Pages: 1 2 3
Review by: Jeff Burke
Published: May 12, 2005
Jade Empire was the game set to bring Role-Playing-Games (RPGs) to the masses. Combining a popular console action game with a RPG was a sure fire great way to market a genre that often gets overlooked as a Japanese-Anime-Comic Book-Nerd-Only sign was on the front of the box. Maybe it’s the pages of text associated with RPGs, the time consuming fashion in which you shape and mold your character, or the complexity of managing all of the aspects of a RPG that turns people away. Personally those qualities represent exactly what engages me and surely other Role-Playing fanatics are the same way. So how do you bring this genre out into the open for everyone to enjoy?
Bioware has experienced great success in the past with action title MDK 2, the Baldur’s Gate series (with its numerous spin-offs), and of course Never Winter Nights and its successive expansions. Missing from this list is the award winning title Star Wars: Knight of the Old Republic, with which Bioware has accomplished something that other companies merely dream of: define a genre. Baldur’s Gate set the tone for what a good PC RPG was, just as Star Wars: Knight of the Old Republic turned the console RPG world on its head. If the next step was reaching a much larger audience, they chose the perfect route with Jade Empire.
The recipe for success was in place from the start: a storyline that easily tops the meager attempts by other developers (and at some point manages to border on movie or book quality), action that is literally fast and furious in the style of ancient martial arts that we have all become accustomed to with the recent stateside box office breakthroughs like “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon,” “Iron Monkey,” “Hero,” or “House of Flying Daggers.” The sound resonates superbly, with full voice acting and lush sound effects presented in Dolby Digital. Similarly, the graphics represent top notch quality, especially when presented in 480p.
Similar to most RPGs, Jade Empire starts you off in training; in this case in a Martial Arts school under your sensei, Master Li. After the expected learning phase, you are quickly thrown into a story line that allows you to explore the island for the first time and grow accustomed to the user interface. After your school is attacked by bandits and you embark upon the chase to find a kidnapped student, you return to find your home in ruins and your Master kidnapped. Joined by “followers,” you then set out into the world to accomplish numerous epic goals: find your Master, find yourself, and ultimately right some wrong.
Pages: 1 2 3