It started when I was young. Role-playing games’ turned-based combat just didn’t do anything for me. Something about sitting in menus like that and taking turns fighting kind of bored me. I mean I see why it made sense. There is a depth there you can achieve that certainly was not possible on consoles with so few buttons, but it still wasn’t for me. And back then I had plenty of my preferred platforming titles to take up my time. But as I have grown older I have branched out to various other genres and with RPGs going towards realtime action and combat, I thought it would be good to give the genre another try. This blog will just act as an introduction to a series of blogs about my foray into the genre.
The Game: A few years back I actually picked up a couple of Bioware games for cheap. Mass Effect for my brother and Jade Empire for myself all for the small sum of about $20. I think what attracted me to Jade Empire was its eastern-influenced world and the look of its martial arts style real-time combat. Back when I bought it, I enjoyed the little time I spent with it before something shiny and “next-gen” distracted me. I figured it would be a good title to return to and start my first serious adventure into the RPG genre.
The Character: I chose the same character I chose on my first time with the game, Wu the Lotus Blossom. I wanted to go for a female character. I think when I can I often lean towards using female playable characters since they are less common than male ones. I also chose her because she was by default a balanced character. While I have not played a lot of RPGs in my day, with so many games having various upgrades and leveling systems, I tend to use balanced characters or upgrade in a balanced fashion, so I decided to go that route here. And as stupid as it sounds, I liked the art of her featured on the box (she doesn’t look quite as cool in the game to be honest).
The Conversation System: I don’t really love long extended bouts of talking in games as I don’t find it particularly engaging whether it be cutscenes or otherwise. Games where that is primarily what you do are not for me. For instance, I really like the story of the recent The Walking Dead game, but I can’t get into what amounts to walking around and talking. Even the decision-making doesn’t do a ton for me. The beginning of Jade Empire is very talk-y. But once you get into it a bit, it hops between the conversations and battles fairly often and I enjoyed it more. The conversations are fun. I like that it doesn’t have the time pressure of The Walking Dead for instance. When I first started I was intentionally picking all the “Good Person” lines so to speak. I just don’t really like being a jerk. But some of the jerk lines just looked too hilarious to pass up. So I am still trying to be good, but when someone is just being an ass I will give them some funny or jerk line in response. Some dick down by the beach is calling me out? Screw that guy. I’ll give him some shit. I’m having a bit more fun because of that decision.
The Combat: It took me a little bit to get a feel for the combat. Mostly because I wasn’t being very patient. It’s got a rock, paper scissors kind of feel to it. There are a couple of choices to be made as far as combat goes early on. After trying both weapons, I chose the sword, Fortune’s Favorite, over the staff, Golden Star. I kind of wanted to go with the staff as that seemed cool and a little less like something I’ve used in a million other games, but I enjoyed the sword combat more. I also chose Ice Shard for my magic style. Why? I don’t know. Just went for it. I have used it a bit to freeze up enemies before going to work on them with Legendary Strike and my sword style. Those two have been my go-to fighting styles. I haven’t put much time into any of the other styles I picked up or my support one, Heavenly Wave, yet.
Some other stuff:
- I love the world. It has this cool ancient eastern look with magic and fantasy elements, but also some cool technology worked in.
- On the cool technology front, there was a little vertical shooter level with a mosquito looking flying machine that didn’t wear out its welcome. Not much to it, but not off-putting either. When it comes to mini-games, modeling them after old-school game design usually wins you a few points with me.
- I’ve mostly been rolling with Dawn Star so far because I found the second fellow, Sagacious Zu, to be a bit of an ass.
- The graphics feel a bit dated and the animation a little clunky, but it doesn’t look too bad.
- I had no idea what to call this blog series. I hate the term “Noob” because it is dumb. I figure “Newbie” makes me seem more like J.D. from Scrubs which is much better in my eyes.
That will wrap up my first installment about on adventures with RPGs. I’ll check back in a few weeks when I’ve made some more progress in this game. Thanks for reading!