After 15 years (since I last played the game), I've finally completed Jade Empire.
The game drops you into a "mythologic chinese" setting, where chi is a real force and spirits and gods directly affect the world. It's made by Bioware, known for creating the Mass Effect games. Just like Mass Effect (and KOTOR), Jade Empire features a good/evil choice system.
That said, it doesn't have a whole lot of meaning on the overall story of the game, with most of the "evil" choices having the same result as the good choices, just with extra bonuses like more money given or slightly faster route through a mission. In fact, I'm pretty sure the final good/evil choice can be made regardless of your alignment.
The difficulty curve is pretty fair through the entire game, with fairly rewarding combat. There are two points in the game that I believe are unfairly difficult, especially compared to the fights directly leading up to them:
- The fight with the arena champion, the Ravager. The fights leading up are easy, with the onslaught right before him being the most difficult part. You barely do any damage to the Ravager, even with maxed out damage.
- The final boss. He can activate Focus mode, something no other enemy can do, and if you don't reserve your Focus to stop his, he will completely demolish you.
For both of those I had to switch the difficulty down to the easier difficulty. The rest of the game I pretty easily beat with normal difficulty - I probably could have increase it to the harder difficulty but I was more interested in just finishing the game.
I played on the original Xbox, off of an original disc at 480p. For the most part the game hits 30fps, with some areas and fights going into the 10-20 range for a bit, and some areas allowing the game to stretch and seemingly hit 60fps. I have no doubt the PC version would be handier, but my current setup makes playing the Xbox version a bit easier.
Load times were decent, but my disc drive is a bit slower due to age. If I were playing off the hard drive of the Xbox, it probably would have loaded significantly faster.
I like it, but won't be replaying it. I don't believe there's enough difference between good/bad paths that makes it worth playing again.
I rate it a solid 29 out of 33