User Score
8.2

Generally favorable reviews- based on 167 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 8 out of 167

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  1. Dec 30, 2013
    8
    Let me say this up front that i played this game in 2013. But OMFG This is the game that reminded me what bioware was all about back in the day! Yes the plot is the standard bioware fare of "Evil lurks on the horizon, it's your job to defeat it" But it's something that the studio does very efficiently. And jade empire reminds us why. What's good about it : -Unique rpg setting based on oriental culture.
    -A good martial art based combat mechanism that is neither like Dragon Age/Baldur's Gate nor like Mass effect. Refreshing is what i want to say.
    -Rich and detailed world with bioware's signature narrative.
    -Awesome Voice Acting

    What's not :
    -Uneven chapter lengths (the game is broken into chapters btw). 3rd chapter is bigger than the next three combined
    -You really have to talk to everyone to get the sidequests, as a result your playthrough could be as short as 9 hours or as long as 30 hours (i took 28 hours to beat it)
    -A cringeworthy twist in the story's plot. Not terrible, but still...

    In conclusion You gotta play this if you are a wrpg fan. If DA2 left you disappointed play this to calm yourself
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  2. Dec 11, 2013
    7
    Jade Empire tells an intriguing story with developed and personalized characters. Unfortunately, the game is marred by frequent crashes and various glitches. The pixelated text doesn't help and it overall seems like a product that's very rough around the edges. Another thing that's not particularly appealing is the outdated visuals. It may've looked good back in 2005, but with the special edition released in 2007, it just doesn't compare to games released in the same time.

    Combat is simplistic enough and works for the most part, but is hindered by an annoying camera angle. Often times, particularly towards the end of the game, boss/mini-boss fights had me resorting towards kiting which became very tedious. Styles are certainly unbalanced, where some are clearly more inferior or superior than others.

    To sum it up, a decent game. The game plays best in chapters 1, 2 and 3 where there's a great deal of intrigue, open environments and a plethora of side quests. The game kinda falls off from chapter 4 onwards, where it becomes completely linear and it feels as if the story is being dragged out. Took me 25 hours to complete after doing the main quest and most side quests.
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  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 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.
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  4. Nov 2, 2013
    7
    Bioware games are known, visuals aside, for their unforgettable characters and imersive story telling, unfortunately this is not always the case in Jade Empire.
    Presentation: 7
    In teams of presentation, Jade empire still looks good to the “modern” eye, the art work is appealing despite being a bit cartoonish, the animations are fluid and the menus are easy to navigate (atleast on the GOG
    version). Although, I experienced a few annoying graphic glitches between loading times, but nothing major.
    Sound: 6
    The sound effects are just average, like in previous bioware games.
    The soundtrack is surprisingly bland and occasionally hard on the ears.
    The voice acting is a mix bag, because Bioware decided it was a good idea to cast american voice actors instead of asian ones. Why is this bad? Because, when I'm exploring a fantasy Asian world, i'm not expecting the NPC's to speak perfect English, it kills the immersion for me. Other than that the voice acting it self, is sill above average.
    Characters an Story: 6
    The Characters are also a mix bag, Wild Flower is the only character in the lot to be remotely original, the rest are just a compilation of badly written stereotypes with uninteresting back stories and inconsequential roles. The only other character worthy of mention is Sir. Roderick, because he's just one of the most hilarious characters I have ever seen in a video game, unfortunately you can't recruit him, go figure!
    The Story it self is ok though. But don't expect nothing spectacular or memorable like in KOTOR or Mass Effect.
    Gameplay: 6
    As customary, in Bioware RPGs, you can recruit party members to aid in combat, but only one can accompany you, though it's possible to switch between the rest at any time. The problem is, other than giving you stat bonuses, your companions are utterly useless, mainly because their I.A is borderline inept.
    The I.A. in general, is also very easy to exploit. To win, you will only need to master 3 styles: Paralyzing palm fallowed by Leaping tiger and/or Dragon sword, which makes the rest of the fighting styles completely useless. Their are also “Harmonious Combos” you can use, by pressing the left and right mouse buttons at the same time, but I rarely used them myself because they take to much time to trigger.
    Their is also no customization options what so ever, you can only choose between a set of predefined characters. The only variables are the fighting styles you can master and the points you can attribute to Health, Chi and Focus.
    The combat system is fun to a certain degree, but it shows limitations when you ramp up the difficulty, mainly because of the iffy controls and wonky camera.
    Nonetheless, Jade Empire still has some cool ideas under the hood, for example: you can switch between styles during a fight to vary your strategy; you can use magic for long range attacks; you can use a combination of flips and rolls as well as slowing time to avoid enemy attacks and also turn yourself in to a freaking daemon or animal!
    Value: 8
    It took me 30 hours (flat) to beat this games without skipping any dialogs and completing ~95% of the side quests. And by the way, it is always fun to replay it a second time as an evil guy, lol!
    Other than that, there is no modding community to speak of, so after the second play through there is no point replaying it again.

    Final Thoughts: If you're looking for a hardcore rpg game, you'll better skip Jade Empire. But if you liked Knights of the old republic and Neverwinter Knights, you might want to give this one a try.

    Final Score: 7
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  5. Sep 18, 2013
    7
    A very short (finished in 11 hours) easy and streamlined RPG for the console market, though it almost seems as though BioWare wanted to make something like Final Fantasy. Gameplay is a mix of real-time hack & slash combat and exploration/dialogue similar to that seen in KOTOR. The story dips at its mid-point, and has little that stands out, but is worth riding out for the excellent final quarter. Can be difficult to invest in and properly role play with the cookie cutter character creation and static game world, which also harms replayability. Nonetheless, a solid game. Worth mentioning: versions purchased on Steam require a checklist of workarounds, particularly on newer machines/OS. Expand
  6. Jul 22, 2013
    5
    I really tried get into jade empire, but i really couldn't get into it. JE is really mediocre game, setting and combat style are ok, but NPCs and the game play are nothing special.
  7. May 22, 2013
    8
    A classic Bioware rpg. It has an amazing story that takes place in a rich unique background. There is a variety of different characters to choose from, different fighting styles, multiple romance options, and you can decide to walk the path of good, evil, or somewhere inbetween. On steam it is only fifteen dollars.
  8. Apr 27, 2013
    9
    This masterpiece from Bioware received major attention from the critics, but not quite from the gaming fans. Jade Empire has the same feel as all of Bioware’s other games, but its setting is relocated into a fictional Chinese kingdom. Jade Empire’s “tri-stat” system is simple, but also a very creative and effective RPG feature. Each attribute offers individual combat advantages, but also work in conjunction for persuasion checks during dialog. This delivers fantastic gameplay that won’t confuse newcomers to the RPG genre. After Jade Empire’s initial release on the Xbox, many of the fans complained about its easy difficulty. The special edition’s new “Jade Master” difficulty feature smashed this complaint and offered an incredibly challenging experience for veteran RPG players. In addition, the enhanced PC edition offers high resolutions and advanced AA settings for stronger GPU’s. Don’t let this gem slip past you again and experience this masterpiece! Expand
  9. Jan 10, 2013
    7
    Has a rock paper scissors fighting system, which works well despite some unbalanced spells. The story is fun and unfolds as you want it to. The last time I've had so much fun making choices was in Fallout 3. Time and again Jade Empire permits you to chose how you act...sometimes leading to disastrous consequences. I've walked the "evil" path and haven't regretted it. The story is hit and miss, having so much dialogue in the game is a double edged sword. The entertaining parts of the game are great but toward the end things get especially tedious. I had some great moments in Jade Empire, those priceless 10/10 moments where you just want to make love to your USB ports, however I can't say the entire experience was great. Expand
  10. Dec 11, 2012
    1
    This is probably the most blatantly offensive, stereotypical, cookie-cutter, console garbage action RPG I have ever played. Poor game length, awful controls, awkward mini-games, muddy graphics and linear level design round out what is probably the worst game made by Bioware. Don't bother with this even if it's on sale.
  11. Dec 1, 2012
    10
    thanks to the pc version jade empire has become even better. there are new enemies, effects, new weapons, new styles ( one of them is the best in the game too) theres a new difficulty mode where you can make a new gameplus, and theres a new character and in my opinion hes the best one yet. all this and everything else that made jade empire to good with its action packed gameplay, tons of dialogue choices, and original world. the xbox version and pc version are both great but get the pc version if you can Expand
  12. Oct 6, 2012
    8
    Probably the most underrated of Bioware games. Excellent story, great universe inspired by Chinese mythology, interesting characters (though some of them are clearly KOTOR rip-offs, like Sky), good script and voice acting, believable antagonists with motivations beyond "destroy the world" cliché, intriguing and sadly underdeveloped idea with Open Palm and Closed Fist philosophies, engaging and sometimes very original quests and some real choices to make along the way. The combat isn't terribly deep, but won't annoy you and is pretty dynamic and fun. That is, if you are looking for an RPG with lots of numbers, hard tactical combat, inventory management, huge selection of weapons, items and skills, You'll be disappointed- Jade Empire doesn't offer any of that. What it DOES offer is an unique experience, you''ll rarely see in a video game. A very solid action/rpg title. Just don't think about it as a simplified fantasy version of KOTOR( Dragon Age:Origins gets that honor). Expand
  13. Aug 1, 2012
    7
    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. Expand
  14. Jul 24, 2012
    9
    This is an old game. One of the first for Bioware, and it's been out there for a while now. But the game is good. The story is solid, the gameplay is correct and the ambient is nicely done. Even it's simplicity plays in it's favor. The combat system is a rock-paper-sissors kind of system, but that helps to get it on fast. It has lots of nice videos, a "1943" kind of minigame (with the chance to obtain a couple of nice rewards, as is part of the story), lot's of subquests, and the famous duality based dialogue from all Bioware games. This one is probably the one that inspired Mass Effect, as you don't play as "good" or "evil", but as "help-everyone" or "learn how to help yourself" kind of way. :) Since you have different endings, different styles and different ways to solve the situations (some you can't even access if you don't follow a certain phylosofical path...), it has a nice replayability factor (I played this game when it came out, and I've already finished it at least 5 times). :) Wish Bioware kept doing them like this one... Expand
  15. May 5, 2012
    10
    Awesome game, very involving story, fleshed out companions, rich dialogue and a lot of roleplaying options. The outcomes are not quite spectacular, but the sheer amount of options give me that great feeling of being there and staying in-character as much as possible. The combat is simple but dynamic and rewarding. The world design and atmosphere are top notch, I wish there were more games like this, with distinct personality. I love the lore and the presentation. The voice acting is also great quality. Expand
  16. Apr 22, 2012
    3
    For me, the combat system in this game made it nearly unplayable. I just didn't enjoy it at all, and actually didn't finish this game (a huge rarity for me, as I play to the end of just about every game that I buy). The story also was uninteresting to me. BioWare has made a lot of great RPGs, but I don't consider this to be one of them.
  17. Mar 22, 2012
    9
    Awesome, highly atmospheric game with lots of love for fantasy kung-fu clichés and amazingly cool endings. Do try to play through as an utter, complete villain and be amazed. The only downside is a bit simplistic combat, plus it´s not the longest thing out there, either. But, for any RPG fan, this is a no-brainer. Must play, will enjoy.
  18. Mar 12, 2012
    10
    One of my personal all-time favorites, and a game that deserves all the accolades I can bestow upon it. Amazing gameplay, clean and crisp graphics, immersive atmosphere, and great music all culminate in an RPG extravaganza that I cannot recommend enough to any RPG gamer out there. This game is a must-have, especially on the PC!
  19. Mar 6, 2012
    5
    A purely action-based game made by a company which had no experience in making action games. And it shows. Nothing truly stands out in JE, it's not bad to the point of hating it, but it's not good to the point of loving it either. Just lukewarm.
  20. Nov 12, 2011
    8
    Very good game which contains a lot of the stuff of which Bioware were the very best at delivering - excellent story and great characters, excellent voice acting (how on earth did they get John Cleese?) and solid gameplay. Quite beautiful to look at in some parts too. The fighting system is by no means perfect but it's good enough and the mini game brought back some good memories. I was a little disgruntled with the duration of the game, but at today's prices this is very good value for money and you should get at least one playthough out of it. Try it if you haven't already. Expand
  21. Oct 8, 2011
    8
    Other than exceptional music, fantastic setting, several well-written characters and some emotional moments, this game is completely dull in gameplay. The game may be fun at beginning, but later it's just getting more and more repetitive and boring. very little creative strategy needed or possible. Yes, the setting is unique... but there's very little of it to explore. But I do hope they could make a sequel for it to fix those problems, since this Asian style is so fresh in the current major video game industry. Expand
  22. Jun 22, 2011
    7
    Great game overall. Had some crashes on Windows 7 and these keep it from scoring higher.

    Plot: Quite good. Nothing less than what I expected from a Bioware game. Without spoiling it, there's a couple of great surprises that seemed fitting. I never felt like they were contrived or forced.

    Gameplay: Good. I used Leaping Tiger and the lightning one almost exclusively. Made the boss fights
    too easy. I'd have expeced the bosses to be immune to support styles. Still fun though. Expand
  23. May 23, 2011
    6
    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. Expand
  24. 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. Bioware experience© at it's finest.
  25. Sep 16, 2010
    8
    Awesome game this game have really good fighting system but there is problems too.The style of fighter is extremly slow and style of fighting tiger (magic) is fcking fast.I use it in almost every battle.The dificulti is too much easy for me and when u get the style of lighting dragon u will havent problem defeat everyone in the whole game.Lighting dragon is something like stun for 10 sec so u just hit him with dragon 9 seconds fight by using other style and then u will hit him with lighting dragon again.CASTSHOUT the problem with installing the game DONT MEAN THIS GAME SUCK. if u win the game there is cool difficulty where u play as character u using in the master campaing and u have all your styles and stats but the enemies is extremly strong and whit favourite style fighting tiger (which was maxed) is relly hard to play only the third battle i hope this reviev is helpful.
    ps:The style called mirrabel is good for defeating deamon and the tiger style is for nothing there

    Zalonza
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Metascore
81

Generally favorable reviews - based on 29 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 29
  2. Negative: 0 out of 29
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.