Review: Jade Empire
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: You are a young orphan martial artist pushed out of your comfortable school by the enemies of your master. Embarking on a quest to rescue him and purge the empire of evil, you learn the secret of your destiny and that all is not as it appears. This action-adventure RPG from Bioware is an XBOX-only title.
PROS: Very strong story, enjoyable gameplay, interesting RPG elements to character growth, interesting unique world with believable characters, strong voice-acting, best graphics on an XBOX game that I’ve seen.
CONS: Bioware formula noticeable, XBOX-only, combat combo system that seems irrelevant, not as deep as previous Bioware RPGs
BOTTOM LINE: This is a relatively simple RPG that should be more accessible to gamers who found Knights of the Old Republic a bit complicated. You still get a great story with a lot of strong characters and very interesting dialog. This game took me 15 hours to complete. I enjoyed it and was glad I spent the time playing it. It wasn’t as strong as other titles (nor as long as Baldur’s Gate II) but still better than most games which are released, especially for the XBOX.
Overall I liked Jade Empire and was glad that I played it. The game world is very unique – it was refreshing to play an RPG in a world that wasn’t all elves and goblins. The graphics and sound are excellent, and the voice acting was good – which is surprising given how much of it is in the game (the entire game in fact has voice acting.)
The game is definitely simpler than previous BioWare offerings. Maybe they got complaints about Knights of the Old Republic being too hard or complicated. If so, I’d love to see them brand these simpler games in a way that I can easily see that on the store shelf.
There is a lot of action game in here too – very different than the turn-based approach in previous BioWare games. Again, maybe this appeals more to the XBOX crowd. Unfortunately there is little diversity in the action – there are different combat styles but most of them aren’t necessary. You can use them just to mix things up, but they aren’t required. And worse, there are a couple of styles that are unstoppable. I’d like to think this was a byproduct of doing all the side quests and raising your character level, but the one style that makes you nearly invulnerable (Jade Golem) is a result of the main plot and can be used pretty much by everybody.
The game also follows some BioWare plot and game approaches that, while they work, are starting to feel a little like formula. Having played most BioWare titles (everything since BG1) I’m now primed for a betrayal by one of my so-called allies, some form of arena combat, a potential romance with one of my followers, and bickering between the more extreme followers. These aren’t bad, but because you’ve seen them before it feels a little like a retread.
Filed under: Games
Like this post? Subscribe to my RSS feed and get loads more!