This review contains minor spoilers for the entire story of Final Fantasy XV.
Episode Ignis tells a well-made and, at times, emotional story with decent gameplay that only suffers from some unnecessary padding and some goofy voice-work.
Episode Ignis: Final Fantasy XV DLC
Developer: Square Enix
Platforms: PS4 (reviewed), Xbox One
While I enjoyed Episode Gladiolus, I thought Episode Prompto was disappointing given the interesting backstory the DLC explored. I went into Episode Ignis unsure of how it would turn out, but thankfully it manages to tell a strong story without unnecessarily changing the core gameplay of Final Fantasy XV as much as Episode Prompto does.
Like previous Episodes, Episode Ignis takes place during the main story of Final Fantasy XV. This episode follows Ignis during the battle against Leviathan in Altissia, and shows how he inevitably goes blind. The entirety of the story takes place after Noctis is knocked out alongside Lunafreya, meaning only Gladiolus and Prompto will keep you company over your intercom. Having Ignis have to traverse the city alone for the majority of the Episode is a good choice, as his dedication to Noctis and his own development is explored thoroughly as a result of this singular focus. It’s heart-wrenching to watch Ignis willingly give up his sight to save Noctis at the end of the Episode, especially when the post-credit scene plays. Watching Noctis thank a tearful Ignis for everything he’s done feels truly earned after playing through the Episode, giving Episode Ignis a very welcome dose of emotion.
Once you team-up with Ravus, things start to really take off. Ravus finally gets some time to shine in terms of his character progression. It’s easier to understand some of his stranger decisions in Final Fantasy XV after seeing his love for his sister first hand, even if it borders on silly at times. Having the incredibly dramatic Ravus team up with the calm but equally sophisticated Ignis seems like a natural choice, and the two of them play off of each other quite well. The relationships between characters were the highlights of the last two episodes (Gladiolus and Cor, Prompto and Aranea), and this trend continues into Episode Ignis.
Seeing more of Ardyn is always a treat as well, especially when he’s doing what he does best. (Manipulating people, having fun, and playing with his dumb hat). Even at the climax of Episode Ignis, Ardyn seems to always have things under control, adding another infuriating layer of charm to one of the most interesting game villains in recent memory.
The gameplay of Episode Ignis is a good balance of familiar and new, thanks to the addition of a hookshot and the easy-to-learn but solid mechanics behind Ignis’s spells and daggers. The core gameplay is quite similar to that of the base game, but instead of Noctis’s Armiger, Ignis has a variety of spells he can infuse his weapon with. Lightning, fire, and ice all have different effects on the weapons and different special attacks. You can even use Ignis’s “Overclock” ability to combine two elements, which looks cool and increases your dealt damage immensely. It’s easy to make combos and to clear mobs of foes using these different elements, making combat feel familiar without changing the entire genre of the Episode like with Prompto.
Outside of combat, Ignis now has a hookshot gauntlet. This is a smart way to replace Noctis’s teleporting abilities, as it gives Ignis a great deal of freedom when it comes to moving between streets and rooftops throughout the city. Altissia is broken up into a number of different districts, each of which has to be reclaimed from the Imperial Army through battling mobs of Magitek soldiers and Imperial mechs. There isn’t a ton of variety in the enemies, but it makes sense that only soldiers would be present during the raid. It’s a pretty basic system that feels like filler at times, especially since there isn’t much of a reward for claiming the optional districts.
The music in Episode Ignis is exceptional, which makes sense since Yasunori Mitsuda, composer of the godly Chrono Trigger soundtrack, is the guest composer for this Episode. The battle theme in particular is most memorable, but I can say with confidence that these are some of the best songs in the game. On the other hand, some of Ravus’s voice work was too hammy, with a couple screams and cries towards the end of the Episode coming off as funny rather than tragic.
The Final Word
Episode Ignis is a huge improvement on Episode Prompto that offers an emotional story, a fantastic soundtrack, and enjoyable gameplay. While it feels a bit padded and some of the dialogue is voiced poorly, Episode Ignis is definitely worth a playthrough for fans of Final Fantasy XV.
MonsterVine Rating: 3.5 out of 5 – Fair