The series Ys is one of the Japanese developer’s longest running franchises Nihon Falcom, a small but virtuous company that has recently celebrated its 40th anniversary, and of the JRPGs in general. The last chapter, Ys IX: Monstrum Nox, landed in the West on PlayStation 4 last February 5th, almost a year and a half after the first publication on the Japanese territory, thanks to the work of the publisher NIS America. After this important milestone, the title is just around the corner PC is Nintendo Switch, respectively the 6 and 9 July 2021, just as happened with its predecessor Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of DANA.
Thanks to the arrival on the eShop of a demo, available from June 15th, we can get a preliminary idea of the porting of Ys IX on the hybrid from Nintendo, which has always been a thorn in the side of many developers due to the limited hardware resources of the console. In this article you will find my considerations about it, waiting for the full review of the Switch version that will arrive in the coming weeks.
The new adventure of the famous red-haired swordsman Adol Christin this time sees our protagonist catapulted, together with his inseparable companion Dogi, to Balduq, a city ofEmpire of Romun where he is arrested due to the consequences of his previous raids. After a daring escape from the dreaded city prison, Adol meets a mysterious woman named Aprilis which turns it into a Monstrum, a being with supernatural powers and the ability to exorcise monsters. In order to return to normal, Adol will have to ally with other Monstrums to face the threat of the dark dimension Grimwald Nox and unravel the mysteries of Balduq.
The demo present on the Nintendo digital shop allows the player to face two dungeons of the game, Cloaca Maxima is Dry Moat Ruins, with a fixed party of three characters and with a maximum duration of ten minutes for each session, at the end of which the demo stops and the player is returned to the main menu. A choice that personally I will never understand and will never appreciate, but at least there is no limit to the number of times each section can be repeated. The first party consists of the protagonist and the Monstrums Raging Bull is Doll, while the second sees the charming doll replaced by the violent Hawk. They miss the appeal White Cat is Renegade, obviously present in the full version.
There is little to say about the gameplay of Ys IX: Monstrum Nox, except that it is the umpteenth center of the developer Falcom. The title re-proposes the winning formula of its predecessor, Lacrimosa of DANA, and improves it with the introduction of new mechanics such as i Gifts and the Boost, and greater verticality in the exploration of dungeons. Each character, who can be taken over at any time, has a unique fighting style that gives a great variety to the fast-paced real-time battles, making Ys IX a must for all action RPG lovers. If you want to learn more about the many strengths of the title, which also include a compelling narrative and excellent characterization of the characters, read the review of the PS4 version of Ys IX: Monstrum Nox by Federico.
Instead, let’s spend a few words on the most obvious aspect of this conversion, the technical one. It is useless to go around it: exactly as happened for all previous Falcom titles, also in this case the Switch version is the worst for quality and performance. Ys IX, as far as I could see in the demo, seems to run at a sufficiently stable 30 fps – but not free from sporadic, noticeable dips – inside dungeons, both during exploration and during combat.
The resolution falls short of the PS4 counterpart in both docked and portable modes, but in both cases the playability is never seriously compromised, although a fast and fast-paced title like this is at its best at at least 60 fps. Due to the absence of playable parts set in the city of Balduq, the game’s extensive central hub, it was not possible for me to evaluate the work of the team responsible for porting in managing a section that already had obvious performance problems on PS4 .
In conclusion, the trial of the Ys IX demo on Nintendo Switch went exactly as I expected. The goodness of the gameplay is preserved, but from a technical point of view it is evident that the hardware limits of the hybrid from Nintendo will force anyone who wants to approach the title with this version to have to accept numerous compromises, related to the resolution and frame rate reduced compared to the PS4 counterpart, especially in portable mode. Appointment to the complete review of this port in a few weeks.
The famous adventurer Adol “The Red” Christin and his partner Dogi arrive at Balduq, a city annexed to the Roman Empire. While Adol is in prison, he meets a mysterious woman named Aprilis which turns it into a Monstrum, a being with supernatural gifts and the power to exorcise monsters. Now, Adol must ally with his fellow Monstrums to fend off the fearsome threats that emerge from a dark dimension called Grimwald Nox, as well as unraveling the mysteries of the Monstrum’s curse and the truth behind the unrest within Balduq.
Play as one of six infamous Monstrums, each with their own unique gifts that bestow abilities such as climbing transparent walls or detecting hidden objects to protect the city from dark creatures. Explore the big city, accept missions to help citizens, and enter the Grimwald Nox to defeat the threats to Balduq. Familiar mechanics like Flash Dodge is Flash Guard allow you to overcome your enemies, while new additions such as i Gifts and the Boost Mode further increase your fighting ability.
Book Ys IX: Monstrum Nox for Nintendo Switch following this link at the price of € 60.98. Release scheduled for July 9, 2021. Support Akiba Gamers by purchasing the game on Amazon through this link!