Jade Empire is a third-person perspective action RPG that combines the oriental themes with a fantasy world. The game was developed for PC, XBX and etc. by members of the famous studio BioWare – the creators of games like Baldur’s Gate series, Neverwinter Nights and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. The title debuted during spring 2005 on Microsoft consoles and two years later a slightly expanded edition was ported to personal computers. Almost a decade after its debut, Jade Empire: Special Edition was also released on mobile platforms.
The game takes place in a realm similar to ancient China mixed with strong fantasy themes. Magic and mythical creatures are a common sight in this world. The player assumes the role of one of the adepts of a martial arts school led by the legendary Master Li in a small village. The protagonist (male or female) must select his/hers own fighting style and then complete an intense training of spirit and body in order to develop it to perfection. Soon after the protagonist finishes the training, the village is attacked by some unknown enemies and Master Li is kidnapped. Finding and saving the mentor is only a prologue to a much greater adventure.
The gameplay of PC, XBX and etc. version of Jade Empire combines classic a RPG with features taken from other genres. When starting the game, the player selects one of a few pre-defined characters that differ in look and characteristics like speed, strength and fighting style. While following the main plot, the player is traveling through the world and he completes various main and side missions. Some of them can require him to find a powerful artifact, other can make him defeat a strong monster that threatens the nearby villages. As the action progresses, the main protagonist becomes stronger and gains new abilities that enables them to face even greater challenges. A dialogue system is very important as well – very frequently the player must select between the path of altruism and egoism.
The fighting system of Jade Empire for PC, XBX and etc. is much different than the one used in previous games developed by BioWare. The closest game in this aspect is Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. Action-based fights are played in real time and each style offers slightly different attacks, blocks and special attacks. During the fights with the enemies, the protagonist can combine his attacks into long combos, help himself with melee weapons and use a spell system based on Chi energy. The Focus mode is an interesting addition – it enables the player to slow the time, similarly as in the Max Payne series. The protagonist can also transform into a beast.
In comparison to the original console version of the game, Jade Empire: Special Edition introduces new enemies and previously unavailable fighting styles. The developers improved the artificial intelligence of the characters, fixed the balance of difficulty levels and modified the user interface.
Jade Empire for PC, XBX and etc. is based on a modified engine from Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. It offers attractive, fully three-dimensional graphics. Both the game world and character models are of high quality and full of details. Advanced visual effects and lights and shadows system complement the visuals of the title. Polished sounds are worth mentioning as well – they contain many hours of professional dialogue sequences.
In comparison to the console original, the Special Edition for PC offers graphics in higher resolution, new special effects and a modified control system. The mobile version that was based on the personal computer edition is also of high quality thanks to the high resolution of all three-dimensional objects (however, unchanged cutscenes are looking slightly worse). This edition also received a touch-based control scheme, support for mobile game controllers, achievement system and the option to save the game in the cloud.
PC / Windows
Recommended: Pentium IV 1,8 GHz, 512 MB RAM, graphic card GeForce 6200 or better, 8 GB HDD, Windows XP SP1