Sometimes a game just slips under the radar. Whatever the reason for this occurring, be it bad marketing, classification problems or a strange concept, some games just fail to find their audience. Here at Player2.net.au we want to highlight these rough gems and that is where “In Case You Missed It” comes in. Some games just deserve a second chance.
In Case You Missed It – Jade Empire
After the smashing success of Knights of the Old Republic on the original Xbox, RPG masters Bioware decided to do something they hadn’t done before and that was to create their own original IP. Having spent the majority of the studio’s life up until this point working on other people’s IP (like Star Wars and Forgotten Realms) many people wondered if Bioware had it in them to create an original universe to suit their masterful RPG creations.
Well no one should have worried because what they brought us was something truly unique and still hasn’t been replicated since. In a world of RPG’s where Sci-Fi and Fantasy reigned supreme, they brought us Kung Fu. Published by Microsoft and released in May 2006, Jade Empire was an RPG that took strong influence from both eastern mythology and modern Kung Fu cinema giving players a world that included mythical water dragons, fire breathing toad demons and drunken warriors that Jackie Chan would be proud of. Forget swords and sorcery this was flying kicks and chi attacks.
Amongst this wonderfully refreshing universe was an excellent real time combat system that had players switching between four different fighting styles on the fly, creating a fighting technique that was as unique as it was effective. Facing multiple enemies in Jade Empire was a joy and Bioware went above and beyond to ensure the player felt in full control of their chosen Martial Arts Master. These different styles all had roots in actually martial arts and dripped with authenticity. This was a system created by people who had a deep and abiding love for eastern combat techniques.
The settings in the game were also breathtaking. Obviously the looks have aged a little now but upon release a RPG hadn’t looked this good. Deep underground demon lairs, stunning beach side villages and awe inspiring palaces all made Jade Empire one of the best looking games on the original Xbox. Just wandering around this world was a reward in its own right.
The remainder of the game was plastered with the quality that Bioware has become known for. Solid RPG mechanics, excellent sound and voice acting and a story to rival the greatest stories from the Asian continent meant that Bioware released a game the wowed critics around the world. Sales on the other hand were a little lower than expectations meaning that to this day Bioware are yet to announce a sequel for this RPG gem from the original Xbox era. Every now and then the name Jade Empire gets thrown around in the press when talking to Bioware so the developers know there is still a solid fan base looking for more chop socky RPG action.
Even though the game is quite old you can still pick this up as a special edition on Steam for under $10 (Under $5 on regular occasions). Also with the recent Knights of the Old Republic 2 patch there is always hope that these older well-loved games will get further love from their developers which would be wonderful if it were to occur in this instance. What it boils down to is that this is a truly unique RPG that offers excellent combat, a wonderful story and an inspiring setting all for the price of a takeaway dinner. Oh and did I mention? It offers Kung Fu!