Note: Review contains some slight gameplay spoilers if you want to go in blind but nothing you wouldn’t have seen in trailers.
After the release of Final Fantasy XV’s first DLC episode, Episode Gladiolus, many were left disappointed. Fans mainly criticized a weak story, a shallow combat system, and the source of all this, it’s incredibly short length. Now I could tell you from just over an hour with the new DLC, Episode Prompto, that it already beats it’s predecessors play-time and as a result, many aspects of the previous add-on have been improved upon vastly.
Gameplay – 4
Now if you’ve heard anything about Episode Prompto, it’s probably that it mixes the general combat system of XV with FPS mechanics. You play as Prompto – the gun wielder of the party in the main game, and as such, he uses A LOT of guns in the DLC. This ranges from his standard handgun to submachine guns, snipers, and even huge bazookas. He can also use a baton and grenades.
Many might worry that these FPS mechanics have been built lazily seeing as the developers aren’t exactly known for constructing the industry’s most high-profile FPS shooters. However I can assure you this is not the case and they have clearly put a lot of research into how games of that genre play, using functions such as ammo, scopes, and headshots (and no there isn’t a voice that has to announce it). Not to mention, light stealth elements such as stealth kills.
Something else many complained about in Episode Gladiolus was how the setting felt like one very long corridor from point a to b. Whilst that was appropriate for the story in the previous case, that is another thing Episode Prompto does differently and fixes in comparison. Throughout the second half of the DLC you are treated to a more open area that even has its own side-content. This is a great improvement and makes this add-on feel much more substantial than the previous one.
Another new gameplay mechanic is a conveniently placed snowmobile that Prompto gets to use. Whilst using the snowmobile, Prompto can ram into enemies and use an unlimited ammo SMG. It can even be upgraded in various ways by earning CPU’s through sidequests. All this makes for great fun and comes in handy when the area opens up later on, although it should be mentioned that the snowmobile that it is slightly buggy and may flip around a bit in some cases.
Graphics – 5
Being DLC, Episode Prompto still runs on the same graphics engine as the main game so the graphics haven’t really improved massively, and many assets for enemies and indoor environments are clearly reused. However it should definitely be noted that this is the first time we get to properly see a mountainous-tundra area in FFXV’s engine and the landscapes look stunning. Along side this, many new outdoor assets, as well as outfits, have been created to complement the setting.
Sound – 5
Much like the graphics, Episode Prompto’s voice acting is very similar to the main game. If you liked it before, you’ll still like it here. If you didn’t like it before, there’s nothing here that’s going to change your opinion. Personally I thought the voice actors reprised their roles excellently and it was as if they recorded their lines around the same time as they previously did for the final game (chances are they probably did).
The soundtrack is the opposite though, when compared to the voice acting or graphics. Composer Naoshi Mizuta, who previously worked on Final Fantasy’s 11, 13-2 and 14, as well as other games like Mega Man & Bass, is the guest composer for Episode Prompto. He does the job perfectly, producing a variety of high-quality tracks that fit the mood of certain areas and story beats very well. Previous character and battle themes are also re-used fittingly at certain points.
Personally I’d recommend ‘OverWorld Exploration 2’ as it’s currently known, and ‘Orbital Insanity’.
Lasting Appeal – 3
Playing the main story alone should probably net you around 2 and a half hours, but if like me you want to go for everything, you could possibly surpass 4 hours. That’s not counting any of the extras like the time trials, or the trophies/achievements (most of which you’ll probably earn on your first run though). I do find myself tempted to play through it again though being the action/FPS that it is.
Conclusion – Final Score: 4/5
For what it’s worth, I found Final Fantasy XV: Episode Prompto, to be an interesting, variety-filled, but most of all fun add-on to the main game. Whilst its story may still have the touch of clunkiness that the main game has, I’d still recommend anybody who’s beaten the game to take it off the shelf and give it go for the few hours of pure entertainment that it has to offer. Whilst some fans might see the new combat style as jarring, I’d still suggest giving it ago, especially if you got the season pass.
<p>Some guy from the UK with a big interest in video games, mostly Japanese ones. Just starting up as a writer so go easy on me, it might be terrible.</p>