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Final Fantasy XV Episode Gladiolus Is A Slow Journey

So, you’ve collected the royal arms, saved the Kingdom of Lucis, and vanquished the demons with the crystal’s power. What’s next to do? Well, the good news for Final Fantasy XV gamers is that Square Enix has released the DLC Episode Gladiolus. The side quest offered by the DLC is good for another couple of hours worth of content with one of the game’s beloved characters.

The bad news? It’s one slow journey.

Here’s a general run down of what you get from Episode Gladiolus:

The King’s Shieldbearer

Sometime between Chapters 6 and 7 of Final Fantasy XV, Gladio departs the party for unspecified reasons. This DLC shows us exactly what kind of adventure he had during that time, and why he returned with an extra scar across his face.

As it turns out, Gladio decides to put himself through a sort of trial as a member of Noctis’s royal guard. Realizing that he needs greater power to properly serve as King Noctis’s shield bearer, he descends into a sort of ruins where the spirits of the old Kings’ men lay. There, he seeks the power he needs to protect Noctis.

At the end of the ruins, Gladio tests himself against Gilgamesh, the Shield of the Founder King. While Gilgamesh may be recognized as a recurring Final Fantasy character usually played for comic relief, he’s all business here.

Joining Gladio temporarily is Cor Leonis – the veteran called the Immortal, who was once served King Regis.

It’s a set-up that has plenty of potential to shed light on the world of Final Fantasy XV. After all, storytelling and clarity was one of the game’s biggest weaknesses. The episode would have given the gamers the opportunity to learn more about Cor, the old Kings of Lucis, and the world’s lore. That at least would elucidate the world for those who had no time to watch Kingsglaive.

Slow And Podding

Sadly, the opportunity is squandered due to the lackluster gameplay. Gladiolus controls very differently from Noctis, whose quick strikes and warping is abandoned for a more power-oriented approach. Gladio attacks with slower swings with his great sword. And instead of dashing away from incoming attacks, he uses his shield to defend.

Gladio does have access to some of his familiar moves, such as Tempest, and he does occasionally Link-Strike with Cor to give the battles more flavor.

But while some extras add a small element of fun (such as picking up columns from the ground smashing enemies with them), the episode is hardly worth the extra $5 it costs. In the end, very little is added to the quality of FF XV’s story. Cor doesn’t do much, and the gameplay becomes more tedious than fun after the first half hour. You might be better off enjoying the other updates that game offers instead.

If, and only if, you’re a huge Gladiolus fan, then it may be worth a shot. Completionists may also want to gun for the extra trophies that Episode Gladiolus offers. And there’s an extra costume as a reward for finishing it (hint: you just take his shirt off). But for the most part, FF XV’s DLC still leaves a lot to be desired.

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