Review by Leafian

"Martial Arts RPG"

RPG game is my favorite genre. I usually likes game with a good story, characters, and nice graphics. Especially from Bioware, a masterpiece in RPG genre. One of the point that I like from this game is the hardware requirement. You don't need a power house computer to play this game at max settings.

This is my first time review, so you may find any mistakes in my review.

INTRODUCTION : Jade Empire is the first action RPG from Bioware. Before released on PC, this game made for XBOX. So what's the difference between PC and XBOX version ? For PC, you can find several new content which you won't find in XBOX, like new monsters, weapons, and items. I heard many similarities between Jade Empire and Star Wars KotOR, which is also developed by Bioware.

GAMEPLAY : If you think "action RPG" game is identical with hack and slash, you need to think it again after playing this game. Jade Empire using third person camera, and the character movement is using keyboard with WASD, like other game using third person view. For combat, you use mouse to attack your opponent, and block his/her attack. Since this game settings in ancient China, the combat here using martial arts. There's several martial arts style you can use, and your movement vary depend on what style you used. This is what makes this game fun to play. You can punch/kicks, using weapons, etc. Not using weapons doesn't mean you vulnerable, since you can use your fist and kicks to defeat your opponent. Your character stats also shown in different way than other RPGs. There's three main stats : Body, which affect health of your character; Spirit, affect your character's chi to perform magic attack and healing; and Focus, used in weapon style combat and evading traps. For difficulty, I can say this game is quite easy to played. There's tutorial in the beginning of the game, which is useful for new player to getting used to this game.
Score : 9/10

STORY : You are a student in martial arts school, and your study time is finish, thus your master ask you to wander seeking adventure. The story in this game can be categorized as one of the best story in RPG genre. During the game, you'll make a decision which affect how the story developed. This game enables you have follower, someone who'll fight alongside you or support you during the battle, so you don't need to fight alone. Some of the follower you gained along with story progression, while others depend on your decision/optional. This game also contains characters alignment, which determine what your character become. The story is deep and intriguing, makes you curious what will happen after you finish some quest.
Score : 10/10

GRAPHICS : This game may have the best graphics on RPG genre, but it's not really bad. The characters, NPC, and monsters are rendering smoothly. The environment also nice to see, describe the condition in ancient China well. During the combat, you may see effect of some fighting styles, which gives you more feel on this game. Since this game is not hardware demanding, even with my old graphic card Ge Force 7300GT I can run this game on max graphics settings.
Score : 8/10

SOUNDS : If you like music from ancient China movies, then you'll like music from this game. Most of the music in this game is similar with those movies. The music match the condition well, for example battle music gives the feel like martial arts competition, creepy music when you entering your enemy's place, etc. Character's voice over also nice to hear. Although sometimes their emotions a bit weird, but that doesn't really bother me.
Score : 9/10

REPLAY VALUE : You don't need to spend lot of time to finish this game. I can finish this game in 20 hours. There's seven characters available to choose, each with their own style. So you can finish the game using characters with different styles, which is fun. New difficulty level also unlocked after you finish the game for the first time. You can use the same characters to beat the game before, with same stats and styles as before, but your level will reset to the beginning again. This will make the game more challenging to play after beat it.
Score : 8/10

OVERALL : 9.3/10
Finally, if you looking a game with good story and characters, which is less on world exploration, pick this game. But if you like a game with more exploration and hidden area, maybe you should look another title.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 01/19/10

Game Release: Jade Empire: Special Edition (US, 02/26/07)

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