DLC Review: Final Fantasy XV – Royal Edition

Believe it or not, Square Enix is still cranking out DLC for Final Fantasy XV. So far, we’ve been treated to two special events, a multiplayer add-on, and four character-based episodes. The most recent addition to the game comes in the form of the Royal Pack. This DLC pack is available to owners of the existing game, but is not included in the price of the season pass. So what is the Royal Pack? Well, it basically unlocks the “Royal Edition” content for the vanilla game.

That’s right, coinciding with the PC release, a new version of Final Fantasy XV was also released for consoles. This “Royal Edition” includes all of the previously released DLC as well as some new content integrated into the main game. To get specific, new quests, trophies, boss fights, and quality of life fixes.

The Royal Edition of Final Fantasy XV sells new for $50.00. The Royal Pack upgrade is available to owners of the original game for $14.99. If you’re just now diving into FFXV for the first time, the Royal Edition is a no-brainer. But existing players may be a bit more apprehensive… In my opinion, the content included in the Royal Pack should be free of charge. First of all, players who bought the game at release spent $60.00. Then, $25.00 for the season pass. (That’s a total of $85.00.) Now, they are asked to drop another $15.00 on content that arguably should have been in the game to begin with… that’s a total of $100.00 over time for what you can get now, all in one package for $50.00. Shameful.

I know, that is just the way things work these days. You always pay premium price for a game on day one. But in this case, it feels a bit like gouging. But, I admit, I dropped the $15.00 so I can’t complain too much.

So, how is the content? Well, it’s nice. But there’s nothing mindblowing. There’s a quest that enables another upgrade to the Regalia. A quest that upgrades the functionality to the Armiger weapon skill. Another quest that allows our heroes to sail around on a boat. In fact, there are lots of quests. The three mentioned above are probably the most interesting. The rest end up feeling like filler. And in a game that’s now closing in on two years old, it’s difficult to find motivation to sit down and just grind away at filler content. This new content would seem more at home if you were playing the game for the first time, it certainly fits better when viewed in that way. But loading up your endgame save file just to go hunt down “datalogs”? That feels a bit pointless.

One other major change the Royal Edition makes to the game is a revamp of Chapter 14. This is actually quite a welcome change. What was originally a breeze-through chapter of the game is now a full fledged dungeon. It takes plot elements from other DLC releases and provide more lore and backstory to the main game. There’s even a couple of new boss fights added. Namely, Cerberus and Omega. (The later being the new optional mega-boss). The final encounter of the game also now includes some extra mini-bosses that are geared towards the companions. Very good stuff.

These new fights are welcome. But the Omega battle seems a bit glitchy. It took me several days to finally defeat this boss due to erratic game behavior. Towards the last half of the battle, this boss can teleport around the arena. On more than one occasion, Omega would vanish and not respawn. As a result, I would be unable to complete the battle. This is especially bad because this battle can often take one to two hours to complete through normal methods. Unacceptable.

Overall, the Royal Pack content is certainly a welcome addition to the game. I personally had no qualms with the game’s content at release, but this new content does help flesh-out the game a bit more. It really puts the cherry on top so to speak. My only gripe is that I feel this type of stuff should be free.

Overall Impression:  Welcome addition to the game. Great changes to Chapter 14. But other content feels a bit weak.

Value: Existing players will have to pay $15.00 for what should be a free patch. Affordable if you’re a big fan of the game and want to stay up to date. New players would do better to purchase the Royal Edition for the complete package.

Main Game:  Final Fantasy XV Review

DLC Review: Final Fantasy XV – Episode Ignis

It is finally here! The last of the originally announced DLC for Final Fantasy XV! Of course, I’m talking about the long-awaited Episode Ignis. Now, I call it one of the “originally announced” DLC episodes, because it was one of chapters that was originally announced and included in the game’s Season Pass. However, SE has strongly suggested that they will continue to create new downloadable content in the future. Time will tell. But for now, let’s dive in to this release and see what we’ve been given.

First, I want to begin with an admission. I enjoyed Final Fantasy XV very much. However, even I can admit that certain aspects of the game were severely lacking. Most of my complaints revolved around the clarity of the game’s storyline. This was especially true for the last half of the game. Now, since it’s original release, SE has taken steps to help smooth over many of these concerns. They added some cutscenes and even released a new playable side-chapter to the game to help fill in some of gaps. On top of that, each DLC Episode has provided some insight into several of the game’s mysteries. This one, however, finally resolves nearly every complaint or concern I had about the original game. The casual gamer, will enjoy several of the lore-based reveals that Episode Ignis provides. But some of the more hardcore Final Fantasy fans will find even more if they look close enough. (More on this later)

As with all the other DLC episodes, the events of Episode Ignis take place during the storyline of the main game. If you remember, about halfway through Final Fantasy XV, Noctis does battle with the giant fiend Leviathan in the city of Altissa. The events of Episode Ignis take place immediately after that battle. It focuses on Ignis as he battles his way through the city in attempts to rescue an unconscious Noctis. And for those of you wondering, yes – we finally get to see what exactly caused Ignis to lose his vision in the main game… and it’s EPIC. (Did I mention that you also get cruise through the water on a freaking motorboat and fight bad guys? How cool is that?!)

Like the previous DLC episodes, this one feature a unique battle system. Ignis does battle using daggers and can alternate between three different modes of attack. One is good for close-quarters combat, another for fighting groups of enemies, and the third for distance based attacks. Successful combat fills a special “clarity meter”. Which, when full, enables a special move. Of all three chapters, I enjoyed the combat presented in Episode Ignis the best. It’s well designed and fast paced. It’s also quite fun.

Out of the three “episodic chapters”, this one felt the shortest upon my first playthrough. But, after having completed the DLC, you unlock a new option that enables some new branching content. This is where things get interesting. During this second playthrough, you will receive different endings depending on certain decisions that you make. One of these endings in particular is especially interesting as it is actually a replacement for the main finale of Final Fantasy XV itself.  – Yes, that right. Episode Ignis actually contains a path that gives FFXV a happy ending! (And in doing so, alludes to some very deep lore concepts – such as the revelation of a time loop – a throw back to the very first Final Fantasy!)

In this way, Episode Ignis is really the perfect ending to the original DLC lineup. It finally fills in the all the gaps and even puts a nice capstone on the main game storyline. It really helped me see how all of the DLC content, when looked at together with the main game, combine to form a complete package. That being said, if you’re still on the fence about shelling out the money for the season pass, I do recommend at least dropping the $5 for this episode. Episode Ignis is by far the best of the standalone DLC packages, at least in my opinion.

Everything from the added storyline, to the fast-paced combat, the replay-ability, and even the new soundtrack (which is some of the best music in the game) make Episode Ignis a solid win. I loved every second of it. Sadly… Ignis didn’t cook a single meal in this DLC, and that did bum me out a bit. I was half-expecting Episode Ignis to be some sort of Cooking Mama offshoot. But I think I’ll take what we were given instead.

Overall Impression:  The best DLC chapter yet! Filled with action and deep lore reveals. I thoroughly enjoyed this one. To me, Episode Ignis is essential to the main story of Final Fantasy XV. Playing them both will certainly benefit any players who cares about the storyline and wants to see more of the in-game lore.

Value: Like the other DLC chapters, this one is short. But it is very re-playable.  Aside from the additional branching chapter, it also features an optional boss fight that’s accessible from the main menu. For $5.00 this one is a no-brainer.

Main Game:  Final Fantasy XV Review

DLC Review: Final Fantasy XV – Assassin’s Festival

July brought a new update to Final Fantasy XV and trailing just behind the update was a surprise bit of free downloadable content: The Assassin’s Festival! The festival is actually a special cross-over event with the Assassin’s Creed game franchise. It contains a full playable chapter complete with unlockable items that carry over to the main game.

Players who completed the previous Moogle/Chocobo festival were rewarded with a special “Dream Egg” item. Upon launching the Assassin’s Festival DLC, this item will hatch – unlocking a permanent costume for Noctis in the main game.  In case you missed the carnival event, SE has reactivated it for a limited time, to allow for the full “Holiday Pack” experience. So, this means you can partake in the carnival, get your egg, and then proceed right into the Assassin’s Festival event.  But be warned, this event is only active for a limited time. It ends on January 31st, 2018.

For me, this event seemed to come out of nowhere. It was released during my July-August hiatus from gaming, so perhaps I simply missed the announcement. Plus, it seems a bit odd to cross-over two completely unrelated game franchises like this, but – it actually works well! The DLC takes concepts from the Assassin’s Creed franchise and blends them perfectly into the main storyline of Final Fantasy XV. The gist of the event is simple;  in the world of FFXV, Assassin’s Creed is an extremely popular video game… But one that’s apparently rooted in “real life” mythology. So, every year they celebrate the Assassin’s Festival. Noctis and his crew arrive in town just in time for the festivities and must conceal themselves in costumes to sneak through town and thwart an imperial plot.  It sounds a bit strange, but to be honest it’s actually very well done. The scenarios and new gameplay mechanics are fun and for the pricetag of FREE, who can complain?

Aside from completing the quests included in the DLC, participating in the side content will provide you with medals that can be spent to purchase unlockables for the main game. (camera filters, frames, car decals, etc). So, there’s quite a bit replayability here.

Aside from the festival itself, the July Update also includes a number of other free downloadable costumes as well as some new features for the main game. This includes new quests, trophies and even a “chapter select” option from the main menu. All in all, this update/DLC pack is filled with goodies – all at no charge.  I suppose I’ll have to spent a few hours checking out some of the additions to the main game and seeing if I can manage to round out my trophy collection.

Overall Impression:  Free DLC is always good.  The amount of content included here is impressive. Even if shoehorning an advertisement for another game into Final Fantasy seems a bit awkward – the presentation is well done.

Value: Freebie! Aside from 800 MB of space you have nothing to lose!

Main Game:  Final Fantasy XV Review

DLC Review: Final Fantasy XV – Episode Prompto

The second batch of DLC goodness for Final Fantasy XV is finally here, Episode Prompto. Much like the previous downloadable chapter that focused on the character of Gladiolus, this entry shows you what happened with the character of Prompto during his hiatus from the main game.  Again, like the previous DLC, this entry is both a mix of familiar as well as new mechanics that help keep things interesting. Whereas Gladio’s DLC had a very melee/brawler feel to it, this chapter is reminiscent of a third-person shooter. In a lot of ways, it actually reminded me of the old FFVII spin-off Dirge of Cerberus.

Those that played through all of Final Fantasy XV may remember the scene in the game where Prompto falls from a moving train and is separated from his friends for a time. This chapter shows you what happened to him during that time away. In a nutshell, Prompto finds himself alone, wandering the frozen wastes. Finally, he collapses and is “rescued” by Imperials. It is during his captivity that the bulk of this DLC takes place. During this chapter, Prompto will learn the truth behind his origins as well as uncover the details behind the Empire’s true motive.

The main scenario of this entry can be cleared in about two hours. However, for players that wish to take their time and explore there’s actually quite a bit to do. This DLC also includes a handful of sidequests. The bulk of these involve scouring for materials that can used to upgrade a snowmobile that Prompto finds and uses to aid in his escape. But a few of them feature optional boss battles. Typically, I always try to complete optional content as a I go. But in the case of this DLC, I actually suggest completing the chapter first. Then, starting it over and exploring all of the nooks and crannies. I make this suggestion due to the large play-style learning curve of this DLC presented when compared to the main game. By the time you’ve actually played through Episode Prompto once, you’ll have your feet wet enough to tackle many of these optional challenges.

When I said that this DLC had a third-person shooter element to it, I meant it. Most of the combat in Episode Prompto is ranged melee. Prompto will rely on various guns as well as duck and cover behind obstacles when engaged in combat. His arsenal ranges from a handgun, to an SMG, Sniper Rifle, Grenades and even a Bazooka. Most of the combat takes place on foot, but some portions of the game even find him shooting from a moving snowmobile or even from the back of a motorcycle. It’s a whole different world when compared to the main Final Fantasy XV game.

If I’m being honest, I have to admit that a lot of it is really clumsy feeling. The weapons run out of ammo pretty quickly, and when they do you’ll be left scouring your surroundings to find a new gun to grab and use (usually while enemies are firing on you). The targeting is pretty terrible, but after a while you manage to get the hang of it, so it’s ultimately bearable. Despite the iffy playcontrol, the shooter aspect is a nice change of pace when compared to the original game. So in it’s own way, it a bit refreshing.

All in all, the best part about this DLC are the story elements. Even though Prompto’s backstory is covered in both the main Final Fantasy XV game as well as the Brotherhood anime, this DLC scenario sheds even more light on his origins. It also includes several welcome cameos by some fan-favorite characters. Completing the DLC unlocks both a weapon and clothing set for Prompto in the main game. It also unlocks a special timed-trial mode and an “Intensive Training” mode of play. The downloadable chapter is included in the season pass of available for $5.00 on PSN.

Overall Impression:  Another short but sweet add-on to Final Fantasy XV. Players who enjoyed Episode Gladiolus are also likely to enjoy this one. That being said, players who didn’t enjoy the last DLC release are also likely to enjoy this one due to different pacing and the inclusion of some open-world elements. It seems that SE is listening to their fans and modifying the DLC to meet the expectations of their players. Personally, I’ve enjoyed both.

Value: Again, like the Gladio DLC, this chapter is very short. But for a price of $5.00, I find it hard to complain. The new side-quests and optional challenges also give fans a little more bang for their buck.

Main Game:  Final Fantasy XV Review


DLC Review: Final Fantasy XV – Episode Gladiolus

Final Fantasy XV fans, the first proper DLC release has arrived! It’s time to dust off your copy of XV and dive into Episode Gladiolus! That’s just what I did, and I’m here to provide you with all the details.

For those that may not know, Episode Gladiolus is the first chapter of Paid DLC content for Final Fantasy XV. It is included with the Season Pass for the game, or is available for about $5.00 on it’s own. The chapter focuses on the character of Gladiolus and takes place about half-way through the main XV storyline. (There’s a part of the main game where Gladiolus departs the company of the other heroes to attend to some “personal business”  – This DLC is that business.)

The story here focuses on Gladio as he undertakes a special set of trials with his mentor, Cor. The actual content itself is rather short, providing players with maybe an hour’s worth of busy work. Essentially, you control Gladio as he ventures into a secret Kingsglaive Proving Ground to do battle with the mysterious “Blade Master”.  Is he is able to defeat the Blade Master in combat, he will have proved himself worthy to hold the title “Shield of the King”.

Despite being rather short, and as some have criticized, “pointless”, I found the DLC to be overall entertaining. The backstory was interesting enough and being able to experience combat from Gladio’s point of view was an interesting change of pace. For the most part, this chapter controls just like the main game, with the exception the combat mechanics. Gladio’s combat is very “hack and slash” based. When controlling Gladiolus, you have three main moves; Strike, Block or Dodge. Each of these will, over time, fill a “rage meter”. Once full, Gladio can execute special attacks, dealing massive damage. The trick to the whole thing is learning how to effectively parry attacks and strike your opponent while they are vulnerable – then getting out of the way before they can counter attack.

As you progress through the story, there a number of unique boss battles. Each boss has their own strength and weaknesses. But the real challenge here is survival. Gladiolus has a limited number of health restoratives at his disposal. New ones can be found by exploring every nook and cranny of the dungeon, but even then – the number of potions are finite. So, you will have to learn to use them sparingly or you risk facing the final boss with very little to help you .

Upon defeating the Blade Master, Gladio will receive a special weapon and skill that carry over to the main game. Also, two additional features of the DLC will also become accessible. The first, is something called Score Attack. This is essentially a timed version of Episode Gladiolus. The point here is play through the scenario again and see how many points you can rack up before either the timer runs out or you complete the scenario…  rather pointless,  but maybe that’s your sort of thing. Whatever.  If you can manage to rack up a score of 500,000 points, you will unlock a special costume for Gladio in the main game.

Next up, is something called the Final Trial. This is an optional sparring battle between Gladiolus and Cor and certainly the most challenging battle in this DLC package. I pride myself on being able to defeat nearly every optional boss or challenge in the Final Fantasy series,  but so far I have not managed to best Cor in battle.  But… this content is still fresh – and I haven’t given up!

Finally, one other thing worthy of note is that this DLC was released alongside the FFXV patch 1.07. This patch also includes the long awaited “Final Fantasy XV – Chapter 12 verse 2″.  A short optional addition to the game that provides more information behind the infamous 13th chapter of the main title. This add-on ties in nicely with Episode Gladiolus as it also allows players to control him, and see the events of the game’s 13th chapter from his perspective. Not to mention, it fills in a number of plot points that have left players confused since the game’s original release.

Overall Impression:  A short but sweet add-on to Final Fantasy XV. This DLC provides exactly what was advertised, a story focusing on the character of Gladiolus. It integrates well with the main game, and provides a few optional challenges of it’s own.  Casual fans may not get much out of it, but those who are dedicated to XV should find enough here to hold them over.

Value: Yes. This DLC is very short. But for a price of $5.00, I find it hard to complain. For that amount you get about an hour of single player content, as well as some optional challenges to keep you occupied.

Main Game:  Final Fantasy XV Review

DLC Review: Final Fantasy XV – Holiday Pack

With the release of the Moogle Chocobo Carnival, the full contents of the Holiday DLC pack are now available to owners of Final Fantasy XV. So here, is the first of what will be many DLC reviews for FFXV.

This chunk of downloadable content is a bit odd and not really what I expected to see from XV’s first optional update.  First, let’s talk about the two different versions of this add-on, then we can dive into the contents. To start, there’s both a free version and a paid version (available to season pass owners). Both versions come with a handful of useful/game enhancing items, a vanity costume and a pass to a new special gameplay mode: The Moogle Chocobo Carnival.

The paid version includes several more DLC items, a second vanity costume, and some exclusive photo frames for Prompto’s pictures.

The add-on items are nice, but include nothing that really change the way the game is played. The real meat of this update is the Moogle Chocobo Carnival.

The Carnival is actually a new mode of gameplay that is accessible from the “Special” option on the main menu. It is essentially a solo mini-chapter. During this mode, you play as Noctis as he explores the fun filled streets of Altissia during the festival. Basically, the goal here is to collect “mog-medallions” that can be exchanged for prizes. These prizes range from exclusive vanity items (car decals, etc) to useful consumables. Medallions are earned by participating the carnival activities and doing various festival-related quests. Anything earned here will carry over to the main game.

This makes the carnival into a useful tool for players who have not yet completed the game, but it seems rather pointless for players that have already finished the main scenario. Perhaps, my opinion on this will change once we see how other DLC plans pan out. One big question remaining, is the inclusion of a special key item called the “Dream Egg”. This item is obtainable if you manage to collect enough Mog Medallions and attend a special fireworks session at the end of the carnival. Popular opinion with fans is that this egg may play a larger role in future DLC.

Finally, it is important to note that the Moogle Chocobo Carnival content is only available for a limited time. After 2/20/2017, this playable content will be removed from the game. It is unclear if there are plans to bring this back in the future, so players may wish to jump on this content before its  gone and earn that egg!

The Holiday Pack does not include any new trophies or achievements.

All in all, this DLC seems to add little to the overall game at large, but it can be a fun distraction and does feature some welcome items and enhancements. SE’s decision to make the majority of this content available for free is a big plus as well.

Overall Impression:  A curious choice for a first DLC release. The vanity and practical items are welcome. The carnival is quirky, but fun. Unclear how this will fit into the game at large. It’s unclear why SE decided to make a large portion of this DLC into a time-sensitive feature. It seems counter-productive to spend the time developing something like this carnival only to remove it from the game 30-days later.

Value: This DLC comes with both a paid a free option. Having it included with the season pass makes this a no-brainer. Non season pass holders can also enjoy the free version of the holiday pack.

Main Game:  Final Fantasy XV Review

Review: Final Fantasy XV – A King’s Tale

For those of you that pre-ordered your copy of Final Fantasy XV from Gamestop, you may have noticed a download code on your receipt for a bonus game. (If you didn’t notice this code, go fish your receipt out of the trash, quick! The code is for something called A King’s Tale. A King’s Tale is a mini, 16-bit style beat-em-up based on characters and monsters from Final Fantasy XV.  It’s a simple little game, and one that’s nothing at all like the actual Final Fantasy XV. But, for a price tag of $0.00,  you can’t beat it.

The premise of the title is simple, in A King’s Tale, Prince Noctis is still a child. One night his father, King Regis, tells him a fantastic bedtime story about an epic battle against legions of monsters. The “bedtime story” makes up the actual gameplay. Once you have completed the main story, Prince Noctis finally goes to sleep. This unlocks a slew of optional Dream Battles.

The gameplay is best described as an old arcade-style brawler. IE: Double Dragon. But much more fast paced. To start, King Regis only has limited abilities but as you continue to play and progress through the stages, more and more attack options become unlocked. As you play, you’ll find that certain monsters are weak to certain types of attacks. So you learn to tailor your strategy to match whatever you’re fighting. The tricky part is that you’re often attacked by multiple enemies at once, so you have to learn to switch up your assault on the fly.

Once you completed the main scenario, you unlock what are known as Dream Battles. These are short rounds of combat that also include an optional goal. To complete the battle properly (and earn a gold star), you need to achieve whatever the objective is – for example, complete the battle without using magic.

On the surface, A King’s Tale seems like a very simple little freebie. But, there’s actually a surprising amount of thought that’s gone into the game. The game comes complete with it’s own chiptune style soundtrack and even has achievements/trophies.

The worst thing about the game is that it is not available to the general public. Currently, only players that pre-ordered the game from specific retailers have access. I hope that after some time goes by, this decision is reversed.  Until that day arrives, if you’re one of the lucky bunch of players who can get your hands on A King’s Tale, it’s certainly worth a look. My only complaint about the title is a lack of multiplayer. This would be the perfect game for some co-op, even it was only local with a second controller.


Difficulty: Hard –  Looking like a retro title isn’t the only thing “old school” about A King’s Tale. The game also has a “Nintendo-Hard” level of difficulty.  This is especially true for the final battle and several of the Dream Battles. Progress is saved from stage to stage, but occasionally, the battles themselves can get very frantic. Those who are easily frustrated or not familiar with this type of game may not find this to their liking.

Story: This game could loosely be considered a prequel to Final Fantasy XV, as it takes place when Noctis is a young boy. But, the storyline here is not critical to the XV universe at large. Regardless, it’s cute and does provide a bit of nice window-dressing to the already large FFXV universe.

Originality: Years ago, games like this were a dime a dozen, but it’s been a while since I’ve seen a title like this so it was quite a refreshing experience. I’ve certainly never played a Final Fantasy title in this genre.

Soundtrack: Classic retro era chiptunes! The music here sounds like something right out of Double Dragon. It’s simply amazing!

Fun: I used to enjoy these games immensely when I was young.  So, I personally had a blast. But I can imagine that fans attracted to Final Fantasy titles as a whole may not appreciate this type of game. The difficulty level can also result in some frowns from younger players, I imagine.

Graphics: The graphics here are on par with a title you might find on the old SNES or in a retro arcade. Cartoonish, 16-bit sprites. But, the game is tweaked for modern consoles and looks great in HD.

Playcontrol: The controls are easy to grasp and very responsive. No real issues.

Downloadable Content:  N/A

Mature Content: Cartoon violence

Value:  This title is provided for free as a preorder perk for Final Fantasy XV. It doesn’t get any better than free!

Overall rating (out of four stars): 3 – For a free title, it’s difficult to be picky. I suppose my biggest complaint would be a lack of local multiplayer. The difficulty level may turn off some modern players, but just like any retro title; practice makes perfect.

Available on: PSN and Xbox Live (DLC code only)

Other Reviews In This Series:

Main Series:

I – II – III – IV – V – VI – VII – VIII – IX – X – X2 – XI – XII – XIII – XIII 2 – XIII Lightning Returns – XIV – XV 

IV: After Years – VII: Dirge of Cerberus – VII: Crisis Core – VII: Advent Children (Movie) – XII: Revenant Wings – Type-0 – XV: A King’s Tale – XV: Brotherhood (Anime) – XV: Kingsglaive (Movie)

Misc Titles:

World of Final Fantasy – Explorers – Mystic Quest – 4 Heroes of Light 


Tactics – Tactics Advance – Tactics A2


Dissidia – Dissidia 012 – Dissidia NT

Crystal Chronicles:

Crystal Chronicles – Ring of Fates – My Life as King – My Life as Darklord – Echoes of Time – Crystal Bearers

Mobile Titles:

Dimensions – Dimensions 2 – Record Keeper – Brave Exvius – Mobius Final Fantasy  – Justice Monsters V – King’s Knight  – Dissida Final Fantasy Opera Omnia