiolus.
Beating the DLC grants an extra boss battle and Score Attack mode, and completing everything took me close to two hours of playtime. This short story highlights Gladiolus and General Cor, and how they are more alike than we think. For Final Fantasy fans, there are more than a few callbacks to the old games that looked magnificent in this DLC. Final Fantasy XV always had great visuals, but to see certain FF enemies in full HD gets me all giddy and nerdy as a fan of the series. This DLC won’t win any awards, but for $5, or free for Season Pass buyers, Episode Gladiolus is definitely worth playing.
Final Fantasy XV: Episode Gladiolus DLC Review
This DLC won't win any awards, but for $5, or free for Season Pass buyers, Episode Gladiolus is definitely worth playing.