Episode Kenny is the new benchmark for not only DLC, but for RPGs in general. It’s been years since a game with the level of emotional gravity of Episode Kenny came out, as it proves to be one of the best Final Fantasy titles in the entire series, even beating out Episode Gladiolus.
Episode Kenny – Final Fantasy XV DLC
Developer: Square Enix
Consoles: PS4 (Reviewed), Xbox One
MonsterVine was provided with a PS4 code for review.
Here at MonsterVine, we were given an exclusive chance to play the newest piece of Final Fantasy XV DLC, Episode Kenny, focused on Kenny the Crow. Kenny has always been the forefront of the FFXV series and now in a standalone DLC, players are finally able to witness this mascot’s backstory, and his epic rise from rags to riches. Not only that, but Episode Kenny will finally have all their Final Fantasy XV questions answered that the regular game forgot to answer itself.
Kenny is a character who should need no introduction. His presence at the numerous Crows Nests in the core game of Final Fantasy XV plays a huge role in Noctis’s journey to become the true King, and it’s about time our favorite crow got his due. His character is fleshed out immensely, from the revelations about his lost sister and ravaged homeland, to the dramatic reveal of why he was frozen on the numerous benches for so long. It’s easily a twelve hour long story, and that’s if you don’t stop to appreciate the numerous landscapes that Kenny will reminisce at.
While the story may sound complex, even those who haven’t played Final Fantasy XV can enjoy it. While characters like Ravus and Ifrit make small cameos, they’re primarily fanservice for those who have played the base game, so they don’t distract you from the main story. The story of Kenny finding the 13 Royal Salmon draws parallels with Hamlet, with a sprinkle of Richard III, creating a deep and meaningful story that genuinely brought a tear to my eye.
The gameplay of Episode Kenny is just as fantastic as its story, creating an experience no other game can provide. Take the action-packed combat of Final Fantasy XV, combine it with a plot on the level of Final Fantasy VII, and add combo-based juggling that only Devil May Cry has come close to, and you have Episode Kenny. Fights have never been more satisfying, as each Royal Salmon has an incredible new ability that completely separates it from the others. It’s amazing to see such varied gameplay in a piece of DLC, and I hope to see even more advancements in the heavily-teased Episode Iris.
The music, composed by series regular Nobuo Uematsu in collaboration with Yoko Shimomura and the exciting return of Ian Gillian for the vocals of the newest boss battle music is amazing. This amazing trio creates a soundtrack that is even better than that of the core game, which is a feat in and of itself.
The visuals are surprisingly increased, with cutscenes that wouldn’t feel out of place in a major motion picture. The variety of emotions in Kenny’s face throughout the story give him a real sense of humanity that no other game’s visuals have even approached. Kenny’s numerous gear sets all look remarkable as well, with his SOLDIER uniform and “Beach Volleyball” outfit standing out especially.
The Final Word
Episode Kenny is possibly the best piece of Final Fantasy media since Final Fantasy VII. Full of amazing characters, a touching but powerful plot, and set-pieces that would blow Michael Bay away. Episode Kenny is a must-buy for anyone with a PS4 or Xbox One, and is a serious contender for game of the year already.
– MonsterVine Rating: 5 out of 5 – Excellent