Review of DropShip
Dropship: United Peace Force has been described by Sony as one of their ‘AAA’ titles, and has been awaited with some anticipation amongst game players everywhere, well by this game player at least! Has the anticipation really been worth the wait? We’re about to find out…
The game is set in the near future of 2050, where global terrorism threatens to dominate the globe; hemm nice timing Sony, I’m sure they’ll be selling lots of copies in Afghanistan! Born out of the ashes of NATO and the United Nations, the United Peace Force has been created to maintain the peace and prevent acts of aggression globally. You have joined the UPF as a rookie pilot assigned to the 93rd Mobile Assault Wing under the leadership of Captain Holbrook; your call sign is Bravo 2…
Now before getting carried away and starting the Campaign mode, hold on and actually do the Training missions for once! These introduce the player to the Dropships and associated armoury. Remember the landing craft in Aliens that the marines used, they’re pretty much like those. Coming in various types, Assault, Lifter and Defender class, they all have the ability to fly and hover, allowing them to rapidly deploy and extract troops in various locations. The larger Dropships can even carry armoured assault vehicles which can then be used for ground based attack. Refusing to be ‘pigeon holed’ the game is both a flight sim, driving game, and shot-em up all rolled into one.
With all these craft to control, the reasons for doing the Training missions quickly become clear. The game uses probably as many buttons as (whisper it…) a PC title. However, since they have obviously been well thought out and play tested, flying the Dropship, landing it and then driving the armoured car soon becomes second nature. In some missions a co-pilot takes over the driving ‘on the rails’ as it were, while you control of the car’s gun turret and lay down some serious firepower – in some respects this is one of the most entertaining aspects of the game. Helpful features such as Auto Landing can be turned on to make things slightly easier, and radar, targeting and mission objectives are all clear and well laid out.
Right, now you’ve completed the Training, time for some serious action. Campaign mode is comprised of 20 missions set in 4 flash points around the World. Starting off in Libya, the first missions ease the player gently into the game. By around the third mission things start to hot up a bit as the enemies discover that they can shoot back too and guess what, it’s open season on UPF Dropships! Where the game really starts to come into it’s own is the mission structure. No simple ‘blow up all ground targets’ here… A typical mission might involve dropping off a Special Forces team, providing them with air support, crashing the Dropship due to engine failure, swapping to the armoured car, then driving like mad to an extraction zone while shooting at the enemy from the car’s gun turret! It’s this diversity that really changes the game from a simple flight sim into what can only be described as a ‘Combat Sim’ – there we go it’s now been ‘pigeon holed’… The only downside in the missions’ structure is that if you die, you have to do it all again from scratch, not just from the last part of the mission, which can be pretty annoying during particularly long missions.
Now with all these different things going on (flying, driving and shooting…) you might expect the game engine to be compromised in an effort to implement everything. Luckily this is not the case, all modes perform remarkably well, with perhaps the driving only being just a bit suspect in respect of the armoured car’s handling. Graphically, Dropship certainly earns it’s ‘AAA’ status. Although the ground detail is a bit sparse save for a few trees, the enemy bases, ground infantry, tanks and aircraft are all nicely detailed and well animated. A 60Hz display mode has also been included which will produce slightly faster graphics, not it’s particularly needed, as the game suffers from no slowdown, has a massive draw distance, and is silky smmmoooooth baby! Unfortunately the dreaded ‘jaggies’ rear their ugly head from time to time, but it’s not really that noticeable. The game also has excellent missile trail and explosive effects, which can really be appreciated up close by using the ‘gun camera’ to follow missiles to their targets (highly satisfying….). Once a mission has been completed, it can all be replayed for your personal gratification, with the camera being centered on all the action instead of just wandering about aimlessly from aircraft to aircraft. However, there is no control over the replay, not even different views or a fast forward option, which kind of makes the feature a bit redundant really.
For once in my personal war against crap game music, a developer has finally got it right (sharp intake of breath, fall off chair, etc…). The music for Dropship is both atmospheric and subtle. It adds to the game without it being really noticeable or brash. Sound effects are also very good with some meaty explosions and gun effects. Voice acting isn’t bad, and can be rather entertaining at times; listen to some of the comments of the Special Forces colonel during the Colombian campaign, gun ho or what…!
Overall Dropship: United Peace Force is an excellent game. It is challenging with a fairly steep learning curve, however the variety and mission structure makes completing a mission a rewarding experience. Although the game does have a lot of controls, they soon become second nature since they have been well thought out. Enjoy!
OUR PLEDGE: We promise that we have fully played 'DropShip' before writing this review. The scores given above are our honest opinion and were not influenced in any way by the manufacturer or distributor of the game.
This review was written by James Goode © Absolute PlayStation
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