Jade Empire in stores

BioWare's highly anticipated RPG fights its way onto the Xbox; martial art action abounds in an Asian mythological world.

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Young grasshoppers, Microsoft Game Studios today announced that Jade Empire has roundhouse-kicked its way onto shelves for the Xbox. The game was developed by BioWare, whose role-playing game resume includes Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and Baldur's Gate. Jade Empire begins its fight in Europe on April 22.

Gamers begin Jade Empire as a student of the martial art in a land inspired by ancient Chinese mythology, a far cry from BioWare's previous backdrops of science fiction and the Dungeons & Dragons realms. Soon, the hero finds himself on the hunt for his missing master and is joined by a posse to help him out along the way.

Characters can learn various styles of martial arts to beat down foes, including "Leaping Tiger," "Legendary Strike," and "Storm Dragon." It's not all fists of fury though--characters can wield and dual-wield all sorts of weapons, as well as focus their chi to produce some devastating magical strikes or even assume a "demon form." Enemies come in all shapes and sizes, such as kung fu chronies, supernatural demons, and even Tinkertoy-like robots.

The story-driven Jade Empire features more than 70 different voice actors delivering more than 17,000 lines of dialogue inspired by the legends of Chinese mythology. All the fighting action was motion-captured from real martial art champs for accurate detail.

Jade Empire is rated M for Mature and retails for $49.95. Looking for more on Jade Empire? Check out GameSpot's full review of the game, previous coverage, or in-depth Game Guide.

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