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Score of the Game
by Kurt Johnstone

Jade Empire is the newest RPG by Bioware available for the Xbox game console. The story is similar to Knights Of The Old Republic also created by Bioware. It is a basic good versus evil story, and the evil far outweighs the good. You are the last spirit monk who is destined to stop the empire’s corrupt ways. Your primary objective is to retrieve your Master, who was kidnapped from his homeland.

The graphics are very impressive—in fact, the best graphics that Bioware has been able to conceive on the Xbox. Characters and environments are made up of a high resolution without the framerate suffering, and stay consistent throughout your journey.

The gameplay is relatively simple especially when compared to past games by Bioware.

You can select one of many different fighting styles. You can do a simple attack combo, a powerful attack or a 360-degree attack. You can also increase your power with chi for a short period of time or defend and dodge attacks.

A vital part of this game is talking to people and searching many different locations, although I find the dialogue at times can be overwhelming. You can spend more than 10 minutes talking to even non-important characters. During conversations a list of different responses will appear and you can choose one to direct the flow of the conversation. Some of the choices can be good, bad, or neither. As you progress, how you respond to others can alter whether you are a good or dark person. Unlike Knights Of The Old Republic this does not change the game experience.

Aside from the main quest, you can embark in many side quests to increase the length of the game and make some extra money.

Overall the sound is very good. The music suits the atmosphere of the game very well and the effects do the game justice. The voice acting leaves me with mixed feelings—most of it is mediocre, and sometimes it can get painfully bad. The majority of it, however, is decent.

On the plus side, there is some good humour, and fun fighting styles to play with, and interesting environments to explore. The fighting system is good even if a little simple. The characters you encounter and work with or against are intriguing. The camera work is flawless and doesn’t cause any frustration. The graphics are extremely well done. This game does feel slightly rushed. For one thing you can walk through most people and there is pop-up (mostly people).

I was hoping to see a more interesting game, but it turned out to be predictable and boring. The story feels too simple. The loading can become a nuisance with fairly long load times. Most characters don’t bring much emotion to the situation, making the game feel awkward. I found the game was quite good technically but, deep within, it just felt empty, and I never got sucked into the story enough to care what happens next.

Overall… 80%

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