Final Fantasy XV is sadly a game who’s story will always remain incomplete. When Final Fantasy XV was first released it was apparent that there were gaps in the story with some of the characters when Square Enix announced that there would a season of downloadable episodes that would fill in some of these gaps that had to do with some of these characters, it was great. Not every episode was great, but the fact that the story was being filled in was great. When season 1 came and went there were still some questions surrounding certain characters, mainly Ardyn and Lunafreya. When Square announced that a season 2 would be coming with an additional four episodes, two of which would be covering these characters. It seemed like the game would finally be complete at least story wise. Fast Forward to today, months after season 2 was canceled and it was announced that Episode Ardyn would in fact be the last and only episode coming after season 1. So it’s time to see just how the final episode of Final Fantasy XV holds up.
The gameplay of Episode Ardyn and how the character Ardyn controls and plays are both very similar to how Noctis is controlled and played. They have the same type of moves and battle the same for the most part. If you played through Final Fantasy XV with Noctis, you’ll feel right at home with Ardyn however during battles, the game still suffers from some janky camera angles. One major difference though is when Ardyn’s HP drops to 0 he enters a rage mode where his attacks do a lot of damage but if he is damaged while in this mode his maximum HP drops. A majority of the episode takes place in the city of Insomnia where you control Ardyn as he navigates throughout the city and disables wall amplifiers while defeating its guardians in order to drop the city’s defensive wall.
The gameplay while roaming the city feels like a clunkier version of something like Marvel’s Spider-Man or Infamous. I say clunkier because, teleporting and air dashing through the city could feel a lot smoother, but it was still very cool to explore Insomnia to the extent that you could in this DLC The final boss of the episode is also very epic and feels reminiscent to the final boss of the main story of Final Fantasy XV.
Much like in the main game of Final Fantasy XV, Episode Ardyn uses very impressive visuals during gameplay. From Ardyn using his royal arms to Ardyn teleporting to the top of buildings, the flashy visuals during gameplay make it a joy to look at while playing and of course Episode Ardyn still has the same impressive graphics that the main game has during the cutscenes although they are no longer as impressive as they once were.
The Sound Design of Episode Ardyn is where this DLC is really lacking. While I have no complaints about music in the first two chapters, as it’s the standard good quality Final Fantasy style music, the music in chapter 3 where the bulk of the gameplay takes place is a different story. In chapter 3, during gameplay until the cutscene that triggers the final boss of the episode only one music track plays and it doesn’t even sound like something that is in the Final Fantasy series usually but instead sounds like something that would originate from Devil May Cry. There is nothing wrong with that but the fact that it plays inside of battle, and while exploring the city and doesn’t even slightly change when transitioning between the two can make the track get old and repetitive really quickly.
The story of Episode Ardyn is what makes this episode truly shine. Not only does the episode delve into Ardyn’s backstory and show his tragic downfall and just what made him the villain that we know from Final Fantasy XV but the episode also delves into the history of the World of Eos and it’s creation along with the rise of its different nations. While I do think that both the history of Eos and Ardyn is something that should’ve been delved deeper into during the main game, i’m glad it wasn’t as if it was something we learned about in the main game we might not have ever gotten this episode, and during this episode it was fun playing as Ardyn and seeing things through his eyes. The episode is split into three different chapters allowing players to play through three different events of Ardyn’s life, all of which are interesting to play through and see Ardyn’s thoughts during them.
Episode Ardyn in $9.99 and takes around an hour and a half to complete if you take your time going through it. While that may not seem like very long there is actually quite a bit to see and do in here for the price. Not only are you allowed to see the backstory of Ardyn and explore Insomnia but you’re also able to customize Ardyn’s look by buying different hat’s for him at the hat shops located around Insomnia and teach him new moves and abilities through the ‘Descension Tree.’ After beating the episode you’ll also unlock the Kingly Clash which allows you to play through the final battle of the main game but as Ardyn instead of Noctis and the gang, which makes for a really fun twist.
While it is unfortunate that the story of Final Fantasy XV will never truly be complete or all that it could’ve been, it is fortunate that Final Fantasy XV is going out on a good note with episode Ardyn. It was great being able to play as Ardyn and see just how he became the way we knew him in the main story of Final Fantasy XV. The gameplay and visuals are just as flashy as the main story’s but it still suffers from some janky camera angles at times. The music could’ve been better but that’s mainly because there was a lack of music tracks, so the one it played all the way through chapter 3 became old and repetitive. For $9.99 you’re really getting a fair amount of content with the story or Ardyn, and an explorable Insomnia. Not to mention that Kingly Clash is just an added bonus and another reason to check out Episode Ardyn. If you played Final Fantasy XV, enjoyed the game, and want to know more about who Ardyn is as a character, Final Fantasy XV – Episode Ardyn is worth your time.
Final Fantasy XV – Episode Ardyn Review
While it is unfortunate that the story of Final Fantasy XV will never truly be complete or all that it could've been, it is fortunate that Final Fantasy XV is going out on a good note with episode Ardyn. It was great being able to play as Ardyn and see just how he became the way we knew him in the main story of Final Fantasy XV. The gameplay and visuals are just as flashy as the main story's but it still suffers from some janky camera angles at times. The music could've been better but that's mainly because there was a lack of music tracks, so the one it played all the way through chapter 3 became old and repetitive. For $9.99 you're really getting a fair amount of content with the story or Ardyn, and an explorable Insomnia. Not to mention that Kingly Clash is just an added bonus and another reason to check out Episode Ardyn. If you played Final Fantasy XV, enjoyed the game, and want to know more about who Ardyn is as a character, Final Fantasy XV - Episode Ardyn is worth your time.