Generally favorable reviews - based on 29 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 29
  2. Negative: 0 out of 29
  1. 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. 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. Translates remarkably well to keyboard control. [Apr 2007, p.72]
  5. 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.
  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. Elegant and refreshing. [Apr 2007, p.76]
  8. 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.
  9. Fast-paced as it may be, the fighting in Empire is not exactly cerebral.
  10. 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.
  11. 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]
  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. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. Jade Empire: Special Edition still has strong replay value, with different characters to choose from and different paths to take in terms of alignment.
  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. 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.
  18. Jade Empire is non-linear in the most magnificently linear way, and well worth it for those who missed it first time around.
  19. 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.
  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. 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.
  23. 75
    A good, dependable RPG from the masters of the genre that would benefit enormously from some fresh ideas.
  24. 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.
  25. Adequate, but nothing incredible.
  26. 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.
  27. 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.
  28. 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.
  29. 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.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 164 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 35
  2. Negative: 3 out of 35
  1. Mar 11, 2011
    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. May 23, 2011
    If you had trouble playing Mass Effect you will probably have trouble playing Jade Empire. I'm a huge fan of KoToR, Mass Effect 2, and Dragon Age Origins but Jade Empire only resembles these games in it's technical aspects. The narrative is bland and the setting/characters are an alarmingly stereotypical depicting of Asian culture. The PC version also has many technical problems with the nearly impossible to navigate menu. Personally I think the graphics were pretty good for it's time but that's coming from a KoToR background. Basically, if you are KoToR fan like me who was expecting a similar game in Jade Empire, you may be disappointed. Full Review »
  3. Aug 1, 2012
    I find Jade Empire quite hard to review really, because I wanted to enjoy it so much but I feel somehow let down by it. I found most of the first half of the game to be significantly boring but this is probably because I'm one of those people who has to read *every* dialogue option with *every* npc that can talk in case they have something unique to say. Unfortunately I learnt the hard way that this was not the case, and that everyone literally says pretty much the same list of things albeit slightly differently to fit their characters. About halfway through the game I started skipping a *lot* of dialogue options and this is when it became a lot more enjoyable for me. Thankfully your team members do each have their own storylines and their dialogue options were more fruitful, which was great. The combat mechanic of the game is tricky to review. It starts off difficult because it is unlike anything in any bioware game I've played before, but then you gradually start to realise that it is very easy to exploit. I wouldn't be surprised if somebody managed to finish the game without using the block function a single time. As a result most fights weren't very exciting, especially towards the end of the game. They probably would have been if I had mixed up my styles a bit, but I found no incentive to. The story of the game was good, and lasted a lot longer than I was expecting thanks to a few twists in the plot, but towards the end there were several loading screens telling me that my choices would has dire consequences that I should consider carefully, but I don't actually recall making any decisions at the end. Perhaps it was just my general play-through which influenced it, but it was underwhelming to say the least. The environments that the game is set in are okay, although there are very few to explore so you quickly get quite bored of being in a certain place, especially considering the detail of your surroundings are hampered by outdated graphics. All in all though it's an enjoyable game, especially if you can get it in a steam sale. I managed to get it for around £3 which makes the pounds-per-hour ratio (around 25ish hours) much better than most games I've bought recently. The characters and story are worth that money alone, and the rest of the game can be enjoyed equally as much so long as you don't expect too much from it. Full Review »