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Default Jade Empire - SE Review @ RPG Codex

April 18th, 2007, 05:48
RPG Codex has posted a wordy review of BioWare's Jade Empire SE. There's no score (as usual) but the overall tone suggests the author found some enjoyment while being disappointing in the missed potential. Here's an excerpt:
Regretfully, Jade Empire still carries over the Biowarian tradition of devising a story that focuses more on party member interactions than the playerís decisions. Most of the time, the PC canít influence anything worthwhile in the story and to make matters worse players are subjected to cutscenes and movies that remove player agency in many plot-critical situations. One event is particularly vexing: somewhere down the line the PC will need to infiltrate a fortress to learn more about the eeevil scheminí of the Empire. At the end of the segment, a party member makes a sacrifice so that the PC does not die at the hands of an assassin of the Empire, regardless if the PC is friendly or an insulting bastard to that character throughout the game. Moments like these are what ruins an otherwise cliched but solid story, and many times you get the feeling itís really not built around the PC but around his or her companions, with long drawn out conversations and character exposition happening all the time to further the narrative. Actually, aside the main characterís special heritage – also revelead to you during the gameís humble beginnings – nothing would really prevent all the other party members from banding together and save the Empire. At a certain point the PC will be cut off from the mortal world and will not have access to his regular party members; this happens at a time when the main villain is exposed. But the party members left behind take absolutely no action against the villain – why? Worse even, is that the villain apparently doesnít do anything to capture the rest of the group when the PC is spirited away but launches a massive assault against the group later on. Without being earth shattering, a few of these continuity problems occur across the board, unfortunately.
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April 18th, 2007, 05:48
Someone at the Codex need to run a spell checker through it, and fix up the syntax errors. They spoil a good review!!

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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April 18th, 2007, 07:16
I thought it was rather rambling but Role-player always makes some good points.

JE has often been criticised for length but, frankly, I struggled to maintain interest so I'm glad it wasn't longer.

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April 18th, 2007, 07:28
It's not my type of game, so I won't be playing it.

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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April 18th, 2007, 10:20
Took me 15 hours to complete all sidequests + main quest without using a walkthrough. I enjoyed it a lot to be honest, it's a good game, but yes - it is certainly too short.
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April 18th, 2007, 11:59
erm —

I really don't understand (anymore) what rpgs the codex wants
They seem to be against realtime rpgs, realtime with pause games, party-based games, single-pc games, open-ended games and many more types of rpgs.
It is as if the codex still is living in the 1990's or even the 1980's since they
seem to want games (rpgs) like Ultima IV or Ultima VII, or the old gold box
games, or Wizardry 5 or 7.

Jade: Enpire is like most of Bioware's other games built on character interaction, and it is storybased games, too. And that's the reason for the often lengthy dialoques between the players avatar (character) in the game and the avatar's teammembers. To me, this is why I buy and enjoy the Biowarian's rpgs, the story that outspan itself between the characters through the use of party dialoque (interaction), and a grand tradition that Bioware has honed, ever since the original Baldur's Gate came out nearly a decade ago. (in 1998).
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April 18th, 2007, 12:38
Originally Posted by aries100 View Post
I really don't understand (anymore) what rpgs the codex wants
They seem to be against realtime rpgs, realtime with pause games, party-based games, single-pc games, open-ended games and many more types of rpgs.
This is false, as there are games of all those types liked by many guys from the Codex. But hey, you got to use the emoticon, it's always worth it even if you don't know what you're talking about.
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April 18th, 2007, 13:40
I see his point though, the author refers to BioWare RPGs as a negative thing. If BioWare, Black Isle and those guys are not great, and modern RPGs are not great, what are you left with?
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April 18th, 2007, 14:44
But Bioware is Bioware - can you really say that you couldn't have taken the screen and scribbled a few Star Wars-y things on it and come up with KotOR at times?

I got about 25 hours at my leisurely pace, not too bad and about what I expected.

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April 18th, 2007, 15:20
Indeed, but Star Wars: KotOR is known as one of the greatest Star Wars RPGs ever made - why change a winning recipe? Of course it is far from flawless, but virtually everything is.
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April 18th, 2007, 15:43
Originally Posted by Maylander View Post
Star Wars: KotOR is known as one of the greatest Star Wars RPGs ever made
Yup, in the same way as "Lord of the Rings" is known as one of the best trilogies by Tolkien set in MiddleEarth..
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April 18th, 2007, 15:59
Originally Posted by Elwro View Post
Yup, in the same way as "Lord of the Rings" is known as one of the best trilogies by Tolkien set in MiddleEarth..
I know you berated aries100 for using an emoticon, but you might consider it to know the difference between whether you're giving Maylander a rough time for speaking of Star Wars RPG's as if they were plural … or if you're just being an asshole.

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April 18th, 2007, 16:05
Originally Posted by aries100 View Post
erm —

I really don't understand (anymore) what rpgs the codex wants
They seem to be against realtime rpgs, realtime with pause games, party-based games, single-pc games, open-ended games and many more types of rpgs.
Did you bother reading the review? Or any other review in the site, for that matter?

In Jade Empire's review, I pointed out that the realtime combat system they employed in the game was a better approach since a full realtime combat system is preferable to a realtime combat system that tries to shove turn-based conventions into it, resulting in the mess that were the Infinity Engine games, with characters standing still being hit because they could not attack anymore as their turn had ended and other things which are largely running contrary to what is usually expected from things happening in realtime. In Jade Empire, this is gone and the game is a better one because of that - wheter one prefers realtime or turn-based.

Against realtime RPGs? Are you serious? Games like Daggerfall are often held in high regard at the Codex, from the staff to forum readers; some also enjoyed Gothic 3 and Vampire - The Masquerade: Bloodlines. Arf Fatalis and the Gothic series also enjoys considerable popularity there. Against party-based games? The main quibble I ever heard about parties was how player control could override party member personalities and how these aren't always well handled; otherwise, games from Wizardry 8 to Baldur's Gate 2 to Knigths of the Old Republic to Silent Storm to Temple of Elemental Evil are fairly well received. Against open-ended RPGs? You mean, the kind of game we're always wanting to see more of? I guess the respect Daggerfall gets, Vault Dweller's glowing reviews of Gothic 3 and Space Rangers 2, Exitium's Arx Fatalis review or Saint Proverbius' review of Escape Velocity: Nova don't count.

I'm not even sure what you're trying to say with "single-pc games". Single-player? With a single character?

To me, this is why I buy and enjoy the Biowarian's rpgs, the story that outspan itself between the characters through the use of party dialoque (interaction), and a grand tradition that Bioware has honed, ever since the original Baldur's Gate came out nearly a decade ago. (in 1998).
And it may be the reason why people don't buy and don't enjoy Bioware's RPGs. Maybe some people feel their "tradition" is more often than not riddled with flaws and don't enjoy how they handle these aspects. Others will certainly enjoy it, of course, but then again those probably won't care about our review anyway since they were first in line to purchase the game.
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April 18th, 2007, 16:07
Originally Posted by Maylander View Post
I see his point though, the author refers to BioWare RPGs as a negative thing.
There's a difference between saying "Bioware sucks" and saying "here's a couple of things in their design which I believe could benefit from some tweaks".
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April 18th, 2007, 16:11
Originally Posted by Corwin View Post
Someone at the Codex need to run a spell checker through it, and fix up the syntax errors. They spoil a good review!!
I've been having little time lately with several projects to manage and as a consequence, some of the stuff I've written lately hasn't turned out how I wanted, the main problem being a poor revision of the text. I'll try to fix that before this day is over.

BTW, spell checkers are for wimps - I do it myself

Originally Posted by Dhruin View Post
I thought it was rather rambling but Role-player always makes some good points.
And I was worried that the review was too short when I first finished it!
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April 18th, 2007, 16:17
Originally Posted by txa1265 View Post
I know you berated aries100 for using an emoticon, but you might consider it to know the difference between whether you're giving Maylander a rough time for speaking of Star Wars RPG's as if they were plural … or if you're just being an asshole.
If you read his post as if he states that KotOR is known to be one of the best RPGs, it makes even less sense. In the same way, Oblivion is known to be THE best game ever.
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April 18th, 2007, 16:19
The point I was trying to make was that you really can't blame a Bioware rpg for being a biowarian rpg —- just like you can't blame an american movie for being made in the US. When I buy ba bioware rpg game, I know what I'm gonna get:

a rpg game which has focus on story, character dialoque, plot, gameplay and character interactions. This is what I like in rpgs - and that's also the main reason behind why I play adventure(puzzle) games, too.

Obviously, there are probably a lot of things that could have been done better in Jade Empire. I think even David Gaider & Patrick Weekes acknowledges this — .
The thing to remember is that Jade Empire originally was developed for the xbox, and is clearly marked as an action rpg (whatever that is ) . Therefore, it comes as a kind surprise to me that the codex's reviewer of JE blames (sort of) for focusing too much on combat. In another place in the interview, the reviewer seems to have forgotten that this isn't Virtua Figther 5 or a martial arts action & fighting game, but is an rpg with dialoques, character interaction and the like.

To get back to the point at hand:
I spent a great deal of time, reading the codex's site, and sometimes, I even post there, too. I happen to agree with the codes that the best rpg is (still, by far) Planescape: Torment with the Fallout games trailing not far behind. However, it is still unclear to me what the codex sees as an (computer)rpg. Some say Daggerfall, other say Ultima IV, others say Wizardry 7, while others (again) Fallout and so on and so forth. And apparently, it seems that the codex doesn't like Bioware games.
(anymore?).

The only thing, the codex agrees upon (or most of them, anyway) is that 'console bad' 'pc good' and 'realtime bad' 'turnbased good' and that there need to be lots of reading in an rpg. (you know, the kind of 'please read through 6-8 lines of choices which really doesn't change the outcome in the end).

Modern rpgs are, by default, viewed by the codex, imo, as a bad thing, while old school rpgs like Ultima IV etc. are, by default, viewed by the codex as good thing.
(I have tried playing, not Ultima IV, but Wizardry 7 & 8, and I'm sorry, but I don't get the appeal of these games…) And if rpgs made by Bioware now is sort of negative, and nearly all other rpgs, made both in the past and in the present, what games left then ?

Geneforge 4??
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April 18th, 2007, 16:34
Since you've spent much time on the Codex, you should know that most people there adore Ultima VII or Daggerfall and many like the Gothics. So why do you say "realtime bad"? It's an example of an unjust generalization.

" The only thing, the codex agrees upon (or most of them, anyway) is that 'console bad' 'pc good' and 'realtime bad' 'turnbased good' and that there need to be lots of reading in an rpg. (you know, the kind of 'please read through 6-8 lines of choices which really doesn't change the outcome in the end)"
And this is just false and you know it. What did the Codex do to you?
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April 18th, 2007, 16:40
I have finally managed to get through all 12 (or 17 pages!) of the review. (I printed it out). And yes, I did read that you said that action done in realtime was better than realtime with pause. (and I agree with you). I reacted to your comment about
Bioware making the game more about the party than the player's character (and yes I did mean single player pc, where you only have control of one character, like Daggerfall etc.) To me, this is the feature, or trade mark, of Bioware, that you have friends with which you travel, and the story unfolds just as much around the party as it does around the player's character (or the avatar, the pc).

I think I have read intensively the codex reviews of Oblivion, and Gothic 3, and I find myself agreeing with (nearly) every aspects of those reviews. I, too, for some odd reason , favors Gothic 3 largely over Oblivion.

On a final comment (for now anayway I agreewith roleplayer that it is as real shame that Bioware didn't do anything (much) with Tho Fan in Jade Empire. What's the point of hiring a linguist if you're not going to use his (or her) work in a more productive way than Bioware did in Jade Empire ?
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April 18th, 2007, 16:47
Originally Posted by aries100 View Post
The point I was trying to make was that you really can't blame a Bioware rpg for being a biowarian rpg —- just like you can't blame an american movie for being made in the US.
I'm not sure what you're trying to get at. Are you saying I can't point out the strucutral elements of an american movie and point out what are its best and worst aspects? Or do the same with Bioware's games? It's like you're suggesting that all of our reviews should simply be "Hey, this is a game by developer X, Y or Z. It's got the combat, dialogue and interaction you've come to expect from them. That's it. Thanks for reading." That's a bit specious, isn't it? I mean, what's the point of writing reviews if in your opinion they should conform to the idea that games can't be criticized for what they are?

We don't hide our particular brand of dislike of their games. However, what reviews can you point out that say "Bioware sucks" as opposed to "here's a breakdown of what we felt Bioware handled well and poorly in their game"?


Therefore, it comes as a kind surprise to me that the codex's reviewer of JE blames (sort of) for focusing too much on combat.
Are you sure you aren't confusing 'blame' with pointing out just how the game plays out?


In another place in the interview, the reviewer seems to have forgotten that this isn't Virtua Figther 5 or a martial arts action & fighting game
Care to provide an actual quote that illustrates your point? Where did I "forget" this?


And apparently, it seems that the codex doesn't like Bioware games.
Apparently, it seems that you haven't read the site enough to flush out the real concerns behind the most common criticisms.


The only thing, the codex agrees upon (or most of them, anyway) is that 'console bad' 'pc good' and 'realtime bad' 'turnbased good' and that there need to be lots of reading in an rpg. (you know, the kind of 'please read through 6-8 lines of choices which really doesn't change the outcome in the end).
Cute, but for someone who claims to read the site on a regular basis, that is terribly naive.


Modern rpgs are, by default, viewed by the codex, imo, as a bad thing, while old school rpgs like Ultima IV etc. are, by default, viewed by the codex as good thing.
You're certainly entitled to having a skewed perspective of things, but I'd suggest you refrain from promoting them as representative of the site. Modern RPGs as a bad thing? You have no idea. Browse our content section - especially the review section - and check out the reviews. Lots of modern games, lots of love. Even modern games not reviewed - such as Arcanum - tend to get mucho amore.
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