Review by dragonslayer20
"The good outweighs the bad"
Ghost Recon: Jungle Storm is a tactical military FPS that contains both the Island Thunder expansion for the original and the new Island Thunder campaign. It also includes 13 unlockable Quick Missions.
There's not a lot of story to either of the campaigns. Island Thunder sends you to Cuba to safeguard the country's first free election and take out a drug cartel. Jungle Storm sends you to Columbia to finish off the cartel from Island Thunder. There are briefings before each mission to explain your objectives and move the story along as well as to immerse you in the role of a Ghost. A nice bonus for the PS2 version is the inclusion of cutscenes after each mission- something that was missing from the X-Box version of Island Thunder. The story gets extra points for not being incredibly overused, corny, or obtrusive to gameplay and just for actually having a story as opposed to other military shooters (SOCOM!). I give this game extra points for trying to add story elements into the gameplay, by setting you down right in a firefight and other little stuff.
Make a note, if these graphics were on the X-Box version, it would be unforgivable. As it is, the graphics extremely toned down for the PS2 version of Island Thunder. Animations look far more pixelated, and gunfire is hard to see. On the upside, the new cutscenes look very nice, and the explosions are actually better than the X-Box version. For a PS2 game, this looks very good and has a very impressive draw distance. Weather effects like rain and fog are perfect. Smoke and fire look very good as well.
This is not you basic FPS; this is not even you basic military FPS. The harder the difficulty level, the more the game relies on use of teamwork and battlefield strategy to outmaneuver your foes. You use real-life weapons here, no phasers or photon rifles. And you really have to take your time using tactics like crouching, crawling, and flanking.
You are a Ghost, one of six, in two teams of three. Your teammates are extremely helpful. In fact, if you haven't played a Ghost Recon before, they will kill most of the enemies you encounter for the first hour or so. They crouch when you do and follow behind you. When you stop, they will move to your sides and watch your back. They act like they had training, rather than stand around voting on whether they should kill that terrorist sneaking up behind you like your brain-dead team members in SOCOM. These guys actually act intelligently, alerting you to nearby threats and stopping to take defensive positions when outnumbered. It's almost freaky to see how realistically they act.... except when teammates and enemies alike walk in a treadmill motion against walls. On the X-Box, I never saw thsi AI glitch, but it happens every now and again on the PS2 version, but not so much as to hamper gameplay. Also note that although your teammates are very intelligent (most of the time) they are not perfect, leaving a high difficulty and plenty of enemies for you to kill.
Chatter from your teammates sounds terrific. Despite what reviewers say, you won't grow tired of hearing ''He's history'' or ''Scratch another one'' since these tell you another enemy has gone down. Communication from teammates is very important to gameplay, and thankfully it is done very well here. Surround sound works well here too. You can pinpoint where enemy shouts and gunfire are coming from. The music is dramatic, very good, and purposeful. it sounds tragic when a teammate dies and uplifting when an objective is completed. The sound really immerses you in the gameplay, working well on almost all fronts. Gunfire, however, could still sound a little better.
The controls work well, particularly with the new ability to point out an area and tell your teammates to move there. The controls are responsive, but can still be tweaked to your liking. The menus are done much better than the other Ghost Recons. They are no longer sluggish, and it is easier to pick the kit you want. A not quite perfect score comes from the sad fact that unlike previous Ghost Recons you cannot run while having your weapon zoomed in.
Replay Value- 10
There are 29 missions in GR:JS, though only 16 of them are form the actual campaigns. This means the other 13 cannot be played in Mission mode. But you can still play every level in Firefight (kill all enemies), Defend (protect your base), and Recon (keep all teammates alive and reach goal) modes. Add to this coopereative, deathmatch, and online play, and you have the ultimate in replay value experience. Ubisoft knows what GR fans like and gives us lots of it.
Changes for Ghost Recon fans-
There are some changes In Jungle Storm that may at first make many GR fans angry, but they will be assuaged by the improvements.
1. When you are hit, your screen goes blurry for a moment.
2. You no longer have a quick character change button, but must change them through the map menu.
3. On Elite difficulty, there is no radar.
4. The radar only shows enemies a certain distance away, not anywhere on the map.
5. the radar now shows enemies in three levels of closeness.
6. Voice commands add a whole new level of gameplay to GR.
7. There a TON of extra missions.
8. Menus now work much better.
At first, I was disappointed with many of these changes, but improvements like voice commands made up for it.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 03/22/04
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