Jade Empire - SE Previews @ GameSpot, GameSpy & IGN
A trio of new Jade Empire Special Edition previews have hit the 'net from the big three. Let's kick off with GameSpot:
BioWare project director Diarmid Clarke suggested that the new version of the game will add "three layers of development." These layers include technical upgrades that take advantage of modern PCs, additional game content, and expanded gameplay in such areas as smarter enemies and more-balanced combat. As we saw, Jade Empire will definitely take advantage of the greater technical power of modern PCs to offer better lighting, much better particle effects for smoke and fire, higher-resolution graphics up to 1600x1200, and more-detailed textures (Clarke noted that more than 300 of the original game's textures have been redone). The PC version will also offer better loading times for most PCs, which will be especially helpful in such areas as the game's arena, where you are pitted against successive opponents that have to be loaded each time. You'll also be able to control the game by using a traditional mouse-and-keyboard setup and by using hotkeys to quickly switch to the game's many different fighting styles, which offer varying degrees of offense, defense, speed, and power.
Next to GameSpy who interestingly say "The PC interface might just make combat better" (anyone remember claims that Jade Empire's control would be impossible on PC?) but "Not a whole lot is actually changing":
I'll admit -- I'm not the biggest Jade Empire fan in the world. I thought the game's character development systems were pretty light compared to what I usually expect from BioWare. On the other hand, I thought the world was pretty cool, and the idea of spending more time in it is enticing. If you've yet to play the game on console (or don't own one and have been waiting for Jade Empire on PC), then this is pretty exciting news. We'll have more on the game as its January release date approaches.
And finally, IGN says:
As we mentioned earlier, the biggest addition from the vantage of BioWare is the updated control scheme planned and executed for the mouse and keyboard. For those completely unfamiliar, Jade Empire is a 3rd person action role-playing game. The action is quick and involves many styles of fighting that when combined can tackle any enemy and destroy them. Switching between all of these styles on the fly to complete what are known as "harmonic combos" could be a pain in the ass on the console controller because only four styles could be mapped to the controller d-pad. The keyboard has no such restrictions. As a default, the fight style keys will be mapped to the number keys allowing for immediate switching between styles, which in theory, should make the multi-style harmonic combos easier to pull off.
Information aboutJade Empire: SE