Jade empire was a game made by Bioware back in 2005 and was under whelmed by critics and reviews. I remember when I played this game on release I was impressed with the game. It was a visually stunning game. I am not typically a fan of games that require you to interact with and maintain followers. Noticeably BioWare did an excellent job with this component of the game. Additionally the storyline was stunning. You’re also able to pick between a variety of characters to play as, in the three basic skill sets, and whether or not you wanted to play as a female or a male. Which at this time in video game production was something of a novelty.
They crafted an entire world, while very reminiscent of China in many ways, it was unique unto itself. All of the characters had depth to their story, the primary antagonist, and the support characters throughout the story we’re well-articulated. It is rare that such pain is taken in writing an excellent story in a video game.
You start out in a small village a prized student of a great master. Master Lee who has looked after you since those long as you can remember hints at a great destiny that lays in front of you. Before this Destiny can be revealed you’re whisked off to fight some mercenaries that are attacking your small village. During this attack it is revealed that Master Lee is no common master, but suddenly the Glorious strategist the brother of the emperor. You learned that you are the last of the spirit monks. A group of people whose responsibility since the beginning of time it has been to safeguard the portal between the living and the dead. When the emperor decided to kill the water dragon to end the famine in the lands and become more powerful he closed the portal between our world iand the world of the Dead. You as the protagonist are the last Spirit month that is able to set Souls at peace and repair the bridge between the land of the living and the Land of the Dead.
You go on to collect followers and explore the Great World. While building the skills and the knowledge necessary to repair the damage that has been done by ar corrupt emperor. Just when you think that you have finished and completed the task necessary of placing the world Back in Balance and defeating the emperor, it is revealed to you that your enemy this entire time has been you’re master the brother of the emperor. He did not take you away from the spirit monk temple in order to save the world, or to save you, or to restore balance. The Glorious strategist took you out of the Spirit Mountain Temple for his own ambition, in an attempt to create a plan that would allow him to seize power from his brother. After your master kills you only through the aid of the water goddess are you able to return to the land of the living and restore balance. Throughout the game the decisions that you make determine the type of person that you become. And at the end of the game the person that you become and the decisions that you make end up affecting the outcome of the game.
This game was released in close proximity to the first fable. With a similar good and bad mechanic of decisions and how that affects the world and environment around you it is strange that this game did not receive more attention. It may have just been a problem with timing of release and that it was so greatly dwarfed and shadowed by fable. Hopefully in the future we will or have an opportunity to revisit this wonderful IP, and Bioware can bring us a new generation of RPG’s based in this amazing world that they gave us 13 years ago.
Till next time. Total Mage