It's been quite a while since I have been able to make myself play another BioWare Game. I really liked the Baldur's Gate games, but Neverwinter Nights left such an awful taste in my mouth that I have been avoiding their titles ever since. I only decided to give Jade Empire a try after playing Fallout 3 which had revived some of my faith in RPG style games.
Thankfully, Jade Empire steers clear of the swords and sorcery setting and simplifies a lot of the horrible, number-based statistics that Neverwinter used to describe every object in the game. Also, I had heard the combat had a more of a action-fighting game feel than a traditional RPG style combat system (point at an enemy and sit and watch your character battle). Overall, I think Jade Empire was a pretty good game, especially for the $5 price it goes for on Steam.
The combat system is not quite as fun as I hoped it would be. In a difficult fight it really just comes down to spazmatically mashing the attack button like a fool. The story and characters make up for most of the game play deficiencies. The voice acting is good but suffers from stilted playback by the game's dialog engine. I found myself skipping the audio and reading the subtitles more often than not. Spoiler alert: Also, add this game to the ever-growing list of games that use a friend's betrayal as the main plot twist!