Operation Backlog Completion 2024
Mar 132020

Amid last month’s flurry of romance games, I also took the time to finally play something else: the rest of the Final Fantasy XV DLC!

I played Episode Prompto right when it launched, but even though I always intended to buy and play Episode Ignis and Episode Ardyn, I never got around to it.

Then Final Fantasy XV came to Game Pass for PC with all its DLC included, so I decided this was the best opportunity to catch up.

And since I had all the DLC in my hands, why not start with Episode Gladiolus after all?

Episode Gladiolus

I originally skipped Episode Gladiolus because it didn’t interest me, and it’s by far the weakest of Final Fantasy XV’s DLC. There’s not much story here, just Gladio fighting Gilgamesh to become stronger. It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t great. The best part was probably its remix of Battle at the Big Bridge.

Episode Ignis

Then I moved on to Episode Ignis, which I was especially looking forward to since Ignis is my favorite of the four Final Fantasy XV protagonists.

Episode Ignis has more of a focus on story, and it also isn’t as linear as Episode Gladiolus, instead giving you a city to explore, reclaim sectors of, and find treasure in. Exploring the city was pretty fun, and the story had some epic moments. Some of the story content reminded me again of how strange certain storytelling gaps in the main game felt, but Episode Ignis on its own was awesome and well worth playing.

Episode Ardyn

Finally, it was time to play Episode Ardyn. This is the one I was most excited for, and learning Episode Ardyn was included with the game on Game Pass was the tipping point that made me finally play the DLC.

Episode Ardyn has an even heavier focus on story and lore than Episode Ignis did. It lays out more details about the world and its history and focuses on Ardyn’s change into the villain we know him as. Some parts felt a little rushed, and I think it would have greatly benefited from a longer length. Pretty much everything in Episode Ardyn’s story made me say, “This would be much more effective if it was more gradual.” It’s still enjoyable in this shortened form, but it makes me think about what could have been.

Oh, and it gets bonus points for Verstael. Young Verstael is everything I wanted from him.

He’s even better here than he was in Episode Prompto. I don’t understand how the main game squandered Verstael and all his mad scientist potential, but he makes up for it here.

Anyway, like Episode Ignis, Episode Ardyn does eventually put you in a more open area where you can battle enemies and capture sectors. It was really a lot of fun, and I’d rank it at the top of all the DLC.

I’m happy I finally played the rest of Final Fantasy XV’s DLC, and my final ranking would be Episode Ardyn > Episode Ignis > Episode Prompto > Episode Gladiolus. Have you played the Final Fantasy XV DLC episodes? Which was your favorite?

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Mar 272019

The final piece of Final Fantasy XV DLC, Episode Ardyn, is now available for $9.99.

When the release date was announced, I speculated that Episode Ardyn would be longer than the previous DLC episodes.

This made sense for two reasons. First, they had originally said they might make an entire game based around Ardyn, which suggested they had a lot of material. Second, it costs twice as much as the previous DLC episodes, which are $4.99 each.

However, players have reported that Episode Ardyn is about 2-3 hours long, just like the others.

So I’m not sure why it costs $9.99 when it’s the same length as the previous DLC episodes. I haven’t actually bought it yet, because I lost some of my enthusiasm. The anime prologue wasn’t as interesting as I hoped, either, partly because it’s so short. It added a few more details to the story we already knew, but it was nothing like the look at Ardyn’s past I’d hoped for.

I’ll probably still get Episode Ardyn eventually (and maybe Episode Ignis too), but right now I have other games I’d rather play instead.

Are you getting Episode Ardyn?

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Feb 182019

The last Final Fantasy XV DLC, Episode Ardyn, now has a release date: March 26.

I’d expected it to be $4.99 like the previous character episodes, but judging by the Japanese price, it looks like this one might be a bit more expensive. Square Enix should announce the international pricing soon.

Hopefully the higher price means it will be longer than the others. There was a time when they thought they’d have an entire game’s worth of story for him, after all.

The woman in the key art was also revealed as Aera Mils Fleuret, the first Oracle.

Ardyn will have special abilities because of his nature, including “Shadow Move,” which lets him move around the map at high speeds, and the power to turn enemies into daemons that also enables a special one-hit kill attack.

As conflicted as I’ve been about Final Fantasy XV, I still plan to get Episode Ardyn, although of the original DLC episodes, I only ever got Prompto’s. Seeing more of Ardyn’s story is something I’ve wanted for a long time.

Speaking of which, the short prequel anime, Episode Ardyn Prologue, is available to watch online now. It’s about 15 minutes long and sets the stage for Episode Ardyn.

A book called Final Fantasy XV: The Dawn of the Future was also announced, with an English version planned as well. Since that was the original name for the second set of DLC, it sounds as though the novel will cover the stories originally intended to be in the cancelled DLC episodes.

Final Fantasy XV certainly has had an interesting life… I’m looking forward to Episode Ardyn, at least, and then I hope we can move on toward a brighter Final Fantasy XVI. What do you think?

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