Ghost Recon: Jungle Storm N-Gage Review
Everything a Ghost Recon game needs is here: squad based single player, a variety of weapons, multiplayer and challenges. But how much fun will a shooter be on the gaming-phone by Nokia?
My main concern for Ghost Recon was obviously the controls. The N-gage lacks triggers and an analogue stick (or something that works just as well). But Gameloft did a splendid job here. I’m not going to lie and tell you that you won’t miss the analogue stick, mouse or touch screen, but the controls in Jungle Storm definitely don’t hinder gameplay most of the time. One thing that I still do mind is the lack of triggers. Right now the ‘5’ is the fire button, and the ‘1’ the button for throwing a grenade. Although this works well most of the time, since you move around using ‘2’, ‘4’, ‘6’ and ‘8’ I still did kill a few team-mates, hostages and even myself because I threw a grenade by accident. It also makes it a bit harder to move and fire although I must say that you can definitely still do it. Then again, those of you really in to Ghost Recon should know that generally speaking you will be a lot more efficient when you don’t combine firing with movement. In the end you’ll have to trust me on this one; the controls are fine. I don’t see how they could have been improved on this system, great job here.
The enemies are far more worrying in this game. Too often have they fired at me with full auto from point blank range and missed. Even when they did hit, the player health bar barely seems to change. No doubt about it, when just playing the single player game on veteran difficulty level, getting killed by an enemy only happens when you screw up big time. Luckily for those of you looking for a challenge there is challenge mode, which does make the game more difficult. Every mission can be replayed in challenge mode in 3 ways. In one, you have to complete the mission with just one soldier instead of the regular 3, which really isn’t that difficult. The other 2 are harder though. In one you’ll need to complete the mission within a set time but with a full team. This is probably the only mode in which you actually need your team though, as speed is what these missions are all about you’ll need to let your team take a few enemies down as well. The third one is rather strange; you will play with just one soldier and a ‘special M9’. This weapon kills with one shot and the soldier will carry an infinite amount of magazines. However what makes these missions fun is the way the enemy only requires 2 shots to take you down. For those of you who like their games difficult there are 2 more ways of playing: single player on expert difficulty and multiplayer.
All in all the gameplay for Ghost Recon is excellent. I certainly had my share of fun. Just a bloody shame that while most Tom Clancy games are difficult on veteran settings, this one is actually rather easy. Luckily the game does compensate for that with challenges and a harder difficulty setting. Controls are alright, but the AI is extremely stupid. In the end fans of shooters should definitely be satisfied.
The game looks surprisingly good, however there are quite a few slowdowns. It’s not until you bring the fight to point blank range that you can see how much detail there really is, but from a distance you do notice a few of these details as well. For instance you will never mistake a friend for a foe, or fire at an enemy already killed. You can even notice a tango getting hit from a distance. So graphics are very functional and aid gameplay. I don’t know how much more juice there is left in the N-gage to draw from but judging by the slowdowns I think the developers max-ed out on the graphics.
Just be careful, throw several grenades or get in a fire fight and you will notice slow downs. Hell, sometimes the game will slow down just because you are running. But nothing I have seen ever hurt gameplay. That says quite a lot since I’m allergic to poor frame rate.
That said I don’t think anybody here will be expecting a work of art. It’s nice to see the game looking so much better than expected but let’s not forget you still won’t be blown away. That’s not what the N-gage is for.
I’ve always loved the sounds in Ghost Recon. Everything from weapons fired to the ‘Goodbye’ the soldiers will often say when killing a tango, it just sounds great. The only complaint I can find are the footstep sounds. I didn’t recognise them as footstep sounds because they sounded weird and the timing seemed off. But after some experimenting, I confirmed that these sounds were indeed caused by footsteps. I found this one part just annoying, but I just love to nitpick. Everything else was great, didn’t miss any sound effects during the entire game.
I think I can finish the single player in less than an hour. With 8 missions and the average one lasting about 5 minutes, not to mention fast loading times, I don’t see why I couldn’t. Of course it would be ‘veteran’ difficulty level and not ‘expert’; something that will last quite a bit longer as you won’t complete all the missions at your first try. Challenge mode adds 24 missions to the initial 8. If you can somehow round up 8 friends that all own an N-gage and Ghost Recon: Jungle Storm then I can see how multiplayer would make this one last forever. However I doubt too many people can do this. Something else which does boost the lifespan of the game is its replay value. I for one love to play those missions over and over; sometimes using different weapons, sometimes using different tactics and sometimes just screwing around.
It will last about 10 hours to finish single player and the challenges. Those of you similar to myself however will easily squeeze 30 hours of fun out of the game. If you are capable of playing this in multiplayer then you can have many more hours of high quality fun. At the very least everybody will get their moneys worth out of the game. Most will go beyond that though.
Much to my own surprise Ghost Recon: Jungle Storm ended up a great game. Controls weren’t an issue, graphics weren’t an issue and the other issues were just as easily stampeded upon simply because of fantastic gameplay. Readers should note that I personally just love games like this though, stay away if you didn’t like Ghost Recon or a similar first person shooter on another system. Everyone else with an N-gage should get this one. I highly recommend it.