Episode Gladiolus: Pax East Demo Impressions

Gladio Takes The Spotlight In Upcoming DLC

I was lucky enough to be at PAX East this weekend where I got a hands on preview of the first of three upcoming Final Fantasy XV DLCs centered around the members of Noctis’ party. This one specifically follows Gladiolus, or Gladio as everyone else calls him.
The DLC is set during a point in the story where Gladio, Noctis’s bodyguard goes off on his own for a brief period of time and follows his journey as he and the recurring character Cor seek out the power of the Blademaster Gilgamesh by completing his trial.
Gladio controls differently from Noctis. Noctis is a more agile fighter who dodges enemy attacks and has the power of the Armiger at his disposal. Gladio, however, is bigger and slower and lacks Noctis powers, which plays a big part in his play-style. Gladio’s only weapon in the demo was his great sword, which is slower than most of Noctis’ weapons, but deals more damage. Additionally, given Gladio’s larger build he can’t nimbly dodge attacks very easily so instead of having a dodge like Noctis. Gladio instead has a block that protects against enemy attacks. Every attack blocked fills the rage gauge, a new feature that Gladio has instead of the Armiger. The rage gauge increases the damage Gladio does and allows him to perform Glaive Arts, special attacks that hit multiple enemies. Using a Glaive Art lowers the rage gauge. So Gladio isn’t a mere reskin of Noctis, he’s his own separate character with a play-style unique to him.
Gilgamesh is a fan favorite character in the Final Fantasy series, one who has gone through multiple different incarnations. His newest incarnation is quite possibly the most frightening yet. The often bulky, muscular and multi-armed swordsman is changed into a taller, and more slimmer swordsman with a single arm, clad in dark clothes and armor faintly reminiscent of his usual attire in the series. The Blademaster here is no joker or thief, he is a powerful, fearsome opponent that can literally defeat you with one hand. When I faced off against him in the demo, Gilgamesh took attacks like they were nothing and easily brought my HP into the red. From what I’ve seen of him in the demo, this Gilgamesh easily stands out among his predecessors and I can’t wait to see more of the Blademaster in action.
Gilgamesh isn’t the only thing standing in Gladio and Cor’s way however. Throughout the demo I found myself facing enemies both new and familiar. Players can expect to see new enemies such as armored knights that look like they came out of a Dark Souls game and returning enemies from the main game including the scythe wielding Reapers.
Despite the differences in gameplay, Episode Gladiolus still felt like Final Fantasy XV at its core. Everything still had that unique FFXV charm to it that I felt the entire  length of the demo while also adding something new and refreshing to the experience. I enjoyed my brief time with Episode Gladiolus and I look forward to playing the full release when it comes out later this month.
Square Enix also released a trailer for the DLC which you can see here

Final Fantasy XV: Episode Gladiolus releases March 28th for Five U.S. Dollars to players who did not purchase the season pass.
Are you excited for the full DLC release? What do you want to see in the next two Character DLC’s? Let us know in the comments bellow.


Jack Hills is a critic, writer, gamer, and total weaboo. After writing video game reviews for his high school newspaper for three years, he somehow weaseled his way into the Hey Poor Player writing staff and hasn't left since. Jack also manages the bi-weekly Youtube Garbage sack.

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