Sunday, January 31, 2016

If I Could Jump Like That, I'd be in the Olympics

Origin has had another of those classic free games available that fell under the "yeah, I've kind of wanted to check this out" header: Jade Empire.

From And yes, the freebie is Special Edition.

Thankfully, this 2005 release will run on modern widescreen monitors --even though the cutscenes are all 480i-- so it doesn't seem too out of date.

Yes, the old Bioware engine is a bit ancient compared to today's software, but the story is all there. And yes, it is a really good story.

(Well, duh. It's Bioware, right?)

After having played MMOs for so long, reacquainting myself with the "Save" feature was a bit of a shock. As well as dying on the second or third fight.*

Unlike its Bioware predecessors, Baldur's Gate 1 and 2, Jade Empire is made for the console controller first and the keyboard second. It has that Neverwinter design of using keys to move around and the mouse buttons to shoot, and after a couple of days my knuckles have begun aching. I think I'm going to have to break down and get a replacement XBox 360 wireless controller unit for the main PC, as the old one simply stopped working about 3-4 months ago.

Aside from those quirks, Jade Empire is shaping up to be a satisfying RPG.

I do wonder how Jade Empire would look if it were updated graphically to match the modern designs, however.


The reason why I bring up Jade Empire is that it's another property that makes me wonder how it'd work as an open world MMO.

Of the current AAA designs, the only one that has an explicit Wuxia connection of any sort is WoW's Pandaria expansion. I don't count Final Fantasy XIV, which is high fantasy (mixed with some steampunk), and I never played the Age of Conan expansion into Khitan. Other JRPG-influenced MMOs, such as Aion, don't cross into Wuxia territory.

There are some martial arts MMOs out there, such as Swordman and Age of Wushu, but neither command the level of interest that even SWTOR or LOTRO have. There was also 9Dragons, but it is shutting down in February 2016.

Still, it seems very odd that a genre that people are very familiar with, courtesy of Asian martial arts movies, the occasional breakout film**, and the numerous martial arts fighting video games, is underrepresented in MMO space.


One last non-related note:

Apparently Splatoon's Squid Sisters, Callie and Marie, have been branching out beyond providing the "news" when you login to Splatoon. To wit: they held their own Vocaloid concert recently, and there is a YouTube video of the event.

No, really. Apparently these Vocaloid concerts are a thing in Japan.

*I also reacquainted myself with some more esoteric language in my vocabulary.

**Like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Or even the Kung Fu Panda trilogy.

EtA: Added the video.


  1. Blade and Soul is conspicuously missing from your list of wuxia-style MMOs.

    1. That it is, and since it just launched I'm waiting to see what happens. You're actually the only person on my reading list that is trumpeting the game, so I'm watching and waiting.

      I can afford to wait, since I've got Jade Empire to work through. (And my hands to massage regularly.)