Released earlier this year on PS4, Ys IX: Monstrum Nox is now available on Nintendo Switch, PC and Stadia. In this latest entry, world renowned adventurer Adol Christin travels to a distant city and before setting foot inside is imprisoned. What ensues is a 30-40 hour adventure full of mystery, surprises and a story that is surprisingly much deeper than initially expected.
Ys IX: Monstrum Nox Details
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PS4, Stadia and PC
Reviewed on: Stadia and Nintendo Switch
Developer(s): Nihon Falcom
Publisher: NIS America
Genre: Action RPG
Modes: Single Player
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)
A brand new adventure awaits in Balduq city
The Ys series has a legacy spanning more than 30 years, where each of the games in the series are essentially standalone experiences. And, Ys IX is no different. The game, like the rest of the games in the series, follows the adventures of Adol Christin.
In his latest adventure, Adol and his companion Dogi arrive at Balduq, a city annexed by the Romun empire. Without setting foot inside city walls, Adol is detained and detained for questioning. While imprisoned, Adol meets a mysterious woman named Aprilis who turns him into a Monstrum, granting him superhuman gifts and the power to exorcise monsters.
Adol soon learns that there are other Monstrums that he must team up with to fend off monsters emerging from a dimension called the Grimwald Nox. In addition, Adol must unravel the mysteries of the Monstrum curse and discover the truth behind the unrest within Balduq.
Rewarding and satisfying gameplay
Ys IX: Monstrum Nox is a JRPG with real-time battle sequences. You can play as any of the six Monstrums, each with their own unique gifts and abilities. Initially, gameplay presents itself as a standard hack and slash affair. However, after a few hours into the game the battle system slowly starts to expand. As your character’s level up they learn new techniques, abilities and spells that you’ll need to leverage to be successful in battle.
Balduq is a massive city filled with inns, bars and trading posts. You’re free to explore, talk and interact with the local townsfolk and take on quests to aid them. You’ll have many ways to traverse the city including scaling walls and gliding over the rooftops. There is always something to see and do around every corner.
In addition to exploration and combat, Ys IX contains a variety of activities including crafting, cooking and discovering collectibles for rewards. While crafting and cooking can seem a bit overwhelming at first, they both quickly become second nature. Fans of previous games in the series will recognize familiar gameplay mechanics such as Flash Move and Flash Guard. Additionally, new mechanics such as Gifts and Boost Mode make battles action-packed and thrilling.
An all-out battle in the Gimwald Nox
As part of the Monstrum curse, you and the Monstrums must fend off countless hordes of evil spirits, known as Lemures in an alternate dimension known as the Grimwald Nox. This is an all-out battle that is filled with fast and furious action.
Essentially the Grimwald Nox is a raid battle where you must fend off swarms of monsters on the battlefield. Points are awarded based on enemies destroyed and the total time it takes you to defeat the waves of enemies. As a result, by completing each of the Grimwald Nox battles, you open up barriers that are placed throughout Balduq that allow you to explore more locations.
Distinct JRPG aesthetic
While Ys IX: Monstrum Nox is not visually on par with the latest and greatest AAA games on PS5 and Xbox Series X|S, it has its own unique appeal. The game’s characters have a distinct JRPG aesthetic that I found very appealing. Furthermore, the city of Balduq is a lively city filled with many NPCs to talk to and hidden treasures to discover. The game’s soundtrack provides a consistent sense of chaos and excitement during battle, which I absolutely loved.
Initially, I thought Ys IX‘s story would be simple in nature. However, that’s not the case. I found myself glued to the tv screen wondering what was going to happen next. And, when I got answers to the questions I had during the story, my jaw dropped. I won’t spoil anything but I can say, you won’t see what happens coming.
On Stadia, load times are quick and the overall performance of the game is silky smooth—even in mega battles such as those in the Grimwald Nox. However, on Nintendo Switch, the same cannot be said. During battles with a lot going on the action slows down. And, at times, visuals on the Switch can appear blurry.
Ys IX: Monstrum Nox is a fantastic JRPG adventure not to be missed
Ys IX: Monstrum Nox is one of my favourite JRPGs in recent memory. The story is filled with twists, turns and surprises that will make your jaw hit the floor and keep you on the edge of your seat. Nihon Falcom has done an amazing job with the story in that you don’t have to have played any previous games in the series to enjoy Ys IX. There are a few references to Adol’s previous adventures, they aren’t anything major to worry about.
Furthermore, I absolutely love the character designs and each of their unique personalities. Additionally, I found Ys IX‘s gameplay to be easy to pick up and the game’s combat is rewarding and satisfying. For those playing on Nintendo Switch, there are some performance issues to be aware of. Aside from being annoying, the overall experience is enjoyable.
+ Engaging narrative
+ Easy to pick up gameplay
+ No need to have played previous games in the series to enjoy
+ Great voice acting
+ Distinct JRPG aesthetic that is visually pleasing
– Performance issues on Nintendo Switch
– Visuals look dated at times
OVERALL ASSESSMENT OF YS IX: MONSTRUM NOX
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4/5