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February 8th, 2007, 00:40
Lord Alex:
I played the Xbox version. If you've played previous Bioware games you should find the story rather familiar; combat is simplistic (for my tastes) and the characters, with one or two exceptions, are uninteresting. They reveal their past to you just like in Kotor, one spoonfull each time you level up, and while some have pertinence in the resolution of the main story, their primary goal it seemed to me is to provide romantic interests to your PC. Some may like that, others may not. In combat you can have only one NPC helping you, either directly fighting on your side or by having him or her meditate on the sideline to boost your stats. On the Xbox version the NPC AI was plain dumb, your ally good only as a decoy to pull some of the adversaries away from you while you fight the others. Again, there's a couple of exceptions. One of the NPCs will pitch you winebottles that enables you to use Drunken Master Style, a powerful fighting style, as long as you drink up. (Maybe you've seen this in some old martial arts film.)
When you level up, you receive some points to invest in your martial art, weapon and magic/support styles. While you can learn many fighting styles and thus spread your points around, I think most players agree that it's best to concentrate on one martial art, one weapon, and a couple of magic/support styles.
You have three attributes: body, mind and spirit (translate into secondary abilities as health, focus and chi). You'll get points upon leveling to raise them and you can also find a large numbers of items, gems and techniques to boost them. Personally I raised them rather evenly with maybe a slight preference to focus, as it enables you to slow down time, very useful in combat.
The game is very linear, with small maps and locations, but there's a good amount of sidequests to do, especially in the Imperial City. I particularly enjoyed the Arena sequence, very well made I think. The whole Open Palm and closed Fist paths are pretty much the same as Light and Dark: when you're choosing a dialog option you get a close up of your Pc's face, like in Kotor, and if you choose OP, the man's eyebrows arch; if you choose CF, the eyebrows are frowning. Just like in Kotor.
It's a good game, but it disappointed me because I expected much more -- of course that wont be the case for someone else. I love the setting, mythic China, and the martial arts theme, but I wanted a bigger game with freedom of exploration, and a more complex combat system. Maybe in Jade 2 ? Hope this helps a bit.
Last edited by Cormac; February 10th, 2007 at 00:05. Reason: mistakes
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