Jade Empire won my heart several years ago, when I first played it on the original XBOX. For those of you who are familiar with BioWare products, it will come as no surprise that Jade Empire lives up to being a quality role-playing game. Clearly inspired by ancient Chinese mythology and folklore, this game is both alluring and enticing to players who can appreciate compelling storytelling combined with a refreshing cast of characters. While this particular title has a relatively simple design in comparison to many of BioWare's other creations, I would still encourage you to pick it up and check it out - Particularly if you are interested in refreshingly original environments, and parables.
While I recommend the game itself to anyone, I must ADVISE CAUTION TO THOSE SEEKING TO BUY IT ON STEAM. For some, the game will not operate smoothly (if at all) without downloading and installing an additional file. For those of you still needing help, there are many thread discussions regarding this error inside the community forums.
Alternatively, you can download and install the two files that I used (they worked for me) from: https://anonfiles.com/file/2fd02e0d0446d3bcaa2c6b2d1fd85d8d
For reference, I believe this is the thread where I originally found the solution: http://steamcommunity.com/app/7110/discuss...978835694348660
Jade Empire follows an orphaned martial arts student, initially training under Master Li, who is unaware of his/her full potential... Or for that matter, the road that lies ahead of them. Little does the protagonist know that every step of the journey will be a test of character, which might or might not conflict with their martial skills. While facing other-worldly creatures, in a unique combat system, the student will grow to master his/her ability - and only then can they face the dark power growing in the Jade Empire. This game does feature multiple endings based on the players path and decisions throughout the game.
The story is absolutely gripping, and is divided into 7 chapters, each featuring their own set of sub-quests. Some quests are entirely optional, such as the option to form a romantic relationship with a NPC team member. I was honestly very impressed by some of the same-sex options, considering the release date of Jade Empire. This might actually be one of the first games that provided this option to the player. Throughout the game, the player will be able to make decisions for their character, which can in fact impact the ending. Furthermore, some of these decisions can also be used to influence your party members into following different paths as well.
There are two major philosophies that seem crucial to the game as well: The Way of the Open Palm, and the Way of the Closed Fist. These two opposing philosophies can easily compare to Yin and Yang (or the Dark Side and the Light Side from Star Wars). However, it is important to recognize that just because someone practices the Way of the Closed Fist does not actually mark them as evil... Likewise, a follower of the Open Palm is not automatically good either. Followers of the Open Palm believe that maintaining harmony is important, whereas the followers of the Closed Fist believe that one should become self-reliant. Whether or not an individual is good or evil boils down to the context surrounding the event, so Jade Empire strays from painting a black and white world. That in itself, is a noteworthy mention, all too rare in video games.
Another brilliant feature implemented in Jade Empire are the mini-games. I really really really enjoyed the Raiden-inspired Dragonfly mini-game. Seriously, just go check it out on YouTube or something, you could spend hours doing this alone. It is sooo fun!
I might have been lucky, but I didn't have any problems with the controls in this game. They were pretty straightforward, and the game is compatible with a XBOX360 controller. On the other hand, a friend of mine confirmed that Jade Empire is not compatible with the PS3 controller. Otherwise, the controls work perfectly fine for me, as to be expected. The combat system is a bit more complex than other games I've played, but the innovative style is addicting, I promise.
The first thing to consider is that this game came out in 2005. As a result, the graphics might be considered outdated by many of you. However, I do not feel like the graphics are so outdated that they become a distraction. The visual aesthetic of the game may not be the best, but it's definitely not the worst. I rather enjoy the art style of this game, however I cannot say that the graphics are the highlight of Jade Empire either... And yes, you will get stuck in weird camera angles until you reload it sometimes. There are glitches. Do not panic.
I think the language might be made up, but it sounds decent to me. The voice acting wasn't horribly obnoxious, and some of the music in this game is enjoyable to listen to. The audio surrounding this game meets par, as there isn't a lot to nit-pick.
VI. REPLAY VALUE
Honestly, Jade Empire doesn't get old to me. I found the experience to be extremely enjoyable, and have since beaten the game several times since my first playthrough in 2005. Definitely worth playing twice!