Thoughts on Final Fantasy XV 'Episode Gladiolus' and 'Chapter 13 Verse 2'

Episode Gladiolus brings the first substantial DLC to Final Fantasy XV (let's not discuss the Moogle Chocobo Carnival) and the game’s first paid add-on. It’s essentially an hour long boss rush where you fight through a series of rooms of ever harder foes with limited healing items in your quest to defeat the legendary Blademaster Gilgamesh. It’s a fun challenge, but what makes the episode particularly interesting is the revised combat system for the titular beefcake.

Gladio is a much more ponderous character than Noctis, who had the ability to warp around the battlefield on command. Instead you need to focus on dodges, blocks and counterattacks in a combat system that feels more like a brawler. Gladio has a rage meter that strengthens his attacks and powerful AOE attacks that can be unleashed once charged. It took some time to get the hang off, but by the final fight I felt right at home.

The add-on also has a fantastic remix of Clash on the Big Bridge from Final Fantasy V.

Final Fantasy V:

Final Fantasy XV (no spoilers):

Final Fantasy XV has also received an update to the controversial Chapter 13. This section was criticised at release for taking away all your weapons and party members and made you slowly progress through a labyrinth which felt unfinished and lacked any interesting content. The plot revelations in this section mostly happen off screen and fail to explain character motivations. If you’ve completed the original game I encourage you to read the Wikia article on Ravus and tell me how much of that you got from the game.

Chapter 13 Verse 2 is designed to fix these issues by showing what was happening from the perspective of Gladio and Ignis. You can play this section from the main menu which is a nice convenience for players that have already completed the main story, however this extra 40 minutes of gameplay doesn’t achieve very much. You play as Gladio using the combat system from Episode Gladiolus, however the chapter provides no challenge to enjoy and no progression that can be carried forward, making a second jaunt through the least interesting environment in the game incredibly unappealing.

The additions to the story are incredibly minor and of no real consequence, and the final challenge was made a joke by the fact the enemy AI decided to concentrate entirely on Ignis, who is completely invincible. It probably didn’t help that I experienced this chapter months after the original game, but overall it was incredibly disappointing.

But hey, there is always Episode Prompto.