Do you still remember the fantastic 2005 game year? Resident Evil 4, Shadow of the Colossus, the beginning of the God of War series … 2005 was able to provide fascination in front of the LCD TV with countless hit games. In addition, the well-known game company Bioware, founded in Canada in 1995, was still known as a guarantee for great role-playing games. The good old days.
In addition to the legendary Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (here our test for mobile implementation) and the start of the still legendary Mass Effect series (thanks to the Legendary Edition again on everyone's lips), Bioware adorned itself in the mid-200s with a wonderful and extraordinary Far East role-playing game. Jade Empire was able to convince with an exciting story, believable characters and excellent technology, but it was wrongly passed under the radar.
We take a detailed look back and reveal what made Jade Empire so unique and why it is high time for an impressive successor.
The fall of the Sun Dynasty?
As the title of the action role-playing game suggests, Jade Empire takes us to the imaginative lands of the so-called Jade Empire, largely influenced by Asian mythology and ancient China. The country, filled with restless spirits, dangerous demons, loads of magic and strange steam engines, is in turmoil. The incumbent emperor, a man named Sun Hai, is increasingly being questioned by society because of frequent abstinence in public and alleged illness.
Although it was Sun Hai who led the empire out of the so-called "Great Drought" at its peak of power and miraculously supplied it with water again, these days have long been a thing of the past. Another reason for the many doubts of the population is the fearsome minister of war of the emperor, the hand of death. Some claim that the emperor is just a puppet for the masked warrior and leader of the dreaded lotus assassins – can that be true? It is up to us to uncover the many secrets of the Jade Empire and to get to the bottom of the machinations of the Lotus Assassins. But are we really the right person for such a job? Hell, who are we anyway ?!
We – the last living spirit monk
<img src = "https://www.pcgames.de/screenshots/960x/2021/02/vlcsnap-2021-02-12-16h16m02s280-pc-games.png" alt = "Who do you agree to?& nbsp; Although there are only ready-made characters in the character editor, we can adjust their values and fighting styles as we wish. Unfortunately, optical adjustments are not possible. In such an unusual setting, it's a shame. "/>
Source: PC Games
Typically for a Bioware title, it is up to us how exactly our main character appears and what moral role we take on the chessboard of the mighty. But before we influence the course and many associated fates through our decisions, we can let off steam in a character editor that has been kept simple. We have ready-made characters such as "Wu the lotus flower", "Ming the angry" or "Jen Zi the radiant" – everything sounds a bit unusual and full of meaning, but very appropriate for a role-playing game in ancient fantasy Asia. Our choice does not only determine the appearance and gender, the character type is also of great importance. Whether fast, strong or magical, the choice is entirely up to us. In addition, we can still opt for two time-honored and unarmed fighting styles: the jumping tiger, a thousand cuts, the heavenly wave … as already mentioned, far away from worn out role-playing paths. Once we have put together a character from the selection options, our adventure and our fight against the dreaded Hand of Death and the Order of the Lotus Assassins can finally begin – they will still experience their blue miracle.
A Peace in Two Streams
<img src = "https://www.pcgames.de/screenshots/960x/2021/02/vlcsnap-2021-02-12-16h16m46s227-pc-games.png" alt = "This is how to live: No wonder that Smiling Mountain shines so much. Life in the fishing village of Zwei Strom could hardly be more pleasant. It is hardly surprising that the peace will not last long. "/>
Source: PC Games
Like many other genre representatives, Jade Empire starts off calmly and dignified. For reasons not explained, we were placed in the care of Master Li as toddlers, the head of a martial arts school in the small fishing village of Zwei Stroms. After a gentle and beautifully made tutorial in which we familiarize ourselves with the village and its inhabitants, it comes to a great catastrophe – typical. The village is attacked by the notorious lotus assassins and razed to the ground, there are only a handful of survivors in the sea of flames. The place we have called home is in ruins. But there is also a good side to the tragedy: Together with our friend Morgenblüte and the newly acquired partner To the Shrewd, we form a group that has set itself the task of freeing Master Li from the clutches of evil and of causing the many deaths of our friends revenge.
<img src = "https://www.pcgames.de/screenshots/960x/2021/02/vlcsnap-2021-02-12-16h17m51s384-pc-games.png" alt = "Typical organic goods: A group system should of course not be missing. There are a total of 12 unique followers who fit perfectly into the overarching story. Each figure has its own motifs, it is also possible to start various romances. "/>
Source: PC Games
Jade Empire (buy now ) tells a very exciting story with many clever and surprising twists and turns, iconic villains and lots of tragedy that will be remembered for a long time – so long-term that even after 16 years we still rave about it! The action role-playing game with a touch of the Far East can also convince with a lot of humor, charm and unusual ideas. Another thing that should not be missing in a bioware title: A group system! There are a total of twelve unique followers that we can gather around us as the story progresses. The various companions could hardly be more different. In addition to a master of the drunken fist, there is also, for example, a little girl whose fate is interwoven with that of a dangerous demon, and an accountant from heaven. Each character has their own personal opinion of our actions and events, pursues their own motives and is continuously actively involved in the course of the plot. This works particularly well because each individual member has a detailed backstory that is related in one way or another to the overall story.
When the 16-18-hour story approaches its rousing finale, we actually feel as if we had experienced a fateful adventure full of highs and lows with our closest circle of friends. Game connoisseurs know: A complex and exciting story only works with a credible and well thought-out game world. Let me tell you: this is the real jade star of adventure.
Sick forests, pirate islands and the sky
<img src = "https://www.pcgames.de/screenshots/960x/2021/02/vlcsnap-2021-02-12-16h18m12s630-pc-games.png" alt = "The heart of the jade realm: The wonderfully designed imperial city is one of the most important places. The palace is not only home to the reigning emperor, the pompous city also calls the hand of death its home. "/>
Source: PC Games
Jade Empire presents a large game world, which consists of many hub worlds, but the center is clearly the pompous imperial city. But there is also a lot to discover beyond the huge city walls. In order to reach the seat of the hand of death, we need an aircraft that can travel such a long distance without bursting. That forces us to stay longer in the port city of Tiens pier. The city, battered by fate, suffers from severe water, silver and food shortages, a cursed forest and a persistent pirate plague. As is typical of the genre, it's up to us to eliminate the many problems before we can embark on the long journey to the capital. The Harmony Ministry wants us to take care of the sick forest near the settlement, in which an ancient demon named "The Mother" is up to mischief – Princess Mononoke sends her regards. Not only dangerous missions are waiting for us, the everyday life of city dwellers also needs one or the other helping hand.
<img src = "https://www.pcgames.de/screenshots/430x/2021/02/vlcsnap-2021-02-12-16h18m34s080-pc-games.png" alt = "Promised is promised:& nbsp; The baker Bei promised in early childhood that the robber leader would one day take her as his wife. His new flame doesn't like that … A fatal duel is the fairest way out. Or not? "/>
Source: PC Games
This leads from small, insignificant everyday stories, like that of the grim cook Teh, who mocks his dishwasher Wong, to a fateful love triangle, the outcome of which is in our hands. The baker Bei desperately wants to marry his mistress Lan and lead a quiet and happy life, but is beaten and bullied every day by a band of bandits. There's a good reason for that, at least if you ask Raider Leader Ai Ling. In her childhood she was so fond of today's baker that he once promised her that one day they would get married. We could bring Ai Ling to her senses and help the two lovebirds to be happy. But we could also suggest that the two women fight to the death – sounds more than fair.
<img src = "https://www.pcgames.de/screenshots/430x/2021/02/vlcsnap-2021-02-12-16h18m49s241-pc-games.png" alt = "Reading makes you smart: In the jade area there are countless scrolls and book stands that tell us more about the world and give us small experience points. "/>
Source: PC Games
The side quests in the jade area are written with great attention to detail and are very diverse, at least most of the time. There are practically no simple and unmotivating time wasters, like killing five wolves or annoying fetch quests. Every little story has its justification and helps to breathe life into the game world. In order to increase the desire for discovery, a book stand and scrolls await, which, in addition to a few experience points, reveal many historical details about the area. One point of criticism is that unfortunately there are no weapons or clothes to be found – wasted potential in such a unique universe. But there are jewels with different effects, which we can equip with our amulet. The little stones, for example, expand our chi, our focus or talents relevant to the conversation, such as flattering or intimidating, which enable further dialogue options. But don't worry, if you run out of clever answers, you can always fall back on your fist.
<img src = "https://www.pcgames.de/screenshots/960x/2021/02/vlcsnap-2021-02-12-16h16m18s673-pc-games.png" alt = "Nimble, diverse and satisfying: Instead of relying on a turn-based system, Bioware in Jade Empire offers fast and action-heavy fights, which are varied through various styles. "/>
Source: PC Games
The combat system is based on real time instead of turn-based tactics, but a lot of strategy and tension have been breathed into it through different fighting styles and powers. The aforementioned energies focus, a kind of endurance, and chi are available to us in combat and allow various actions. With chi, not only can we use magical fighting styles, it also allows us to heal ourselves. The focus power, on the other hand, enables combat with a weapon style and a slow-motion mode that allows us to keep track of things even in lightning-fast battles. Outside of combat, activated focus gives us a faster running speed. That doesn't sound very varied, but the variance also comes from the fighting styles that have already been mentioned several times.
<img src = "https://www.pcgames.de/screenshots/430x/2021/02/vlcsnap-2021-02-12-16h15m25s567-pc-games.png" alt = "That only picks briefly: With the time-honored fighting style 'soul catcher' it is possible for us to use the chi reserves of our opponents – extremely practical in combat. "/>
Source: PC Games
Some serve the purpose of simply distributing damage with magic, a weapon, or our fists; others, like the ancient soul catcher style, allow us to steal chi from our opponents. In addition, there are a variety of cool transformations into monstrous forms like that of a toad or horse demon. If you want to win challenging fights, you have to rely on a rotation of various fighting styles and relevant actions such as evading or defending yourself. The type of opponent also plays an important role. For example, some styles do not work with ghosts, others, such as fire magic, are useless against demons because they have fire immunity. The fights are exciting, feel satisfying and exude a lot of fun, thanks in part to the excellent technology and design of the Xbox title.
<img src = "https://www.pcgames.de/screenshots/960x/2021/02/vlcsnap-2021-02-12-16h19m13s778-pc-games.png" alt = "Retro can be so beautiful: Some old Xbox games, like Jade Empire, run on the brand new Xbox Series X. Thanks to the power, the old classics look better than ever. "/>
Source: PC Games
Then as now, Jade Empire is playing great. Other games released at the same time clearly show their age. It's different in the Far Eastern action RPG. The loading times are short and acceptable for the standards of the time, the lighting effects are believable and nice to look at and the textures are displayed cleanly. You will look in vain for bugs, frame rate drops and other technological tastes. The setting of the adventure is just as successful. Bioware even went so far as to hire a Canadian linguist to invent a fictional language called "Tho Fan". The music is fantastically written and gives the exploration or the fighting the right emotionality. All dialogues were completely set to music and adorned with excellent and varied speakers – even in German! Jade Empire is an excellent video game, which not only excels in every single sub-category, it also combines them with every menu
<img src = "https://www.pcgames.de/screenshots/430x/2021/02/Jade-Empire-pc-games.jpg" alt = "Heavenly beautiful: Jade Empire presents a varied and beautiful game world that convinces with many details, great characters and gripping stories. "/>
Source: PC Games
ge sensitivity and attention to detail. Even after 16 years the fascination does not diminish – organic goods, where is part 2 ?! From 2005 to 2008 Bioware actually worked on a futuristic sequel that went by the project name "Revolver". More than some official artwork does not exist for the set role play.
Did you miss Jade Empire back then or were you so nostalgic about our time travel that you want to plunge into the Jade Empire again? No matter which Xbox console you have at home, Jade Empire runs on each of them, especially great on Microsoft's new flagship Xbox Series X (our detailed review of the next-gen consoles). The action RPG is not only playable there, thanks to rendering at maximum resolution and higher console performance it looks better than ever. Additionally, Jade Empire is for Pc and iOS available.
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Jade Empire in retro check: Wrongly forgotten (1) (Source: Bioware)
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