After spending my first press hour playing Final Fantasy XV at PAX West last year, it seemed fitting that after a quick walk around the show floor I would play the first of the character-based FFXV DLC episodes, filling in the gaps of what happened to Gladiolus while he left during the main quest.
Opening with the gang sitting around a campfire, Prompto asks about the new scar that Gladio returned with. Prompting the brooding big guy to reflect on his story as he went to face off against the Blademaster Gilgamesh. We then flash back to a scene between Gladio and Cor as they discuss Gladio’s desire to challenge the Trial of Gilgamesh in order to attain the strength he feels will need to protect Noctis throughout their adventure.
It admittedly took a little bit of time to get used to the Final Fantasy control scheme again after a few months away. Things are mostly in the same place but Gladio does control a bit differently, as he doesn’t have the same abilities as Noct, nor the team to command. The biggest difference those is that Gladio utilizes his shield for defense in the place of Noctis’ phase abilities, though I admittedly got along just fine hacking and slashing away.
This definitely more Final Fantasy XV, for better and worse. The combat still feels great, but the story and performance showcased feel really stoic. It certainly didn’t help that I found Gladio to be the least interesting of the four in the main game and his early moments here don’t do anything to endear him to mean, still feeling largely confined to a belabored stoicism.
I will freely admit though that I chuckled when Gladio and Cor rested at a campfire and pulled out Gladio’s favorite Lucian delicacy: Cup Noodles.
The episode seems like it will have you fight through a series of monsters and mini-bosses in order to acquire the strength and will required to defeat Gilgamesh, who handily crushes you in your initial encounter. I don’t know that this demo convinced me of a need to return to the game upon it’s release but I might eventually be compelled enough to play through some of the other characters down the line.
Final Fantasy XV's Gladiolus-centric DLC launches March 28th.