It's an altogether unique flight combat game, and one that can also be quite impressive from a technological standpoint.
Dropship: United Peace Force is the most recent product that Bam has rescued from non-release oblivion. The game was developed by SCE Europe and released by Sony in that territory earlier this year, and Bam was fortunate to pick it up for US publishing. One of the more interesting combat flight games currently available, Dropship has you piloting all sorts of powerful multipurpose VTOL (vertical takeoff and landing) aircraft. Sony's hesitance to release the game directly in North America is a bit puzzling--Dropship is a complex, engrossing game, though it can take a while to learn. However, while the game is certainly impressive on a technical level, some elements of its graphical presentation seem somewhat primitive when viewed against current standards. It loses some of its "oomph" as a result, but not by much.
Dropship presents a very interesting take on the console flight combat sim. Most of the craft you'll fly function as both fighters and transports, and most of the missions you'll take on will in turn require you to play both roles. Most of the media released for the game has showcased the largest of the craft you'll get to use, which looks and feels like a flying tugboat. Rest assured, that isn't the only ship you'll get to use. You'll have access to several different aircraft, all of which are sleeker and have more specialized roles. Most of them will indeed function as dropships, however.
Being a dropship pilot means that you'll often have to engage in combat but must also concern yourself with the ferrying of friendly units around the battlefield. The game's complex control scheme allows you to switch between two modes of flight fairly seamlessly, one of which centers around high-speed flight, and another that's meant for drop-offs, pickups, and landings. The latter is called hover mode, and while in it, your ship will move much more slowly, and you'll have the ability to increase and decrease altitude without forward motion. Once you gain enough velocity, you'll enter flight mode, though you can switch back to the hover mode at will by pressing the square button twice in quick succession. Conversely, hitting the X button twice while in hover mode will trigger a quick boost in velocity. In both modes, thrusts are accomplished by means of the X button, while "brakes" are relegated to the square button. These functions are analog-sensitive, too, so jamming down on X or square will activate your afterburners and a stronger air brake, respectively.
The flight mode controls much like that of any other combat flight sim. The left stick controls your pitch and roll, while the L2 and R2 buttons adjust your yaw. The hover mode, though, might take some getting used to. While in it, you can press the L1 and R1 buttons simultaneously to gain altitude, and the L2 and R2 buttons simultaneously to drop. Used individually, L2 and R2 allow you to roll in their respective directions. It's definitely quite a bit to remember, which makes the game's introductory training missions extra important. You'll also be driving some ground vehicles in many missions, but the control scheme doesn't change much there. The triangle will function as a hand brake, and double-tapping the square button will cause you to drive in reverse.
Playing Dropship gets even more complicated when you factor in your AI-controlled comrades, to whom you can issue orders in the middle of a battle. Essentially, these friendly units are treated as weapons, as far as your interface is concerned. You use R1 to select the units and then L1 to assign them a target. Once they're matched, you press the circle button--which is also used to deploy your primary weapons--to issue the command. When you have numerous squads under your command, with just as many targets to hit, the utility of this interface starts to show its seams. Though overall, the control scheme is packed with functionality, and it even becomes pretty intuitive over time. You'll soon learn instinctively when to switch between modes, and once you do, you'll be able to do so rather quickly and pull off some cool moves while you're at it.