Square Enix has released their first major DLC for Final Fantasy XV, Episode Gladiolus. It's available right now, along with Update 1.07, on PS4 and Xbox One, as either a standalone purchase or as part of the Season Pass. Read on for our impressions, but note that the action takes place part way through the main game, and as such there's a few spoilers for those who've not finished the campaign.
Episode Gladiolus continues in the aftermath of the battle with Ravus where, after being defeated, Gladio decides to leave the group to embark on his own journey of discovery amongst the Tempering Grounds. You are accompanied along the way by Cor the Immortal who has, some 30 years previously, already survived the Tempering Grounds and acts as your guide and mentor.
This new story offers a new combat system orientated around heavy attacks, blocking, and parrying; a very different experience to that of Noctis' Warp Strikes and use of magic. Using the new Valor and Rage systems, Gladio can chain together some awesome attacks culminating in new special moves, know as Glaive Arts, to decimate his foes. This new combat style takes a little while to get used to, but you're eased in and it never feels too disjointed.
The episode itself is quite linear and leaves no real room to explore, but with only potions and phoenix downs to collect, this isn't too much of a problem. The Tempering Grounds play out like a dungeon with three trials. These come in the form of boss battles. Upon completing each one Gladio increases his strength and fighting abilities until he is able to take on the final boss, Gilgamesh: The Blademaster.
At a little under an hour and a half to complete, Episode Gladiolus is a little short and restricting, but with a powerful sword that will carry over to the main game, a Score Attack mode, and a Final Trial, you'll probably find yourself revisiting the episode quite a few times. In addition to this there is a revised version of Chapter 13 in which you take control of Gladiolus through the Zegnautus Keep, and although there are no rewards to carry over and playing doesn't affect any saves from the original game, it is worth a play-through.