February 4, 2002
Dropship: United Peace Force - Review
Following the events of September 11 a lot of entertainment items had to be postponed, changed or even cancelled. Take's 2's Smuggler's Run 2 had locations in Afghanistan renamed, images of planes crashing in Twisted Metal: Black were removed and Arnold Schwarzenegger's Collateral Damage movie was delayed from October 5th to February 8th in America due to it's terrorism content. Somewhat surprisingly Dropship: United Peace Force looks to have made it out relatively unscathed despite several missions involving terrorist camps and activities.
|The ice covered mountains impress.|
Dropship: United Peace Force takes place in the year 2050 when the world has been gripped by increasing levels of conflict and political instability. As a result the international heads of government create a new unified international army - the United Peacekeeping Force (UPF), tasked with identifying and eliminating any hostile threat to world peace. You start the game as a new recruit to the Dropship squadron of the UPF. After your initial training period is completed you're thrown into the heat of battle. From there, you face a series of missions, developing your combat skills to take on the enemy in the air and on the ground, leading to an all out assault on the headquarters of a corrupt regime in the hope this will galvanise the prospects of global peace.
Although Dropship may initially appear to be a flight simulator, it's actually so much more. The developers have called this a 'deploy and destroy' game which is pretty much spot on. Dropship allows you to, at certain times, land your aircraft and deploy a vehicle, much like in the movie Aliens, to get in close to the action to rescue hostages, take out enemy positions and, well generally create havoc. It's an excellent blend that breaks up of gameplay and keeps you on the edge of your seat at all times.
|Enemies killed crash to the ground.|
Dropship begins with some training missions to get you used to the craft. Unlike normal fighter planes those in Dropship also have a hover mode which allows you to stay in one location, or land on a small target. To assist you even further the developers have included an auto-landing option where the computer takes control when you get close enough to the landing zone. In normal flight mode you also have a short after-burner, which gives you a limited speed boost to help you get into or out of the action quicker. Each plane is equipped with ASM (Air-Surface Missiles), AAM (Air-Air Missiles) as well as a machine gun for close encounters.
While playing the ground missions there are two very different styles of gameplay to deal with. In some missions you will have to drive the vehicles, trying to avoid the enemies, as well as land mines and natural objects such as rocks etc. The other style of gameplay on the ground is when you take control of the gun turret on the armoured vehicles and must use it to destroy enemy tanks, helicopters, buildings and soldiers before they kill you.
|Taking on a chopper at close range.|
Whether in the air or on the ground the action is relentless and the difficulty moderately high. The controls are near spot on with the airplanes responding perfectly to every command and your death usually by your own mistakes of lack of ability in taking out the enemies. What does impress is the scale of the battlegrounds. Fly high into the air and you can look towards the ground to see other craft flying around, enemy position and bases.
When the Playstation 2 was first released one of the biggest complaints was with the graphics. Some game had bad aliasing, others had massive borders, some had pop-up and many had frame rate problems. Dropship has almost none of these. The game runs at a constant 60fps with almost no pop-up except in the extreme distance, and usually only when approaching a base or buildings. The texturing of the ground is very impressive. Fly anywhere above about 100 meters and everything looks superbly detailed. Get close to the ground and the textures look a little flat but you'll spend so much time way up in the sky you won't notice at all. As you would expect in a game of this nature the explosions play a major part, and they are very impressive. Enemies don't only explode in mid air but explode, crash to earth and then explode again. The icing on the cake is the wonderful cut-scenes that help set up the missions, and show the results of your actions.
|Mounting the cannon on the tanks.|
Sound is yet another area in Dropship which will blow you away, literally. The explosions from the subwoofer rocked my room while the radio chatter between pilots keeps you informed about the progress of the mission and new targets to look out for. Studio Camden have also been wise enough not to drown out the game with some bland music blaring in the background. What music is in the game suits the action perfectly with some dramatic music at times to complement the action on screen.
|The Dropship in all its glory.|
Dropship: United Peace Force is a game which I really can't recommend highly enough. Dropship: United Peace Force has enough variety to keep you coming back time and time again while the amount of detail in the game make it a worthwhile addition to any collection to show off the system. Hardcore gamers will also be pleased to know that after the first campaign the game gets pretty tough so it will have you going for quite a while.
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|GRAPHICS||Some wonderful scenery and details abound in this fast paced game.||92%|
|SOUND||The music, speech and sound effects combine to create an aural treat.||92%|
|GAMEPLAY||Great variety in missions and game styles keep you glued for hours.||93%|
|VALUE||Numerous missions which get pretty tough and require thought.||89%|
|OVERALL||Studio Camden have a hit on their hands despite the terrorist theme.||91%|