Last but certainly not least, Ignis is here with his very own piece of story DLC to wrap up the Final Fantasy XV Season Pass, and all of the promised individual character-focused story nuggets. With some smart design choices and plenty to add to the main game’s story, Episode Ignis might be the best of a slightly under-cooked bunch.
Episode Ignis might be the best of a slightly under-cooked bunch.
The best bits of Final Fantasy XV lie in the interactions between all four of the “boy band” main party. At one point in the story, Noctis has to go solo, and the absence of your friends has a big impact on how the game feels — which is both quite genius, and also really boring. Mirroring this, each piece of Story DLC follows one of the other three party members.
The concept is almost inherently flawed, as inevitably they ditch what made the first half of Final Fantasy XV so strong. But if any of the pieces of DLC manages to follow it through right, it’s Episode Ignis.
Taking place in the Venitian-esque city of Altissia during its attack from Niflheim, the setting is varied, great to look at, and interestingly structured, with a grappling hook making navigating the confusing city a breeze via rooftops; the combat mechanics feel refreshing and effortlessly strategic (as you’d expect from the bespectacled “clever one” of the group); and the story expands on the main game — giving plenty of much needed detail on the Altissia portion, and deeper (and thankfully much clearer) insights into Ignis, Ravus, and Ardyn.
The story expands on the main game — giving plenty of much needed detail on the Altissia portion.
It kicks off following the non-Noctis party members during Niflheim’s attack, with Ignis being separated from Prompto and Gladiolus when a bridge crumbles, throwing him into one of the canals. From the offset it makes it clear that while you may be in Altissia, it’s going to handle a lot differently to your experience with the area as Noctis in the main game, allowing you to swim through its waterways rather than confusingly navigating the maze-like pathways. This is added to even more when you shortly get your hands on a grappling hook, allowing you to navigate the Altissian districts fairly easily.
A tactical map view of the area allows you to see which districts are under Niflheim control, and clearing them out as you make your way to rescue Noctis will return control to Altissia. It’s an interesting dynamic, but for such a short experience who has control of what doesn’t really seem to have much in the way of actual impact on the game.
With his dual spellknives, Ignis’ attack combos in a fight are pretty quick. His elemental powers come into play with the special effects he imbues on his weapons of choice. Your weapon wheel gives you three flavours to pick from, each offering their own strategic benefits. Fire does large damage on single foes, ice shoots out a basic area-of-effect with each hit, and lighting allows you to zap instantly to targets some distance away (similar to Noctis’ warp abilities), perfect for quickly taking out long-range snipers.
Combat isn’t too challenging, and you even have a run in with another character who helps you out to make things a tad easier. But it’s a super simple system that feels dynamic, and has just a touch of strategy to it. In execution, it works tremendously well. The boss fights are a bit of a jump up, with an optional last boss being quite challenging indeed, and a bonus fight against Noctis from the menu really testing your skills.
Unlike the fairly lacklustre previous DLC outings, Episode Ignis actually feels like it adds a fair bit to the main game’s story. Which is partially because the Altissia section of the game is pretty wanting and clearly rushed — but that’s not Episode Ignis‘ fault. It nicely fills out more about what was happening during Niflheim’s attack, and it’s great to get more clarity on Ravus and Ardyn’s motivations, as well as learn a bit more about Ignis himself.
Towards the end of the DLC you get a choice between one of one dialogue options, and once you’ve finished the it once, this is expanded to one of two. Choosing the new second option changes not only the end of the DLC, but also creates a whole alternate “what if”-style ending to the entire game’s story. It’s an absolute must-see for Ignis fans.
Episode Ignis is far from a perfect dish, but with plenty of seasoning in the pot, it’s possibly the tastiest of the bunch, and adds some much needed flavour to the main game.
Episode Ignis adds plenty to the broth that works really well. The main issue is that the experience is always going to be quite short, so some aspects like the district control don’t really have much time to breathe. Ignis’ combat is a great addition, and, thanks to the main game being patched, you can now play as him there if you like. Which, in a sense, makes Episode Ignis a bit less unique in a strange sort of way.
What’s here is good, but there’s just not a whole lot of it. Like the other DLC, Episode Ignis is far from a perfect dish, but with plenty of seasoning in the pot, it’s possibly the tastiest of the bunch, and adds some much needed flavour to the main game.