Rating

B-

Specific Ratings

GameplayB-
GraphicsA-
Learning CurveC
Replay ValueC
SoundA-

Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Great Sound and Voices
  • Great Visuals
  • Great plot and story.
  • Many different characters to chose from.
Cons
  • Different main characters have the same story.
  • Some items have bugs
  • Very little replay. You can be OP or CF.
  • No end game specials.
  • Fighting is limited to pushing the A button.
  • Can only control one character at a time.

Jade Empire (Xbox)

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Summary

I really enjoyed the character development and the plot. This game was almost as fun as KOTR. Definite rental.

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Description

From the back of the box: "Epic Martial Arts Adventure. The Jade Empire has withstood countless attacks, but the greatest threats come from within. As a master of the martial arts, will you restore this ancient land to its former glory, or crush it beneath your heel?"

Jade Empire is very similar to BioWare's other two games Star Wars: KOTOR I & II. It has the same great visuals, sound, plot, and character development.

Instead of having a light and dark side. Jade Empire has the Way of the Open Palm (OP) or the Way of the Closed Fist (CF). While you traverse an epic world, your actions and conversations determine the path that you will take. Ultimately, these actions will determine one of three endings that you can obtain (I was only able to get three endings - OP, CF, or neutral).

BioWare attempted something new by using real-time combat for this RPG instead of a turn-based system. Though a novel idea, the dozens of different fighting skills really never get used and it is easier to simply press the A (attack) button. I wish the designers had changed the controls allowing the player to use one button for attack, one for magic, one for sword, and one for special style. This would have allowed easier combos (called Harmonic Combos in the game). However, you have to use the directional pad to change between styles and then press the A button to activate it. I found that the controls were a little too slow and buggy to actually pull off combos. When a combo was performed on a weak enemy, it is killed instantly in a very bloody and graphic explosion (think Mortal Kombat fatalities). However, when you correctly perform a combination on a boss or high level enemy, it barely does any more damage than a normal attack to make it worth all of the effort. This is the major downfall of the game and prevents it from being at the same level as KOTOR I and II. The second downfall, is that, unlike, KOTOR, you only develop one character.

However, Jade Empire is still a great game. Let me explain why: When your character gains experience points from fighting foes, advancing the plot, and reading books or scrolls, you, the player, can choose to spend three points on either your body(increases your hit points), your spirit (increases your Chi - magic), or your mind (increases your focus - similar to scenes in the Matrix). These points also affect your Charm, Intimidation, and Intuition when talking to other characters. Finally, you can spend training points on your different fighting styles.

Now this is the interesting and one of the more challenging parts of the game. Here are my recommendations on character development to help first time players:

First Decide if you would prefer to be OP (good) or CF (evil).

If you would like to be CF, I recommend choosing one of the female characters. Being CF with a female character makes it easier to have a romantic affair with either a male or female sub-character. Now select the option to select your own character traits. Place 3 of the 6 points on Body and the other 3 on your Spirit. Do not use any points on your Mind. Then select Crouching Tiger and Heavenly Wave (this fighting style is required for all characters). People will argue, but Crouching Tiger does the most damage very quickly. Also, the third move in the attack is a jumping attack that allows you to attack enemies that have backed away from you.

Now that you have created your character, play the game till you level up. Along the way make sure to choose dialogue options that create a red mist around your character (this means you are following the path of the CF). When you level up, always split the 3 points between Body and Spirit. This is important because this will increase your Intimidation level extremely quickly (Intimidation is calculated by adding your Spirit and Body points and dividing by 2). Intimidation is an important dialogue option for those that follow the path of the CF. It will allow you to bully people into doing your commands, allow you to extort money, earn you points toward the path of the CF, etc.

Now, for leveling up styles. Since you will be developing your mind and body. I highly recommend leveling/mastering these four:

Crouching Tiger Martial Style
Ice Magic
Jade Golem Transformation Style
Spirit Thief

This is the best attack, best attack with Chi Strike (attack plus magic), best CF magic, best transformation style, and an ability that allows you to steal magic from enemies if you run out. If you do not have these styles, save your points till you acquire them. You will thank me when you reach the highest level you can achieve (around 23) and you don't have any more points for leveling your styles. Basically, this character will be a bully that charges into any fight and has plenty of chi to heal the body afterwards.

If you would like to be OP, I recommend choosing one of the male characters. This way you get to see an affair with either a male, female, or two female sub-character/s. Now select the option to select your own character traits. Place 3 of the 6 points on Mind and the other 3 on your Spirit. Do not use any points on your Body (don't worry, you can use Chi Heal, white button, to heal your hit points if you get close to death). Then select Crouching Tiger and Heavenly Wave (this fighting style is required for all characters). People will argue, but Crouching Tiger does the most damage very quickly. Also, the third move in the attack is a jumping attack that allows you to attack enemies that have backed away from you.

Now that you have created your character, play the game till you level up. Along the way make sure to choose dialogue options that create a blue mist around your character (this means you are following the path of the OP). When you level up, always split the 3 points between Mind and Spirit. This is important because this will increase your Intuition level extremely quickly (Intuition is calculated by adding your Spirit and Mind points and dividing by 2). Intuition is an important dialogue option for those that follow the path of the OP. It will allow you to help those understand their evil ways and to change to a better path. Also, it will earn you points toward the OP.

Now, for leveling up styles. Since you will be developing your mind and spirit. I highly recommend leveling/mastering these four:

Crouching Tiger Martial Style
Earth Magic (best magic in the game)
Jade Golem Transformation Style
Crimson Swords (Do not level up the first sword you get. That is a single sword technique. You get these later in the game if you are OP. CF cannot get these).

This is the best attack, best attack with Chi Strike (attack plus magic), best CF magic, best transformation style, and an awesome sword style. If you do not have these styles, save your points till you acquire them. You will thank me when you reach the highest level you can achieve (around 23) and you don't have any more points for leveling your styles. This character design gives you the best of all four techniques. For fighting, I recommend hitting them with Ice, then jumping in with the Tiger style, and finishing them off with your sword.

Once you have completed the game as both OP and CF, there is very little left for replay. Even these two paths will have a lot of overlapping dialogues. The third option, neutral, can be achieved by choosing a dialogue path with the final boss in either path.


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