Published on October 29th, 2017 | by Kirk Hiner0
The Hidden Apple TV Game Library: Jade Empire: Special Edition
I’m not blind to the irony of recommending you play Bioware’s Jade Empire: Special Edition on the Apple TV. The game was originally released for consoles and PC back in 2005. The macOS version—originally released in 2008—is currently available in the Mac App Store for $9.99. So, why bother playing a mobile game on your TV when it’s already available for consoles and computers? Read on.
Jade Empire: Special Edition for iOS was released by Aspyr Media in October of 2016. Aspyr, of course, is a long-time favorite of Mac gamers, and they’ve lately made a name for themselves in the mobile world with some great ports of PC/console games. Never content to just dump a beloved console game on your touchscreen device, they refine the controls to provide the best experience possible. Having played through a lot of Jade Empire on my iPhone, I can say they did a really good job. They even went so far as to create a control tutorial. But should games require a tutorial just to control them? When I first played it while reviewing the SteelSeries Nimbus, I couldn’t believe how much easier it became. You can optimize touch controls until the cows come home, but their arrival never signifies an adequate replacement for tactile feedback.
I play Jade Empire: Special Edition on my iPhone, as the 3.9GB download size is too hefty for my 16GB iPad. It’s a 7 Plus, and although that’s a nicely sized screen, it has trouble containing the action of Jade Empire.
There, then, is your reason for moving up to the larger screen of your living room TV—you’re a mobile gamer who sometimes just wants to get comfortable in the recliner and let the action become larger. The flip between mobile and console presentation is not unlike gaming on a Nintendo Switch…if you’re willing to stretch your imagination a bit, anyway.
For those who don’t know about Jade Empire, I’ll let the App Store description tell the tale:
Embark on an epic journey with fascinating characters across a graphically beautiful, fantastic new world inspired by the myths and legends of ancient China. Sinister events upset the peaceful harmony of an isolated martial arts school, drawing you into a story that unfolds with drama, action, and adventure. Detailed followers and other non-player characters enrich the adventure by providing comic relief, rivalries, flirtations, and hostility. Stare in awe at the sweeping views of the lush environments, sheer vertical drops, and overpowering scale that provide the visual backdrop to the story. Confront wild outlaws, evil magicians, demonic incarnations, and other foul villains that protect the Jade Empire’s darkest secrets.
It’s kind of a precursor of Bioware’s Dragon Age and Mass Effect, but in a prettier setting, if you ask me.
There’s plenty of martial arts combat and RPG style character control, and the different protagonists from which can you choose change up the combat style enough to warrant multiple play-throughs.
Jade Empire: Special Edition has no tvOS version, unfortunately. You wouldn’t be able to play this on the Siri Remote, and it just doesn’t make financial sense to bring it to Apple TV with hopes that all of us have a MFi controller. You’ll therefore need to mirror your iOS device to your Apple TV. The big drawback here is that it won’t look nearly as crisp as it does on your iPhone, but it’s still playable and much easier to see.
MFi controller support is built into the app, so set your phone on the end table, grab your gamepad, and head off to ancient China.
Then, tomorrow morning on the train to work, pick your phone back up and resume your adventure.
Jade Empire: Special Edition is available now for $9.99 in the App Store.