Ys IX: Monstrum Nox Review
It’s taken almost two years, but Ys IX: Monstrum Nox is out on PS5. So what’s new in the PS5 version? Not much, it turns out. Still, if you’ve never played the game before, now is the perfect time to do so. You can read our full review of the PS4 version of Monstrum Nox here. If you’re not the link-clicking type, I’ll break the game down for you anyway.
The latest adventure of Adol Christin starts in a massive prison fortress. His crime? Proximity to a suspicious number of serious incidents (aka the previous Ys games). He’s given his chance to escape, but it comes with a terrible curse. Sort of? The ‘curse’ in question is rad powers and also induction into a secret circle of anime vigilantes. What a lamentable fate, etc. The curse also gives Adol a flashier outfit and a hilarious moniker, ‘The Crimson King.’ In fact, the entire game is delightfully cheesy. I even left the English voice acting on! It really elevates the corniness to new, glorious heights.
Corny Good Times
Combat is real-time, with various special moves mapped to the different face buttons. I really appreciate how fast it all moves, with even the boss fights setting a breakneck pace. You earn more specials as you level up and unlock more controllable characters as you progress. Different fighters work for different opponents, adding a layer of strategy to your battles. While I love the fast-paced fighting, the non-combat sections are much slower.
Much of the quest and story progression boils down to running back and forth through Balduq, triggering cutscenes as you go. I found myself dreading these sections more and more as the game went on. On the other hand, there’s also no shortage of cheesy dialogue and incredible line reads. Everything from the character names to the Monstrum outfits feel like an 8th grader’s notebook come to life. Truly exceptional stuff. It’s just a shame the actual narrative can’t quite keep up this same weird energy.
Nothing New Under The Sun
I’ve kept you waiting long enough – what’s new in the PS5 version of Monstrum Nox? Almost nothing! The game looks and plays exactly like the PS4 version. you might see some faster load times, but that’s all. The one new inclusion is all the outfit and item DLC content. If you want to dress up your party with masks, costumes, glasses, and dolls, you’re in luck. There’s also a wacky food-based weapon skin for every party member. Perfect for taking the goofy vibes of the dialogue to a slightly weirder place.
Another thing included in the PS5 version is a huge pack of equippable speech bubbles. They’re a great way to spice up screenshots, I suppose. It’s incredibly distracting to play with one of them on though. Again, I appreciate how self-aware the developers come across in this version of the game. Yes, the general tone is a corny one, and here’s a giant DLC pack that proves it. But beyond the cosmetic DLC, there’s no reason to double dip. If you’ve played this on PS4 or PC, you’re not much missing much with the PS5 version. It feels like a real missed opportunity, in fact. Playing this game on a 4K TV highlights how last-gen it is. A PS5 version would be a great chance to jazz up the visuals, you know? Make this feel distinct from the PS4 version in some tangible way.
Maybe Not Worth It
This here’s the tricky part – is Monstrum Nox worth getting on PS5? If you’ve never played it before, this is a great time to start. You’ve got smooth, fast-paced combat, corny dialogue, and a narrative crammed with anime nonsense. These games are utterly shameless and it rules. On top of that, the DLC makes an excellent cherry on top, a wacky garnish if you will. But if you’ve played any other version of the game, I wouldn’t bother with this one. The graphics are the same, the content is 95% identical, and your PS5 can play PS4 games. Ys IX: Monstrum Nox is a great game, but it’s not quite worth a double dip.
Oh, and if it felt like I skimped over a bunch of essential details in the review- ones pertaining to the content of the game, don’t worry! I can point you once again to the PS4 review, for clarification.
***A PS5 code was provided by the publisher***
- Combat is fast and fluid
- Delightfully corny dialogue
- Comes with all DLC
- No other new features
- Exploration is exhausting
- Not worth double dipping