With the recent release of the newest DLC side story, Episode Ignis, the Final Fantasy XV story and lore has greatly expanded, and Square Enix has taken the feedback of the fans to heart in order to improve upon the original features of the game and flesh out the narrative and characters in more depth. There have been a lot of great moments in Final Fantasy XV and its DLC episodes, and here are the ones that stood out the most to me.
Warning: major spoilers ahead. Please don’t read if you don’t want major moments in Final Fantasy XV‘s plot spoiled for you!
The Beginning (Chapter 1)
The opening scene of the game featuring the battle against Ifrit is a deceptively clever way to introduce the characters and the conflict. In a way, it kind of spoils the direction of the story, but without the context of the story or the characters themselves, it simply serves as an exciting way to start the game, and I couldn’t wait to embark on the journey that would propel Noctis and his retainers to this moment in time.
5. The True Ending (Chapter 15)
The true ending of Final Fantasy XV destroyed me. The game may have its flaws and be far from perfect, but all of the emotions and narrative beats all led up to this powerfully heartbreaking and bittersweet moment that felt earned. The lead up was justified and truly made the ending even more impactful, especially with the last campfire scene after the credits rolled. Everything about this ending is tragic and reinforces the meaning of the sacrifice that Noctis has to make, because it’s more than just saving the world, it’s about the fact that he has to give up his life and dreams in part of his duty as the one true king. While there are aspects of the alternate ending that I really enjoy, the original ending embodies everything the story was building up to over the course of the game.
4. Ignis and the Ring of Lucii (Episode Ignis)
Episode Ignis features some of the most significant additions to the plot, including a scene set during the time jump as well as an alternate ending to the main story. However, the scene I especially want to focus on from this episode is the scene in which Ignis chooses to wear the Ring of Lucii and temporarily gain the power of the Kings at the cost of his eyesight. The lead up to him putting on the ring and fighting Ardyn with the rain and destroyed Altissia is beautiful and a very memorable battle and moment for Ignis. I liked Ignis’ character in Final Fantasy XV, but this episode made me appreciate his devotion to Noctis and his sworn duty to stand by him. All of the themes tie together and further reinforce the lovely “Stand By Me” cover featured at the beginning and end of the game, as well as the meaning of loyalty and sacrifice across all of the character’s arcs and just how far they will go to protect the people they care for, and this is most apparent in Episode Ignis.
3. Prompto’s Doubt (Episode Prompto)
Episode Prompto isn’t as plot heavy as Episode Ignis, and instead takes the time to focus on Prompto’s inner struggles and fears. All of his doubts culminate into this scene by the campfire in which he can try to burn off the barcode on his wrist. I wrote about how this DLC episode does an excellent job of developing Prompto before, so I won’t get into it too much again here. The strengths of this game is its characters, and with two excellent back-to-back DLC episodes focusing on beloved characters and exploring their personalities in more depth, we can appreciate them even more.
2. The World of Ruin (Chapter 14)
After Noctis is absorbed into the crystal and forced to slumber and absorb its power over the course of ten long years, the world falls into darkness and chaos. He wakes up and makes his way back to his friends, and navigating the World of Ruin is a genuinely scary, intimidating experience. In addition, the reunions that follow are bittersweet and all lead up to the final battle. The World of Ruin also serves as the backdrop for some excellent battles at the end of the game, including the fight against Ifrit briefly featured at the beginning of the game. With the help of another Astral, Bahamut, Ifrit is finally defeated by Shiva, and the fact that the World of Ruin is able to offer these epic set pieces was much appreciated.
1. Noctis Versus Leviathan (Chapter 9)
Honestly, the entirety of Chapter 9 is incredible and is my favorite part of the entire game, but this specific moment of Noctis fighting back against Leviathan without holding back is amazing. Part of the reason why it’s so good is because of the escalation in the story, with tensions in Altissia high as Luna vows to gain the alliance of Leviathan for Noctis, but with the presence of the Empire within the city, the chances of success become slim. Leviathan lashes out against the Empire as the ships move to strike her down, and the situation quickly falls out of control, with Altissia falling to ruin, Luna being killed by Ardyn, Ignis being blinded in the chaos (with his DLC episode adding entirely new meaning to just how and why he became blind), all of this leaving Noctis in despair and doubt of his role as the future kind. The fight itself against Leviathan is exciting and beautifully cinematic, almost as if it’s a cutscene playing out. In addition, the boss battle music featured here, Apocalypsis Aquarius, is incredibly emotional and epic to listen to. Everything about this confrontation is so good because of the time the story takes to establish it as a vital, important moment that changes the direction of the game entirely.
What were your favorite moments of Final Fantasy XV and its DLC episodes? Let me know in the comments!