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Final Fantasy XV's Chapter 13 patch is live

At long last, Final Fantasy 15's antepenultimate chapter—you know, the one where Noctis' buddies and all of his weapons disappear, forcing you to trudge through seemingly endless hallways and interminable stealth sections all by your lonesome—has received a much-needed overhaul. In today's "Chapter 13, Verse 2" update, Final Fantasy XV's most irritating level receives a number of improvements, including an alternate path starring Gladiolus and Ignis.

The new, shorter route is probably "Chapter 13, Verse 2's" biggest change, and allows players to skip Noctis' portion of Chapter 13 entirely. As Gladiolus, players will help Noctis' buddies locate the lost prince, while also getting to try out Gladiolus' unique power set. Conveniently, Final Fantasy XV's "Episode Gladiolus," which also stars Gladio, comes out tonight, making "Chapter 13, Verse 2" kind of a demo for Square Enix's downloadable content.

According to people who have played it (including Kotaku's Jason Schreier), the alternate version of Chapter 13 lasts for about 20 minutes. If you've already beaten the game, you can access "Chapter 13, Verse 2" directly from the menu. You can also switch from Noctis to his friends at any point save point you find in Chapter 13, although once you're on the alternate route, you can't switch back.

Oh, and "Chapter 13, Verse 2" is full of topical political "humor," too. Ignis makes jokes about "alternative facts," while Gladio complains about "fake news"—catchphrases associated with White House counselor Kellyanne Conway and United States president Donald Trump, respectively (apparently, there's a "You're the puppet!" thrown in there as well, referencing President Trump's petulant behavior at one of 2016's presidential debates).

If you decide to stick with Noctis for the entirety of Chapter 13, you'll notice that the experience is smoother there, too. All of Noctis' magic, including his devastating Death spell, is stronger, making Chapter 13 a little bit less of a slog. All-in-all, it seems like Final Fantasy XV is slowly but surely getting better, which is a nice boon for casual fans who, unlike others, may not intuitively love Final Fantasy despite its major flaws.