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PaigeFTW: ‘Episode Prompto’ Actually Not That Bad

After the resounding disappointment that was Final Fantasy XV’s Episode Gladiolus DLC, I had high hopes for the second DLC installment, Episode Prompto (because, spoiler, Prompto is my favorite character). Thankfully, things went right this time.

This side story takes place shortly after the events of Chapter 11, where Prompto finds himself cold, alone and stuck in enemy territory. Many revelations about his origins (touched upon briefly in the main game, though without real depth) follow. The emotion is ham-fisted at times, but Prompto, one of the few well-developed characters in the entire game, will make you feel at least a few feels. Plus, the lady dragoon Aranea returns, mostly just to be cool. (There’re a lot of references to Brotherhood, the mini-anime prequel of FFXV, so it’s helpful to at least watch the 15-minute Prompto-centric episode before playing.)

Unlike Episode Gladiolus’s carbon-copy combat, Episode Prompto emphasizes that its hero is a gunner, and the game transforms into a rough but serviceable third-person shooter. (You will have Dirge of Cerberus flashbacks, for sure.) Prompto wields a pistol with unlimited ammo, a baton for close-quarters beatdowns, grenades and sniper rifles, grenade launchers and machine guns “borrowed” from Niflheim soldiers.

Don’t expect any precision or even the traditional rules of shooters to apply here. This is still an RPG. The controls don’t have the precision you’d expect or need them to have (like the ability to take cover). But it’s still a vast improvement over Gladio’s slow, hulking swordplay.

The game even adds replay value in an open-world area that sends Prompto and Aranea around on side quests to upgrade their snowmobile (for no reason other than the challenge). The snowy winterland is a visually pleasing change, at the least.

While Episode Prompto won’t win any awards for “best DLC of the year,” it’s certainly an improvement over its predecessor, and at $4.99, it at least earns its price tag. Now we wait to see if Episode Ignis can whip up a new recipe for success. (Pun intended.)