I recently got into the Ys series and I really love what the series has to offer so I didn’t hesitate to purchase Ys IX and I splurged for the special edition because of all the cool stuff it had to offer. Just like most of the rest of the series the game focuses on the adventurer Adol Christin who once again stumbles upon an adventure in a prison town. For some reason, he’s immediately locked up and shortly manages to escape but not before someone bestows a powerful curse on him granting him new abilities, but forces him to stay in the prison town. Now he must use those powers to fight monsters and remove the curse while understanding the mysterious prison before he has any chance of escape.
Overall the story is really good as the prison was a very mysterious setting and I was honestly really invested in finding out more. The game did a great job at establishing long-existing lore for the location and even showing how it changed drastically over time. All of the characters were really well done as each one had very unique characteristics and they really shined when they interacted with each other, plus all of the main characters had secrets that they kept from each other and it was a lot of fun to progress through the story and find out more about these characters. I did find it funny though how with the curse the characters had a transformed state and each one of them focused on one color so honestly, I kept getting Power Ranger vibes throughout the entire game especially when you got a bunch of the characters together. The game also features some supporting characters and even though they were meant to be supporting they were really interesting and it honestly felt as though these characters were interesting enough to be main characters if given more screen time. It’s not that I’m disappointed in the amount of time they did get I just mean that the detail and content put into these supporting characters would make for very entertaining main characters because they are just that entertaining.
When you finally do find out all the mysteries it really provided a very shocking experience as some of the twists weren’t hinted at at all so it felt like the surprises came out of nowhere but when explained they fit in perfectly with the story. I found myself leaning towards specific ideas while trying to piece things together only to be pretty far off, and honestly, I really like it when I can’t predict a game because I get even more invested in the story when I realize I’m not on the right track with my theories. The only real flaw I had to the story was near the ending because the game made you think one character in particular was the final boss only for it to be another character pulling the strings and then only for it to be another character entirely that is introduced in the last moments of the game. The characters were all great but I’m not the biggest fan of the constant
The game does feature a wide variety of side quests and what I really liked was how the game added a mechanic that made the game easier to progress if you do the side quests. Sure there is a way around it but it takes so much longer and you are honestly better off doing the quests and I thought this idea was neat. As for the quests themselves some I liked and some I didn’t. Some of the quests had miniature stories to them that I found to be pretty interesting while others seemed more like fetch quests which I found forgettable. Overall though there were more quests that I liked instead of disliked.
The gameplay is pretty much just like you would expect from the Ys series. A lot of hacking and slashing while dodging blows and taking out hoards of monsters but like the rest of the series the controls are a lot of fun and easy to use. The new powers in the game add an element that was fun to play around with as you gained a lot of abilities you can use outside of combat like the ability to walk on walls and glide in the air.
I want to take a minute and also talk about the awesome items included in the special edition. It had a soundtrack, and I am often sold on soundtracks alone, a really well designed art book, prequel story, keychains but what I liked the most was the wanted posters. The special edition included recreations of the wanted posters of all the playable characters that you have in the game and they just look incredible. I’m thinking about getting frames for them and hanging them on my wall somewhere they look that good.
Overall this was a fun RPG that had a story that kept you wanting to learn more about the lore of the world in the game. It also had fun gameplay and fun side quests to enjoy and the story had some interesting twists. While there were things about the game that I thought could have been better I absolutly loved my time playing this game and highly recommend it.