Ys IX Monstrum Nox, the latest game of the YS JRPG series, has been released for the PS4 since September last year - and it has now been confirmed for a Western localization and release.

Ys IX Monstrum Nox PS4
Ys IX Monstrum Nox English is going to be released in just a few months

In a recent interview with Gematsu, Toshihiro Kondo, Nihon Falcom's president revealed that preparations have been made for three of their titles to get an English release: Ys IX Monstrum Nox, Zero no Kiseki, and Ao no Kiseki. The Ys series has been growing after each and every installment - and with Monstrum Nox, it looks like Falcom has perfected the formula. In this review below, we will list out some of the game's strongest points - if you are a fan of the JRPG genre, this is a title you cannot miss.

1 - Ys IX Monstrum Nox: The Settings and Characters

Ys IX Monstrum Nox's story takes place in the Romun control city of Balduq, located in the Gllia region, northeast if Esteria. It is known as "the prison city" due to its huge prison facility featuring high walls covering the majority of the town. The city, built upon the heavily fortified area, is an important hub for transportation in the region, which leads to a huge number of bars, trade centers, and inns. Monstrums are strange supernatural beings that have been appearing in recent years - some are benevolent but others are up to no good.

Ys IX Monstrum Nox PS4
The cast of Ys IX Monstrum Nox PS4

Adol Christin, the protagonist of the game, was falsely accused of destroying a Romun fleet during a voyage and taken to the prison city - which was deemed inescapable. However. with the help of a mysterious cloaked female, he escapes from imprisonment and embarks on an adventure to solve the mysteries of the city and its strange supernatural inhabitants.

Supports Adol in his tasks are his best friend Dogi and five other Monstrums: White Cat, Hawk, Raging Bull, Doll and Regenade, each with their own unique powers and personalities.

2 - Ys IX Monstrum Nox: World and Exploration

Once you are released from jail, you would get to explore the semi-open world of Ys IX Monstrum Nox - however, only one district at a time. The game has an extremely linear approach regarding exploration: you have to clear all the quest in a given area and clear the main quest in order to progress to the next one. While this approach is limited, it prevents you from missing any content of the game and can be considered a plus of sort.

Ys Ix Monstrum Nox Review
Ys Ix Monstrum Nox Review: Exploring the various districts of the city is a lot of fun

Traveling inside the city is extremely fun - each of your companions has their own way of moving around: Hawk can fly over everything, White Cat can run on walls... and these abilities are crucial in solving side quests and secrets.

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3 - Ys IX Monstrum Nox: Story Arcs

The game is divided into chapters, each focused on one member in your party. Players would get to explore their teammates' backstory in great detail, making those characters feel real and enjoyable. Each of them would have their own struggle, regrets, fears... and more. The most well written is probably Doll, a puppet who constantly see flashbacks of her own past, and never stop wondering about the reason she was given a soul. The secondary casts of character are pretty well written as well - you would get a lot of unexpected interactions all over the place; from a 12 years old assassin girl, a water demon, to a grandma resistance fighter...

Ys Ix Monstrum Nox PC
Ys Ix Monstrum Nox PC: Boss fights are the most notable part of this release - with each and every boss being a great challenge

The pacing of the story is also a huge plus - the narrative features a lot of surprises, questions, and unexpected plot twists - and all of it was wrapped up with an amazing epilogue. Overall, this excellent storytelling is probably one of the brightest parts of this game's success.

4 - Ys IX Monstrum Nox: Gameplay

The Action RPG battle system that was very appreciated in Ys VIII was brought back: players would unleash combos with different attacks along with one finisher skill. Those combos would be unlocked gradually as you level up, with four can be equipped at the same time for more variance. The two core features of Ys VIII, guarding and dodging, are also brought back - a successful attempt would either increase the speed of your actions or slow time down briefly. This mechanic is crucial if you are going to tackle higher difficulties.

Another high point of the combat in Ys IX is the defense missions: Players would have to defend an obelisk while enemies swarm from all sides - the gigantic clash taking place is frantic and a lot of fun.

Ys IX Monstrum Nox PS4
Ys IX Monstrum Nox PS4: The bosses are uniquely designed - they would be very different from whatever you have faced before

Like any decent JRPG, Ys IX Monstrum Nox features a lot of intense boss battles - and none of them was reused later in-game. This is actually a huge step forward - the bestiary for this entry could fill a whole encyclopedia. Main bosses are intricately designed, with various unpredictable patterns and improved strengths toward the end of the fight, making all main story battle really engaging. These peculiarities are only revealed in hard difficulty or above, and because of that, it is recommended to start this game at Hard. There is an extra mode called Boss Rush for people who want to retry the boss fights with harder conditions as well.

5 - Ys IX Monstrum Nox: Graphics and Music

The framerate holds up quite well - despite this being Falcom's biggest world ever created. Some compromises were made, however - objects at larger distances would either be covered up by fog or get their quality reduced. The music selection was great, in both dungeon, battle and ambiance. The various interesting melodies definitely go well with the pace of the gameplay: they ranged from Gothic, Symphonic, Buconic... and more.

ys ix monstrum nox review
Ys IX Monstrum Nox Review: The music often kick in every time it needs to be

6 - Ys IX Monstrum Nox: Verdict

Ys IX Monstrum Nox doesn't really innovate much from the success formula of VIII - it just expands on the existing concepts. While its linear/lack of freedom nature might disappoint, almost every other aspect of the game is stellar. Interested in more of our posts related to JRPGs and RPGs in general? Please check out this list for the top 10 most anticipated RPGs of 2020.