The Let's Play Archive

Jade Empire

by Doc M

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Original Thread: Big Trouble in Fantasy China: JADE EMPIRE [SSLP]



The History of the Jade Empire (from the manual) posted:

The Jade Empire. Fashioned from the Void by the will of the Great Dragon and blessed from its creation, the empire stands at the heart of the civilized world -- a cultural wellspring in a sea of barbarity.

The majesty of the Sun Dynasty has guided our people for generations, sustaining our prosperity throughout the ages. The peace of the realm was broken only when nature itself rebelled, withering the land in a decade of thirst. Yet even this the Emperor Sun Hai would not allow. For when he declared the Long Drought at an end, it was so.

Though you were raised far from the benevolent gaze of the Emperor, you have learned much here in Two Rivers, including mastery of your body and mind. Now, the end of your time at this borderland school draws near. Experience will replace lessons as you travel beyond the shelter of Two Rivers. Remember; though the reach of the Empire stretches far, powerful spirits lurk just beneath the surface, and the threat of chaos is ever-present.

It is natural that an orphan like you would have many questions. Until now, your inquiries have been met with silence. Perhaps on this day, answers will find you at last.

Jade Empire is an action RPG set in a fantasy world based on Chinese mythology, developed by BioWare and originally released for the Xbox in 2005. Jade Empire was ported to PC in 2007 as Jade Empire: Special Edition, which also came out for iOS and Android in 2016. The Special Edition is the same basic game as the original release, but adds a couple of new fighting styles as well as an extra playable character (that was previously exclusive to the Xbox Limited Edition). The LE actually has an exclusive style that didn't make it over to the Special Edition, but other than that the Special Edition is basically the Limited Edition with even more content.

Generally speaking, Jade Empire is one of BioWare's less popular titles and is very streamlined (someone might say dumbed down) in comparison to their earlier work. There are a few stats you can raise as you level up and a couple of skills, as well as a decent selection of fighting styles, but there's not much in the way of number-crunchy RPG stuff. Combat is still turn-based at least from a technical standpoint, but has been tweaked to feel as close to real-time as you can get, and is also rather simplistic. Only one party member can be selected as an active follower, and character customization is rather minimal with only a handful of preset character models to choose from (you can at least customize their fighting styles, stats, and name). As a result of the streamlining, a lot of old-school BioWare fans and even those who came on board with KotOR like I did were a bit unhappy when this game came out. There was planned to be quite a bit more to the game than eventually ended up in the final release, as at least one major area had to be cut and a town-building minigame (where you supposedly could run your own martial arts school) also got axed.

Despite being a leaner experience than the ones BioWare fans were accustomed to at the time, Jade Empire is certainly not a bad game (even though the 9.9 score from IGN may have been slightly over the top). It still has a ton of sidequests, cool areas to explore, lots and lots of dialog, memorable characters (and romance subplots if that's your thing), striking art design that helps the visuals hold up quite nicely to this day (hence the "Art" thread tag), and a fantastic soundtrack composed by Jack Wall. Those who like the game tend to really like it and I'd consider myself a fan of Jade Empire as well, having completed multiple playthroughs over the years. Unfortunately, BioWare has never gotten around to making a sequel, which is very much a shame because I think this world had potential for a lot more than we see here.

Despite the fact the Xbox cover art is more prominent in the OP, I'm playing the Special Edition on PC. This LP is done in screenshot format due to the sheer amount of talking to people and running around. I am going to add videos (without commentary) for bigger fights and other cool moments that screenshots don't quite do justice to. I don't have any kind of strict update schedule because I'm a lazy bum (as those who followed my GTA4 VLP can confirm), but I'll try to get at least one update posted each week or so.

Oh yeah, this is an Open Palm (good) playthrough. Every other Jade Empire LP I have seen has gone full Closed Fist asshole, which just isn't my style at all. Yeah, I'm one of those weirdos who don't like playing evil characters in RPGs.

SPOILER POLICY: ABSOLUTELY NO SPOILERS (this includes vague wink-wink-nudge-nudge shit)

Table of Contents

Episode 00: Character Selection

Chapter 1

Episode 01: Tale of Two Rivers
Episode 02: Ghosts at the Beach
Episode 03: Exposition Dump, Part One
Episode 04: The Dragon Amulet (Exposition Dump, Part Two)
Episode 05: Red Skies

Chapter 2

Episode 06: The Landing
Episode 07: The Brave
Episode 08: Wu the Lotus Blossom's Kitchen Nightmares
Episode 09: The Beaten Baker
Episode 10: Matchmaker
Episode 11: Preparations
Episode 12: Ashes and Bones
Episode 13: The Jade Heart
Episode 14: Pirates!
Episode 15: Marvelous Dragonfly
Episode 16: A Forest
Episode 17: The Forest Shadow
Episode 18: Tell your children not to walk my way
Bonus 01: Zither of Discord
Episode 19: Breaking the Curse

Chapter 3

Episode 20: The Heavenly Lily
Episode 21: The Magnificent Bastard
Episode 22: The Skies Above
Episode 23: Silver Phoenix
Episode 24: Gonna Fly Now
Episode 25: On Silver Wings
Episode 26: Golden Phoenix
Episode 27: WORDS
Episode 28: Creative Pursuits
Episode 29: Black Leopard School
Episode 30: Get Back In That Hole, Partner
Episode 31: Tale of the Mournful Blade
Episode 32: In which we finally reach the fortress
Episode 33: Team Lotus
Episode 34: Spirit Shard
Episode 35: The Grand Inquisitor

Chapter 4

Episode 36: The Imperial Palace

Chapter 5

Episode 37: Eternal Battle
Episode 38: Corruption

Chapter 6

Episode 39: The Second Righteous Siege
Episode 40: Released

Chapter 7

Episode 41: The Great Wheel
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