Jade Empire: Special Edition - All News
Jade Empire - BioWare Talks About Sequel
In-case you missed the Q&A on Kotaku last week then you didn't read the part where General Manager Aaryn Flynn talked about a possible Jade Empire sequel.
Thanks go to Gamer Center Online for the news.
Although a sequel isn’t in development, BioWare states that fans should “never say never” when it comes to returning to the Jade Empire universe.
“Well there’s always hope,” BioWare Edmonton and Montreal general manager Aaryn Flynn said in a Q&A with Kotaku. “Both [BioWare developers Mark Darrah and Mike Laidlaw] worked on Jade Empire, so they’re advocates for it in the studio (so is Matt Goldman, DAI’s Art Director). I worked on it too!”
“Our plate is awfully full right now, but the idea to go back to the universe does come up pretty regularly,” he added. “Mark and I spent a solid two hours in my office talking about it not long ago…”
Darrah even added that fans should “never say never, but no current plans.” Jade Empire launched ten years ago on the original Xbox.
Jade Empire - Retrospective @ Continue-Play
Taylor Hidalgo of Continue-Play posted a new retrospective article for Jade Empire, and included a new late review of the game for anyone still interested in the game.
At the end of the day, it’s hard not to recommend Jade Empire. For its flaws, it still manages to feel really interesting in how the multiple styles and game dynamics can interplay. Combat is, at its peak, festive, messy and genuinely fun to explore. At its worst, it’s somewhat burdened by how clinical it all feels. If the events of the game had any interplay whatsoever, or the world did anything other than existing in a semi-permanent state, it would be so much greater; it’s just a genuine shame to see such potential go to waste.
Jade Empire: SE - GOG Classic Gem Sale
GOG.com is offering Jade Empire: Special Edition for 60% off. If you still haven't played the game now is your chance.
Classic Gem Promo: Jade Empire: Special Edition
The Way of the Jade Dragon.
Jade Empire: Special Edition, BioWare's role-playing epic set in the colorful realm inspired by legends of the Orient, is available 60% off on GOG.com. That's only $5.99 for the next 24 hours!
Live a life of great adventure among the legends of the Orient in a fantastic role-playing game from BioWare. The game's original setting and great story make this title an unbeatable pick for every RPG fan. With many time-proven ideas and lots of fresh twists, this title is as enjoyable to play as it is charming to behold. Featuring a great selection of quests firmly rooted in the myths and legends of the Far East, as well as many memorable characters you'll surely grow fond of through your adventures, this title has the best elements of all of your favorite RPGs. Breathe in the atmosphere of the Orient and start your heroic quest today!
Jade Empire: SE - Available On GOG
Jade Empire is now available on GOG for $9.99. This is good news for those that haven't played the game. Now if only Bioware would make a new sequel.
The fate of an empire is in your hands. Will you save or doom the ancient realm? The Jade Empire suffers from the violent upheaval of rebellion. The once-beloved Emperor Sun Hai falls prey to a corrupting influence that turns his brothers against him. Now, you must choose sides as the dark mysteries of the crumbling empire unfurl before you: why do the dead now walk the earth? What has caused Sun Hai to become twisted and evil? What was your role in the past and what is your destiny for the future?
Step into the role of an aspiring martial-arts master and follow the path of the open palm or the closed fist. In this multi-award-winning action-RPG, your choices and actions will determine the fate of the entire Jade Empire. Will you prevent the destruction of this beautiful land, or will you crush it beneath your heel? Are you a warrior who uses his strength and fighting mastery to bring peace, or will you instead use your power to bring pain and ruin? The choice is yours.
Jade Empire - BioWare "looking for the right way to deploy it"
Eurogamer has some snippets from the Biodocs where they hint at a possible revival of Jade Empire while really saying nothing:
Jade Empire may return - BioWare is "just looking for the right way to deploy it".
That's what BioWare co-founders Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk told a packed audience at the Eurogaer Expo 2011 today.
"We've been talking a lot about that actually on and off over the years," said Ray Muzyka, BioWare CEO.
"It's an IP, it's a setting that we're really passionate about, and we still are. Both Greg and I were big believers in the IP.
"We're just looking for the right way to deploy it."
"We have a lot of different projects now on a lot of different platforms, and you might see some of that [Jade Empire] in the future. You never know.
Thanks, Frozen Fireball.
Jade Empire: SE - Steam Sale
Not BioWare's best but only $3.75 for the next 20 hours or so...
Jade Empire - SE for Mac Released
Here's the PR:
TransGaming Enables BioWare's Jade Empire Special Edition for The Mac
Now Available For Download At GameTreeOnline.com
Toronto, Canada,– August 18, 2008 – TransGaming Inc. (TSX-V: TNG), today announced an agreement with leading video game developer BioWare™, a division of Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: ERTS), to enable the award-winning title, Jade Empire™ Special Edition, for the Mac®. TransGaming’s digital distribution portal, GameTree Online (www.gametreeonline.com), will make the title available immediately to the Mac community for purchase via direct download.
Jade Empire - The Flawed Companion @ Twenty Sided
This is heavily spoiler-laden but if you've played Jade Empire, Twenty Sided's Shamus Young has an interesting perspective on the main character. No quote, because I can't pick a bit that won't give something away.
Jade Empire - SE Review @ Armchair General
It's been a little while since we've seen a Jade Empire review but one has popped up at Armchair General. The score is 75%, with most of the criticism aimed at the aging of the title since the console release. Here is a clip on the "Special Edition" status:
What was really unfortunate in Jade Empire: Special Edition was the second half to the moniker – Special Edition. Indeed, the gamer would be hard-pressed to find much different between the Xbox version and the PC "special" version. There are small tweaks and changes, such as a handful of added enemies, some new fighting styles that will unlikely be used, and a world map, but these additions are insufficient to maintain the interest of a gamer that owns or has played the original Jade Empire. Indeed, especially for Xbox players, Jade Empire: Special Edition suffers from very slight replay value, perchance to explore Bioware’s penchant multiple endings, but no more. Often the gamer will strive to achieve a certain ending – good, bad, or neutral – and will find that a single act after hours of grinding in a certain direction can actually flip the character from one end of the spectrum to the polar opposite. This makes trying to explore the branching storyline a very tedious affair, and has the risk of turning the player off completely before finishing Jade Empire a second time.
Jade Empire - SE "Retrospective" @ CVG
I've put "retrospective" in quotes because this article is really more of a low-key sales pitch than a true retrospective with BioWare's Diamid Clarke avoiding any negative or revealing comments about Jade Empire's development:
Diarmid Clarke: Not being constrained by other peoples rules means you can be a lot more imaginative with the kind of things you can do. We didn't want to be constrained by a real universe. Once you step away from the real world, you can just do things because it feels cool or it looks nice, and you don't have to worry about people complaining that it never really happened. For us, it's the escapism of games, and telling the stories you want to tell. We made a fighter simulation once, called Operation Overlord. A guy phoned up to complain that Biggin Hill landing strip is 15-degrees further north than it should be. It makes you think, 'It's also just a vector graphic rectangle', but people get very defensive when it's meant to be true.
RPGWatch Feature: Jade Empire SE Review
It took a long time to come to the PC but we've finally reviewed BioWare's first RPG based on an original IP. IGN famously awarded 9.9/10 when Jade Empire was first released - how do we see it? Here's a snip:
One of my biggest complaints about Jade Empire is the lack of exploration. The game puts us in a massive empire and yet we only see two minor villages and the Imperial City. Even the Imperial City doesn't feel an awful lot like a city, much less the largest, most impressive metropolis in the entire empire. That being said, this is a relatively short game. It took me about 20 hours to complete. I can't consider that a bad thing since some of us have demanding lives that leave us with little time to spend gaming.
Jade Empire - Se Review @ TTGamer
Hardware site Tweaktown has reviewed Jade Empire SE on their gaming subsite. "Consolisation" is seen as a major issue and the score is 7/10:
When you're not concerning yourself over your character's abilities and bar levels, chances are you're running around the maps looking for silver and other goodies, talking to people, and getting into the obligatory scuffle here and there. This is where perhaps the first sign of Jade Empire's "consoleportitis" comes into play - map sizes and detail. While the average map size is decent, the amount of detail is mediocre at best, particularly in the areas which are meant to be dense, like cities, which feel more like walkways with a handful of random buildings and structures thrown around the place than true cities. This isn't helped by the fact the maps are predominantly linear, rarely featuring more than one way to get from point A to B. These faults may not be as evident on a console like the Xbox but by PC RPG standards, the environments in Jade Empire feel sparse and boring - as Peter Griffin would say, I was very aware I was playing a game when I was playing Jade Empire because the surroundings do not suck you in at all.
Jade Empire - SE Review @ The Escapist
Jade Empire SE has been reviewed at The Escapist and while there's no score, they clearly loved it:
This iteration of the alignment system is surprisingly mature, allowing your decisions to be more than snappy dialogue patter. I remember one particular instance early on, where I captured one of the enemy's lackeys and interrogated him. After extracting every bit of useful information from him, I let him beg for his life for a while, and then my sidekick and I executed him on the spot and took his money, which was incredibly awesome, because snitches get stitches. And as in most of the other Bioware games, you can warp your sidekicks to your way of thinking, as well as working the romance angle or verbally abusing them for daring to show interest in you. It's pretty sophisticated, especially as we're still mired in the "YOU = GOOD, THEM = EVIL" era of gaming.
Jade Empire - SE Review @ RPG Codex
RPG Codex has posted a wordy review of BioWare's Jade Empire SE. There's no score (as usual) but the overall tone suggests the author found some enjoyment while being disappointing in the missed potential. Here's an excerpt:
Regretfully, Jade Empire still carries over the Biowarian tradition of devising a story that focuses more on party member interactions than the player’s decisions. Most of the time, the PC can’t influence anything worthwhile in the story and to make matters worse players are subjected to cutscenes and movies that remove player agency in many plot-critical situations. One event is particularly vexing: somewhere down the line the PC will need to infiltrate a fortress to learn more about the eeevil schemin’ of the Empire. At the end of the segment, a party member makes a sacrifice so that the PC does not die at the hands of an assassin of the Empire, regardless if the PC is friendly or an insulting bastard to that character throughout the game. Moments like these are what ruins an otherwise cliched but solid story, and many times you get the feeling it’s really not built around the PC but around his or her companions, with long drawn out conversations and character exposition happening all the time to further the narrative. Actually, aside the main character’s special heritage – also revelead to you during the game’s humble beginnings – nothing would really prevent all the other party members from banding together and save the Empire. At a certain point the PC will be cut off from the mortal world and will not have access to his regular party members; this happens at a time when the main villain is exposed. But the party members left behind take absolutely no action against the villain – why? Worse even, is that the villain apparently doesn’t do anything to capture the rest of the group when the PC is spirited away but launches a massive assault against the group later on. Without being earth shattering, a few of these continuity problems occur across the board, unfortunately.
Jade Empire - SE Review @ GameBanshee
Despite some strong criticism of the combat and RPG elements, Boomtown's review of Jade Empire SE still hits 8/10:
Jade Empire’s strength lies in its writing – enjoyable if slightly clichéd storytelling supported by sparklingly witty dialogue and an impressive array of voice talent including cameos from John Cleese and Nathan Fillion. As no amount of time will change this, a major source of enjoyment, and all the amusement – of which there is much – remains in tact.
Jade Empire - SE Review @ Jolt
Jolt has reviewed Jade Empire Special Edition, praising the story and criticising the dated graphics. The score is 8/10 and here's a clip:
Jade Empire’s story is easily the finest part of the game, and it’s in no small part thanks to the excessively talented voice cast. While the majority of the characters are voiced by some of the finest animation/gaming voice actors around, in addition to the aforementioned Captain Reynolds, Jade Empire features the likes of Armin Shimmerman (Quark from Deep Space Nine) and most everyone’s favourite Python, John Cleese. Cleese in particular helps to show off the game’s sense of humour when you meet his character, Sir Roderick Ponce von Fontlebottom the Magnificent Bastard .
Jade Empire - Database @ GameBanshee
GameBanshee has added a bunch of data to their Jade Empire subsite, including databased of the game's techniques, gems, scroll stands and so on.
Jade Empire - SE Review @ gameSlave
Arguing that the simplification of common RPG elements is one of Jade Empire's strengths, gameSlave has awarded a score of 8.5/10 in their review:
Some critics have pointed to the fact that Jade Empire can sometimes seem 'dumbed down', with a lack of detailed character customisation options, but for many gamers this is where the charm lies. Jade Empire is an easy-going, fun game - and the decision to incorporate heavy RPG elements would have detracted from its appeal considerably.
Jade Empire - SE Review @ GameBanshee
A three-page review of Jade Empire SE is up at GameBanshee, with a score of 8.2/10. Here's a snip:
When BioWare developed Jade Empire, they took sort of a minimalist approach to character development. Each character only has three ability scores -- body, spirit, and mind -- and each score affects a lot of things. For example, the spirit score affects how much “chi” you have, and chi can be used to power spells, add damage to melee attacks, and heal your character. Similarly, the mind score affects how much “focus” you have, and focus powers some weapon attacks, and you can use it to slow down time during combat. That is, all three scores are important to all classes of characters, and you have to be careful about how you spend the ability points you receive each time you gain a level.
GameBanshee has also updated their JE subsite with new media and information.
Jade Empire - SE Reviews @ GamingExcellence, Worthplaying
Jade Empire SE has been reviewed at GamingExcellence, achieving a score of 7.6/10:
The game will look familiar to anyone who has played Knights of the Old Republic, and it uses many of the same conventions in it’s presentation, but what’s the most different is the combat. Instead of a system that involves queuing up actions and watching them play out, Jade Empire takes a more direct role in combat: you control your character’s attacks directly (when you press a button, they attack), and whether you hit or not is dependent not on statistics, but whether or not your fists connect. You gather followers in your quest, but can not control them directly, only being able to choose if you want them to attack (which is a more direct way for them to participate), or support ( where they assist you by recovering or strengthening you in combat).
...and on to Worthplaying, with a score of 8/10:
As a martial arts epic, you can't go wrong at all with Jade Empire: Special Edition. The combat, while repetitive, is easily approachable and manageable with the extras added to the PC version. The narrative is excellent, with enough plot points and well-veiled twists to make it a beautiful thing to watch. I do wish it were a longer, larger experience, with more room for character development, and the technical inadequacies brought on by relying on a three-year-old console game certainly try their best to diminish the experience. Those trying to find more of a "light-weight" RPG without the sheer overhead of World of Warcraft or Oblivion will find themselves right at home for a few hours, whirling about the beaches and mountainsides of Jade Empire.
Jade Empire - SE Review @ GameZone
Citing the art direction and dialogue that is "always tipping the scale on the superb side", GameZone's score for Jade Empire SE is 9.3/10:
As you can see, Bioware created a diverse cast of villains to hunt down and face off with. Death’s Hand is hands down the winner for best costume and late in the game, if you meet the right requirements, he could possibly end up being a party member. Like in all their RPGs, Bioware includes a party system for Jade Empire. You are able to take one follower along from the selection of 10 or more NPCs that you recruit along the way. Elder Scrolls IV fanatics will be disappointed to hear that the storyline of Jade Empire is linear. Many of the freedoms in the game come along with making decisions throughout the dialogue. Have no fear though, as linear as Jade Empire may be, the game will grab a hold of your interest right away and create a feeling that you are living and breathing in the world around you. Plus, to finish Jade Empire, players will be surpassing the 20 hour mark – just don’t compare it to the Elder Scrolls series.
Jade Empire - SE Reviews @ Gamepyre, NZ Gamer
Jade Empire: Special Edition has been reviewed at Gamepyre, with a score of 84%, covering the usual issues in a short multi-page format. Here's a clip:
The gameplay in this game is similar to Knights of the Old Republic, although more action-oriented. From the very beginning of the game, you’re in combat. Sure, there are the slow times, but what RPG doesn’t have those? The combat system feels pretty standard at first, until you get a bit into the game.
NZ Gamer is similarly placed with a score of 8/10:
Yes it is standard fare for an RPG (and I suppose it is one of those questions we all ask ourselves: who will be the first to take RPGs to the next new level?), but there is so much about this game that is done well, that you’re not too bothered by what cliché you do come across. For starters, the characters are absolutely superb. Everyone has a story to tell, even the crazy old man down on the beach; all you have to do is ask. And they’re interesting stories, all quite different. What’s more, the voice acting and dialogue is wonderful. It’s especially great when people speak to you in different languages, such as Tho Fan, the Old Tongue. It makes you realise how games in the past really didn’t get this bit right. How could you travel the length and breadth of a huge world, only to have everyone speak to you in your language? Oh, and I checked the credits, and was pleased to have one suspicion confirmed: I don’t want to completely give it away, but let’s just say that Firefly and Serenity fans will get an extra good vibe out of one cameo in particular.
Jade Empire - Review @ GameOver
Jade Empire SE has been reviewed at GameOver, saying they are willing to let the excellent plot carry the underwhelming combat. The score is 82% and here's a snip:
And so you fight your way across the empire, accepting quests, righting wrongs (or, if you’re close fisted, wronging rights), getting involved with intrigues great and small, and trying to figure out the mystery of who exactly your teacher is, and who you are for that matter. It’s an excellent plot told through interactions with other characters and brief animated clips, though towards the end of the game it becomes a little movie heavy, and you almost spend more time watching than playing. Combat quickly becomes quite predictable. Strong melee opponents you slice up from a distance with some ranged style, and you duck and dodge ranged opponent attacks until you can close the distance and cut them up close and personal. The only time you get into any real trouble is when dealing with a number of enemies that gang up and push you into a corner. It’s all very easy. The “boss” battles, which are typically one on one, are almost laughably easy. The final combat of the entire game against the head honcho, the battle I’d been training up for the whole time, ended without him even landing a glove on me.
Jade Empire - SE Contest @ GameBanshee
GameBanshee has a contest to win one of four copies of Jade Empire SE (in NA only, unfortunately). Hit the link for the details.
Jade Empire - SE Review @ Eurogamer
Eurogamer has kicked up their review of Jade Empire SE, praising the art direction and script but criticising the alignment system, insufficient new content and combat. The score is 7/10 and here's a snip:
We mentioned the fighting styles a minute ago, and earlier we touched on the fact that the combat ticks the boxes, but doesn't do much else. This is, indeed, a weak point of Jade Empire. Bioware went to the trouble of implementing a host of interesting and unique fighting styles, and then seemingly decided that making a combat system which was complex enough to do them justice would alienate their RPG-loving fanbase. The result is a disappointingly simple system which allows you to stroll through the game by mashing one or two buttons and rolling around a bit. The most taxing strategy you'll need in combat is to slow an enemy down by pelting them from afar with a technique from one fighting style, then flick styles and roll in to mash at them with standard melee attacks. For boss characters, you'll probably just turn on the ultimate Get Out Of Jail Free card - the bullet time effect - and pound them a bit. It's never difficult, even on higher skill levels, and while it's not boring as such, it's not actually very interesting either. It's just there. It's unremarkable; it's average; it's okay.
Jade Empire - SE Review @ Gamers with Jobs
GwJ has written an in-character review of Jade Empire Special Edition in the form of a conversation with the "Master". There's no score as usual for this site (and it wouldn't suit the format) but the author clearly enjoyed the game despite some quibbles. Here's an example:
The old man sighed and reflected for a moment, then replied "You have two paths to take, dear student. One leads to BioWare fanboyism, one leads to cold-hearted rationality. You can only choose one, so choose carefully."
"But Master, why must there only be two paths? Surely I can…" My eyes widened as I finally understood what he wanted me to notice. "Yes, that is something that bothered me. It claims that the decisions I make follow one of two philosophical doctrines, the Way of the Open Palm or the Way of the Closed Fist. However, like all their previous games it almost always amounts to either being a Mr. Goody Two-Shoes or a Sir Hates-a-lot."
"I am unaware of these men you speak of."
"I mean, there’s no moral ambiguity. You’re either a outrageously nice guy or a complete jerk. I wish there were more in-between choices, and I’m not talking about being a true neutral either."
Jade Empire - SE Review @ ComputerGames.ro
ComputerGames.ro has posted their review of BioWare's Jade Empire Special Edition, awarding a score of 83%. Here's a bit on side-quests:
Getting back to the side-quests, there will always be something new to do, whether it’s proving the innocence of a falsely accused scholar, convincing a “barbarian” from the Far East to leave the Imperial City or find a wife for an over-sized farmer. Also note that some side-quests can have some very hefty rewards, even those which you might think are insignificant, so explore as much as you can and talk to everyone. Unlike Knights of the Old Republic, you will be able to take only one companion with you during your travels from the bunch that will join you as you progress through the game, but you won’t have any control over him, other than changing his behavior during combat: attack or support (if available). Even though their abilities would in theory encourage you to use everyone, the truth is that the first companion (which happens to be a she) will be the one you’ll use for probably about 90% of the game, since she can restore you Chi. As expected, you will also be able to have romantic relationships with some of your companions, and when compared with the options you have in other RPG’s… weeeeell, let’s just say that you have a lot more freedom this time around.
Jade Empire - SE Review @ 2404.org
2404's review has a laundry list of shortcomings in Jade Empire Special Edition but doesn't stop it from getting a score of 8.3/10, courtesy of the excellent dialogue and quests:
Fast-paced as it may be, the fighting in Empire is not exactly cerebral, so the D&D or Final Fantasy geeks (guilty of the latter!) won’t find stat nirvana here. That said, at least it’s original. By contrast, everything having to do with dialogue or quests is lifted directly from KOTOR. Replace the Sith with “the Way of the Closed Fist,” the Jedi with “Way of the Open Palm,” streamline the dialogue options a bit, surgically excise and burn KOTOR’s tumor-like outgrowth of quest-related bugs, and you’ve got the derivative but solid story engine of Jade Empire. It’s a good thing BioWare has perfected this aspect of its gameplay, because city exploration, quest management, and talking occupy by far more time than combat. The dialogue is as brief or as involved as you want it to be; the quest journal is crystal-clear in its organization; and the quests are plot-pertinent yet numerous. Personally, I had a blast with this game’s quests and dialogue portions just as I did with KOTOR’s – sure, it’s more of the same, but it’s improved even further, and it’s not like any other game does it nearly as well.
Jade Empire - SE Reviews @ ActionTrip & DriverHeaven
A pair of new Jade Empire Special Edition reviews are available today on the web. Let's start with ActionTrip, who awarded 80% despite some concerns:
I do have a few concerns with this game. Although countless gamers will surely snatch it up ("countless gamers"? - Ed), it's pertinent to mention that Bioware enthusiasts could be warded off due to the game's blatant lack of depth in certain aspects of gameplay. Namely, after playing for several hours, one does tend to get bored with simplified combat and the bland inventory system. Believe it or not, despite Bioware's traditional attention to detail in this matter, there simply is no inventory to slot items or weapons. Although I do appreciate having a straightforward interface, I sometimes truly feel the need to tamper with additional items, weaponry or armor. Instead of going through an endless amount of items in your "backpack," your character gets to buy weapons from traders and each time the new weapon substitutes the one you were wielding before. Another weakness is that there's not much to think about in terms of leveling. Hard-earned exp. points are distributed to the character's health, chi or intuition. The rest goes into improving specific fighting styles and the damage caused throughout combat. The whole system works without any hitches and is exceedingly easy to get into, though it does appear a bit thin when compared to Bioware's other achievements (KotOR or NWN).
...and then on to DriverHeaven who awarded almost the same score (81%), noticing several comparisons to KotOR:
While it might not look like it at first, Jade Empire borrows heavily from Bioware’s previous hit Knights of the Old Republic. The quest structure is virtually the same, as is the way conversations and party management are handled. In fact, were it not for the completely different combat mechanics, this game would have been a textbook copy of the Star Wars RPG. This is by no means a bad thing, but I did have several Déjà vu moments during the game, which I’d rather have avoided. As an example, you travel between locations with the help of a flyer (one of the above mentioned machines) and you are presented with a take-off and landing animation each time. The same thing happened in KOTOR when you used your spaceship to fly from one planet to the next. Alignment also makes a return, and you can experience different endings based on your actions. There are other similarities between the two titles, but thankfully they are mostly restricted to positive things.
Jade Empire - Review @ CVG
CVG has reviewed BioWare's Jade Empire, awarding 8.9/10 despite saying it's "still a two year-old Xbox conversion". Here's a snip:
Jade Empire is set in a massive and lush world, which borrows liberally from several Far Eastern influences. The game offers some of the most beautiful levels we've ever laid eyes on, with plenty of variation on offer too, from fungus-lit caves through haunted forests to (quite literally) small slices of heaven. Everything feels like BioWare have poured their hearts and souls into the game, from the inclusion of an entirely made-up language to the masses of scrolls, signs and conversations that fill in the back-story and work to create an accessible and hugely believable world.
Jade Empire - Special Edition Interview @ IGN
IGN.AU speaks to BioWare's Diarmid Clarke in a just-barely pre-release interview about Jade Empire Special Edition:
IGN: There are two new combat styles in the Special Edition. Can you outline what they are and how they change the dynamics of the fighting system?
Diarmid Clarke: The two new styles are Iron Palm and Viper. Iron Palm is a sumo-inspired style that's rather slow but it's also one of the most powerful styles. You attack with bull rushes and palm strikes that can really send your opponents flying. Viper is the opposite: it does very little damage but it's incredibly fast. It poisons your enemies so they actually bleed damage over time. Strategically, you might want to use Viper on multiple opponents to get them dying while you focus on the boss by using Iron Palm.
Jade Empire - Special Edition Digital Versions Available
Just a little late because a business trip took me out of circulation...BioWare has announced the various digital editions of Jade Empire SE are now available in NA (March 2nd for the rest of the world):
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada (February 27, 2007) – BioWare Corp., a leading developer of electronic entertainment software, announced today that their new PC title, Jade Empire: Special Edition, is available for purchase and direct download from major digital distribution outlets including BioWare’s Online Store (http://store.bioware.com, Steam (www.steampowered.com), Direct2Drive (www.direct2drive.com and other online retail sites in the Macrovision/Trymedia network. The BioWare Online Store also offers the Jade Empire Fan Pack which includes the Jade Empire: Special Edition digital download, the award-winning soundtrack by famed composer, Jack Wall, and a Jade Empire mouse pad.
Jade Empire: Special Edition is set in an ancient and mysterious world where players can choose to act as a noble hero or treacherous villain by following the path of the “Open Palm” or the “Closed Fist.” Players will face powerful human and supernatural foes, learn magical martial arts and weapons styles, and discover the darkest secrets of the world. Jade Empire: Special Edition engages users with its rich story line and optimizes the gaming experience for PC gamers with an additional difficulty level, graphical upgrades, enhanced resolution and new content exclusively for the PC.
Jade Empire: Special Edition is the PC version of Jade Empire, originally released for the Xbox. Jade Empire has won numerous awards including Xbox Game of the Year, RPG of the Year, Best Story, Best Sound and Best Original Soundtrack. Jade Empire: Special Edition is rated “M” for Mature.
For more information, visit http://jade.bioware.com/specialedition/
Jade Empire - Review @ Shacknews
Shacknews has posted their review of Bioware´s action-RPG Jade Empire. Here´s a snippet:
Jade Empire: Special Edition can be viewed in the same light as the Xbox original: it's a fun action RPG with a great story line that doesn't last nearly long enough, but is great all the way through. The combat can grow tiresome, but it still holds enough appeal that you'll enjoy experimenting with the new styles earned late in the game. If you're an action RPG fan and haven't yet experienced Jade Empire, there's no reason for you not to do so now.
Found at FourFatChicks.
Jade Empire - First Impressions @ Jolt
Jolt has some first impressions of Jade Empire: Special Edition. Here's a taste:
As an RPG Jade Empire doesn’t have the greatest amount of technical depth – you have a limited choice of templates and not a huge amount of variety when it comes to upgrading them – but the depth of story and its epic scale make the relatively straightforward combat easy to forgive. If you have a love of story-driven games and any kind of interest in the Mythical East then Jade Empire is sure to please; and if you’ve already played through the Xbox version when it came out then the long wait for the PC version should certainly make the proposition of an upgrade more tempting, if only for the experience of replaying the game with some minor improvements and sharper visuals. We’ll have a full review of the game next month.
Jade Empire - Review @ GameSpy
The last of the uber sites has posted their pre-release Jade Empire review, with GameSpy awarding 4/5. Here's a snip on the presentation:
Jade Empire casts the player as a mysterious student who has been raised from infancy by Master Li, the head teacher at a martial arts school in the town of Two Rivers. Two Rivers is a tiny outpost of a fantastically conceived universe that draws from a hodgepodge of Asian influences including Chinese history and mythology, Japanese architecture, Buddhist, Shinto and animist philosophy and legends as well as a host of kung-fu and action films. The story involves the search for the main character's mysterious past, as well as the cause of a plague of angry ghosts that threaten to destroy the Empire.
If the story sounds a bit clichéd, that's because it is. But that hardly matters when compared with the skill of Jade Empire's presentation. The world that BioWare has created alternately beautiful and terrifying, filled with angelic nature spirits and vile demons that vie for the soul of humanity, along with a very real evil at the heart of the story that springs from nothing more than basic human nature. The game's dialogue is superb, voiced by an exceptionally talented cast that bring a cast of absolutely fascinating characters to life and make what might otherwise have been a collection of stock RPG elements feel fresh and new.
Thanks again, Role-player!
Jade Empire - Review @ 1Up
1Up is next to review Jade Empire: Special Edition. Commenting that " Compelling narrative and crippled combat make Jade Empire a case of form over function", the score is 7/10:
As in KOTOR, most of your problems get solved through either conversation or combat. The former is where Jade's attention to detail comes in -- as you wander from place to place and clear objectives from your quest log, you meet dozens of people, most of whom have a lot to say to you. It doesn't take long to get a sense of the time and attention put into the game's atmosphere and dialogue; once you get over the amusing irony of Jade's heavy reliance on Western accents, it's easy to appreciate the detail that went into the various plot threads. Most of your dialogue responses amount to "good" and "evil" choices, but unlike in KOTOR, these are framed more as differing-but-equally-valid philosophies (Way of the Open Palm/Way of the Closed Fist) and less as hard-and-fast moral beliefs, though they do dictate your martial options to some extent.
In related news, you can now pre-load JE from BioWare's online store.
Jade Empire - Review @ GameSpot
GameSpot is the second major site to review the Jade Empire: Special Edition release for the PC. The score is a more restrained 7.8/10 and after a very positive opening paragraph, here's some of the criticism:
Still, two years is a lot of time for the cracks to start showing, and even with the added benefit of slightly improved artificial intelligence and a couple of new fighting styles, the shadow of other role-playing and adventure games looms more heavily over the simple combat and scant leveling options. Enemies do exhibit better defensive behavior this time around, but battles retain their general simplicity. You still collect amulet gems and have a large variety of combat styles to upgrade, but without an actual inventory to manage or gear to collect, Jade Empire feels less fulfilling next to more full-fledged RPGs. With both the combat and the customization options left underdeveloped, it doesn't matter whether you look at the game as an RPG or an action adventure; either way, there is some noticeable missed potential.
Jade Empire - Special Edition Review @ IGN
IGN is the first site to jump the release and get an early review of BioWare's Jade Empire Special Edition out the door. It's a much more realistic article than their silly initial Xbox review (9.9/10), which they basically acknowledge in the conclusion. The score this time is 8.6/10 and here's part of that summary:
While it's apparently quite easy for a good RPG to turn the heads of our console editors and leave them gasping for superlatives, the fact is that the RPG market on the PC is considerably more competitive. Add in the fact that Jade Empire is nearly two years old and it's not hard to understand that the PC version isn't quite the revelation that it was on the Xbox.
That said, Jade Empire is an instantly captivating experience for any action RPG fan who hasn't yet played it on the Xbox. The characters, settings and storyline are filled with fantastic details and the whole game is dripping with atmosphere. There are always meaningful and interesting choices to make throughout the game and a wide range of combat styles to explore. On the other hand, the linear missions tend to simplify the "good" and "bad" morality system and you'll need to focus on just a few combat styles in order to stay alive.
Jade Empire - Special Edition Preloading on Steam
Those interested in purchasing Jade Empire via Steam can now start pre-loading in anticipation of the Feb 27 release date. A preorder discount also applies, so hit the link for details.
Jade Empire - Special Edition Trailer
A new Jade Empire trailer is up at 3D Gamers - here's their blurb:
2K Games has issued a new movie trailer for Jade Empire: Special Edition, the action packed role-playing adventure game created by BioWare. This high-resolution gameplay clip runs for almost a minute offering insight to the new “iron palm” fighting style, a slow yet powerful technique that devastates the enemy with mighty slaps..sumo style.
Jade Empire - Preview @ 1Up
1Up has a mini-preview of BioWare's freshly-Gold Jade Empire: Special Edition. Here's one of the five paragraphs:
In this fantasy version of ancient China, you play a martial arts student who is hand picked by your master to restore order to the spirit realm. Your character gains experience by engaging in real-time hand-to-hand combat with a number of foes, both human and mythical. As your skills develop, you can customize your fighting style to improve your weapons and stances. Battles can be tricky, in part because the developers have made combat more challenging for this version, but also because you sometimes have to fight with the keyboard controls.
Jade Empire - Special Edition Goes Gold
Here's the announcement:
2K and BioWare Announce Jade Empire™: Special Edition for the PC Goes Gold
-- Jade Empire: Special Edition for the PC Provides Enhanced Game Play with New Content Including New Monsters and Fighting Styles --
New York, NY - February 7, 2007 - 2K, a publishing label of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (NASDAQ: TTWO), announced today that Jade Empire: Special Edition has gone to gold master and will be in stores in North America on February 27 and in Europe on March 2 Jade Empire: Special Edition is an award-winning action-RPG that delivers an incredible story-driven game play experience with stunning high-resolution graphics and controls optimized for the PC.
In the ancient, mysterious world of the Jade Empire, players choose to act as a noble hero or treacherous villain by following the path of the "Open Palm" or the "Closed Fist." Players will face powerful human and supernatural foes, learn magical martial arts and weapons styles, and discover the darkest secrets of the world. Jade Empire: Special Edition engages users with its rich story line and optimizes the gaming experience for PC gamers with an additional difficulty level, graphical upgrades, enhanced resolution and ultra-crisp visuals. In addition, the PC version features an exclusive art book and poster.
"We are delighted that our partnership with 2K has allowed us to bring Jade Empire: Special Edition to the PC, where fans can explore the beautiful, lush world in higher resolution than ever before," said Ray Muzyka, Chief Executive Officer, BioWare Corp. "Throughout the epic storyline, players can interact with more amazing creatures and characters, and enjoy the challenge of combat through the all-new Jade Master difficulty level and improved enemy AI!"
Jade Empire - BioWare Newsletter Goodies
BioWare's latest newsletter has a "sizzling" new trailer for Jade Empire Special Edition, as well as two new desktops and a bunch of screens, brought to you via some "mad overtime hours". You can also preorder Jade Empire because "if you thought you knew awesome before, you are sadly, sadly, mistaken".
Someone doesn't need any more coffee. You can also check out links to Mass Effect previews that we've already covered and links to some Dragon Age discussions on the forums.
Jade Empire - Preview @ Games Radar
The latest preview of BioWare's Jade Empire PC build is Games Radar:
A play through the first hours of the PC special edition of Jade Empire reveals that it treads the boards of Star Wars with a glee thoroughly untouched upon in the opening acts of sci-fi amnesia in either KOTOR. That’s not to belittle what BioWare has created here though - from the start you’re embroiled in a deep, wordy and FMV-packed narrative, nimbly facing off against evenly paced tutorial sections
It doesn’t really feel like a converted Xbox game in the way that the KOTORs did either. Yes, the areas you find yourself in are often tight and contained, but the lush, colorful, almost hand-drawn locations and smooth character models and animations easily bring your "console conversion" guard down.
Jade Empire - Special Edition Screens @ BioWare
BioWare has released some new screens for Jade Empire Special Edition.
Jade Empire - Special Edition CES Preview @ FiringSquad
The next site to traipse to CES and deliver a Jade Empire preview is FiringSquad. Here's one of the three paragraphs on offer:
Jade Empire is a fantasy game that takes a lot of inspiration from Asian mythology as well as kung fu movies. Your character is learning to be a martial artist when the game begins; naturally the character gets caught up in events that force him to learn to become a fighter quickly to deal with an external threat. If you played and enjoyed the Xbox version you will be happy to know that the PC port will contain a few new items such as weapons and fighting styles. The most impressive version in the PC version is in the visual look of the game. The graphics are quite good from the lighting effects to the natural enviroments like tall grass that your character moves through. The character models are a bit on the low polygon side but overall the graphics don't look as dated as you might expect from a port of a two year old Xbox title.
Jade Empire - Special Edition CES Preview @ GameSpot
GameSpot has some CES 07 impressions of Jade Empire Special Edition. It seems the control scheme that was once said to be impossible on the PC is actually quite simple:
Controlling your character is easy--you use the standard W, S, A, D keys to move and most of your attacks are controlled with the left and right buttons on the mouse. Multiple clicks of the left button will result in longer and more complicated chain attacks but those can be blocked by enemies. Clicking the right button will result in a longer, more powerful attack that will break through a blocking enemy's defenses. Pressing the left and right buttons simultaneously resulted in an area attack that was ideal for making some room when the enemies piled up. In addition, as a magical martial artist in Jade Empire SE, you'll be able to focus your chi to add extra damage to your attacks (by pressing the E key) or heal yourself by holding down the left button on your mouse at any time.
Jade Empire - Special Edition Screens @ BioWare
BioWare has released some new screens for Jade Empire Special Edition.
Jade Empire - Special Edition - Slight Delay, New Screens
Worthplaying has news that 2K Games has pushed Jade Empire Special Edition a few weeks to February 26th 2007. There are also five new screens that accompanied the news.
Jade Empire - Special Edition Preview @ Hooked Gamers
Hooked Gamers has kicked up a preview of BioWare's upcoming Jade Empire PC release:
As one would expect after a two-year hiatus the graphics have been given a tinkering, to take advantage of the platform swap. Over 300 textures have been remodelled, and the resolution has been increased to 1600x1200. Though the characters have not been remodelled themselves, the attention paid to the graphics engine is set to assure players of constant frame rates and smooth game play, especially during moments citing dozens of on-screen enemies or more - a procedure more suited to the PC.
Jade Empire - Special Edition Preview @ CVG
British site ComputerAndVideoGames has previewed the upcoming PC version of Jade Empire:
Before we roll out the Buddhist barrel of improvements that BioWare are pumping into the PC release of oriental RPG Jade Empire, let's first take into account that John Cleese is in it. John Cleese! Playing a blundering Brit explorer with a blunderbus! That's great!
Jade Empire - Product Page Launched
2K Games has tossed up the official product page for Jade Empire Special Edition. There isn't a huge amount of material but head over for a handful of screens, a feature overview and so on.
Jade Empire - Interview @ Strategy Informer
Strategy Informer talks to BioWare's Diarmid Clarke about the PC version of Jade Empire:
Strategy Informer: Will you be adding any other improvements to the game?
Diarmid Clarke: Other than the high resolution graphics and stunning new visual effects, we’ve also introduced a very intuitive keyboard and mouse control system. Players can re-map the controls as they see fit, or they can use a gamepad if they prefer. We’ve also enhanced the gameplay by improving the AI, so the fights are a lot more dynamic as enemies evade, block and fight smarter. You’ll have to be a lot more strategic in your tactics and your choice of fighting styles in the PC version. In fact, we’ve even added a new difficulty level that will pose a greater challenge to even the most experienced of Jade players.
Jade Empire - SE Screenshots @3D Gamers
3D Gamers offers some new screenshots from the PC version of Jade Empire.
Jade Empire - SE Preview @ Gamesradar
Another preview of Jade Empire SE for the PC has popped up, this one is located at Gamesradar:
As you'd expect, the graphics are the most obvious improvement in this translation. A lot of work has been done to ensure that this is the best looking iteration of the game you'll ever see. The textures have been redone to take advantage of high resolutions. The action we saw was gorgeous and running at 1600 x 1200.
Jade Empire - SE Previews @ GameSpot, GameSpy & IGN
A trio of new Jade Empire Special Edition previews have hit the 'net from the big three. Let's kick off with GameSpot:
BioWare project director Diarmid Clarke suggested that the new version of the game will add "three layers of development." These layers include technical upgrades that take advantage of modern PCs, additional game content, and expanded gameplay in such areas as smarter enemies and more-balanced combat. As we saw, Jade Empire will definitely take advantage of the greater technical power of modern PCs to offer better lighting, much better particle effects for smoke and fire, higher-resolution graphics up to 1600x1200, and more-detailed textures (Clarke noted that more than 300 of the original game's textures have been redone). The PC version will also offer better loading times for most PCs, which will be especially helpful in such areas as the game's arena, where you are pitted against successive opponents that have to be loaded each time. You'll also be able to control the game by using a traditional mouse-and-keyboard setup and by using hotkeys to quickly switch to the game's many different fighting styles, which offer varying degrees of offense, defense, speed, and power.
Next to GameSpy who interestingly say "The PC interface might just make combat better" (anyone remember claims that Jade Empire's control would be impossible on PC?) but "Not a whole lot is actually changing":
I'll admit -- I'm not the biggest Jade Empire fan in the world. I thought the game's character development systems were pretty light compared to what I usually expect from BioWare. On the other hand, I thought the world was pretty cool, and the idea of spending more time in it is enticing. If you've yet to play the game on console (or don't own one and have been waiting for Jade Empire on PC), then this is pretty exciting news. We'll have more on the game as its January release date approaches.
And finally, IGN says:
As we mentioned earlier, the biggest addition from the vantage of BioWare is the updated control scheme planned and executed for the mouse and keyboard. For those completely unfamiliar, Jade Empire is a 3rd person action role-playing game. The action is quick and involves many styles of fighting that when combined can tackle any enemy and destroy them. Switching between all of these styles on the fly to complete what are known as "harmonic combos" could be a pain in the ass on the console controller because only four styles could be mapped to the controller d-pad. The keyboard has no such restrictions. As a default, the fight style keys will be mapped to the number keys allowing for immediate switching between styles, which in theory, should make the multi-style harmonic combos easier to pull off.
Jade Empire - Special Edition Movie @ Gamespot
Gamespot is sporting a 64Mb movie from a "special edition" of Jade Empire. It's unclear -why- it's a special edition but we'll take their word for it.
Jade Empire - Interview @ Firing Squad
Firing Squad had a chance at an interview with Diarmid Clark, Bioware's project director for the PC version:
FiringSquad: What can you tell us about the graphical upgrades that are being made for the PC version?Diarmid Clarke: We’ve upgraded a lot of the textures and effects, so you’re getting ultra-crisp visuals, smooth frame rates and it all loads very quickly. It looks absolutely fantastic on a high resolution, widescreen monitor, but it’s completely scalable so it will also run smoothly and look great on lower end machines as well.
Source: Evil Avatar
Jade Empire - Screens @ Worthplaying
Worthplaying has picked up five new screens from the PC version of Jade Empire. Enjoy!
Jade Empire (PC): Interview @ IGN
IGN: OK. What exactly is going to be new about the game? When we checked in with you guys at E3 there was some talk about new levels, enemies, and fighting styles.
Diarmid Clarke: We've basically added in three levels of new things for the PC version of Jade. The first level is the PC-centricness of the game. The things you expect and demand as a PC player like the higher graphics resolution. This also includes the redesigned keyboard and mouse controls that have been completely designed to work for the PC and be great rather than a side option. So it's not something that should really be played with a controller, it's actually designed for the keyboard and mouse.
The second level of things we put in is extra content. There are new monsters to fight including some new big demons. There are some new fighting styles for players to find as well. We've added a world map into the game. There are also some new weapon upgrades. A new difficulty level is also available. This is the super hard level. So quite a few new things for people who have played the game previously to discover.
The third level of changes we made were gameplay improvements. We've been able to change the AI around so that fights will be a lot more dynamic. You're really going to have to use the tactics of Jade in your fighting styles a lot more in this as the original Jade was pushing you to do.
2K Announces Jade Empire: Special Edition for PC
2K to Publish BioWare's "Jade Empire: Special Edition" for the PC
-- Action-RPG Anticipated for January 2007 with Enhanced Visuals and Additions --
New York, NY - September 7, 2006 - 2K, a publishing label of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (NASDAQ: TTWO), announced today that it will be publishing Jade Empire: Special Edition for the PC. Jade Empire is an award-winning role-playing game (RPG) from renowned PC game developer BioWare. Anticipated for January 2007, Jade Empire: Special Edition will feature enhanced graphics and a number of new additions.
"We are thrilled to be partnering with 2K to deliver the immersive story and exciting world of Jade Empire to PC gamers," said Ray Muzyka, CEO of BioWare.
Jade Empire: Special Edition will be exclusively available for the PC and will feature increased graphic resolutions with new visual effects and fighting styles, as well as new monsters and enemies with enhanced AI. The game will also include customizable, intuitive controls and an all-new art book as part of the Special Edition bonus content.
"BioWare has a large and loyal fan base of PC RPG gamers and we have heard their many requests for a PC version of Jade Empire," said Greg Zeschuk, president of BioWare. "We are happy to work with 2K on our latest product."
"With Jade Empire's extensive list of accolades and BioWare's industry-wide respect as a developer, 2K is delighted to bring the beloved Jade Empire franchise to the PC," said Christoph Hartmann, President, 2K.
Jade Empire (PC): Screens @ Official Site
Information aboutJade Empire: Special Edition
Combat: Pausable Real-time
Play-time: 20-40 hours
Regions & platforms
· Platform: PC
· Released at 2007-02-26
· Publisher: 2K Games
· Jade Empire
· Platform: Xbox
· Released at 2005-04-02
· Publisher: Microsoft Games