I so wanted to like this game! Bioware, you broke my heart!
The__MCP wrote this review on .
If you played KOTOR, this game is really not much different. Very similar action formula. Same good/evil meter based on you dialogue choices. Similar quest system. When I look back, KOTOR wasn't exactly a difficult game, but maybe my love for Star Wars masked some of its simplicity, because the ease of Jade Empire bored me to tears.
Maybe it was because I read so much about how Bioware was spending years on the Jade Empire combat system, but in reality, it's a simply two or three button click fest. One button for attacks, one button for blocks, and one button for heavy attacks that will break the block of your opponent. Sure, there are several different styles. Some are ranged magic attacks, some are Bruce Lee-esque combat moves, and some are just raw barbarian attacks, but in the end, it gets boring... fast! It doesn't help that the inventory and skill system is streamlined so that even one of Jeff Foxworthy's 5th graders could quickly understand it. You basically have one amulet with gems that you can swap in and out, much like the materia system in Final Fantasy 7. You can upgrade your combat styles, but you're basically just increasing the damage with each notch. And the attributes are 3 basic stats that reflect your spirit power, your mind power, and your physical power. It takes about 30 seconds to learn how to play, and if you REALLY want to just skip to the end, some styles are overpowered compared to others and you can quickly fight your way through the game without dying.
The story is boring. It starts out fun, but becomes a yawn fest. I found myself picking dialogue options that I knew would resort in the least amount of labor, not because I was immersed in thee story and wanted to role-play my hero as a noble kung-fu master or deviant shaman. The side quests are for the most part lame, with a few mind games and logic puzzles inserted here and there to add variety. I think I already know the fate of my character and his sensei but frankly, I'm too bored to finish the game to find out what happens.
I can see this game as appealing to some people, but to me it's a dud. It's definitely a game handled with care but the stories and dumbed down skill and fighting system just make it a tedious and mundane gameplay experience, rather than a thrilling journey. Better luck with your next original RPG Bioware. (Dragon Age) And memo to RPG developers (this includes you Bethesda with your Fallout 3 a clone of Oblivion): I know you need to save money and use the same engines but please make your next games feel JUST a little bit different than the game before if it's not a sequel. Otherwise, my next RPG will just be a product by an entirely new developer because once you mastered KOTOR, Jade Empire, and even Mass Effect, were a walk in the park.