Jade Empire, PC edition

Isn’t it a bit late for this?

*  Customizable, intuitive controls including support for game-pads and keyboard/mouse.
* Increased graphics resolutions and new visual effects.
* New monsters and enemies.
* New fighting styles.
* Improved combat AI and difficulty levels.
* New world map interface.

Yawn. Won’t make up for the (probably) $50 price tag.

Unless one of their bullet points is “Made combat not the lamest combat known to mankind,” it’ll be a pass for me.

I don’t see “Less repetitious dialog” in there.

Yeah, anyone who has yet to play this game should be warned: it’s good in many of the ways KOTOR is, but the combat is astonishingly dull. It’s more simplistic than, say, Dynasty Warriors, while being far less stylistic.

This doesn’t make me yawn at all. I never got around to buying an Xbox and Bioware are the guys who made two of my favorite RPG’s (BG2 and KoTOR). That buys enough good will that there’s a strong chance I’ll pick this up.

Yeah, despite the reservations about the battle system, I have a feeling the game is worth picking up on the PC. Bioware may not have made a splash as they did with their earlier titles, but it was they’re first stepping out of the heavy P&P type mechanics they were so fond of implementing in their games, so there’s bound to be a learning curve for how to make a good console style battle system. It didn’t help that I don’t think Bioware has a whole lot of experience with the concept. Either way, like Square Enix or the old SSI and Origin RPGs, the name of the maker 90% of the time guarantees the game won’t be lazy or amateurish, so I bet its something worth trying out and I’ll get it when it releases for the PC. I don’t really care if it the Tales of… games or Level 5’s action RPGs blow it to pieces, I can live with one mediocre part if there are other things worth seeing and tinkering with in an RPG.

One thing though, the developers once said there would be a lot of environmental interaction, in a “using objects in a bar room brawl” (see Dragon Quest VIII’s inn fight) way when the game was in development. I never noticed much comment about this once it came up. Did it materialize or disappear?

Plus, it might be getting as long in the tooth as Pinocchio’s nose when he lies, but Bioware’s Virtuous Angel vs. Offensive Jackass interpretaton of morality is always fun to play around with.

-Kitsune

I enjoyed Jade Empire. The art and little snippets of history were really nice and added quite a bit to the game. I thought the combat was okay, I wished I had enough reason to use each of the neat attacks and styles.

I recently played through Fable TLC on the PC, and enjoyed it a lot. The graphics were good and the sound was terrific and the atmosphere was a nice change of pace from Oblivion. A lot of it was a mess (the game was so uneven, it would go from near-brilliant to average in the span of 10 minutes, the big bad guy was crappy, etc.), but it was solid. I think Jade Empire might be the same sort of thing, now that its so far removed from the trumped-up expectations.

I liked the game despite the game play and dialogue issues others here have raised. What drove me nuts was the foreign language speaking characters. WTF was Greedo/Jabba doing trying to imitate Cantonesse phonetics? Why not pay a Chinesse imigrant or a national in China to do some voice overs? They could have picked any other Pacific Rim country for that matter and most folks would not have known the difference.

Didn’t this game come out like three years ago?

I bet it still sells like hotcakes.

Yes, this was in the game, for all of two (or three) fights. And picking up the broken table legs was non-intuitive, so, you just ignored them and kept pounding away with your familiar style. Poor development and / or management at work!

Jade Empire was the primary reason for purchasing my Xbox360. It was a good game, and worthy if you’ve never played it before. Not worth getting if you’ve already played it on Xbox, though.

Fable is better than JE, but JE is really good too.

I really hated about Je that one martial art in one style is pretty much how the rest of them in that style are.

That really bites. I mean, the one element of the game that actually wasn’t in any other console RPG yet and its underdeveloped to the point where it is. (At that level, you can actually do more in RPGs like Bounty Sword, Eternal Eden, Blazing Souls and Mars Story.) And now Ryu Ga Gotoku and Rogue Galaxy have come out and both of them were able to implement something like this on a good level (especially Ryu Ga Gotoku, which is known as Yakuza over there). I’m pretty sure Bioware may not be interested in competing Japanese RPG designers since they don’t really make games for the PlayStation or Nintendo’s platforms yet, but they should at least be aware of the competition.

I’m still interested in getting the game, but I wonder why that didn’t work out? They don’t have to make it ke-razy in order to be a good innovation. Even just picking up environmental objects like an oldschool brawler would be a nice addition to action RPG combat. Is it really so hard to program that?

On the flipside, the artwork for Mass Effect shows that their art direction has improved considerably (I’m not looking forward to staring at the characters in Jade Empire for long intervals of time…) so maybe it can be interpreted that they’re going to get the implementation better this time? Speaking of Mass Effect, I wonder if we’ll see more of it soon.

-Kitsune

What? There aren’t different martial arts within styles…

It’s not that, it’s that they decided to make it more of an easter egg type deal, god knows why. So like, you have to knock a guy through a certain table in this certain fight, and then–surprise!–you’ll see this icon there for table legs that you can pick up and use. I agree with you, though, it would be better to just let you pick up any damn thing and start swinging.

I can’t overstate enough how boring the combat is. Kitsune, you’re a pretty big Dynasty Warriors fan, right? JE is somehow less complicated AND less stylistic. Hell, it almost deserves comparisons to Final Fight rather than DW. It really is as if the Bioware crew had never played a melee-based action game since maybe 1990. And as far as the RPG/character-building system goes, it’s nowhere near as good as Diablo 2 and its ilk. So I thought it fell flat all around.

But the game is pretty strong otherwise. I’m just saying, you’ll have to overlook a pretty considerable flaw in order to enjoy it.

Okay, here’s another thing that disappointed me, although the game’s still really good in this regard. At first, you’ll be lulled into thinking that Bioware’s trying something new with its competing-philosophies gimmick, going for more of a grey area. Way Of The Open Palm is about lending your strength to those who lack it, while Way Of The Closed Fist insists that everyone can be strong, but only if they find that strength within themselves instead of relying on others for help. But for approximately 95% of the game, “Open Palm” = “good” and “Closed Fist” = “evil”. The 5% where the game adheres to what it says the philosophies mean stood out to me as particularly good, but also left me wanting a lot more.

Yeah, that was a real let down.

Edit: But I don’t see how you could not view JE’s combat as a giant step up from the combat in every other game Bioware has ever made.

I remember reading somewhere that they were intentionally not using a real language, because this was supposed to be set in mythical China, not historical China.

Oh yeah, and the male romantic interest has a dead wife and daughter. At least dudes can bang him too. Feel my pain!