Jade Empire

Good
  • Multiple endings for players to find in the diverse world of characters and romance options
  • Asian setting offers something different to the genre with a martial arts focused combat style
Bad
  • Fighting combat never quite lives up the martial art fantasy that is intended
  • Frustrating boss mechanics that rely on tedious battles rather than unique mechanics
8

Jade Empire is an action RPG originally released for Xbox and Windows in 2005 and explores an alternative setting to many of the larger action RPG franchises by drawing on the mythology of our world’s own ancient China and in turn having a focus on martial art style of combat.

jade-empire-gameplay-world

With the Chinese mythology at the heart of your adventure players explore a fictional although real world influenced kingdom as the last surviving Spirit Monk who is challenged with the quest to save their tutor the Master Li. Having been captured by the corrupt emperor of Sun Hai you’ll adventure throughout the kingdom as you make your own morality focused decisions to impact the fate of the world and your character development.

Depending on these difficult  decisions that players make throughout the story they can experience several different endings which does add some replay value to the game in addition to the different mechanisms to build a customised character.  At the core of these endings and the story in general are the two different opposing philosophies in Jade Empire, the way of the Open Palm and the way of the Closed Fist which broadly represent the good and evil forces on the surface. As players dive deeper into these two schools of philosophy thought that Jade Empire presents though it is a murky decision with elements of harmony, guardianship and compassion against a style of independence and ambition of self.

jade-empire-gameplay-followers

Starting from your customised base hero players will select either a male or female character from 3 available pre-sets to begin their adventure alongside a fighting style and good/evil alignment that dictates your approach to future combat. While gender doesn’t affect combat it does play an important role in the game story since it changes the available romances that you’ll encounter.

In Jade Empire players won’t be limited to just a single style with some ability to take elements from each style to help mitigate the advantages or disadvantages of each and move between them during a combat sequence for maximum effect. Broadly these styles fall into martial, support, weapon, magic and transformation styles that each have unique principles. In the martial art styles as an example you’ll be able to use the Leaping Tiger that has long reach and low damage attacks or the balanced Legendary Strike that relies on kicking attacks. In stark contrast to the supportive Paralysing Palm that stuns enemies or the magical Stone Immortal the grants players control over earth itself.

jade-empire-gameplay-combat

Like most action RPGs you’ll level up as you progress through the main story and complete other various side quests from NPCs you meet along the way. With each level you’ll increase the three available stats in the game (body, mind and spirit) and secondary stats through accumulated essence gems purchased from merchants or from quests and techniques that are acquired through similar means. Combined these allow players to tweak their combat style with some having some notable trade off decisions that means players can’t become a master of everything.

Summary:

  • Step into an Asian themed role playing game that draws inspiration from real and fictional sources.
  • Explore the two opposing philosophies of Open Hand and Closed Fist as you embody one with your quest actions.
  • Multiple endings for players to experience based on their decisions throughout as their customised character.
  • Alter your character with diverse fighting styles, essence gems and techniques to create a fighter that relies on physical, weapon or magical abilities.
  • A diverse world of NPCs, quests and romance options for players to explore.

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Review Platform: PC

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Written by
Samuel Franklin
Samuel Franklin is the founder and lead editor of the Games Finder team and enjoys video games across all genres and platforms. He has worked in the gaming industry since 2008 amassing over 3 million views on YouTube and 10 million article views on HubPages.

Games Finder is a Steam Curator and featured in the aggregate review scores data of MobyGames and Neoseeker.
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