Fun RPG that unfortunately lacks a little
- Wonderful immersion in Chinese styles of dress, architecture, etc., although who knows how accurate it is considering it's a video game
- Stellar musical score that sounds like Basil P.'s score from Conan the Barbarian, but with an Asian twist
- Controls are not too difficult
- John Cleese's voice cameo! Pretty good voice acting.
- Nice assortment of NPCs
- The arena battles, a la Thunderdome or the Roman Empire!
- Too short for an RPG
- Linearity kicks in big time, especially at the end. Not much free ability to travel where you want, when you want
- Even though 20+ fighting styles are available, it is more or less impossible to max them all out, let alone a few
- Fighting develops into a simplistic hitting of one button and jumping around an enemy to gain position, hard to really fail in a battle
- Simple character development and lack of equipment leaves you wanting.
- Camera angle can get kind of funky during battles
- Mini game (up-down scrolling shooter) is uninspiring and probably not needed
The Bottom Line
In the spirit of the KOTOR engine, Jade Empire follows the path of a martial arts student as he discovers his lost past, as well as his destiny! Your master has a mysterious use for you, but he is captured before you can find out what that use is for. Travelling to other towns and cities, you fight and charm your way to learn more about the Empire, its history, and why there are so many conspiracies within conspiracies. You must ultimately save the Water Dragon God from the clutches of the power-hungry Emperor, but who is really pulling the strings?
A pretty fun game that's worth a play, but by the time you start getting into it, the game is over. Really not a true RPG because of linearity. I was looking forward to a massive world to explore (I mean, it is called Jade EMPIRE!). But only a few locales to visit. Again, a good game, but not something I would put in my top 10.