Jade Empire (Xbox)

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Written by  :  MasterMegid (902)
Written on  :  Oct 21, 2006
Platform  :  Xbox

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Welcome To The Jade Empire

The Good

Long in development for the Xbox, Jade Empire finally was released in 2005. It marks a first for Bioware as their first original IP. Jade Empire is an action/RPG, set in a mythical version of ancient China. Jade Empire, came in two variety, a regular, and a limited edition, being a fan of Bioware’s RPGS, I got the limited edition. Which includes the kickass Monk Zheng, perhaps the best character. And Jade Empire is quite possibly Bioware’s best game.

In Jade Empire, you are a student at a quaint martial arts school. Under the tutelage of Master Li, you have become the most promising student of the school. You were orphaned at a young age, and made friends with another orphan Dawn Star. One fateful day, the school is attacked by pirates. Fighting of the corsairs, you learn to your dismay that they were after you. Master Li, sends you off to meditate, where you learn that you are actually the last of the “Spirit Monks”. A group responsible for shepherding lost souls to the after life.

After your emergence you learn that Dawn Star has been abducted. From here the plot thickens, and as per RPG fashion, and your school is burned down by the Empire, and you are introduced to Death’s Hand, the personal body guard of the Empire. The tale continues, with lost souls, turned to madness, as they are unable, to find eternal rest, and a corrupt Empire, that nearly destroyed the world.

In Jade Empire, you can be good, open palm, evil, closed fist, or even neutral. There are also multiple endings. You also have an array of fighting styles to master. From weapons, to hand-to-hand, to magics. As per Bioware’s games, the player can help their party members solve various problems. And even have a romance with some. If you are a male you can romance Dawn Star, Silk Fox, or both. You can pursue a gay relationship with Skye. If you are a female, you can also pursue Skye, as well as Silk Fox, sorry ladies Dawn Star only likes men.

Fights are in real time. Where you can switch styles on the fly. And have up to one follower or party member with you at a time. They can either help you fight, or support you in various ways, from healing you, to my favorite throwing bottles of wine, so that you can use drunken master style.

In JE, you do not wear any armor, likely because you are a martial artist. Instead, you equip a medallion, that has slots for gems, that have various effects, from boosting stats, to helping you become more well-spoken.

As per most RPGS, there are various side-quests to under take, from gambling, to helping out citizens. It is wise to finish any and all quests before moving on, as there is a point in the game in which you cannot return to previous areas.

The Graphics in Jade Empire, are amazing. As one would expect as a late run Xbox game, and one from Bioware. The areas and inhabitants of the Jade Empire are all very convincing. It is very refreshing to see an RPG set in mythical China, instead of sci-fi, or more traditional fantasy.

The sound department soars as well. Voice acting is top notch, the kind of quality we have come to expect from Bioware. There is even a fictional language used in the Empire, sorta of like the alien languages of KOTOR. The sound effects are great, which is often neglected in RPGS. The music is excellent, and conveys a Asian world very well.

The Bad

Jade Empire is a short RPG, even by short RPG standards. You can finish it off in about 15 hours, less if you do not undertake the side quests.

It is also a very easy game, even on the harder settings. But at least it does not have a shitty plot twist like KOTOR. Actually the plot twist in Jade Empire is awesome. Usually in RPGS I can see the plot twist coming a mile away, this was not the case here.

The Bottom Line

Jade Empire is perhaps, Bioware’s finest game to date. Yes even toppling the mighty SW:KOTOR. RPG and Xbox enthusiasts will love this game. And can now find it for about $20, and usually you can still find the limited edition, so you have no excuse not to play this game.