Jade Empire - hands-on

Hang on a minute. So we’re the last of an embattled group of mystical fighters, killed off by the forces of an evil empire, yet as a baby we were smuggled away and secreted far off to a rural community where our presence would not be felt? And we’ve been sent by our master into a ‘spirit cave’ where we’ll learn about our true self, and later be spoken to by glittery blue/pale ghosts trapped between life and death? This rings a bell that’s somewhat far away and relatively long ago….

A play through the first hours of the PC special edition of Jade Empire reveals that it treads the boards of Star Wars with a glee thoroughly untouched upon in the opening acts of sci-fi amnesia in either KOTOR. That’s not to belittle what BioWare has created here though - from the start you’re embroiled in a deep, wordy and FMV-packed narrative, nimbly facing off against evenly paced tutorial sections

It doesn’t really feel like a converted Xbox game in the way that the KOTORs did either. Yes, the areas you find yourself in are often tight and contained, but the lush, colorful, almost hand-drawn locations and smooth character models and animations easily bring your "console conversion" guard down.


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