Ys IX: Monstrum Nox exceeded my expectations for an action RPG when it first launched on PlayStation 4. Still, it did release with a few performance issues.
A launch patch fixed a majority of bugs causing game crashes when playing on PlayStation 5. Further, the general vicinity of Balduq City suffered slow-down alongside short draw distances on whatever platform you were using. It was still possible to enjoy the adventure, but it’s hard to defend the launch release in the west for these reasons.
Knowing this, I was concerned about the state of the PC release. This trepidation was rooted not solely in the console launch of the title but also the disastrous history of Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana’s PC port, which, to this day, still has its fair share of head-scratching issues. Even with a myriad of patches addressing key concerns soon after release, the initial release state of a game matters. It determines the subject of its vast majority of attention for months, if not years.
Thankfully, I am thrilled to say that Ys IX: Monstrum Nox boasts a graceful and enjoyable PC release. Not only are its faults relatively minuscule in the grand scheme of affairs, but the port contains many platform-exclusive options allowing the Prison City to achieve a level of grimy luster that was simply not possible prior.
Firstly, having played through almost the entirety of the game, I experienced no crashes whatsoever. This alone is noteworthy as it shows that undeniable attention was made to prioritizing seamless stability.
Also, while seemingly minor, graphical options can be configured in-game and do not require another menu and a relaunch. Again, this serves the benefit of altering settings at your leisure without having to go through the needless effort of reopening the game again and again for reaching that sweet spot of desired performance.
As for the graphical options themselves, various points can be toggled, from the frame-rate limit and field of view to more involved matters such as intricate shadowing effects. The area in-game most jarringly affected by enabling these choices to high capacities is the city of Balduq. As mentioned, the city was the most problematic regarding performance while playing on console. The annoyances occasionally multiplied because this is where you spent the most time.
Exploring Balduq now feels altogether different. Gone are the pace-breaking frame drops and blinking existences of NPCs and distant architecture. The city actually feels fully realized rather than a contained environment that entirely depended on your position relative to the map.
The higher toggleable options for draw distance are what primarily altered this experience for me. Seeing NPCs walking around and the city’s architecture remain affixed when I was quite distant was a subtle yet fundamental game-changer. Granted, they still vanish within eye-shot on the highest draw distance setting, but it is far less jarring and immediate than on console.
At its core, Ys IX: Monstrum Nox is a must-play on PC for those who have yet to experience the title and those who didn’t feel as if the console version didn’t perform to their liking. No, this port won’t change the minds of those who find the gray and inorganic aesthetic of Balduq unappealing, but it gives players a definitive version of these environments. At the very least, PC players will not have to fret over playing a broken port.
This post may contain Amazon affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate Noisy Pixel earns from qualifying purchases.