Confession: I started over after two hours of Jade Empire and re-rolled because my original female character wasn't shapely enough. Sad, I know but years of exposure to Hollywood has conditioned me to demand that my heroines be beautiful as well as deadly.
Happily I can report that the game itself is an unexpected delight (particularly when viewed from behind the foxy curves of a scarlet clad ninja!). It's an action rpg with a strong oriental storyline that combines martial arts themes with steam punk. The graphics and sound effects are beautiful and top quality characterisation and voice acting really enhance the game.
My scarlet assassin started life as "fast" character relying on speed rather than brawn or magic. You are not constrained to your starting styles though and a few early deaths convinced me to beef her up. In fact I am nor sure that specialisation is a good thing in this game because certain enemies are immune to certain styles and the terribly underpowered henchmen cannot be relied on to make up for your own deficiencies in any area. Having a balanced character has the added advantage of allowing you to play around with the many combat styles available.
My only real niggle comes from the fact that chi and focus (your twin power reserves) don't automatically regenerate after each battle. This leads to frustrating power shortages at the beginning of each zone until you find the recharging shrines followed by tedious treks back to the shrines afterwards.
A strong storline told well and set in a beatifully drawn world. Good immersion and enjoyable gameplay. What more could you want in a game?