Jade Empire: Special Edition PC

Metascore
81

Generally favorable reviews - based on 29 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 29
  2. Negative: 0 out of 29
Buy On
  1. Pelit (Finland)
    95
    Offers excellent drama in fresh, new settings. Hopefully, the unwashed masses will come to understand its greatness. [Mar 2007]
  2. It has style, depth, drama, and action all compact into one lengthy RPG.
  3. Computer Games Magazine
    90
    Few games in the genre tell a story this well, and fewer still combine that intriguing tale with such absolutely superb game mechanics. [Apr 2007, p.66]
  4. With a great story, tons of missions, beautifully rich settings, satisfying fighting and brilliant characterisation, all swaddled in over 20 hours of play, Jade Empire has transcended its Xbox roots to reincarnate itself as a high-kicking, epic RPG for PC. The chi is strong with this one.
  5. PC Format
    89
    Translates remarkably well to keyboard control. [Apr 2007, p.72]
  6. 86
    Like the PC version of "Knights of the Old Republic" before it, Jade Empire is a remarkable RPG that, apart from better graphics and load times, really has little to separate it from the Xbox version from two years ago.
  7. PC Gamer UK
    86
    Elegant and refreshing. [Apr 2007, p.76]
  8. Fast-paced as it may be, the fighting in Empire is not exactly cerebral.
  9. But now, two years after its initial release, it’s only a good game with a phenomenal atmosphere but one which ultimately shows its age.
  10. PC Gamer
    82
    The storyline is meaty but short by "Baldur's Gate" standards at around 30 hours, and although this iteration of Jade Empire gets the Special Edition moniker, it contains no new story content. [Apr 2007, p.48]
  11. I’m willing to let the outstanding plot carry the somewhat lesser though still enjoyable combat engine and the thinness of the RPG elements of Jade Empire.
  12. It's a worthy Bioware RPG and oozes with an awesome storyline and memorable party members, but if you played it before on the Xbox there's really no reason to replay it.
  13. 80
    The storyline and characters are as rich as they ever were, but advances in both action games and RPG design can't help but make the game feel a bit old-fashioned and highlight flaws in the combat and ethics system.
  14. Jade Empire: Special Edition still has strong replay value, with different characters to choose from and different paths to take in terms of alignment.
  15. The game looks dated on the PC, but it offers people a different kind of adventure, one not centered on first person shooting or real time strategy.
  16. 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.
  17. Jade Empire is non-linear in the most magnificently linear way, and well worth it for those who missed it first time around.
  18. It is arguable that no game that is directly comparable to Jade Empire in the past two years has been better than it, and that in all probability none will be until "Mass Effect" is released later this year.
  19. So if you haven’t visited the Jade Empire before this could well be worth the price, but there isn’t enough extras to warrant it if you have already played the Xbox version.
  20. The long-awaited PC version of Jade Empire retains the great story and setting of the Xbox original, but the streamlined combat and core design haven't aged quite as gracefully.
  21. The controls are fairly decent and simple, but the camera is just terrible. It gets stuck behind objects, above them, pointing at awkward angles, and sometimes an area will load and the camera will begin pointing at the floor. Directly at the floor.
  22. 75
    A good, dependable RPG from the masters of the genre that would benefit enormously from some fresh ideas.
  23. Enhanced visuals, two new fighting styles, and minor combat changes simply aren’t enough to prompt a second purchase. For a first buy, however, it’s worth every penny.
  24. An Average game, with a capital A. it has lots of things that are nice about it and some that are not great. In places it plays ok, in others not. It seems entirely right that the game has been set in ancient mythical China as the concept of Ying and Yang appears to be in full flow here.
  25. Adequate, but nothing incredible.
  26. 70
    Compelling narrative and crippled combat make Jade Empire a case of form over function -- and depending on what you want from a single-player RPG, that might be totally OK. It's short (in the 20-hour neighborhood for first-timers) and sweet; just don't let the premise trick you into expecting gameplay that isn't altogether there.
  27. Not only are there better looking, more advanced games on the shelves now, there are also simply better games out there; this genre hasn't stood still since Jade Empire came out.
  28. In the end, you can't help but feel that Jade Empire lost its focus in the design phase. No one element really works, no one element really stands out.
  29. It's not perfect, but it's a great action game with a unique setting and cast. PC gamers looking for a game that doesn't require an upgrade or a rebuild should definitely check it out while they're waiting for their DX10 video cards to arrive.
User Score
8.2

Generally favorable reviews- based on 238 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 38
  2. Negative: 5 out of 38
  1. Mar 11, 2011
    10
    A little weak on the story at some points, but with amazing gameplay and incredible atmosphere, thanks to the good music and level design.A little weak on the story at some points, but with amazing gameplay and incredible atmosphere, thanks to the good music and level design. Bioware experience© at it's finest. Full Review »
  2. C.J.
    Apr 4, 2009
    9
    A fantastic game. After playing Mass Effect, I went out and bought every BioWare game I could find, including Knights of the Old Republic and A fantastic game. After playing Mass Effect, I went out and bought every BioWare game I could find, including Knights of the Old Republic and Jade Empire, simply because I couldn't afford to have missed these brilliant games at the prices they are being sold for now. Having a strong interest in Chinese history, Jade Empire appealed to me immediately. As with Mass Effect, Jack Wall has produced another hit-and-miss soundtrack, with slow, drab tracks followed by thunderous, spectacular masterpieces. The yu pipes and taiko drums prove to be the saving grace here, and the Ancient China-based theme of Jade Empire certainly benefits from their presence. The graphics, whilst not brilliant, are more than adequate. I did, however, play the "Special Edition" PC version, which has been obviously heavily modified as opposed to its Xbox counterpart, so my perspective may be somewhat skewed. I found the characters enjoyable, with vibrant colours and intricate clothing designs making them all the more appealing. I was surprised to read that my personal choice of character, Monk Zeng, was not even in the original release of the game! Good thing then that BioWare had the presence of mind to return him to the cast for the Special Edition release. Voice acting is above average, which is always a plus with a dialogue-heavy RPG, and there are familiar voices involved. I believe I even heard Nathan Fillion in there, whom I had no idea did voice acting for games. There were also no bugs, crashes or sudden errors of any kind here, which plagued my experience when playing through both of the KotOR titles. On the negative, I found Jade Empire's one and only major flaw to be the combat system, which was far too basic. The AI was not particularly brilliant and the combat move sets for each style were very limited. This alone strikes one point from my final score. Nevertheless, if you enjoy BioWare's other renowned high standard RPGs like KotOR, you should certainly not miss this game. For $10 (Australian), there's really no excuse. Full Review »
  3. Dec 8, 2013
    7
    Worth it?: Overall, this game is worth about $10 (US).

    Graphics, Sound, Interface: The characters models, backgrounds, and CG work
    Worth it?: Overall, this game is worth about $10 (US).

    Graphics, Sound, Interface:

    The characters models, backgrounds, and CG work aren't so bad as to be distracting, but they are dated (as this game is from 2005). The style is an odd mix of western cartoon and stereotypical Chinese, and while this isn't bad or distracting, other games from this generation, like LOZ: The Wind Waker, were much stronger in the art department. Overall the art direction definitely seems content to take a back seat to the rest of the game.

    The music, voice acting, and sound effects are all solid. There isn't really much to comment on, other than the sound team did a good job. Again, there wasn't much to laud, but there wasn't much to criticize, either.

    The interface, for the PC version, can be confusing at first. I used a mouse and keyboard, and sometimes I was stuck using trial and error to find what I wanted. This definitely is not an intuitive setup for the game. I cannot comment on gamepad controls. The menus are streamlined, but they are also a bit confusing. Sometimes it would have been easier to look online than to navigate the menu for the purpose of a recently acquired item.

    Story:

    The story is really in two main parts. The first part takes up most of the game, and does a good job pacing you through to its conclusion. There is lots of intrigue to be had, and very little slowdown at the beginning. Towards the end of the first part, however, you start to run into some pacing issues. Despite this, there isn't much to hinder most players from wanting to get to the goal here.

    The second part of the story is a train-wreck. I will not post any spoilers, but ending this game was neither enjoyable or rewarding. Really, I just wanted to reclaim the space from my HDD and be done with it. Luckily this last segment is only about three or so hours of game play.

    Battle System:

    The battle system fails, but shows a lot of promise. You really want it to do better, and at the start of the game it seems like you will end up having a rewarding experience with the style switching and real-time movement. It just doesn't pan out.

    Overall: I'm being a bit harsh here, but it's because the first five hours of the game made me hopeful and sparked my imagination. The last bit of the game crushed that idealism. I'm giving this a seven because there was so much the team could have done to make a great game. Indeed, it is painful that the last bit of the game is so bad, and I thus I am choosing to weigh the better parts a bit heavier.
    Full Review »