We’re trying desperately to replenish our chi before our scantily-clad female character wades back into kung fu combat with a flaming horse demon. Of course, that’s pretty much par for the course in Jade Empire, BioWare’s latest role-playing epic in which the traditional fantasy trappings have been replaced with a mythical Chinese setting. But being a port of a two-year-old Xbox title, is this a case of glorious reincarnation or ageing master?
The first act introduces you to the controls and the story. Ghosts inhabit the world of the living and after your home-town is destroyed and your master is taken by the Lotus Assassins, it’s a non-stop action ride to set the world’s problems straight. Expect a journey packed to the rafters with a fantastic supporting cast and a wide variety of inventive foes, from arrogant fellow students to animal spirits and creepy ghosts.
Jade Empire is set in a massive and lush world, which borrows liberally from several Far Eastern influences. The game offers some of the most beautiful levels we’ve ever laid eyes on, with plenty of variation too, from fungus-lit caves through haunted forests to (quite literally) small slices of heaven. Everything feels like BioWare has poured it's heart and soul into the game, from the inclusion of an entirely made-up language to the masses of scrolls, signs and conversations that fill in the back-story and work to create an accessible and hugely believable world.