Ghost Recon: Jungle Storm Review

Developer: Gameloft Publisher: Gameloft
Release Date: August 10, 2004 Also On: PS2

Console translations on N-Gage have seen a tepid performance, at best. The response to the N-Gage QD, meanwhile, has been reassuring for Nokia, whose launch last fall was an utter failure. Coming out of July with the QD under their belt, they needed a lineup to advertise the new system with. The games included the highly successful Crash Nitro Kart, Ashen, and Tiger Woods 2004. Add Ghost Recon to the list of N-Gage games to buy, as this will probably go down as the most sought after N-Gage game ever to be released, besides the launch releases of Tony Hawk and Tomb Raider.

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Ghost Recon: Jungle Storm is already available on the PS2. From the title, you could presume that this would be a half thought out PS2 port. It is not; it is built from the ground up, using a N-Gage-specific engine to drive its graphical power. The level of detail, color/texture variation, and players on-screen without lag, is all astonishing for a N-Gage title. You can easily decipher the enemy, a car, truck, civilian, trees, etc. The same could not be said about Ashen, which we could rightfully say was much less refined.

The developers succeeded on graphical points. We all knew this by watching the video on the N-Gage website after E3. The question remaining was, how would the game control on the N-Gage QD. The answer, is that it is extremely solid. I was at first stunned to learn that the directional pad would not be used to move your soldier. I figured they would sacrifice the ability to move your gun in order to move your solider.

The truth is, nothing was sacrificed with the controls, they work seamlessly. Gameloft instituted a control scheme where you use the directional pad to aim, and in the form of a cross, with 5 at the center, 2 moves up, 4 moves you left, 6 moves you right, and 8 moves you down. The remaining buttons are 1 (grenade), 5 (fire), 7 (cycle weapons), 9 (crouch), OK (zoom in/out), * (reload), the button in-between * and # is your map, and finally, # (switch soldier). I had absolutely no problems with the controls, they were very well done.

Since everything else I have outlined has been positive, what about the gameplay? One of the strongest suits, believe it or not, is the sheer amount of fun you will have with the loads of different weapons you will have the choice to equip yourself with. Whether it is a submachine gun, sniper rifle, machine gun, AK-47, or assault rifle that you are itching for, they have got you covered. You also have one secondary weapon. The choices are: pistol, grenade launcher, rocket launcher, and binoculars. Among these, each has different accuracy, damage, and range. Some, however, will be needed for certain missions. For instance, the rocket launcher is needed to blowup a truck in one level. In another, you will instead use C4 to blowup a train, which means, you can opt for a secondary weapon other than a launcher.

The average Ghost Recon mission will consist of eliminating enemies, avoiding civilian casualties, providing safe harbor and/or guidance to extraction points for aid workers/civilians, demolishing trucks and buildings of interest, etc. There are a total of 8 missions, with a total of 58 minutes of gameplay the first time through, on the easiest difficulty. There are three difficulty levels for each level, meaning the levels, though now well-known, the enemies are more advanced, meaning it might take you slightly longer to beat.

Once you complete the campaign however, you unlock a mode called Challenges. This is where the bulk of replay value will come into play. There are a total of 24 challenges. Assuming they evenly divided them among the levels in the game, we could conclude there are 3 challenges for every level. Challenges include time limit, no squad members, and the use of only one pre-selected weapon. This mode should add an extra amount of replay value not present otherwise.

I would say you could get a good 10 hours out of single player, if you complete all levels, beating all difficulties, and completing all challenges. For those of you that think that is not a lot, do not worry, you are right, it is not. That is why the next paragraph will discuss the multi-player features available in Jungle Storm.

Thankfully for those of us lucky enough to have more than one game pack, there is multi-player to be played with friends. The game modes include deathmatch, survival, defend, and co-op. Eight players can play, via Bluetooth. I’ve played a friend in deathmatch and co-op. Co-op doesn’t suffer from the least bit of lag, nor does deathmatch.

Co-op, however, will include much more gun play than deathmatch. The multi-player modes, other than co-op, were all meant for more than two people, as the levels you play in are the same size as single player levels. In fact, they are the single-player maps. With such a large size map, playing with two people could mean, there won’t be a kill for ten minutes.

Overall, my conclusion is that Ghost Recon: Jungle Storm will likely be the best N-Gage game to be released in the 2004 calendar year. If you are expecting anything better, good luck finding it. Let’s hope that a sequel is in the works or at the very least, that the newly announced 3D Splinter Cell engine for N-Gage is based off of this game’s engine. Until then however, we are going to have to remain content with what we have. I’m happy, are you?

Graphics: 10
Sound: 9
Gameplay: 9.5
Creativity: 8
Replay Value/Game Length: 9
Final: 9.4
Written by Kyle Review Guide

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