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Ys IX: Monstrum Nox

イースIX -Monstrum NOX-

Developer / Publisher: Nihon Falcom Corporation
26 September 2019
Ys IX: Monstrum Nox [イースIX -Monstrum NOX-] - cover art
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55 Ratings / 2 Reviews
#2,435 All-time
#67 for 2019
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2019 Falcom  
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Ys IX: Monstrum Nox Pact Edition
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XNA 8 10023 03624 1 CUSA-20414
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Ys IX: Monstrum Nox Pact Edition
2021 Falcom NIS America  
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XNA 8 10023 03632 6
2021 Falcom Engine  
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Ys IX: Monstrum Nox Pact Edition
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Title
Ys IX is only my 2nd Ys game that I've played (I don't count the non-canon Ys: Wanderers From Ys for the SNES), so my whole point of comparison is going to be with YS VIII which I have also loved.

On the whole it seems that this 9th entry is an improvement over it. Just from the graphics you can tell that it's more modern, VIII was designed for the Vita in the first place before being ported. Some of the character models looked kinda dated, but here everything has a fresh look and how you would expect a newer game to look like. There's a lot of QoL compared to it too, it's mostly the same systems but just the navigation of everything works better. Overall gameplay wise it's mostly the same game, the combat is nearly identical with the fast spammy skill attacks and the party of 3. I was very comfortable going in right away, because I knew exactly how things functioned already. It's perhaps not its best trait if you are looking for a totally new experience, but this is more of a "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" approach as instead there are minor improvements here and there. You have new mobility movements to explore the areas (running up on walls, a sort of grappling hook) and that feels like a pretty neat addition.

There was a certain charm to the deserted island in VIII, and the city of Balduq here isn't quite the same. Instead of rescuing villagers to be able to move more obstacles, instead the areas of the cities are locked and you have to accomplish certain tasks in order for them to open up. It's a similar concept and you'll be going through a similar loop. The equipment kinda works the same way, except that here you will buy new weapons on each chapter instead of just upgrading your old ones... which makes upgrading them a little bit useless (as the new weapon in the next chapter will always be better), and that's one of my minor disappointments here. There's a lot of things to collect over the map and gathering certain amounts will grant you special items, again a similar concept to VIII.

The story gets a little batshit crazy as you get into the later chapters, but that seems to be Falcom's thing here with this series as it has their weird start and then slow build until you eventually start to understand everything. Definitely strong in that aspect and do love the world building and even connection with the previous games. Overall I thought this was a great game, it perhaps lacks a little bit of innovation, but if you want more of what Ys VIII offered it surely delivers. The combat is not the most amazing as you'll mostly just be smashing your buttons constantly, but the game does have you do a bunch of different things so it never really gets stale. Definitely recommend both games to fans of Action JRPG, Falcom were able to push their flagship series into the modern era and create some of the best entries I assume. This definitely got me into them and will continue exploring the series.
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diction 2024-03-10T23:51:51Z
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Title
What a Terrible Night to Have a Curse
I got Ys IX the day it released on February 2nd and just binged the hell out of it for a few days and finished it on the 6th after about 50 hours of gameplay. The TL;DR of it is, the game is a masterpiece and my new fave in the series surpassing even Ys VIII.

Now for my full detailed review.

Story: Ys VIII laid the groundwork for a more story driven Ys and Monstrum Nox just amplified it by 11. This is the most detailed and narrative driven Ys game to date and it's a fantastic one at that. It has a much darker, oppressive and mature tone than any other Ys game and it works incredibly well with the setting.

The basic premise is Adol and Dogi arrive in the prison city of Balduq, Adol immediately gets detained for suspicious activity due to his past adventures, Adol escapes the prison and on his way out he meets a mysterious woman name Aprilis who shoots him with a magical bullet turning him into a Monstrum. A cursed superhuman being with paranormal powers who is bound to fight demons in a parallel dimension called the Grimwald Nox, oh and they can't leave the city. So now Adol must break his curse to escape the city and be able to set off on his next adventure.

The story honestly blew me away in this game. I see people say it's inferior to VIII, but while Ys VIII had a solid story it wasn't the story that made that game incredible, it was that feeling of adventure. Ys IX doesn't have as much of that feeling because the whole point of the game is Adol is trapped from going on his next big adventure, he has to break this curse so he can be free to go on another adventure basically, but what it lacks in that tone and feeling it makes up for with a much more personal story with some incredible plot-twists and mysteries to unravel and the underlying themes of self-discovery and embracing the future while not letting your past define you felt more like something you'd see explored in the Persona or Trails series than it did Ys, but it was executed incredibly well and told a story just as captivating, emotional and memorable as those series are known for.

World-building: It's no secret Falcom are masters of world-building and Ys IX proves that once again. All throughout my playthrough I never got tired of learning about the massive history of Balduq. Between the legends of the ancient Hundred Years War and Saint Rosvita, the Nors mythology and gods (Even if it is just basically Norse mythology lol) to the political struggles of the Romun Empire or something as simple as the business practices of the Pendleton Trading Company, the city of Balduq always felt lively and realistic and easy to be immersed in. Another thing to note is the many mentions and references of Adol's previous adventures by various characters really enhances enjoyment if you've witnessed those older games for yourself.

Characters: I loved every single character in this game. From all 6 major party members to every single NPC that joins as a collaborator for your home base at the Dandelion Bar. They were all fantastically written, with so much depth, detail and development that when I finished the game and played the epilogue saying my goodbyes to every one made me cry because how much I came to love everyone. Even minor NPCs you talk to around the world like Jeannette and Reno have so much personality I know I'll fondly look back on my memories of the people I met in Balduq for years to come. I also have to mention I love the formula of the first 6 chapters being dedicated to learning all about a character of the main party, while slowly unravelling the greater mystery at hand as well.

Combat: This is what Ys has always been known for and Ys IX, simply put, has the best and most fluid combat in the series yet. It takes the same system Ys VIII had with the 3 character party member swapping system, each character having their own attack type of slash, strike or pierce due to different enemies being weak to different types and learning new skills as you level up to assign to various button combinations and execute combos, but polishes and refines to absolute perfection. Also bringing back the Boost gauge from the old Ys games like Origin/Felghana was a really nice touch.

Side Note: Raid battles from Ys VIII are also back, but this time their entire purpose ties into the actual plotline of the game and work much better for it.

Level Design/Exploration: It takes some real balls to have your game take place in 90% one area and it takes even more to actually be able to pull it off. Ys IX most definitely pulls it off. The prison city of Balduq and the outskirts surrounding it are both packed to the brim with secret areas and collectibles to find by utilizing all of the Monstrum's Gift abilities like a wall run, a glide or grapple hook which made the movement and exploration of Ys IX some of the most enjoyable and satisfying of any game I've ever played. All the dungeons were very well designed and fun to explore as well. Yes the visual representation is much more subdued compared to VIII or most other Ys games, but I really couldn't picture this story being told any other way, it wouldn't have kept the same kind of oppressive and claustrophobic tone if you enjoyed being imprisoned in the city because it looks beautiful, not to mention I think the grey, dark and dreary color scheme and gothic scenery helps to contrast the vibrantly colorful and almost visual-kei looking designs of the Monstrums and make them stick out that much more.

Bosses: All the bosses were excellently designed with a lot of later bosses even implementing the use of the various Monstrum gifts in battle in clever ways. The final boss was one of the most epic I've fought in both the whole Ys series and just any video game in general.

Music: Ys is known for having OSTs that are equally as amazing and heart racing as it's fast paced gameplay and Monstrum Nox continues this trend. Sure there's some more variety than usual with more orchestral tracks and melancholic piano pieces for mood setting, but the intense, shreddy neo-classical metal tracks are just as prevalent and you'll hear not only some jaw dropping guitar work, but lots of baroque instruments like harpsichord as well which fit perfectly with the gothic aesthetics.

All in all Ys IX: Monstrum Nox was everything I could've ever wanted and more. Taking all the best things Ys VIII laid the groundwork for and amplifying them to 11, adding an even greater emphasis on story, world-building and character development while staying true to the series lightning fast gameplay and infectiously catchy music along with incredible metroidvania-like exploration makes Ys IX not only the strongest entry in the Ys series to me, but an instant classic, an all time favorite and even a strong contender for Game of the Year, despite the Year just starting. The time I spent in the prison city of Balduq with Adol and friends is not something I'll be forgetting any time soon and I'm already greatly anticipating Adol's next big adventure.

10/10
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Dragonflame1994 2021-02-06T22:25:19Z
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Catalog

Efourman Ys IX: Monstrum Nox 2024-05-29T03:02:23Z
PS4 / PS5
2024-05-29T03:02:23Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Ryx Ys IX: Monstrum Nox 2024-04-12T21:58:45Z
PS4 / PS5
2024-04-12T21:58:45Z
3.5
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Ba5tarD Ys IX: Monstrum Nox 2024-04-03T19:02:42Z
Switch • XNA
2024-04-03T19:02:42Z
3.5
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Vinyl_Scratch Ys IX: Monstrum Nox 2024-03-29T14:56:32Z
Switch • XNA
2024-03-29T14:56:32Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
diction Ys IX: Monstrum Nox 2024-03-10T23:51:51Z
PS4 / PS5
2024-03-10T23:51:51Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Nomorechie イースIX -Monstrum NOX- 2024-03-04T08:28:08Z
2024-03-04T08:28:08Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
juicyjuicysweetie イースIX -Monstrum NOX- 2024-02-24T20:07:21Z
2024-02-24T20:07:21Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
zolinho イースIX -Monstrum NOX- 2024-02-06T15:55:03Z
2024-02-06T15:55:03Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Zorgly イースIX -Monstrum NOX- 2024-01-26T22:48:51Z
2024-01-26T22:48:51Z
7.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
LucasHanna イースIX -Monstrum NOX- 2024-01-24T05:40:08Z
2024-01-24T05:40:08Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
mickilennial Ys IX: Monstrum Nox 2024-01-03T10:21:30Z
Windows
2024-01-03T10:21:30Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
_dubles_ イースIX -Monstrum NOX- 2024-01-01T03:32:59Z
2024-01-01T03:32:59Z
2.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
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  • tphillips 2021-07-10 14:43:56.005785+00
    I don't like Balduq nearly as much as Seiren but that's kinda the point. Best writing in a Falcom game, best combat in a Falcom game, dungeons are still very, very good. Here's hoping Adol's other 91 travelogues come as quickly as possible, I want at least 20 more before I bite the big one.
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  • GalacTech 2022-03-26 17:07:31.438047+00
    An absolutely fucking MONSTER (no pun hehe) of an ARPG. Definitely one of, if not the best ARPG's I've played. The Lumire's fighting can get super tedious if you don't want to do [sometimes] equally tedious Quests, but that's far and wide my sole nitpick with the game. Excellent.
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  • juicyjuicysweetie 2024-02-24 20:07:09.131354+00
    the gameplay loop is so fun but i wish the viii mechanics weren't so shoehorned and there was better pacing+ environmental variety i get that these aren't high budget games but you spend way too much time in balduq for it to be so samey
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