Review By: Jared
|# Of Players:
||1-2 (8 online)
||Memory Card, USB Headset, Network Adaptor
As far as PS2 ports are concerned, Ubisoft has a history of
adapting to the console as well as possible.
Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell was an excellent conversion
that cut out all of the right stuff to make the game playable
without sacrificing what really made it fun. On the other hand
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six 3 wasn’t quite what I hoped
for, but it still ended up a respectable effort as well.
Unfortunately, that’s not the case for Tom Clancy’s Ghost
Recon: Jungle Storm. While it isn’t terrible by any means,
it’s clear that the game could’ve been so much more.
Half of this game is a port of the Xbox’s
Ghost Recon: Island Thunder, which itself was a port of the
PC expansion pack, while the other half is the Jungle Storm campaign
featuring eight new missions. In essence, that makes this
version two expansion packs in one. Each campaign is separate from
the other, with only minimal connection between the two from a
Whereas the Rainbow Six franchise finds players mostly moving
from small area to small area indoors, the Ghost Recon series
focuses mostly on outdoor combat in large areas such as jungles and
cities. The reason the Ghosts exist at all is to quietly sneak into
a hostile area, carry out assigned objectives, and get out. Often
these objectives involve tactical strikes on key assets (like rail
lines) or rescuing hostages. Two teams of three soldiers each
comprise the Ghosts, including specialties like snipers and
demolitions. By nature the game is slow-paced, as it’s important to
maximize use of camouflage, long-range attacks (mostly snipers), and
careful planning. Bringing along at least one sniper is always
advised, as a large number of enemies can be eliminated before they
ever spot the Ghosts.
The first problem with the PS2 version lies in A.I., both enemy and
friend alike. Teammates occasionally get lost in the massive
terrain, forcing the player to backtrack to retrieve them. I’m not
talking about a team member that’s hurt (and therefore slower by
design) either, but simply those that get lost and end up running
around in circles or standing in place. When the team manages to
stay together, shortcomings in their A.I. will show up in other
ways. In the Military Camp mission (which features a complex in the
middle of the jungle) I found a teammate emptying all of his bullets
into the steel wall surrounding it. Apparently he could see the
enemy, but didn’t realize that he couldn’t shoot over the wall.
Several times teammates would relay some information to me (ex: “Got
armor” when seeing a deadly tank), then repeat it over and over and
over and over and over again for no obvious reason. Enemy A.I.
suffers as well. Nearby enemies will often react to a sniped
comrade by just standing there and not taking cover, making them
easy prey. They also have horrible aim for the most part, which
sorta betrays the whole purpose of a game that has soldiers dying
realistically with one well-placed bullet.
Another sign that the game has been dumbed-down for the PS2 audience
lies in the targeting system. Even on the hard setting it’s easy to
snipe a target, despite the fact that the shot appears to have
missed altogether. With a regular assault rifle, the player can
often fire wildly at an enemy several hundred yards away and
eventually kill him (although it does waste a lot of ammo).
There have been several improvements made in this version though,
most noticeably in the interface. It’s now possible to set
waypoints in game by simply pointing to an area and telling the
other team to go there. This allows for much more precise control
than doing so on the map, although that option is still there and
useful when traveling over long distances. Also, any soldier can be
controlled in an instant by simply pointing to them and pressing
Select whereas in the Xbox version the player had to cycle through
soldiers (sometimes wasting precious seconds) before getting the one
Unfortunately, Ghost Recon: Jungle Storm also suffers when
taken online. Like the PS2 version of Rainbow Six 3, the
number of players allowed on a map has been reduced to a measly
six. It doesn’t hurt as much (since it’s more realistic), but the
stuttering lag I encountered every single time I played online
does. It also lacks the benefit of downloadable content, which on
Xbox offsets many of the extras this game comes with. Granted, it
does require paid access to Xbox Live to get that downloadable
Another area where this game suffers is in the horrible graphics.
The Ghost Recon series has always (on consoles at least) had
rather utilitarian graphics, but this time they’re simply ugly. The
Xbox version did a decent job of hiding the low-polygon
environments, but here it’s painfully obvious. Surrounding
mountains are painfully angular, buildings are basic, and the
general terrain has many sudden drop-offs (where there should be a
smooth slope) as well. There’s a lot of seaming in most
environments as well. Textures are blurry, and character models are
blocky (although not nearly as bad as everything else) and move in
herky-jerky fashion. There’s also a bit of draw-in, although I’m
willing to overlook that given how large each area is. Perhaps
worst of all, the vegetation (which looked merely average on Xbox)
looks bad here. It’s awfully 2D, and crawling through a bush for
cover reveals flat textures on the outside and nothing on the
inside. At least the framerate stays relatively consistent.
The sound remains strong, with all of the realistic sound effects
you’ve come to expect from a Clancy game. The music is typical
military stuff, and teammates deliver enough chatter to keep the
player informed without getting to chatty (which wouldn’t be
appropriate in this kind of environment).
It’s still Ghost Recon, which means you’ll love it if you dig this
sort of thing. I played through both campaigns (and would’ve even
if I didn’t have to review it), and I own the original Island
Good sound effects and music, like all Clancy games.
It does at least include a playable online component.
It’s still Ghost Recon, which means you’ll hate it if you don’t
dig the slow pacing and realistic head shot = death gameplay.
Graphics have never been this series highpoint (except perhaps
in the PC original), but at least they were passable before.
Here they’re simply terrible.
Weak online mode in comparison to the Xbox version.
I don’t remember the A.I. having this many problems before.
It should be obvious to any Clancy or military-themed fan by now
that Xbox (with Live subscription of course) is the place they
need to be, as all console Clancy games this generation have
been superior on Microsoft’s platform. If you’ve stuck with the
PS2 this long though, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Jungle Storm
provides another decent port that’s just different enough from
SOCOM and Rainbow Six 3 to make it worthwhile.