Spoiler Free Ys IX Observations and Notes

      No Comments on Spoiler Free Ys IX Observations and Notes

Since Ys IX is released in English for the PS4 tomorrow- and some people are getting their LEs already- I thought I would write up a few spoiler-free things about the game to help hype you up for the game. Because it’s a spoiler-free post, you can also read through this if you’re waiting on the release for Switch or PC!

All screenshots will be coming from my playthrough of the Japanese version from 2019.

Series Timing

Many games of the Ys series are not told in chronological order. Ys IX is the first game of the series to finally take a step past Ys Seven’s ending. Per the prestory of the first game, we know that the adventure Adol had in Altago was one that made him more well-known than ever. This will be the first time we really see a more wide-spread fame of him in the game’s narrative and it brings in some very interesting developments.

However, it only takes place one year after, so it’s not a giant step forward in the progression of Adol’s history.

If you are really into the overarching lore that backs the series, this will most definitely be the game for you to play.

Prequel Story

The Prequel Story that comes packaged with the game does not have any spoiler content for Ys IX itself, as it follows a small adventure Adol had between Ys Seven and Ys IX.

However, if you haven’t played Ys Seven and wish to avoid spoilers on it, there are some minor spoilers for that game in it. This story is considered a short story that bridges both Ys Seven and Ys IX together and explains a few things between the two games.

Boost Gauge

Skill and Boost gauges in the UI. SP is the blue ring, Boost is the orange ring inside.

If you have only played around with the games that utilize the party system, you will notice that the system for the EX gauge plays out very differently than it has in previous games. It is, in fact, not even technically the ‘EX gauge’ as we have seen it in the past.

In this case, the gauge plays out more like Burst from Felghana and Origin- even playing a lot more into Origin’s updated version of Burst that allowed for a powerful special attack to be fired off while during this mode. This should change your strategy in using this power, instead of just unleashing a single, powerful attack, you have time to perform other attacks with boosted power before finishing off with a powerful attack. Just pay attention to how long that bar lasts, because it drains very fast.

This gauge also encourages you to be more aggressive, as it will drain if you are not actively fighting for a period of time. Conversely, the SP gauge will refill if you are not fighting, giving you more access to your skills as well. It’s a balance between an aggressive play and a strategic play, and an aspect of the engine I loved.


With the newfound gifts of the monstrum, verticality has become a major player in navigation in this game. One thing I mentioned in the past is that this game made me have to relearn the idea of needing to look up in dungeons.

A lot of the Ys games lead you with the concept of looking out ahead of you, but now some of the paths and puzzles require you to move upwards. With abilities like Crimson Line and Heaven’s Step, you have a large variety in making it to the highest points of the city or scaling to areas in a dungeon you didn’t immediately think about.

This legitimately gives a third dimension to exploration and battles, as you can use these gifts in combat, as well.


If you aren’t getting the PS4 version, this may be more important to you now, since the game isn’t out in less than 24 hours yet. This game has many callbacks to all of the other Ys games.

I don’t want to go into more detail for spoiler reasons, but while I believe that casual fans of the series will still enjoy this game and its wonderfully engaging storyline, the more familiar you are with the other games in the series, the more you will latch onto particular aspects of the game.

In fact, there are a number of open-ended mysteries at the end of the game to make you wonder if there is more about some of the previous games that we still haven’t learned yet.


I feel like Falcom listened with the popularity of the accessories that changed the attack types of the characters in Ys VIII. These come up much faster in Ys IX, giving you the ability to twist your party around and pull off roles that they normally wouldn’t play in attack types.


I feel that Ys IX has probably one of the best casts of the series, both in the playable and non-playable characters. This game breaks a lot of trappings that have been in JRPGs in the past, and has some really great examples of archetypes that have been treated poorly in other games, including Falcom’s other titles.

I want to leave a lot of these a surprise, for obvious reasons, but there’s not one member of this cast that I didn’t like. Not one side-quest or mission that didn’t have some emotional pull to me. Like with Ys VIII, I legitimately loved all of the characters that were presented to me for a variety of reasons.

From the mysterious Aprillis to the wonderfully charismatic Chante. The violent nature of the Hawk, and the reserved personality behind the Renegade. Many of these characters are memorable and create a great layered feel to Balduq.

The City of Balduq

I feel that the approach of Balduq was an ambitious one for the Ys series. Falcom had big ideas for the game, and while it doesn’t necessarily land on its feet, the patch they released in December 2019 made it work much better. There are a lot of deviations from Falcom’s normal style in the city and its population. There are a number of NPCs that you can’t actively approach and speak to but are going about their day-to-day business without paying attention to you.

It’s a big city, and you are given the opportunity to pretty much explore most everything you can see from climbing to the top of the cathedral in the city’s central square.

This made Balduq, in a way, a character of its own, even. A lot of the mysteries of the game revolve around finding everything in the city. There’s not really one centralized shop- you can find different items, different food types, different accessories at different locales. You can find graffiti and messages throughout the city. And the game’s increased verticality gives you great fun and satisfaction in running across the city and its rooftops.

Making a city seem busy is an immense task that requires the development and placement of a lot of various NPCs all over, and while it still doesn’t match up to other open-world games- those other games I want to compare it to are made by companies with much larger budgets and teams. Falcom’s efforts with Balduq, to me, paid off. One such example is seeing people around stalls at a pop-up marketplace by the river was a fun location.

Adol Christin

By tradition, Adol has been a silent protagonist. This is something that Falcom has wanted to maintain over the decades. However, looking at previous games and titles, it felt like that they had a concept of what his personality, attitude, and so forth was like. While it was never shown in the games, you could always get a feel for it if you dig a little deeper.

Ys IX maintains the silent protagonist perspective, however, they’ve been far less shy in letting his personality shine in various places. There are even quests where you can see Adol’s wanderlust shine regardless of options that you may take.

It felt like we got to see a lot more of Adol in this game than we have in the previous- which is a great thing to me since I have no qualms about learning more about the protagonist of this long-running series, that has actually put less focus on him than everything else. As much as everyone is a part of this story, Ys IX is also telling a story for Adol at the same time. I’m absolutely okay with this concept.

And that’s it. This game is a superb game, and should absolutely not be missed by any means. Falcom has taken a lot of lessons they’ve learned from not just the Ys series, but their other series, to bring things together into this great game and tell an amazing story with some really fun and unique gameplay for the series.

Whether you get to start playing it tomorrow, or months down the line, I hope you get to enjoy this game as much as I have. There’s a lot left behind to talk about and discuss, so if you ever want something of the sort, you know where to find me! I’ll be there and happily join in.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.