Turning Point: Fall of LibertyESRB:
Platform: Xbox 360
Category: First Person Shooter
Developer: Spark Unlimited
System Link 2-8
In-Game Dolby Digital
Online Multiplayer 2-8
Imagine if Winston Churchill, the leader of Great Britain during World War II, died in 1931; eight years before the second World War. Would the Nazi’s have taken control of Europe? Would the war have moved closer to home? This is the basic premise of Turning Point: Fall of Liberty. Having played the demo on the Xbox 360 a couple of months ago, I was looking forward to the game as the demo captures an interesting story and some of the cinematic visuals were impressive. The demo had its share of issues and annoyances but nevertheless it showed lots of promise. So when Codemasters sent Turning Point: Fall of Liberty for the Xbox 360 and PS3 I was excited to see how the final versions would play out. More specifically, I was hoping the developers would make some improvements to the demo and deliver an innovative alternate history shooter second to none? While Turning Point: Fall of Liberty could be considered innovative, it falls flat in a few too many areas to consider this game an elite shooter.
The visuals in Turning Point for the Xbox 360 start on a high note. Within the first few minutes of the single player mode I got that “Pearl Harbour” feeling as missiles were dropped from above landing on the Statue of Liberty as the Nazi's began to invade New York City. The presentation is very cinematic and the mood is intense from the get go. Unfortunately, it goes downhill from here. While the game scores high marks for its cinematic presentation; the character animations and graphical glitches are serious concerns. There are only so many times that I can watch an enemy do a twitchy dance in between a wall, or see an enemy get stuck on an object before I am ready to just turn the game off. It cheapens the experience and makes me question if gamers are truly getting their money’s worth. You certainly do not get Call of Duty 4 or Halo 3 graphics in Turning Point, in fact some would even question whether the game is next-gen worthy at all.
Turning Point uses the Unreal 3 engine which is used in such hit games such as Gears of War and Rainbow 6 Vegas. The Unreal engine has a fantastic reputation and as such I am left a little baffled as to how this one falls so short compared to other big shooters already on the market. The enemy AI don’t react or move as they should and the overall character movements seem lifeless and robotic. Also disappointing is that the AI animations all seemingly have the same template demonstrating little in the way of variety. Some of the environments are also very bland while the explosions and smoke effects, which are important in a game about war, won’t blow you away either. Finally, the lighting is decent but in the end it is overshadowed by the games shortcomings. At the end of the day it is not like Turning Point is an awful looking game but rather it feels outdated and could have used a few more months back in the shop to iron out the visual kinks and bring the overall visuals to a higher standard, something that most next-gen gamers expect nowadays.
The sound is strong in Turning Point and it is certainly one of the games bright spots. The soundtrack is nicely laid out with a strong orchestral music score. It is big and it is swooping. It also blends into the game nicely and you can tell a considerable amount of resources went into the games music. The soundtrack is excellent and sounds terrific in 5.1 surround sound. In fact, the first few minutes of the game will be sure to give your subwoofer(s) a great workout. The music effectively ‘amps-up’ as the action becomes more intense as we typically see in modern day shooters.
The voice acting is decent too. The in-game voices are clear and understandable. I also found them believable as I never really got that cheesy feeling I get from so many shooters these days. As for the rest of the in-game sounds effects, they are somewhat satisfying, however the weapons seem to lack some punch. Having played Rainbow 6 Vegas 2 lately; Turning Point barely holds a candle to Ubisoft’s best selling sequel in the weapons sounds department. Simply put, the weapon sounds will not jolt you out of your chair.
In case you didn't know; Winston Churchill was struck by a taxi in the early 1930’s but survived, never blaming anyone but himself. Turning Point: Fall of Liberty asks the question what would have happened if Winston Churchill tragically died after being struck by this taxi. The story takes place in a world without Winston Churchill, and without his leadership the United Kingdom falls to the Third Reich in 1940 through Operation Sea Lion, forcing Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain to surrender. This allows Germany to sweep across the surrounding countries completely unopposed eventually making their way into the United States.
Turning Point has you taking on the role of Dan Carson, an average New York construction worker who has no prior connection to the military. While working away on a New York City skyscraper Dan finds himself in the middle of a full scale Nazi attack. The game starts out with Dan fleeing for his life scaling down the skyscraper until he joins up with National Guard troops attempting to set up a defensive perimeter around the subway and railway systems to allow civilians to escape. After fighting back initial advances by the Germans on the perimeter Dan is sent to assist other American troops scattered across the city. It’s all about survival and ultimately kicking some Nazi butt. As you can tell Turning Point had a great foundation to build a game from. Unfortunately it is all downhill from here.
My first area of concern is the controls which feel chaotic and twitchy. The aiming seems a little off as well. There were many occasions where I unloaded my weapon into an enemy but for one reason or another the shots did not kill anyone. Granted my aiming can be poor at times but this was ridiculous. Unlike some other big name shooters, the controls just did not feel as smooth as they could be. Nevertheless the in-game tutorials are helpful and it won't take you long to become completely familiar with the control scheme.
The single player campaign only lasts about six to eight hours depending on the level of difficulty and the amount of patience you have. Turning Point takes you across three major cities including New York, Washington and London. The levels are incredibly linear and the objectives do get tiresome in a hurry. Some are intriguing though, especially when you are tasked with assassinating the U.S. President who turns out to be a Nazi lackey. For the most part the objectives consist of going from point A to point B or defending an area from a Nazi onslaught. Once you start a mission you are updated on a new objective and thus you proceed accordingly. Overall, it is something we have all seen and experienced before, unless you are completely new the genre. I found myself losing interest far too quickly.
On a positive note there are some interesting weapons and war machines featured in the game. Apparently the game includes many advanced versions of weapons used in World War II, and several that were being researched and developed by the Nazis late in the war but never made it to production. Super-heavy tanks such as the Panzerkampfwagen VIII Maus and Landkreuzer P. 1000 Ratte appear in the game, as well as the Nachteule troop-transport zeppelin, the Flugzeugträger aircraft-carrier zeppelin, and various advanced jet fighters and bombers, all of which are utilized by the German invasion force.
Spark did add multiplayer to this game, but overall this aspect is weak and feels like a cheap add-on. I really question why they even bothered with a multiplayer component as there are only four maps and two game modes available: Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch. I attempted to play online but never managed to find game. Apparently there are not too many people playing Turning Point online as the lobbies are virtually empty. In this day in age two modes and four maps do not cut it and will not keep even your most casual online gamer interested in playing online more than a day.
Continue to Page 2