Jade Empire is an action role-playing game set in a mythic version of ancient China, at a time when a parallel world of darkness and chaos threatens to cross over into the realm of the living. Players initially choose from a selection of predefined characters, each with a name, background, and distinct skill set. Although the character's appearance cannot be changed, users may choose to rename their hero and decide on a combat style. They will then be able to gradually shape their character's fighting style from over 20 different types, from martial arts to weapons-based combat to even magic. Combat is performed in real time from a third-person perspective, with players able to pause the game to execute specific commands during the fighting sequences.
Body, mind, and spirit are the three primary attributes inherent in each character, with mastery over these guiding forces improving both the character's strength and influence. Though the game follows the path of one character instead of a party, players can earn "followers" to their cause. Only one follower may be selected at a time to follow the protagonist into combat, with the others remaining at a campsite and available for conversation. Throughout the game's seven chapters, players will travel between distant locations using a flying ship. These travel sequences can either be skipped or played as a vertically scrolling shooter mini-game.
The Special Edition features improvements in graphic resolutions and additional visual effects, enemies, and fighting styles. An exclusive art book is bundled with the game as well.
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