Despite the old graphics and occasional clunkiness, I think this is one of my newest favorite games. I was surprised by how well it stands up against the newer titles. If anything, the fact that this came before many of Bioware's other titles elevates it to a higher status for my regard.
This is an old game, and as such, will have old graphics. Textures aren't particularly high, faces can be a touch blobby, and clothing moves like awkward paper. I also found the cutscenes, while also marked with the usual low quality of the time, also had a strange film grain effect. This may be removable, but I never found it so pressing as to search for the option. Some of the cutscenes that involved content of a more gory/violent/disturbing nature did not appear so, though one's imagination can fill in the gaps (this may be a pro or con). Overall, I found the graphics acceptable for serving their task.
I enjoyed the musical score, particularly the swells that appeared during the more intense moments in the game. I'll probably go see if I can hunt down the OST (EDIT: found the OST. It's still great). As for the dialog, I found the majority of major characters to have intriguing voices, and rarely felt the need to read the subtitles and skip when speaking with them. This was not always the case with the minor characters. I suspect the voices themselves are more than decent, but the lack of camera movement during a conversation could become a little stale (a flaw of the time, I would think).
Unsurprisingly, this is where the high quality really shone through. Although there weren't as many opportunities as I would have liked to interact and speak with the companions (though to be fair, that's always my complaint), I found their backstories interesting and genuinely wished to know more about them throughout the game. I wouldn't have minded a few more side quests, or the ability to take more than one companion along, as I found myself taking the same two out. This just means further playthroughs are needed for the future.
What I liked about it was its seeming simplicity. It began in a rather straight forward manner, following some of the usual tropes. However, as the story progressed, I enjoyed seeing the new twists, and I wish to give particular commendation to some of the aspects in the ending. Unlike some of Bioware's more recent titles, I really wasn't certain if I'd made the 'right' choice (assuming there had been others - I've only played through once, following the Open Hand path). This ambiguity was very appreciated, and it's something I'm still thinking about. Some form of sequal would have really been fantastic, as I would have loved to see what my impact on the Jade Empire ultimately ended up being.
In short, despite the aging, I found the game to be extremely entertaining, and possibly a necessary staple to anyone curious about playing more Bioware games. I can definitely see myself replaying it. For information purposes, my playtime ended up being 23 hours.
One last note: The steam edition of Jade Empire had this issue where upon startup, it would tell it 'couldn't find steam' or some such drivel, and then promptly close. The fix was relatively easy. Exit steam entirely, and then run it as administrator, and then start Jade Empire. That should allow the configuration paths to form correctly (I believe that was where the issue lay, but I can't be certain. Regardless, the game worked normally for me then on out).