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Overratedness strikes again!
I'm not going to sit here and rant on the overhyped, overrated game this is (mainly because I picked it up years after release). Jade Empire is a wonderful game on some merits yet its held back by a repetitive combat system and its inability to reach its full potential.
In Jade Empire you start off in a school of martial arts as an orphan being raised by the master of the school. Through a series of events the school is destroyed, pretty much everyone killed and your master being captured (after showing some unholy strength earlier by destroying an entire ship in one blow *facepalm*). So you go on a journey to save him while at the same time learning about yourself and becoming the "savior of the world" while at the sametime discovering your hidden potential (cliche after cliche after cliche...). There are a few fighting styles to choose from at the beginning, but I'm skipping the character creation part..well because after a few hours into the game you realise that you're going to eventually learn EVERY single fighting style in the game anyway. For those that don't know the best fighting style is 'legendary strike'. Its a fighting style composed of a couple (and I do mean a couple) famous moves you've seen any pretty much every kung-fu flick, such as the flying kick. Also, I have to say, in its description it basically hints at there being some sort of move that noone has ever seen, but when they do the fight is usually over with that one blow which means there should be some sort of instant death move, but there isn't...
Anyways onto gameplay. This is your standard fare of hack-n-slash. It's a little more refined than Fable's combat system, but there's really nothing that sets it apart. You block, you dodge, you attack. That's it. There's not even any jumping off of walls. There could have been so much done with this system, but they squandered its potential and went for the basics.
The soundtrack is what makes this game. Its an fantastic sort of asian elements including classic songs you're always glad to hear in anything where martial arts is involved. Everything sets up situations perfectly and draws out every last emotion in every scene. Whoever was the composer is definitely going to be in the business for a long time.
The story is cliche with a few twists. If I was 100% sure I'd say this was more of a rip-off of KOTOR along with all the romances and such. I have to admit though that you feel good in the end after all the work you put in. Its satisfying and doesn't really leave you wanting for more. Although I'm sure people (myself included) will go back just to do the big gay romance and see what happens in the end. So I guess there's a little replayablility after all.
Well I'm tired of typing. Jade Empire is 3/5 stars at best. Back when I played I found myself listing all the things I would've done with the game that would've made it infinitely better and problably have people talking about it for years to come. Even with its low rating its worth the rent though.
Game Traits applied to Jade Empire (XBOX) by Bonemane