Jade Empire is without a doubt a very good game. It stands, however, very firmly, as a mid-point between Bioware's other landmark titles: Knights of the Old Republic and Mass Effect. It is very recognisable as a spiritual successor to the gameplay style of Knights of the Old Republic. On the other hand, you can see much that would go into Mass Effect being developed in Jade Empire. It says more than anything about Jade Empire that I could not write a paragraph in review without mentioning Bioware's other two excellent titles.
The characters and their development, the storyline, and quite frankly the world developed around them, simply doesn't live up to the heights generated by the other series mentioned herein. It perhaps helps with immersion that I was a Star Wars fan prior to playing Knights of the Old Republic; but Mass Effect's dramatic introduction of an entirely new universe was simply amazing and Jade Empire achieves nothing of the sort. It is a nice world, more densely populated than Knights of the Old Republic which makes it feel more immersive. But unfortunately it just does not stand out. It is not particularly memorable, and there is virtually no reason at all for the game to be open-world (when it does open up). If you are thorough, there is literally no reason to return to places you have visited in the past in Jade Empire, and that is rather unfortunate.
It is an aging game, so the graphics look a little dated at this point but you can still see that for their time they were quite pretty and it does not in any way impact the enjoyability of this title. The gameplay is also quite interesting, very fast-paced and there are a really wonderful array of fighting-styles that your character can learn. Slightly unfortunate, however, is the loss of the ability to play as other characters at will, which was a welcome feature included in Knights of the Old Republic.
All in all, this game is definitely worth looking into, especially for fans of Bioware's other excellent RPG titles. I have been rather critical in this review but it is only because Bioware has soared so much higher in other outings and with so much potential it is rather unfortunate that Jade Empire failed to achieve these expectations. Nonetheless, I still consider it one of the better RPG games I have played and would recommend giving it a shot. 8/10.