Ys IX: Monstrum Nox is an action-RPG game produced by Nihon Falcom and published in the West by NIS America (In Japan, the game is published by Falcom itself). In Ys IX: Monstrum Nox you control the red-haired adventurer Adol Christin who, along with his faithful friend Dogi, arrives in the city of Balduq, a city belonging to the Empire of Romun. Upon crossing the city gates, Adol is immediately arrested and taken to prison and, while there, is visited by a mysterious woman named Aprilis, who transforms him into a Monstrum, a being with supernatural powers capable of exorcising monsters. Now it's up to Adol and his new friends (who he will meet along the way) to face the most diverse threats that arise from a dimension called Grimwald Nox, as well as find a way to break free from the curse of Monstrum and discover the truth behind the city of Balduq.
If you're a fan of anime-style games or a fan of older games, you certainly must have played a game from that franchise. Otherwise, all you need to know is that Ys is an action RPG franchise created around 1987, starting on PC-8801, a very well-known computer in Japan, but it only gained strength and notoriety with the sixth game, titled "The Ark of Napishtim", which came out in the West in February 2005 for PS2 and in 2006 for PSP. Sony's portable console was the one that received the most games from both this franchise and another, called "The Legend of Heroes", thus consolidating Nihon Falcom's first venture outside of PCs.
Ys IX presents a gameplay system based on the established in Ys Seven: you control a team of three characters (one being Adol, and the other two, can be changed according to the player's will), and each one of them has its strengths and weaknesses in combat (for example, there are enemies that Adol can't beat more easily, so it's up to you to control another character in the group that is able to deal more damage to the enemy). What's new here in Ys IX is that now each character has a special ability that can help you find hidden locations and items and thus proceed at various times in the game. Soon, we see Adol see through walls, Hawk soar in the air, among other examples.
Despite not being so fancy, the graphics and visuals are pretty good for a Falcom game (remembering that we're talking about a niche company, don't expect something AAA here). In the demo, the two scenarios we played had simple aspects and a little somber tones, but within the game's proposal their visuals are excellent. The soundtrack is perhaps the highest point not only for this game but for the franchise as a whole. Ys (in addition to other franchises produced by Falcom) has a series of soundtracks that are spectacular and here, in the ninth chapter of the franchise, the level of quality remains the same.
Ys IX: Monstrum Nox came out on September 26, 2019 for PlayStation 4 in Japan, while in the West, the game came out in February of this year. The PC version will come out on July 6th of this year, while the Nintendo Switch version is scheduled to be released on September 9th of the same year. Check out the gameplay by clicking this link here and take the opportunity to test the demo (or even buy the game, when it's released) on the Steam page below. Remembering that the game will come out to the GOG store too, so if you want to buy a DRM-free version of the game, the link is also here below: