Final Fantasy XV’s ‘Episode Gladiolus’ Is A Less Than Stellar DLC Debut

At one point during the course of “Final Fantasy XV,” Gladiolus, also known as “Gladio” and the bodyguard of Prince Noctis, leaves the party for a few chapters without explaining his reasons. While Gladio’s reasons for his temporary departure were never explained in FF XV, the recent DLC material of “Episode Gladiolus” yields an answer. While this offering allows you to take direct control of Gladio during his absence from the party, its execution leaves something to be desired.

 

Episode Gladiolus begins with the four-man band hanging out around the campfire with Prompto yapping his mouth and Noctis focusing on his phone. The friendship among these characters is one of Final Fantasy XV’s greatest benefits; sadly, things quickly change up so Gladio pairs up with Cor, a marshal loyal to Noctis. The main premise of this episode focuses on Gladio’s efforts to becoming the best retainer he can. Gladio’s path has him tackling the trail of Gilgamesh, a memorable character with several franchise appearances. Despite the heartening premise of tackling Gilgamesh, his “trial” is a series of linear corridors, broken up by combat sequences. While the Gilgamesh fight makes for a satisfying finish, the entire episode takes roughly 90 minutes to finish.

 

While FF XV’s combat has been relatively lackluster, the lack of access to Noctis’ teleportation and spellcasting abilities further diminishes that combat. Gladio’s combat boils down to spamming “attack” with an occasional dodge or shield-raise. The one unique way of attacking, using stone columns as improvised weaponry, quickly loses novelty.

 

Over the episode’s 90 minute running time, it never really satisfies narratively or mechanically. As if to further point out the distinction in protagonist, Episode Gladiolus shows up in a separate console window from FF XV and has you controlling a level 24 Gladio, regardless of your progress in FF XV. While there are a handful of parent game benefits after completing the episode, none are really notable except maybe shirtless Gladio. Overall, Episode Gladiolus is more of a mild chore than a lark whose main positives are a fight with Gilgamesh and a teaser for Prompto’s episode.

 

Final Fantasy XV Will Prove How Beneficial Game Delays Are

It seems like every blockbuster “Triple A” video game follows the same pre-release pattern these days. Splashy debut trailer, inconsistent showing at major games media event, a much publicized release date announcement, and the day in which that release date is pushed back by a couple months. Final Fantasy XV is the latest game to fall victim to this trend, and while fans might be angry that their most anticipated game of the fall is now set to launch firmly in the winter, what they need to realize is that game delays should no longer be a sign of a games development staff struggling to ship a quality product. Instead, delays have become more and more about publishers trying their best to release a product that lives up to the high standards of fans.

Square Enix has been working on Final Fantasy XV, in one form or another, for more than a decade. Originally planned as a Playstation 3 exclusive spin-off titled Final Fantasy Versus XIII, it’s since undergone a major change to just about every aspect of its design. A game of this magnitude, with a budget the likes of which the role playing game industry has never seen before, absolutely has to be a commercial success for Square Enix. There is no room for failure. Which is precisely why they have elected to push the release of the game back nearly two months, from September 30th to November 29th. When a game is delayed for just two months, so close to its release, it’s a sign that while the game is basically done, the developers need a little more time to smooth out the rough spots. Sure, fans of the series will have to wait a little longer to get their fix, but would they rather have an unfinished, lackluster product? I don’t think so.

Final Fantasy XV is not destined to be the next Duke Nukem Forever. It’s essentially finished, and Square Enix is using this high profile delay to ensure that the title that will make or break their holiday season is one that fans will remember for its stunning gameplay and cinematics, not the broken nature in which it shipped.

Final Fantasy XV: What is Known so Far

E3 is just days away, and that means tons of new in the world of gaming. One of the big upcoming releases is Final Fantasy XV from Square Enix. Huge risks are being taken with the franchise in an attempt to further expand the brand beyond hardcore gamers. Let’s take a look at what is known so far.

Inside the game, there is a mini game. This mini game will actually be playable on mobile devices that use iOS and Android. The game is called Justice Monsters Five and it will be a pinball game that utilizes a lot of classic Final Fantasy creatures.

There is an actual live action film that ties into the game called Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV. The movie is set in the same time frame as the game and links to the game’s story arc. This film stars Aaron Paul from Breaking Bad and Lena Headey from Game of Thrones. It will be released on July 9, 2016 in Japan and will be available in deluxe editions of the game and streaming services. This movie stars Nix, a character that isn’t in the main game.

There is also an anime called Brotherhood: Final Fantasy XV. There will be five ten-minute episodes in total. The first episode is up on youtube.

No company has tried such an ambitious multi-platform release like this. There is an awful lot banking on the overall quality of the game and the film. E3 should provide a lot of answers as to whether this strategy will pay off.