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4/18/2005 3:16:31 AM
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Jade Empire - Obbi reviews! *spoiler free*

What an outstandingly mediocre game. I spent my weekend tackling this 22 hour game (I did all the side-quests, Open Palm) and saw that every review, aside from the Gamespot one, was blown [i]way[/i] out of proportion. To voice my utter disappointment I'm going to critique IGN's review, which is the most glowing one I've seen. For the record, I am a huge fan of the KOTOR series. I was not entering into this game looking for a KOTOR 3, mind you - I feel that my opinions of the game are only strongly influenced by other games that are out at the present moment. I had few expectations for what I'd find when I began the game. [quote] [b]Presentation: 10[/b] A completely original universe, hard hitting combat, accessible controls, and the story in an RPG on Xbox.[/quote] "Completely original universe." This is not entirely true. The universe has huge borrowings from Chinese mythology. During the review on IGN the author mentions that you feel as if there's an ancient history to this universe. I hardly felt like I was playing in a world with a rich history - aside from the occasional brief scroll, the world's history is sparse and only relevent parts are presented to the player - that is, not a whole lot. I just couldn't get into it. "hard hitting combat" Combat is possibly one of the worst areas of this game. The game designers gave you a handful of combat styles, weapons, support styles, magic styles and weapon styles. There appears, at first, to be enough to keep a person interested - however every single game element plays nearly the same. If you're using a martial style you attack with A, break shields with X, perform an area attack with A+X and roll round with B. This sounds like a pretty good starting system until you come to realize that [i]every other style uses these same combinations[/i]. To fight enemies you punch/stab/shoot magic until they block, press X, and when you need to avoid attacks you jump behind them. This is entertaining for a whole four minutes, until you reach the point when you wonder if this might ever become any deeper. It doesn't. It's the same thing for every option, for every attack - if you transform into a toad, it's the same thing, except now you look like a giant toad. The only reasons to really use different styles and abilities are esthetic ones. You'll use the same tactics you used in the beginning with Thousand Cuts in the end when you can transform into a Jade Golem. There is no depth, nor excitement in combat. "accessible controls" This is true. The controls are simplistic and never will you be "taken by surprise," for having to learn something new or interesting. "and the story in an RPG on Xbox" I assume the author meant to make a comment on how good the story was... so I can rebuke him by saying it was pretty lame. The characters were dull and uninteresting. I felt complete apathy toward the events in the story, and the big plot twist could be seen from the start of the game. I kept waiting for it to "pick up" and for me to feel interested - then the credits rolled and I realized I was hoping for a bit too much. [quote] 9.5 Graphics The level of activity during a battle is astounding. Environments are beautiful and the characters are real enough to fall in love with. Slight camera issues prevent it from being a perfect score. [/quote] "The level of activity during a battle is astounding." Huh? It's the same freaking combat mechanic, except instead of one or two enemies there are 10. Every body in the game seemed limited to the same repetitious and uninteresting attacks. Battles only became more complex by the number of people participating - but at its heart it was still the same overly-simplistic, choppy gameplay. For reference - Fable's combat was much more complex, not to mention much smoother. "Environments are beautiful" Yes, beautiful if you're judging from KOTOR 1 standards. The environments look like they're the product of games from three years ago and do not hold up with today's standards. The code is practically the same as Kotor 1 with exception of some body highlights and a more generous use of bloom lighting. The engine was extremely weak and inefficient - the game chugs in any medium-sized space unless the already questionable graphical quality is substituted with even poorer quality. Halo 2's Havok engine laughs at this engine. "characters are real enough to fall in love with. " This was the most amazing statement I heard in the entire review. The faces are practically emotionless, and save for perhaps one character, each character's history, model, and personality is exceptionally poor. Not once did I feel any attachment or interest in any of my characters. The temptation to skip every line of dialogue was present throughout most of the game. They behaved unrealistically in situations and didn't feel convincing. "Slight camera issues prevent it from being a perfect score." Which is an irony, because I didn't detect any camera issues [i]at all.[/i] [quote] 10 Sound The music is perfectly suited to the subject matter and the voices are expertly acted. A special appearance by John Cleese solidifies the 10. [/quote] "The music is perfectly suited to the subject matter and the voices are expertly acted." The voice acting was not bad, and some of it was perhaps even good. "A special appearance by John Cleese solidifies the 10." This is true, except I found most of what his character said to be only mildly humorous. Sound was the game's strongest area. [quote] 10 Gameplay One of the greatest action RPG's of all-time. Combat is easy to learn but immeasurably deep. [/quote] "One of the greatest action RPG's of all-time." Considering I was in a perpetual state of mild boredom for the length of the entire game, I find this hard to believe. I can name three other XBox RPGs that blow this one out of the water. "Combat is easy to learn but immeasurably deep." Easy to learn, certainly. I suppose it could be "immeasurably deep" if you chose to play the game upside down or with your head buried in blankets. I honestly don't see how it's deep at all. There's a lot of stuff to choose from so it presents the [i]appearance[/i] of being deep, but really any tactical change you decide to make is merely esthetic. [quote] 10 Lasting Appeal A single game lasts at least 22 hours, and you will definitely play through more than once. The mini-games will make the hours fly by. [/quote] I played the flying mini-game and it seemed poorly done. Unless there are others, I'm not sure. And I do want to play through the game a second time. Perhaps I will enjoy the closed fist better? All in all IGN gave it a 9.9. I give it a 7.0, for completely mediocre.

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  • Obbi for someone who says they werent expecting KOTOR 3, most of you ragruements is about comparing the KOTOR series to Jade Emprie PS I can't you like KOTOR 2 story over Jade Emprie

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  • I don't know... I played KOTOR 1, 2 and Jade Empire and I think there all good

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  • [quote][b]Posted by:[/b] flamechu Obbi, does it seem more action/adventurey because it's real time combat?[/quote] No, it doesn't. It's still got the semi-clunky KOTOR RPG feel to it... when you press "A" near a treasure chest you see your character move around (choppily, might I add) to the right position to open it. Dialogue is lengthy and often unmoving.... it just feels like an RPG. It's action adventure combat, except given the familiar KOTOR gameplay elements. Because of this it feels like a really poor mix... like a really bad RPG.

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  • [quote][b]Posted by:[/b] Dudeyeahguyman Crap. I just bought this game...and so far I'm enjoying it alot more than you did. Your opinion is welcome of course though. To tell the truth, I got unbelievably bored with KOTOR 2 when I rented it...didn't have the patience (I do have quite a bit of patience, mind you). The fighting system didn't appeal to me AT ALL. I hated it. Seemed so dull to me...I'm not into clicking and watching my moves unfold, unless it's something more like Final Fantasy. So far, I'm enjoying JE, but I've noticed the lack of depth already. I'd give it more of an 8.5.[/quote] Wait until you finish. And though the KOTOR combat wasn't a complete win with me, I liked the amount of customization you had with it and I believe this is what kept it interesting. This game fails in comparison with KOTOR's customization.

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  • Obbi, does it seem more action/adventurey because it's real time combat?

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  • [quote][b]Posted by:[/b] just another fan [quote][b]Posted by:[/b] ObbiQuiet [quote][b]Posted by:[/b] flamechu Seeing that you've played both, [b] overall [/b], what's better; KOTOR 2 or Jade Empire?[/quote] KOTOR 2 is better. Granted, graphically Jade Empire had an edge - but KOTOR 2 kept me interested for far longer. I really got into the story and found the gameplay to be both entertaining and convincing. Now, perhaps that's my "Star Wars" bias. The entire source of the problem could be the setting of the game. Perhaps I couldn't get into Jade Empire because it was set in mythical China. Since I've been fair and allowed that chance let me say that Jade Empire was still pretty weak. [/quote] I do not agree with everything you say obbi. I for one enjoyed the game A damn lot. More than KOTOR and KOTOR 2 to be precise. Also KOTOR 1 and 2 are full of glitches and stupid bugs, something JAde Empire barely has. [/quote] If you consider a very consistent chug as "barely any graphical problems," then yes, I'd agree with you. However the Jade Empire engine is practically the same as the KOTOR engine, with the addition of more bloom lighting and character highlights. For a game that spent three years in the making, releasing three years after KOTOR 1, it should be able to claim [i]much[/i] more. If you go by date of release KOTOR 1 is still much more impressive. [quote] [b]Setting:[/b] The setting is very original! yes, it's based on chinese mythologies, but you name two other games that have a setting like this. [/quote] It's not original because it borrows from Chinese mythology. And this already-borrowed setting was far from perfect - there were very few moments where I felt convinced that I was in a living, breathing world. It all appeared to be the sham mock-up it was. [quote] [b]Sound:[/b] I agree with you on this one: W O N D E R F U L L.[/quote] I never said it was wonderful. I said it was its strongest area. [quote] Chinese instruments and tunes. Brilliant voice acting (as with all Bioware games). Sound effects are good to great. The punches and kicks sound a bit exagarated, as it should in this type of setting. Flames, lightning stuff like that sounds like it should. [/quote] The sound effects were good, but most of the voice acting barely reached decent. There was a handful of characters that had great voice actors, but the overall impression was spotted by the all-too-frequent terrible ones. [quote] [b]Combat[/b]: The combat system isn't as bad as you say it is. I kinda liked it for having in a RPG instead of the standard "click and watch" style. But it sometimes seems a bit too simple. basicly once you get the hang of it, you pretty much do the same thing over and over again. [/quote] Which was precisely my argument against it. [quote]the different fighting styles are quite the same with mostly just different appearances. Some styles are of course designed to stun, and others just to steal chi. The followers are just too darn useless in combat mode. their only real use comes in support mode, that's a bit shamefull. [/quote] Right, and not to mention you have almost [i]no[/i] direct interaction with your followers. Every character aside from the little girl felt useless, superfluous and uninteresting. [quote] [b]graphics[/b]: Obbi calls them great.. for KOTOR standards, call them ok AND great. Ok, as in pure graphical way. but great/terrific in a Design and beauty way. Things just feel right, flashes of lightining when you cast some spells, flames that sometimes will make you truly feel warm. The entire enviroment just looks magical, mythic and Asian. [/quote] The [i]videos[/i] were sometimes impressive, but I would hardly call the environments so. I mentioned earlier how the game doesn't set the scene well - and graphically it fails in this area also. Everything looks like a mock-up sham, like the game was still in Alpha phase. Given perhaps a year's more work (not to mention an updated graphics engine) things might have begun boardering on the convincing, but this game just fell too short too often. [quote] I think Obbi's 7 is way too low for a game this wonderfull. the 9.9 IGN gave however is too high. a 9.2 is more appropiate. I tried to stay objective ofcourse, but i must say: I'm quite the RPG and Bioware fan, and i just love the chinese feeling to it, so my opion might be a little biased.[/quote] I wanted to love the Chinese feel. I spent all of last week waiting to have a chance to play it this weekend. Even through my boredom I was open-minded and optimistic. It wasn't until the plot twist and the painful realization I'd unlocked most of the characters that my hopes fell. [Edited on 4/18/2005]

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  • Crap. I just bought this game...and so far I'm enjoying it alot more than you did. Your opinion is welcome of course though. To tell the truth, I got unbelievably bored with KOTOR 2 when I rented it...didn't have the patience (I do have quite a bit of patience, mind you). The fighting system didn't appeal to me AT ALL. I hated it. Seemed so dull to me...I'm not into clicking and watching my moves unfold, unless it's something more like Final Fantasy. So far, I'm enjoying JE, but I've noticed the lack of depth already. I'd give it more of an 8.5.

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  • Double posting jerk! *shakes fist menacingly* I thought someone had posted something else!

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  • 0
    Just Another Fan
    Just Another Fan

    lurking - old

    double post :( [Edited on 4/19/2005]

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  • 0
    Just Another Fan
    Just Another Fan

    lurking - old

    [quote][b]Posted by:[/b] ObbiQuiet [quote][b]Posted by:[/b] flamechu Seeing that you've played both, [b] overall [/b], what's better; KOTOR 2 or Jade Empire?[/quote] KOTOR 2 is better. Granted, graphically Jade Empire had an edge - but KOTOR 2 kept me interested for far longer. I really got into the story and found the gameplay to be both entertaining and convincing. Now, perhaps that's my "Star Wars" bias. The entire source of the problem could be the setting of the game. Perhaps I couldn't get into Jade Empire because it was set in mythical China. Since I've been fair and allowed that chance let me say that Jade Empire was still pretty weak. [/quote] I do not agree with everything you say obbi. I for one enjoyed the game A damn lot. More than KOTOR and KOTOR 2 to be precise. Also KOTOR 1 and 2 are full of glitches and stupid bugs, something JAde Empire barely has. [b]Setting:[/b] The setting is very original! yes, it's based on chinese mythologies, but you name two other games that have a setting like this. [b]Sound:[/b] I agree with you on this one: W O N D E R F U L L. Chinese instruments and tunes. Brilliant voice acting (as with all Bioware games). Sound effects are good to great. The punches and kicks sound a bit exagarated, as it should in this type of setting. Flames, lightning stuff like that sounds like it should. [b]Combat[/b]: The combat system isn't as bad as you say it is. I kinda liked it for having in a RPG instead of the standard "click and watch" style. But it sometimes seems a bit too simple. basicly once you get the hang of it, you pretty much do the same thing over and over again. the different fighting styles are quite the same with mostly just different appearances. Some styles are of course designed to stun, and others just to steal chi. The followers are just too darn useless in combat mode. their only real use comes in support mode, that's a bit shamefull. [b]graphics[/b]: Obbi calls them great.. for KOTOR standards, call them ok AND great. Ok, as in pure graphical way. but great/terrific in a Design and beauty way. Things just feel right, flashes of lightining when you cast some spells, flames that sometimes will make you truly feel warm. The entire enviroment just looks magical, mythic and Asian. I think Obbi's 7 is way too low for a game this wonderfull. the 9.9 IGN gave however is too high. a 9.2 is more appropiate. I tried to stay objective ofcourse, but i must say: I'm quite the RPG and Bioware fan, and i just love the chinese feeling to it, so my opion might be a little biased.

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  • Oh man. I so called this one. I don't remember where, or who saw it, or when I posted it, but I called it. The game sucks. I'm not even gonna rent it now that this review was written.

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  • Just don't play episode 3. You can mess around in episode 1 and 2 (and in Dexter's Diner) until Episode 3 comes out. (thoguh you won't be able to unlock the extra level until you do episode 3)

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  • [quote][b]Posted by:[/b] MinkOWar I didn't even consider it after trying the demo. It included 5 minutes of non-skippable crap, and when you died, instead of starting the level over, it restarted the whole freaking game, thus forcing one to endure the 5 minutes of un-skippable crap all over again. The third time it did this I had figured out the combat completely, and was able to evade death from the first monster, only to have the game freeze a minute later. I told the game to go -blam!- itself, and have since bought Lego Starwars, which is far simpler, yet far more addictive, and far more fun. And due to it's low graphical intensity and physics (Lego bricks don't have to be High-res, trust me, it looks great, well, for lego, that is) it loads in seconds. The vehicle stuff sucks, and I wish it had been done better, but Lego Jedi are funny :)[/quote] That game actually tops my "games i gotz ta play." Too bad there are Episode 3 spoilers - as soon as I see 3, I'm getting this game.

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  • Im not usually into rpgs, but their are some known exceptions.

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  • I didn't even consider it after trying the demo. It included 5 minutes of non-skippable crap, and when you died, instead of starting the level over, it restarted the whole freaking game, thus forcing one to endure the 5 minutes of un-skippable crap all over again. The third time it did this I had figured out the combat completely, and was able to evade death from the first monster, only to have the game freeze a minute later. I told the game to go -blam!- itself, and have since bought Lego Starwars, which is far simpler, yet far more addictive, and far more fun. And due to it's low graphical intensity and physics (Lego bricks don't have to be High-res, trust me, it looks great, well, for lego, that is) it loads in seconds. The vehicle stuff sucks, and I wish it had been done better, but Lego Jedi are funny :)

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  • [quote][b]Posted by:[/b] Capt Sensible Nice review. Maybe you should go work for IGN after you're done with Army Intel.[/quote] Thank you Captain Sensible!

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  • [quote][b]Posted by:[/b] flamechu Seeing that you've played both, [b] overall [/b], what's better; KOTOR 2 or Jade Empire?[/quote] KOTOR 2 is better. Granted, graphically Jade Empire had an edge - but KOTOR 2 kept me interested for far longer. I really got into the story and found the gameplay to be both entertaining and convincing. Now, perhaps that's my "Star Wars" bias. The entire source of the problem could be the setting of the game. Perhaps I couldn't get into Jade Empire because it was set in mythical China. Since I've been fair and allowed that chance let me say that Jade Empire was still pretty weak.

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  • Nice review. Maybe you should go work for IGN after you're done with Army Intel.

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  • Seeing that you've played both, [b] overall [/b], what's better; KOTOR 2 or Jade Empire? [Edited on 4/18/2005]

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  • I'd be interested in hearing from anyone who actually [i]did[/i] enjoy the game.

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  • Obbi, I think you wanted to much. I like the combat system more then the KOTOR series, it doesn't have "the it can play for it self" feel like the KOTOR games. I tended picking smae moves, but there were some sutle differences like "Sprit Thiref and the gun, but magic is all the same, but i disagree about the summons monster. They all have there own feel.For the story, I do think the twist could have been seen coming, I didn't saw it till I fought the emperor and thought it was a little earlier for that. My second time through i seeing all the cures that I miss. My biggest grips that game was little short andthe auto save, if you played it you know what I mean. [Edited on 4/17/2005]

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  • I don't like RPGs, so I wasn't going to get the game. Good review, though.

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  • [quote][b]Posted by:[/b] ObbiQuiet [quote][b]Posted by:[/b] shadowspectr3 Never mind. Noting by the fact u wrote more than all 3 halo novels im guessing you like it. Because if u didnt like it then u wouldnt know shiz about the game so therefore u liked the game. ps. to lazy to read ur long informational page on this very...ummm...fascinating game[/quote] It's alright if you're stupid; we understand. No, I [i]didn't[/i] like it. I said that in the very first sentence.[/quote] haha it's sad he didn't realize you didn't like it, man some people really.

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  • [quote][b]Posted by:[/b] shadowspectr3 Never mind. Noting by the fact u wrote more than all 3 halo novels im guessing you like it. Because if u didnt like it then u wouldnt know shiz about the game so therefore u liked the game. ps. to lazy to read ur long informational page on this very...ummm...fascinating game[/quote] It's alright if you're stupid; we understand. No, I [i]didn't[/i] like it. I said that in the very first sentence.

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  • Never mind. Noting by the fact u wrote more than all 3 halo novels im guessing you like it. Because if u didnt like it then u wouldnt know shiz about the game so therefore u liked the game. ps. to lazy to read ur long informational page on this very...ummm...fascinating game

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  • I s Jade Empire really that good?

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