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IGN unwraps Jade Empire: Extreme Collar-Grabbing Edition

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IGN unwraps Jade Empire: Extreme Collar-Grabbing Edition

Review - posted by suibhne on Wed 21 February 2007, 20:09:31

Tags: BioWare; Jade Empire

A week ahead of the rest of us Windows-using schmucks, IGN got to play and fully review Jade Empire: Special Edition. The verdict is an enthusiastic but tempered 8.6 (and includes an amusing jibe at the IGN console reviewers' original rating of 9.9: "While it's apparently quite easy for a good RPG to turn the heads of our console editors and leave them gasping for superlatives, the fact is that the RPG market on the PC is considerably more competitive").

According to IGN, those looking for actual, you know, role-playing should focus on JE's ethical system:
Jade Empire continually asks the player to weight their actions and conversations towards one of two ethical extremes. Players who believe in helping the NPCs of Jade Empire will embrace the Open Palm philosophy while those who prefer to let these NPCs fend for themselves (or worse yet, actually take advantage of the helpless) will drift more towards the Closed Fist side of the spectrum... Adherence to one alignment over the other rewards the player not only with practical rewards like money but also with new story elements and fighting styles.

It's a very satisfying system because the choices for either side are usually reasonable and compelling. We'll admit that the Closed Fist choices are a bit obnoxious at times (or openly repugnant) but that's part of the fun of roleplaying. It is, in fact, pretty much the entirety of the game's roleplaying element. There are so many of these ethical decisions throughout the game that it's very easy for a player to switch from one extreme to the other during the course of the game. Similarly, it's entirely possible for a player to occasionally make decisions contrary to their overall philosophy without completely compromising their identity.
There's little mention of how the game reacts to player choices. "Money" and "fighting styles" aren't exactly real consequences, at least outside of Bioware-land (oh, wait...), and only XBox players know at this point whether the aforementioned "story elements" work out as a logical gameworld response to your actions. Still, it's refreshing to see a review that sees the "role-playing" potential in something other than stat-juggling.

Spotted at: IGN

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