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Jade Empire [Limited Edition]
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Console: Microsoft Xbox
Region:U
Year: 2005
RFG ID #: U-075-S-01550-A
Part #: X11-22361
UPC: 805529999466
Developer: Bioware Corp.
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Rating:
M (ESRB): Blood and Gore , Violence

Genre: RPG
Sub-genre: Action RPG
Players: 1
Controller: Standard Controller
Media Format: DVD x2
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Collection Stats:

  • 294 of 7340 collectors (4%) have this game in their collection
  • 3 of 7340 collectors (0%) have this game in their wishlist.
  • 1 of 7340 collectors (0%) have this game for sale or trade.
Overview:

Supports:
  • In-game Dolby Digital
  • HDTV 480p

Jade Empire is a martial arts action/adventure RPG set in the huge and lush world of ancient China. As corruption in the empire becomes more and more obvious, your character must set out on a quest to find its root and eliminate it. From the makers of Knights of the Old Republic, Jade Empire is another highly-touted adventure game.

The full text from the back of the box can be found below:

Exclusive Character & Fighting System
Monk Zeng is the perfect example of the spirit enhancing the body. With his monk spade style, he uses his Chi, or spiritual energy, to augment his physical strikes and fuel powerful magics that manipulate both elemental and spiritual forces.

The Making of Jade Empire
Get a behind-the-scenes look at the "Making of Jade Empire", courtesy of G4 video game television.

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Review:

The hype was worth it! Jade Empire, the new action RPG from Bioware (creators of Star Wars: KOTOR1)has been hyped for about a year, delayed from its original target release date of January '05, and...it delivers!

You start the game by selecting one of seven characters (Limited Edition only, the standard game has only six). There are three female and four male. Characters are defined as Magic-based, Fast combat-based, Strong, and Balanced. These general characteristics describe the stat bars that your character will be developing throughout the game regarding Health, Chi, and Focus. Health is self-explanatory. Chi applies to the magic-based abilities that you will be acquiring throughout the game and allows you to recover health. Finally, Focus applies to your weapon-based skills and the ability to slow time in combat.

This three-bar system serves the game very well. Two types of fountains are made available througout the game, one to allow you to restore your Focus bar, and one to restore both your Health and Chi. In my opinion, this feature was perfectly balanced. There were only one or 2 locations where I would've liked to have seen a couple of fountains, but the challenge provided in these areas made the accomplishment that much more satisfying. Fallen enemies will also drop Health, Chi, and Focus power ups to help the process and keep you moving towards your next quest.

There are five styles of combat in the game: Martial (hand-to-hand combat, uses no chi or focus), Weapon (uses focus), Transformation (uses Chi), Support and Magic (both use Chi). The versatility and customization options of the skills you decide to use add to the replay value because all the skills used cannot possibly maxxed out in one game.

The game also takes the alignment theme on and does so in the same tradition as the KOTOR games. The "light" side is called Way of the Open Palm and the "dark" side is Way of the Closed Fist. The only drawback to speak of is that your alignment doesn't really influence the members of your party, which I thought was one of the best features of KOTOR 2.

As the story starts, you're a gifted student in a secluded martial arts academy and early on your sensei gets kidnapped by Death's Hand (the bad-ass top henchman of the emporer) and your goal is to pick up new members into your party for the purpose of saving him from the emporer. The story has several twists and turns, and keeps your character on the edge throughout the whole game.

The party members you come across all have very interesting personality quirks and add to the general entertainment value of the game. Some are brawlers, some have shady pasts, and some are very amusing comic relief. All are interesting to be around and contribute to the story very well, but there's not quite as much depth to them as I was expecting.

Combat is where this game really shines, though. As you progress, you will find NPCs and vendors that will offer you different skills you can purchase or acquire and you can customize your character by spending skill points into them when you level up. After playing the game through only once, I can tell you that most of the skills available are very balanced and tend not to be too powerful, except one transformation style. Transformation styles are where you're able to use Chi to transform yourself into a demon that you've defeated previously. Imagine being able to be a giant toad demon with a poisonous tongue, a horse demon that shoots fireballs, an elephant, etc. As long as you have the chi, you stay in the style and play as that demon.

There are some other interesting things, like the shooter minigame, an appropriate amount of puzzles, and an abundance of optional sidequests. But these are aspects that are best discovered through gameplay.

One game I found myself comparing Jade to was Fable. And basically, Jade takes concepts from Fable like magic use, combat, etc. and makes them better! It also does without the weak SIMS-style nature of Fable and concentrates on what it does best...action roleplaying! Fable got bogged down with trying to do too many things and adding too many "who cares?" items to it instead of giving gamers a longer, better structured adventure. But that's for another review.

As far as graphics and sound Jade Empire has outstanding presentation and one of the best soundtracks I've heard in a video game (I'd buy it if I knew where to find it)! Sound effects are well edited, and voice talent is very well done (including actors John Cleese and Bryan Doyle-Murray).

The only aspects of Jade Empire that could've been improved are the occasional camera angle awkwardness, removal of the one overpowered style, a little more depth to the party travelling characters (with alignment shift abilities), and I would've liked to have seen a few more martial arts weapon styles (i.e. nunchucks and sais) & maybe some costumes/armor (i.e. samurai, ninja, etc.). What they provided was cool (swords-single or double, axes, staff), but I guess you've got to leave some improvements open for a sequel, right?

Overall, if you like RPG's and/or Action titles, this game is a very entertaining 20-30 hour adventure that will not disappoint. Double that if you want to play it through on both alignments. When I think to compare it to KOTOR1 and KOTR2, the other top RPG's on Xbox that I've played, I have to say that it's better than KOTOR2, but just misses being as good as KOTOR1. Therefore, I give Jade Empire: Limited Edition a 95%.

RF Generation Review Score


95%

Variations:

Console Reg. Type Title Publisher Year Genre
Microsoft Xbox A S Jade Empire Microsoft 2005 RPG
Microsoft Xbox AT, DE, CH S Jade Empire [Limited Edition] Microsoft Game Studios 2005 RPG
Microsoft Xbox DK, FI, NO, SE S Jade Empire [Limited Edition] Microsoft Game Studios 2005 RPG
Microsoft Xbox BE, FR S Jade Empire [Édition Limitée] Microsoft 2005 RPG
Microsoft Xbox United Kingdom S Jade Empire [Limited Edition, BBFC] Microsoft 2005 RPG
Microsoft Xbox United Kingdom S Jade Empire [Limited Edition, PEGI] Microsoft 2005 RPG
Microsoft Xbox DK, FI, NO, SE S Jade Empire Microsoft Game Studios 2005 RPG
Microsoft Xbox Germany S Jade Empire [Classics] Microsoft 2005 RPG
Microsoft Xbox AT, DE, CH S Jade Empire Microsoft 2005 RPG
Microsoft Xbox United Kingdom S Jade Empire [PEGI Release] Microsoft 2005 RPG
Microsoft Xbox United Kingdom S Jade Empire [Classics] Microsoft 2005 RPG
Microsoft Xbox United Kingdom S Jade Empire Microsoft 2005 RPG
Microsoft Xbox A S Jade Empire [Limited Edition] Microsoft 2005 RPG
Microsoft Xbox U S Jade Empire Microsoft 2005 RPG
Related Games:

Console Reg. Type Title Publisher Year Genre
Microsoft Xbox U S Jade Empire Microsoft 2005 RPG
Microsoft Xbox U S Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic LucasArts 2003 RPG
Microsoft Xbox U S Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II - The Sith Lords Lucas Arts 2004 RPG
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