Jade Empire Summer Video Preview

BioWare shows off some new areas, characters, and combat styles from its mystical RPG in these exclusive narrated video demos.

After the wild success of last year's Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, BioWare isn't exactly playing it safe by cranking out a cookie-cutter sequel. No, the venerable role-playing-game maker is going out on a limb to create an entirely original property with the mystically themed Jade Empire. We're fortunate enough to bring you two exclusive video demos showcasing some new characters, locations, enemies, and fighting styles from the upcoming Xbox RPG.

With more than 30 available fighting styles, Jade Empire's combat promises considerable depth. Click "stream" for a larger video window.

In the first video preview, which you'll see playing to the right, the player has tracked a wily bandit named Zeng Sai to the unassuming Teahouse of the Running Wave. As you can see, the resulting tearoom brawl shows off a number of new fighting styles: legendary fist, which we've seen before; twin sabres, which is a quick style that lets you attack at range with dual swords; ice shard, an elemental magic style that drains your chi to produce stun and area-effect attacks; and horse demon, which actually has your character transforming into a martial arts-capable horse so you can plant hooves squarely upon enemy foreheads. Stay tuned to the end of the video to see a tasty example of Jade Empire's improvised weapons system as the player does battle with two delicious, juicy hams. Mmm, ham.

In the second preview movie, you'll see the nimble Radiant Jen Zi, who is Furious Ming's female counterpart. She has tracked an elephant demon to its lair, settled among the ruins of Lord Lao's Wondrous Furnace. This ancient machine is merged with a floating island, and though its purpose and the identity of its creator are no longer part of recorded history, Jen Zi doesn't have time to worry about all that--she's too busy fighting off a host of angry spirits called red ministers and then the two slow, powerful toad demons that protect the elephant master, whom you'll see toward the end of the demo.

Jade Empire is currently down for release in March of 2005, and movies like these continue to whet our appetite for the final game. To access high-resolution downloadable versions, head over to the game's media page. Certainly KOTOR has established BioWare's reputation on modern-day consoles. Will Jade Empire prove that the developer can make an equally successful game without the benefit of an established license? Our faith is sure the answer is yes.

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