Is Jade Empire worthwhile

Yeah, it was something that really got out of hand by KOTOR 2. It’s my hope that Bioshock, Mass Effect, or any of the other upcoming bigshot titles will have the cojones to really explore the subject with some nuance. Not that I don’t enjoy ordering people off cliffs every now and then, it’s just that when I see moral ambiguity implemented even slightly competently I can’t put the game down…witness my persistence in playing and recommending Vampire despite its crippling flaws just for that. Well, that and the malkavian dialogue. I mean, I’m always going to play the good guy first, but the exploration part of the game comes with evil, yes?

It’d be nice if good and evil didn’t send you down the same paths to do exactly the same things, too.

I really enjoyed JE when I played it on Xbox. It’s very much a “Bioware RPG” as others have said. If I had one specific criticism, it’s that you get to where you think you’re about halfway through, and then you’re funnelled through an extremely linear few hours of play to the end. That was a little disappointing, but overall it’s definitely worth a go if you liked the KOTORs and Baldur’s Gates.

One thing I will say in its favour - the combat was very enjoyable. I hate beat-em-ups as a rule, as I don’t enjoy learning and executing strings of combos and attacks. Jade Empire’s action-based combat is a lot of fun and is “tuned” towards an RPG gamer’s sensibilities rather than hardcore fighting gamers.

I’ve only played it a little, but I like it so far. It helps that it cost me $10 with
shipping from a bordering country :)

I recently picked it up for $10 and have found it to be very enjoyable. The combat has been easy, but it is fun. I like mixing up the different styles and goofing around a bit to see what happens.

It certainly isn’t the deepest RPG I have played, but I am thoroughly enjoying the game thus far.

Open Palm and Closed Fist were, in my opinion, more than just good and evil. It was basically Democrat vs. Republican. I think they should have called them Open Handout and The Invisible Fist of Adam Smith.

As far as the story goes, it has an excellent beginning. Also, it does not suffer from the Star Wars gameplay element called, “You don’t get a lightsaber for the first four hours.” The middle is good and the ending is fancy fresh. Bioware always has good stories. It’s a shame really, because it makes me want to kill the makers of games like Star Ocean that much more.

Not true at all. JE was an action game with RPG elements, whereas KoToR as an RPG game with an faux action coating. They even put a mini-shooter game in it for cripes sake. I thought JE was incredibly average at its best and just a bad game at its worst. The RPG elements just made the action elements clunky because it was incredibly easy to game the game. The story was one of their worst ones as well. However, I do realize that the nigh perfection that was KoToR is a hard act to follow. I understand what they were going for and respect the chance they took. But I feel it fell flat overall. Thumbs down, Roger.

It’s worth playing. The art direction and voice acting are great. I thought the Open Palm/Closed Fist worked well – you can turn your sweet, caring, loyal best friend into a Darwinian Republican bitch. (It’s unfortunately true that Closed Fist choices are also almost all “mean” ones.)

I enjoyed the story. The Twist works better than some people imply. Also, it’s great that your female character can romance your female best friend.

On the other hand… Combat is fun, but the “dodge and jump” manoeuvre that you learn in the first town is pretty much the only thing you’ll do the whole game. Also, having Dawn Star meditate – which rejuvenates Chi – is so incredibly effective that your other followers become useless in combat.

Character stat development is horrible. You put development points into specific fighting styles… which means that when you learn new ones later on, you’ve invested far too heavily in others to make the new styles worth it… which makes combat even more repetitive.

Combat might be fixed in the PC version, though. And the rest of the game is pretty darn good.

Better than KOTOR, definitely worthwhile.

You’ve just summarized the human condition.

My roommate spent a solid week playing JE. From what I saw I wasn’t particularly impressed, although he enjoyed the game.

I still remember his fight with the last boss, in which he was using some sort of lightning-based fighting style. He just stood there doing this stunning fist move over and over again. It was funny and lame at the same time. The final fight consisted of the big bad standing there looking like he was having a seizure for about two minutes before falling over - definately wasn’t much of a challenge.

I don’t think the prissy princess counts as a best friend.

I’m itching to play another BioWare game so am anxious to get into JE:SE, too. I have no less than three games coming my way in the next three weeks (GalCivII: Gold Edition, Titan Quest: Immortal Throne, and JE:SE). Man, I’m going to be gamed out for a bit. Good thing there’s not much else on the horizon for a while.

Yeah, you shouldn’t actually use that one, as it basically lets you paralyze almost every enemy in the game for a few seconds and then one-shot them with a Harmonic Combo ™. It’s basically a cheat code for cranky RPG grognards who can’t handle twitchy combat.

JE is the first bioware game since BG1 that I didn’t finish. I hate the combat. Just not what I’m into. If they added a cheat that let me autokill all of the enemies, I would buy the PC version just to see the story.

Wow. That’s a really important distinction. You’ve rocked my world with your insight. Just out of curiosity, are you also that guy for whom they invented the 17,000 (estimate) genres for mp3’s that my mp3 player offers?

They are pretty much the same game. Believe it, sister. You may give KOTOR a bye because of some latent Star Wars fruitiness, but take it from me: if any of your criticisms don’t apply to KOTOR, it’s because you’re blinded by your lightsaber lust.

They even put a mini-shooter game in it for cripes sake.

That’s idiotic. Countless RPG’s include actiony minigames. It’s a questionable decision many times, especially in JRPG’s, but JE’s is about as inoffensive as they come. IIRC, you could pretty much skip it if you were so inclined.

I thought JE was incredibly average at its best and just a bad game at its worst.

That’s fine, and relevant to the thread. However, it has nothing to do with it being any different from KOTOR. If you loved that, then the only possible explanation is that you were blinded by fanboy goggles…the mechanics and defects are fundamentally the same in a way that your pointless ramblings about genres are not.

The RPG elements just made the action elements clunky because it was incredibly easy to game the game.

Once again, if you think that was anything but a real timeish RPG, you are really missing out on some great action games and platformers out there. Curst was right on target.

The story was one of their worst ones as well. However, I do realize that the nigh perfection that was KoToR is a hard act to follow.

You see what I mean? “Nigh perfection”? Give me a fucking break. KOTOR was a mixed bag even when it first came out, let alone now. I enjoyed the hell out of it, but I would not be so blithe about its very obvious shortcomings.

I understand what they were going for and respect the chance they took. But I feel it fell flat overall. Thumbs down, Roger.

Despite your excellent use of alliteration, I give your review a thumbs down for cognitive dissonance.

Allow me to reiterate, then. If you liked KOTOR, and not just because you are a huge Star Wars fan and will play anything with that on the box, you will more than likely enjoy JE, especially at a bargain price. Since most of Lucas’s horseshit is cribbed from Eastern philosophy in some form or another, even the geeks should be on board.

I don’t get it when folks complain that a combat system, or any particular game system, is simple and too easy and such due to the ability to use “cheap” moves or semi-exploits in the AI, etc…

What I don’t get about that is, if using those cheap moves and/or exploits cheapen and lessen your experience, then why use them? I sometimes feel pretty alone in the gaming world because I self-police myself and I choose how I want to play a game so that I can maximize my enjoyment of it.

Sure, in a perfect world, every system of every game would be perfect and wonderful, but in our flawed world, most everything we make is, in some way or another, flawed. If it is within my power to either improve or degrade my experience with a game, then I’m always going to go with the former. I’d much rather do that than choose the latter and complain about it loudly on the internet, but that’s just me.

I’m serious…I just don’t get it. I’m sure there’s a valid argument behind going ahead and taking advantage of this flaw, or that flaw, but when it makes the game less enjoyable, why do it? I’m not being rhetorical here or anything; I’m genuinely curious. If a game allows you do to something, then do you feel that you have to do it? Is it a beating-the-designers sort of thing? What’s the attraction?

See above. That’s pretty much what the Storm Dragon style is.

When I play an RPG I want to:

  1. See as much of the content as possible and
  2. Make my character/party as badass as possible within the rules of the game so I can best handle the challenges ahead.

In JE, I didn’t mind experimenting with sub-optimal fighting techniques just to see how they played and looked. But if the balance is so poor that one style or combo clearly trumps the others, so that you have to intentionally gimp yourself to feel like you’re not cheating, that’s kind of broken. Like you say, it’s a flaw, and to improve one aspect of the game (having variety & challenge in the combat) you have to ignore another another aspect (the desire to maximize my powers and use my abilities to the utmost to beat the game). Maybe JE needed an in-game difficulty slider, or more obvious use of a Rock-Paper-Scissors mechanic.

The “Special Edition” does a nice work with the combat difficulty. In normal mode is extremely easy to use one technique for beating almost anyone. But I can say that the new difficulty mode spice the mix and make changing the style more important (I would say is important to have Soul Thief, some paralizing technique, a normal martial art, a transformation and maybe some weapon discipline).

However, I can understand why some people don´t find Jade Empire their cup of tea. The difference of content and adventure from Baldur´s Gate 2 to this is huge, once you get to Episode 4 it becomes extremely linear and the character development is really weak. The Open Palm/Close Fist is not that important or relevant as it was in KOTOR (there are some very nice dialogue tree, but the motivation for exploring them is quite weak) and I prefer most characters from KOTOR than Jade Empire (Black Whirlwind is quite great, but I guess is a personal take).

It has some very nice things: graphic, some story piece, music. Is a really solid game but I think Bioware tried too hard to make a “console game” (note I am against the idea that a console are only for simple games, I don´t really thing it has to be that way).