Episode Prompto is the second FFXV DLC scenario, focusing on the titular bro. It comes after Episode Gladiolus and continues the trend of including gameplay that’s entirely different from the main scenario. How does it work out? Let’s break it down with as little spoilers as possible.
The scenario opens with Prompto nearly freezing to death in the snow, but being whisked away to an enemy facility after his collapse. Alone, and forced to fight his way out, Prompt becomes the protagonist of his own third person shooter. If that sounds weird to you, wait until you play it: The developers were clearly experimenting with a new genre, and have never played Resident Evil 4, but their friends told them how cool it was, so they tried to make big awesome set pieces with the snowmobile.
The visuals are as good as the rest of FFXV, but it suffers from the incredible blandness of an uninspired tundra and copy/paste military facilities. I appreciate the attempt to give more with Episode Prompto, but filling out the open snowfield with repetitive battles and snowmobile time trials was not the way to go about doing so. It’s fun for a little while, and it was exciting the first time you do the snowmobile bit, but having a more linear path would have been better overall.
This is not helped by the fact the controls aren’t very good. Shooting is not fun, the controls for the grenade are laughably bad, and the camera frequently bugs out when using techniques. When Prompto runs out of ammo for his current side weapon, battles drag on until he gets another. This isn’t a big deal when fighting regular soldiers, because they’re easily staggered and Prompto can steal their weapons. Against Mechs out in the open field, the battles are nothing more than terrible slogs. Mercifully, Prompto eventually gets an ally that can deal out far better damage than he’s capable of, because the combat is not fun at all after the first 15 minutes.
The DLC ends with a big set piece that was too easy, and made me feel that the Empire should never have been a threat if their greatest super weapon could be taken down in such a pitiful display. Seriously, I could understand if the Chosen King and his magically-super-powered entourage took down something like this in a climactic battle, but a pair of magic-less combatants, a snowmobile, and a thousand bullets shouldn’t have been so effective.
As a fan of FFXI, I cannot praise Naoshi Mizuta’s work enough, so I was very excited to hear he was the guest composer for Episode Prompto. He did not disappoint, as the music is the brightest spot of the entire DLC.
CSG Case Summary
- Visuals 7
- Audio 9
- Controls 5
- Gameplay 5
- X-Factor 6
Final Judgement: 6/10
Fans that absolutely must get more story from FFXV’s interesting, but poorly fleshed out, world will get their fix. Anyone that didn’t care for FFXV before, will find even less to care about here. Episode Prompto is not great, but at least the music is nice and there’s an appearance by a fan favorite character.