Title: Jade Empire
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Platforms Available: Xbox, PC
Number of Players: Single
ESRB Rating: M
Rating: 4 out of 5
Jade Empire is a RPG that is infused and influenced by Eastern culture and to bring you an adventure that will take you across a vast land were you will face many unique enemies and come across allies along your journey. You play the role of a student being trained under the eyes of Master Li who is head of Two Rivers martial arts school. As you take part in another training exercise your village comes under attack by a member of the Lotus Assassins who serves the emperor of the Jade Empire. You defeat this new foe but as time passes you are sent on a quest from Master Li and upon completing it you return to your village that has been burnt to the ground and Master Li has been kidnapped. Now you must search for him and find those responsible for this.
When you begin the game you will be given the option of choosing a male or female characters with a unique fighting style already assigned to them or customize a character more to your liking. When you first start playing the game you will only have the one fighting style but as you progress through the game you will learn new fighting styles that are martial arts, magic and weapon based which you can assign to the D-Pad and switch off at any given time during battle. The ability to change fighting styles using the D-Pad during is easy and makes battles fun. Like many of Bioware’s both previous and more current games, many of the decisions you make throughout the game effect the path you take and the overall end result of your journey.
In Jade Empire during dialogue you will have a multiple answers to continue a conversion as you see fit. I think this is one of the best features of the game and adds depth to it and makes it more than your typical RPG giving you more control when interacting with other characters. While the game can seem linear just going from one story mission to the next you can often steer clear of them for a while and complete some of the many side missions that you will encounter when speaking with those you meet on your journey. I enjoyed the story and its setting which I kinda wish more game companies would take advantage and make games like Jade Empire. The story was fun and engaging do in large part to taking control of the dialogue sequences.
Since this is an RPG in typical fashion you gain experience when you defeat your foes and once you have gained enough experience you will increase your current level and will be given points which you accordingly on your 3 main abilities which are body, mind and spirit which attributes to your health, focus and chi. Health is the amount of health you have, focus lets you focus all your senses making everything around you move slower than you and chi enables you to heal yourself use magic style techniques and use transformation styles. As well as receiving those points you also receive style points which you can allocate to the various fighting styles you have up to that point. With such a diverse and intriguing amount of fighting styles the one drawback it has is that they can be simple and can become repetitive after a while, which is unfortunate. Don’t get me wrong having the ability to switch between styles isn’t the issue, I thoroughly enjoyed that, it’s that each fighting style only has a number of moves and combos to use. I just wish each combat style was flushed out a bit more. But overall this is a minor issue that can be overlooked once you begin to look at everything the game has to offer.
I really enjoyed the feel and look of the game from all the rich and lush temples, mountain paths, caverns and much more. The enemies you face are also as diverse as the environments themselves from ghost, toad like monsters, rats and assassins just to name a few. I enjoyed the diversity of enemies and how all had their own strengths and weaknesses making combat both fun and a bit unpredictable. Along with the enemies that you face you will also encounter allies that will join you on our journey, some that you meet automatically and some that you must search for.
Jade Empire has many things going for it from a great and entertaining story a cool setting that hasn’t really been done much. Having control of how dialogue sequences flow was an excellent touch and made the game more engaging. I felt the combat was a bit repetitive after a while but can be easily overlooked and seem minor when looking at the bi picture. The unique enemies, npc, monsters and environments look great and all seem to fit perfectly in this game and don’t seem out-of-place. Overall Jade Empire is a fun and entertaining game that you’ll enjoy and you’ll wish there where more games like it.