Final Fantasy XV – Episode: Ignis allows you to fix the game’s biggest flaw
The entire DLC runs just under 4 hours of play time and is really meant to explain the biggest unanswered questions that have lingered in the game for over a year.
As it would turn out Final Fantasy XV: Episode Ignis allows players to fill in the biggest gap of the game’s story and retcon the worst part of the game.
For the uninformed, the final main character chapter of Final Fantasy XV came out on Wednesday and focused on Noctis’ retainer, Ignis. In the game, you learn more about the history between Ignis and Noctis, how he was injured in the story and the events that took place during the Leviathan fight in the main game. While this is certainly cool and under its own merit, fills in a ton of blanks, the game offers a huge opportunity that for a fleeting moment shows how great Final Fantasy XV could have been.
Before jumping into spoiler territory, let’s talk a bit about the DLC itself. The bulk of the gameplay focuses on Ignis fighting through the streets of Altissia with the assistance of his incredible agility, neat tools and an unlikely ally in Ravus Nox Fleuret. All of this stuff is in the trailer, so don’t bellyache to me about spoiling without notice. So, yeah, Ignis rushes to assist Noctis in the biggest battle in the game, while showing that his whole DLC kit is inspired by the Red Mage subclass from the series itself. This is pretty cool because unlike in the rest of the game, Ignis actually looks and performs like a real magic user.
The entire DLC runs just under 4 hours of play time and is really meant to explain the biggest unanswered questions that have lingered in the game for over a year. The episode will eventually prompt you to make a choice that will lead to the rest of the story and while it is nice that we finally get a ton of questions answered and also understand why there were some odd cutscenes in the main game that missed the point, the other option blows my prejudice of the game out of the water.
Warning, we are about to go deep into spoiler territory.
One more chance. Spoilers. Don’t say we aren’t warning you.
Ignis can basically rewrite the entire second half of the game into a great Final Fantasy story.
So once Ignis and Ravus get to Noctis at the end of the Leviathan battle and Lunafreya is killed, the team is ambushed by Ardyn. After dispatching Ravus, Ardyn gives Ignis the opportunity to come with him or to try to fight. In canon, Ignis struggles against Ardyn and drives him off with the ring of the Lucii. Playing along with Ardyn, however, takes Ignis down a much more interesting path that not only clears up even more of the story but also makes the last boss fight of the game look like a casual hunt.
If Ignis plays along with Ardyn, he is teleported to Zegnautus Keep where Ardyn plans to use Ignis as bait to draw Noctis to the crystal. The crystal tells Ignis of Ardyn’s backstory, how he was the chosen king but was rejected because of his tainted soul from healing others. His brother was chosen as the first king and dispatched to Ardyn. As he was unable to die, Ardyn spent all that time becoming angrier and more jaded with his royal bloodline and decided that the ultimate way to get back at those that took all that was promised to him away was to destroy the crystal itself. Ardyn reveals that his name is indeed Lucis Caelum before summoning all 114 of the Royal Arms and beating Ignis to a pulp while waiting for Noctis to arrive.
Ignis doesn’t go down without a fight and reveals that he stole the ring of the Lucii back in Altissia and puts it on, burning his eyes and going blind. After failing to get the upper hand against Ardyn, he pleads to the kings for the power to protect Noctis and they offer the same deal they gave Nyx Ulric in Kingsglaive. Their power for his life. The rest of the battle has Ignis thrashing Ardyn with flare-powered spellblades and making use of actual magic, which is a super cool moment you need to experience.
Then comes the kicker.
Ignis ‘beats’ Ardyn, driving him to retreat just as Noctis and team arrive. Having completed his side of the deal, Ignis begins to die, only for Noctis to put on the ring and claim his destiny at while restoring Ignis back to health. This trade-off means that Noctis is in the crystal until the time comes and now knowing that Ardyn is the true threat and the reason the darkness is encroaching, the Chocobros use car insurance to travel to mexico and getting their friends to prepare for the world of darkness. With this time to prepare, there seems to be a feeling of hope instead of the desolation and dread from the main game. After Libertus and the remnants of the Kingsglaive make their sacrifice to wake the sleeping king, Noctis reunites with his friends on the boat. Together the four friends take back Insomnia and they meet up with an older Ravus who then returns the Sword of the King. The five warriors appear to banish Ardyn and the light returns to the world.
The ending ends up bittersweet because of the fact that Noctis doesn’t reunite with Lunafreya in death, but Ignis never loses his eyesight and Ravus keeps his oath to his sister. More importantly, the story feels so much more Final Fantasy with Noctis actively claiming his destiny with his friends at his side. The king’s retainer saves the king and is in return saved by the king. There’s a roller coaster of emotion that doesn’t exactly end with a head-scratching moment.
However, with all this being said, I’m also wondering if the ‘rewind’ at the end of the main game is essentially a do-over that results in the events of Comrades and Episode Ignis. I don’t know, I probably won’t ever know, but I can tell you without a doubt that had Episode Ignis, with the alternate ending, been included in the main game, we’d have been talking about a story that rivals Final Fantasy X. Also, holy shit, did you catch the Final Fantasy VII inspiration in the last boss fight song?
What are your thoughts? Do you prefer the original or alternate ending to the game? Are you surprised that Ignis is the best Chocobro? Let us know below!