Episode Gladiolus is a downloadable extra episode for Final Fantasy XV. It takes place at the same time as chapter 7 of the main game and follows Gladiolus Amicitia as he trains to become a stronger guardian for Noctis.
The episode uses the same Active X Battle system as Final Fantasy XV, although it has been adapted to fit Gladiolus's combat style. While Noctis's gameplay was focused on mobility, Gladiolus takes a more defensive approach to battles. By blocking enemy attacks, Gladiolus can build up his "rage" meter which will increase his damage output depending on how high it is, with a maximum of 4x damage. The meter can be filled quicker by timing precise blocks, which will also leave the enemy vulnerable to a powerful counterattack. The meter drains slightly after every attack Gladiolus performs and will automatically begin to drain over time during battles. Gladiolus can only hold his block for a limited time, as measured by the blue bar below his health. If the blue bar empties, he will become vulnerable. Certain enemies can also break through Gladio's block with strong attacks.
Additionally, he has a "valor" gauge, which can be built up by chaining regular attacks together. Once it is full, a special Glaive Art attack can be performed. The gauge can be filled multiple times and each full gauge will unlock a more powerful Glaive Art. In certain areas, Gladiolus can pull stone pillars from his surroundings and use them as weapons to attack his foes.
After completing the episode, players will unlock several items for use in the main game, as well as two additional gameplay modes: Score Attack and Final Trial. Score Attack has players go through the episode again while being scored on how quickly they defeat enemies. Scoring 500,000 or more points earns the No Pain, No Gain achievement/trophy and Rugged Attire for Gladiolus. Scoring 1,000,000 earns A New Blademaster.
Final Trial is a challenging bonus fight against Cor Leonis.
Gladiolus is on LV 24 and does not gain EXP from battles. Cor is on LV 52. There are havens within the ruins the player can use to replenish HP and to save the game. Gladiolus will eat Cup Noodles at the havens and has an option to chat with Cor.
"Episode Gladiolus" has its own set of achievements and trophies.
- Gladiolus Amicitia - Prince Noctis's bodyguard who has trained to become "the King's Shield" since childhood. When his resolve to his capabilities to fulfill his duties wavers, he seeks to prove his worth by undertaking the Trial of Gilgamesh.
- Cor Leonis - The legendary captain of the Crownsguard who supports Gladiolus during his quest.
- Gilgamesh - A mysterious swordsman known as the Blademaster.
After being overpowered by Ravus Nox Fleuret at Aracheole Stronghold, Gladiolus worries that he is not strong enough to protect Prince Noctis. While the rest of the party search for mythril to repair the boat at Cape Caem, he leaves the group to train and prove that he is worthy of protecting the Chosen King.
30 years prior, ancient ruins that became known as the Tempering Grounds were discovered in Lucis. In their deepest recesses awaits the Blademaster, Gilgamesh, who once held Gladiolus's role as Shield of the King. Many attempts had been made to explore the ruins, but every expedition had ended in failure and the deaths of everyone involved except for one man: Cor Leonis. Gladiolus meets with Cor and tells him that he wishes to undertake the trial of Gilgamesh. Cor supports Gladiolus through the ruins but the latter must take on the trials alone.
Gladiolus faces off against Gilgamesh and emerges victorious. Gilgamesh recognizes Gladiolus as being worthy of being the Shield of the True King after seeing Gladiolus's only fear is that he should be too weak to protect Noctis. Gilgamesh reveals he had lost his arm to Cor, and yields Cor's katana, the Genji Blade, to Gladiolus. Gladiolus and Cor leave the ruins with Gladiolus indirectly passing on the praise Gilgamesh had said about Cor. Gladiolus returns to the others and shows off his battle spoils at the campsite.
|"Battle on the Big Bridge (EPISODE GLADIOLUS Version)"|
|Trouble with the audio sample?|
"Shield of the King - Theme of EPISODE GLADIOLUS", was composed by Keiichi Okabe, who also contributed an arrangement of Gilgamesh's theme titled "Battle on the Big Bridge (EPISODE GLADIOLUS version)". The main composer of the episode's music was Tetsuya Shibata, additional composers are Yoshino Aoki and Yoshitaka Suzuki.
Among the DLC episodes that had been decided to be released after Final Fantasy XV, the team picked Episode Gladiolus to be first. It got the shortest development time, and the team hadn't got used to working on the system and focused on speedy gameplay. Thus, it lacks in volume compared to Episode Prompto.
- Genji Blade for finishing the episode. Can be equipped to Gladiolus and Noctis in the main game.
- Dual Master Glaive Art for finishing the episode. Usable in the DLC and in Chapter 13 Verse 2.
- Rugged Attire for scoring 500,000+ points in the Score Attack Mode.
- Those who pre-order Final Fantasy XV: Windows Edition from Steam can get Episode Gladiolus-themed t-shirt for Noctis to wear in the main game. It boosts Strength.