Developer Bioware's last game, "Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic" achieved critical and financial success, earning the title "Game of the Year" from many reviewers and paving the way for a sequel that was released last December. But rather than working on the sequel itself, Bioware elected to create something original -- "Jade Empire."\nThe game's setting resembles a mythical ancient China and those familiar with "KOTOR" will recognize the storytelling methods employed; it's full of great voice acting, dramatic plot twists and multiple endings. And while the first three chapters are so huge and side-quest infested that you will question just how long the game is. The tail end of the game seems a bit rushed. Thanks to the ton of backstory (which you will inevitably learn during the insane load times) and a world map that you see about once, I couldn't help but feel that there was a large part of the game world I never got to visit. \nThe way "Jade" handles combat differs vastly from Bioware's past games. Combat happens in real time and is based on a sort of rock, paper, scissors system. Players choose among several fighting styles, including a variety of magic, martial arts, weapon and shape-change techniques. Combat is fun, but with some unbalanced styles and opponents there are cheap ways to win or die and the blocking can feel a bit unresponsive.\nThose who fancy the fleshed out "Dungeons & Dragons" method of character development used in past Bioware games may gripe about the shallowness of "Jade's" simplified new system, which contains only three stats (mind, body and spirit) and virtually no equipment. But this problem is lessened by fact that each fighting style can be developed by spending "style points" in a number of supplemental categories. This, combined with the return of a "KOTOR"-style alignment system, make for a game that you won't mind replaying at least once.\nWith beautiful graphics and great sound, the load times of "Jade" are the only significant problem. If this were a computer game I would honestly consider upgrading my machine after waiting out a few of these -- so be prepared to fix a lot of snacks or take a lot of bathroom breaks while you wait. All in all, if you're a fan of action role-playing games, you can't help but buy this game; and if you've always hated the slower pace and micromanagement of the RPG genre, you might just want to give this kung-fu-inspired game a chance.