Every once in a while, EA’s online digital distribution service Origin throws out a free game to help entice new followers into subscribing. Generally, these “on the house” games are older titles many younger gamers might not have interest in, but they are also cult-classics with real value. Ultima, Syndicate, you get the idea. Those who have played them know they are great, and those who haven’t and are still interested in older games know they are ones to check out based on reputation.
Jade Empire is not BioWare’s biggest hit. It’s often seen as “that one made between Knights of the Old Republic and Mass Effect.” I won’t deny that it deserves some of its criticisms, but I’m still a fan. The epic Chinese martial arts setting is unique to the genre, and it is distinctly a classic BioWare game, limited in scope but crammed with more actual role-playing content than some of its more recent games.
Dragon Age: Inquisition is a solid game, but like poor old Bilbo, I always felt it was like butter scraped over too much bread.
Jade Empire is the exact opposite, a lovely little truffle, over quickly but packing a nice, satisfying punch. Our heroes travel to so many places over the course of a short time in this game, and when the end credits roll around a bit too soon, you’ll only feel like you want more. It’s a refreshing feeling in this day and age when games feel like they stretch on forever… and ever… and ever…
I would play Jade Empire again before ever trying to tackle some of the massive open-world RPGs of today. You should too. Check it out for free on Origin if you don’t already own it.