The second of three episodic character DLCs from Final Fantasy XV is finally here with Final Fantasy XV: Episode Prompto. The somewhat 2-hour filled DLC offers a chance to play as Noctis’ dear friend and lovable buddy, Prompto. Prompto’s specialty is in long-range weaponry, specifically his trusty revolver, giving players a new way to play Final Fantasy XV as a third-person shooting game.
To avoid spoilers from the main game, the gist of the story is that Prompto dramatically got separated from his friends and ends up in a magitek facility ran by the evil empire. As Prompto sneaks through the factory, we get clear answers to Prompto’s origins. Later on, players will get to explore a new snowy landscape and come across key characters that drive the story forward. It’s like a brief action movie that has enough emotional substance to carry it until the last boss fight. Prompto’s character is arguably the most relatable and the player will understand and like him even more after finishing the DLC. Unfortunately, the final boss fight sacrifices what could have been a more emotional moment for a Michael Bay-like spectacle.
I seem to be in the minority when I say I really enjoyed Episode Gladiolus, and the reason why is because it was a grounded, personal journey for Gladiolus. Episode Prompto had the same, if not more, emotional resonance, but the grand spectacle set pieces contrasted those personal moments too much. Thankfully, the #FFXV best girl, Aranea, makes her way into the story to help out Prompto. To put it in a nerdy way, she’s to Final Fantasy XV like Darth Maul is to Star Wars Episode I: they may not be in it as much, but they are the best thing about it. I was happy to see more of Aranea as she continues to be the most interesting and coolest character in the game.
Unlike Episode Gladiolus, you do get to venture into a small open area filled with unimportant, “maybe it’s worth doing”-kind of side quests. I was never motivated to do them my first time through, but a second playthrough is in order because the combat is so much fun. As Prompto, you have his famous revolver with unlimited ammo, a melee weapon, magic grenades, and a long-range weapon slot that can be swapped between an SMG, a rocket launcher, or even a sniper. Still keeping to the FFXV-style combat, finishing moves and executions are stylish and fun. While the battle system is good in fire fights, it can feel sloppy during boss battles.
In Final Fantasy XV: Episode Prompto, there’s certainly more to do (especially for $5), even though a good chunk may not even be worth doing. There are some cool nuances that only Final Fantasy fans will catch, and I like that consistency. As a FFXV nerd, the story did not tell me what I already figured out, so it was more of an interactive refresher if you will. I already liked Prompto to begin with, so having a narrative focused completely on him and his struggles was worth playing through. While the presentation, especially the music, is spot on and feels like a great add-on to the FFXV Universe, it won’t blow you away.
Final Fantasy XV: Episode Prompto brings a fun take to the combat, a more emotionally resonated story, and recurring characters that deserved another spot light aside from the main game. However, the Michael Bay-like spectacles could have been toned down and an uninteresting final boss fight could have been better.