Forum Overview :: Reviews
Riffing off of Funkula here, but yeah, it's great with a few major problems by curst 04/26/2005, 8:06pm PDT
FABIO wrote:

From the makers of KoTOR with action combat instead of turn based diablo?

The combat is - suprise! - too easy. Well, at first you're probably going to die a few times, as you try to figure out how things work. I died in the first real battle because I didn't know what I was doing, but once I figured it out, I died only two more times before winning the entire game. And those deaths only occurred because I didn't pay attention when my enemy cast a certain spell that causes you to take damage when you strike them. The main problem with the game, IMO, is that each style has a three-hit combo, a power attack to break through blocks, and... yeah, that's it. Oh yeah, each style has the same sweep attack (it doesn't do damage, but sends enemies flying and gives you some breathing room). Not a formula for a compelling action-based combat system. Dynasty Warriors 5 feels like Virtua Fighter 4 compared to Jade Empire. Play the first few battles on Easy to get a feel for it, then quickly ramp up to Hard and you shouldn't have too many problems. Only three of the boss fights were genuinely compelling - otherwise it was me spamming the same few attacks over and over, pausing only to block a homing projectile or to do dodge-moves.

However, everything else about the game is better than KOTOR, in my opinion, and I liked KOTOR a lot despite thinking its combat was too easy. I'll be the first to admit I can forgive a game's gameplay faults if the intangibles are truly strong enough to overcome them, and in Jade Empire they easily are.

The story is rather trite in an overall sense - I'd advise you to never read any posts anywhere about anything relating to the plot because it's almost impossible not to reveal the supposedly huge surprises. Hell, avoid the manual's descriptions of the characters while you're at it, because one description allowed me to accuractely forecast what would/would not happen with that guy. I will say this: kudos to Bioware for not falling for the kung-fu movie cliche of "avenge your slain master" and instead only falling for every videogame cliche that has ever been overused (collect the pieces of this artifact, you're the last of your kind, I smell a conspiracy!!!, etc). Anyway, I seriously doubt you'll have a difficult time predicting at least 50% of the plot. Despite this, it still throws in a few unique touches thanks to the mythology it's based on, and many times it successfully lightens the mood with decent touches of comedy. Yes, there are lots of pop-culture references thrown in for cheap laughs, but a few are pretty decent (such as a not-very-obvious nod to Austin Powers in one of the "scrolls" you will find).

Also, they both screwed up and kicked ass with the good/evil choices stuff. They screwed up in the sense that the "Open Palm" philosophy is supposed to be one of harmony with the world, you understanding your place in the events surrounding you, whereas "Closed Fist" is one of discord, where you seek not only to improve yourself at all costs, but to force others to improve themselves by refusing them aid. Sort of a tough-love thing. Well, in reality "Open Palm" is "Light Side" and "Closed Fist" is "Dark Side" at least 80% of the time. I disagree to a small extent with the Qt3rs who were saying the Closed Fist stuff is as moronic as what you saw in KOTOR. The Closed Fist actions in Jade Empire are, at times, just plain callous rather than openly evil, and they truly do serve a purpose that might benefit the person you're supposedly acting evil towards. But far too often it still feels like KOTOR - "let's be mean because, you know, um, just for the hell of it!" On the other hand, the evil ending for the game is so fucking great. Better than any other RPG I can remember. If you find yourself bored enough with the combat that you don't think you want to replay it, then make your first play-through an evil one so that you don't miss the best stuff.

Your followers are definitely better than Baldur's Gate, and arguably moreso than KOTOR's (although it's pretty hard to top HK-47). Even the apparently-mandatory whiny bitch character is used for comedy purposes rather than trying to get sympathy points from you, so that's another improvement upon over KOTOR/BG.

The visuals are fantastic by XBox standards. Vampire:Bloodlines might look better technically, but other than that, no other RPG looks this good. The sound and music also excel for the most part - I think the combat could sound a bit more kung-fu-movie-like but it's still servicable, and the music/voice-acting is great.

Like Planescape:Torment, Rez, Silent Hill and Panzer Dragoon Orta before it, this is a game where the gameplay's faults only serve to prevent it from being truly top-notch in every way, rather than actually dragging down the experience to the point where I can't enjoy it. I don't know if the fact that I've put all other games on hold to complete a third playthrough of it says anything or not.
review request: Jade Empire by FABIO 04/26/2005, 2:32am PDT NEW
    Imagine NBA Jam and Tetris NT by Phillipino Dance Instructor 04/26/2005, 3:19am PDT NEW
    Completely awesome in every respect. by bink 04/26/2005, 7:15am PDT NEW
        Odyssey engine. by Fussbett 04/26/2005, 1:54pm PDT NEW
            You're right, my bad. NT by bink 04/26/2005, 3:57pm PDT NEW
        Now how about a review from a non-crazy? NT by Caltrops 04/26/2005, 2:27pm PDT NEW
        Re: Completely awesome in every respect. by Andrew 04/26/2005, 6:18pm PDT NEW
            Beat it, loved it, doing it again. by Funkula 04/26/2005, 7:04pm PDT NEW
    Riffing off of Funkula here, but yeah, it's great with a few major problems by curst 04/26/2005, 8:06pm PDT NEW
        Re: Riffing off of Funkula here, but yeah, it's great with a few major problems by Wacky Willy 04/27/2005, 9:37am PDT NEW
    Sounds like bink was right on target here NT by Weyoun Voidbringer 04/28/2005, 5:11am PDT NEW
        Maybe it was some sort of "insane insight." Ah, hah, hah, hah. NT by bink 04/29/2005, 12:12am PDT NEW
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