Final Fantasy XV: Episode Ignis (Xbox One Review)

Final Fantasy XV has had a tumultuous year, trying desperately to mend ailing wounds from awful creative direction. Mainly in regards to the story, with the poorly received framework from which the story was built, through movies, anime and multiple DLC segments needed to make sense of the main narrative. But not all was bad. Whilst the disjointed effort to create a larger world did ilk some fans into shying away from Final Fantasy XV, those who stayed were treated to some of the most captivating and emotional segments Final Fantasy XV had to offer, through use of its DLC.

Both Episode Gladiolus and Episode Prompto showed fans that Square Enix never lets up when creating impassioned content. The gameplay itself can be argued as being divise at best but the weight of the story through each segment heavily overshadows that the mediocre gameplay. And Episode Ignis is no exception.

Episode Ignis takes place at the end of Chapter 9. Noctis has been made powerless by the Leviathan and his bride to be isn’t looking to good either. The city of Altissia is in ruin thanks to the Niflheim invasion and Ignis has been separated from his comrades in arms. As Ignis worries for Noctis’ safety, he recalls a fond memory of when they first met at a young age. Encouraged by the late King Regis to look out for the young and gullible Prince Noctis henceforth. With Ignis’ reaffirmed courage, he sets forth to find and save Prince Noctis, even if it costs him his life.

As players progress through the few chapters of Ignis’ story we come to learn that Ignis connection runs deeper than friendship. Both Ignis and Noctis see each other as brothers, as family – since they have been together from such a young age that would only make sense. Unlike Gladiolus and Prompto – the protector and the best friend – who appeared later in life. In which this resolution in Ignis’ mind forces him to go to drastic lengths to see his brother’s safe return, one in which he loses his eyesight, answering a question so many fans had during the events of the main game. Although, those few who have watched Kingsglaive may not be to surprised by the how Ignis’ predicament comes to fruition but the heroism portrayed by Ignis and stellar voice acting more than makes up for the unsurprising turn of events.

As more concentrated as Ingis’ story is compared to his friends outings, the gameworld is much more explorable and open-ended. Being able to explore the ruined Altissia is a treat even if it no longer holds the beauty it once did. Even taking the plunge into Altissia waterways was a surprise as before Episode Ignis players could not swim, at least not through conventional methods.

Altissia is divided into districts for the players to attack and control. With Niflheim forces wading their way through Altissia’s streets, it’s up to Ignis to help regain a moderate amount of control and aid in fending of Ardyn’s forces. Districts are marked accordingly to who controls which district. Red being enemy controlled, blue being friendly and white neutral. Even though Ignis can jump in and show Niflheim who’s boss, I never really found the need to do so – unless the main objective forced me to. Control zones are primarily there to keep the action going, optional content to keep ignis swinging and filled with loot to buy meaningless items.

Loot caches are scattered throughout Altissia to collect, and I mean a mass amount of it, but is only present for the sole purpose to help struggling players. Quickly being able grab some cash of the ground then scamper to the local store and stock up for the next big battle can be handy in pinch if need be.

Not that you’ll need many health potions as Ignis himself is more of a walking tank than Gladiolus ever was. Using his twin daggers to set enemies ablaze, freeze them in place and shock the living life out of them by infusing them with magic. Combining these elements together creates a stunning show of light and particles. While Gladiolus showed off his brute force and Prompto showed of how poorly stealth is handled in Final Fantasy, Episode Ignis is all show and glamour when it comes to action. And it’s all very straight forward too, which just makes it so much more entertaining since I don’t need to focus on specific button prompts to perform all these flashy moves.

Giving way for an eventual Game of the Year edition, Final Fantasy XV is now complete. Fully up to date and all DLC out in the open, except for Episode Ardyn which is still to be showcased. Episode Ignis didn’t really exceed expectations but rather tempered them. I never really felt that Episode Ignis should’ve been separate from the main game since it does take place within events that we already knew were happening. But still, it put on a better show than all of its counterpart DLC’s. To be perfectly honest, I didn’t think people would still be playing Final Fantasy XV in late 2017 but it still goes to show that Square Enix still have what it take draw us back in with emotional and engaging stories.

Final Fantasy XV: Episode Ignis

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Pros

  • Truly earnest story.
  • Stylish combat from Ignis.
  • Optional areas keep the combat flowing.
  • Freely explorable Altissia.

Cons

  • Predictable turn of events if you've seen Kingsglaive.
  • Loot is mostly pointless.

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