One of the oldest sagas in the world of oriental role and the one that has cost the most to take off in the West, we have it in those Ys from the Nihon Falcom studio. With Adol Christin as (almost) eternal protagonist, here we begin to taste his adventures with that Ys VI: The Ark of Napishtim the PS2 and 2005.
The next chapter is called Ys IX: Monstrum Nox, which will launch first on PS4 on February 5, 2021, with a version for Nintendo Switch and PC to come out. It is the last installment to date … despite having debuted in Japan in the distant month of September 2019, where it achieved a great 35/40 and Famitsu.
A new Ys with an old flavor and a desire to party
With its demo now available on PS4 (from here you can download it), I did not want to miss the opportunity to return to this saga that I like so much and to which unfortunately I have not returned in force since Ys: The Oath in Felghana, which I was able to enjoy through Steam in 2012. Because at Ys: Memories of Celceta I barely spent a couple of hours on Vita and I still have the Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of DANA
Gone is the perspective from above, as in the classics of its beginnings in a 1987 full of great games, since Ys IX again opts for the third person perspective, as it happened with Ys VIII. In addition, it also replicates that possibility of exchanging (hot, pressing a button) between three different characters, as we also saw in Ys Seven, remaining both as allies and controlled by the AI, being able to give them basic orders of attack and defense.
Graphically it is fair, looking more like a game from the last years of PS3 life than one in the twilight of PS4, with PS5 as a newcomer. In fact, I have played the demo from the new Sony console, although it does not come with an advantage.
The button layout shocked me at first, like using the triangle to pin the enemy, instead of the usual R3 of the second stick, but right away you get the point and manages to stand out in one of the strengths of all Ys: the fighting. Although I did not want to freak out and I left it on standard difficulty, the demo is short (10 minutes for each of the two dungeons) and I did not feel like dying in Lunatic mode. After all, Ys are very tough like that.
Monstrum Nox, another opportunity for Adol
The characters available in this demo are Crimson King (one of Adol Christin’s nicknames), Raging Bull, Doll, and Hawk. Each one has different abilities that we can use as long as there is enough mana, but they all share basic skills such as planning (in the second dungeon we will go outdoors and we will have to navigate great distances through the air) or climb some walls … until the body endures without getting tired.
The latter is what seemed less successful to me, with a movement that takes time to connect if we do not stop still, which together with a sudden movement of the camera, makes it not the typical game that you get right off the bat. But it is still a Ys and this in the end is in the background, since fighting will force us to control dodge movement (If we do it at the right time, we will do the so-called Flash Move), with the most vulnerable rival.
Due to the time counter, I had to go quite hard in both dungeons, but I got to each of the two bosses without problems. Chests were not lacking in the design of the phases, with some difficult to access or doors to unlock on the other side, leaving the thorn of not being able to consult the map as it is not available in this demonstration, that some areas are a labyrinth.
I don’t share the effusiveness of Famitsu in 2019, but I have not been displeased with what I have tried and I regret having put this saga aside for so many years. I will probably give this chapter a try when it comes out next month, but increasing its difficulty up to the Nightmare level, for sure. Before, yes, I have an obligatory appointment unsealing Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of DANA.
Ys IX: Monstrum Nox Pact Edition