Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Jade Empire

+++ One awesome area
+ Somewhat unpredictable storyline
+ If you choose the worst possible character and the hardest difficulty the combat system gives the illusion of depth
+ Rolling around is pretty fun
+ Various ways to dispatch opponents
+ Good Soundtrack
+ Impressive graphics, even now
-- Quite easy
-- Combat devolves into the same few button presses in most situations, merely taking longer on higher difficulty levels
-- Very short by 2005 standards
-- Has almost the exact same story as KotoR despite the drastic difference in setting
- Same craptastic moral choice/alignment system as in KotOR

Ah here we are in Bioware land. When entering this accursed place one should always consult the handy dandy Bioware cliche chart. (courtesy of Valnak) And surprise surprise this game fits every one of the extra generic cliches! I replayed the first chapter on the hardest difficulty with the crappiest character, which did actually take a while and some mild amount of effort.

Unfortunately as the game goes on the enemies don't really do any more damage and you get 7-8 times as much health as you had at the start. Even with having to swap multiple styles and avoid nearly every attack it still was more or less the same thing over and over just taking longer. Your attacks also become quicker and more powerful over time, so what originally requires a dodge attack dodge attack string can be replaced by simply spamming an attack while occasionally dodging away from extraneous opposition.

I also replayed the aforementioned awesome area, which is essentially the climax of the game, a gauntlet of first 20 normal enemies than 4 elite troops and then the hardest boss in the game. This was still just as fun as I recall but even on hard I only died once to the boss due to not realizing I wasn't doing any damage in my present style. There are 20+ different styles you can have to fight with, including ranged combat and transforming into certain demons, some of them have better melee range while some of them slow the opponent or drain his chi (mana).

In the case of the boss I simply had to use one style (even though it was almost completely unupgraded) to win with relative ease, punch punch punch dodge repeat. It was still pretty fun, and I'm even slightly compelled to bumrush through the rest of the game to get there again with a different character, but apart from that one area the game is not all that interesting. I replayed this area again, this time powering up that style (having gained a level during the gauntlet), and sure enough all I had to do was spam it over and over to win.

This game has one of the better Bioware storylines, but it still feels extremely stale having played several of the other RPGs. It also only lasts about 20 hours, half as long as either KotOR. I have not played another Bioware game since this one due to my excessive disappointment. IGN gave this game a 9.9/10! While it is of more appropriate length to today's retarded audience it is still an easy, short, repetitive game with that retarded moral choice system built in which changes nothing and does nothing save weaken the plot. Silent Protagonists in RPGs may give you the illusion of "role-playing" but most of the time the only purpose this serves is negating the Protagonist as a major character.

Final Grade: 7/10

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