"Don't you just love it when a plan comes together?" Most of the villains on this list got here by force of personality. It's not that Master Li isn't a well-realized character, but what makes him shine is how he makes every element of the plot dance at his whim.
The game introduces Master Li, the very model of the Kindly Sifu archetype, maybe guarded and secretive with a strong streak of favouritism toward the player character. But he has a reason of this, and with that reason comes a story, and he makes you believe it. Even when he disappears from the plot at the end of the first chapter, the player begins to hear more an more about Sun Li, the Glorious Strategist. These pieces start to come together to make a picture of a brilliant monster. Then the big reveal happens and everything about the first two thirds of the game gets re-interpreted in a new light. Li makes you hate him in the deepest way and all of this happens without any writing cheats. That twist takes Jade Empire from an enjoyable game to Kung-Fu epic. — Scott Wachter
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