Hands-On With Final Fantasy XV: Episode Gladiolus

At PAX East 2017, I played around 30 minutes of the upcoming Final Fantasy XV: Episode Gladiolus (The full DLC should take around 2-3 hours to complete). While story spoilers are off the table, I'm eager to share just how Gladiolus plays.

I had a lot more fun with Gladiolus than I ever did with Noctis. Gladiolus features an in-your-face smashy-smashy playstyle that's all about huge offense and precise defense. Through attacking, Gladiolus charges up powerful moves, often area-of-effect attacks, that dish out tremendous damage. But that's not all, Gladiolus is much more than an attack spammer. A block/guard ability allows Gladiolus to prevent incoming damage and negate attacks, and if you time it right, builds up a rage meter that can add a ridiculous multiplier to your outgoing damage. 

Your blocks must be precise in order to really get the meter going though, so you must pay careful attention to enemy movements and attack signals. If you can time the block just before an incoming attack lands, you'll build your rage in addition to leaving the enemy vulnerable to devastating attacks.

I took down two bosses in the DLC, and I have to say, it really felt like there was a little bit of Dark Souls inspiration behind some of the enemies and bosses, which I loved. Because you need to play Gladiolus with a completely different playstyle than Noctis, with different tools at your disposal, each fight was quite refreshing.

In true Gladiolus flavor, there's also a segment where you can actually rip pillars right out of the ground and crush your enemies with them. This segment is really in-sync with the style and flavor of all that is Gladiolus, and was my favorite part of the demo.

While I can't spoil the story, I can say that I found the tale from Gladiolus' past to fit the character well, and while almost hilariously cliché, fairly effective and compelling.

I'm looking forward to checking out the full DLC when it launches later this month, and this demo gave me high hopes for other character DLC coming online, with characters that play  and feel much different than Noctis. I really don't like Noctis. Heck, let us play as Ardyn.

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