'Final Fantasy 15' Episode Gladiolus DLC Preview: This Is What DLC Was Made For

Final Fantasy 15's Episode Gladio DLC.
Final Fantasy 15's Episode Gladio DLC. (c) Square Enix

Final Fantasy 15 ’s Episode Gladiolus DLC is the first major character-focused DLC on its plate, and from the preview I played today, it’s going to be a good one.

Without spoiling too much of the story (although the first fifteen minutes are available for your viewing pleasure here ), Episode Gladiolus takes place during the portion of the main story where Gladio took a sudden and unexpected break from being the One And Only King’s One And Only Shield because he had, uhh, stuff to do. Things.

It turns out Gladio’s previous battle with Ravus, Luna’s big brother and a high-ranking officer in Niflheim’s army of abominations and halfwits, has left a scar on Gladio’s psyche. How anything in the world could dent that impenetrable mullet is beyond me, but Gladio’s pride is hurt and his confidence is shook with a capital OOK. Ravus bested him easily and Gladio no longer has unassailable confidence in his power.

What to do? Gladio decides to take on a highly dangerous task, accompanied by Cor the Immortal. With Cor in tow, Gladio proceeds with his task.

While Final Fantasy 15 ’s Episode Gladio DLC is expected to take at least two meaty hours to complete, I only had about 40 minutes with it. When I had to stop, it felt like yanking candy from a baby, and the baby was me. I was having loads of fun with Gladio’s specific mechanics, which include a “Valor” meter that affects the power of his special moves as well as which special move he pulls out of his pocket. There’s a mechanic that lets you yank entire pillars out of the ground to lay immediate waste to even the most thickly-armored enemies, which was just beyond fun. And you get to see him crawl through passages, which just… thanks for thinking of me, Square-Enix.

You also hear what goes through that thickly-mulleted head of his in his conversations at camp with Cor, and even some brand-new details about his backstory that fit in neatly with what we already know. It all feels perfectly in-character. And Cor the Immortal, man …

When I say it’s great to spend more time with Cor, I really mean it. Cor is a character who feels kind of like Balthier - not technically the protagonist, but could have been. It’s not like Gladio gets to unburden his self-doubt and worries on Noctis, the One And Only #1 Best King, so hearing him talk with a colleague he respects is an interesting perspective we could only witness in this DLC.

While the DLC is heavily action-based and not what you would call narrative-driven, I enjoy the character insight it offers. Gladio’s combat is just distinct enough from Noctis to be entertaining without being wholly foreign. The environment is beautifully detailed and will offer more than a few choice selfie spots. While Gladio’s not with his boys, he’s got Cor the Immortal, who’s worth like ten boys. If all of Final Fantasy 15 ’s DLC is this rewarding, that season pass is worth every cent.

Are you looking forward to Final Fantasy 15 ’s Episode Gladio DLC, launching Mar. 28? Feel free to let us know in the comments section below.

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