There are no spoilers in this review.
I've been playing Bioware RPGs since Baldur's Gate and I must say this is the best one yet! Set in a mythical far East world with magic and combat "styles" instead of weapons. This is the first Bioware game I've seen with a realtime combat system and it is implemented perfectly, adding an extra dimension of strategy and challenge to the genre.
The support characters are interesting, but didn't bring their own missions... I am still debating with myself if this is a good or a bad thing. Typically Bioware games give each support character a side mission which distracts from the main game. Not adding side missions to each of them kept things focused, but reduced playing time and depth of the supports.
If I were to add any criticism about the main game, it would be that Bioware still have not got the good/evil, light/dark thing right yet. In fact they have it so wrong they may as well stop trying! Luckily it is not a main focus of this game and they use an "open palm/closed fist" system which allows the user to choose their specialist fighting style to align with their philosophy. This could have been executed better. I feel that if something like this is going to be in the game, it has to be the focus of the game, and the story needs to be as rich for either set of decisions... with much better benefits to choosing the "evil" path. Bioware should learn from the authors of Fable on this one, or leave it out entirely.
Unfortunately, Bioware have felt the need to throw in some really distracting mini-games. I hated these things in KOTOR and was really annoyed to see them show up again in Jade Empire. There is an R-Type style shooting game which is not part of the storyline at all, and actually seriously distracts from the main game... it doesn't even make any sense because your flying ship is flying the same colours as the enemy anyway so there is no need to fight them in the air. Sillyness!