Ys IX: Monstrum Nox Preview – Action Excellence

The Ys series is well known for its fast-paced combat, and the demo provided for the upcoming Ys IX: Monstrum Nox shows off not only its combative prowess but also an impressive degree of explorative depth awaiting players in the full release. While no story or dialogue is present within this demo, the combat and movement do a stellar job of selling this title to prospective players.

When beginning the demo, players can choose between 6 different difficulties, offering a surprising amount of replayable depth for a demo. There are two playable areas, with there, unfortunately, being a 10-minute time limit. This time limit is incredibly brief and sadly does not provide much wiggle room for both exploring the entirety of the demo areas and defeating the bosses. You can redo the areas as often as you like, but it can get a bit irksome if you want to see the entirety of what these 2 areas have to offer. However, as stated earlier, the inclusion of so many difficulty levels offers players a simple way to see which difficulty suits them best.

I played this demo a total of 30 times give or take, counting both playable areas. While that does sound like a lot, and it probably is, it became pretty addicting to challenge the boss fights. Both playable areas have 2 boss fights each, and all of them are incredibly well designed, offering clear, proper telegraphs, and unique methods of combat. There is a particular mechanic called Crimson Line, which allows players to both travel to enemies quickly and traverse across select platforms. This was by far the highlight of the demo for me since it showed that this title is clearly ambitious and experimental with its modes of exploration, which is an aspect the series has needed a shakeup on.

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Players can also walk up walls via a mechanic called Heaven’s Run. This also showed the level of verticality to be expected from the game as a whole. There are a variety of well-placed treasure chests, which was quite a breath of fresh air. One weakness of the prior games of this franchise is how finding treasure chests was usually not rewarding, with how clearly out in the open they were. And while there are a few treasure chests in this demo that were also of that nature, there were also just as many that required some brief contemplation for how to reach.

Additionally, having played this demo on a PlayStation 5, the performance was flawless. It was consistently smooth, and I encountered no oddities or slowdown in my hours of playing. This gives me faith in the full package’s overall performance on this platform.

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The UI in this title is beautiful and clean and was never obstructing, something that many action games tend to take for granted. The music is also incredibly exciting and provided the perfect ambiance for both dungeon diving and epic boss battles. As a whole, this demo checks all the right boxes. It gives players a very transparent view of how gameplay is like, while also avoiding spoilers for the narrative. I was already intending on playing this game, but needless to say, this demo sold me on it all over again.

Ys IX: Monstrum Nox is releasing for PlayStation 4 on February 2 for North America, and February 5 for Europe. It is also playable on PlayStation 5 via backward compatibility.

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Orpheus Joshua

Random gamer equally confused by the mainstream and the unusual.