Turning Point: Fall of Liberty is Codemasters interesting take on a “what if” scenario. In this case its, what if Winston Churchill dies early leading to the fall of Great Britain and Europe? In this reality, Nazi Germany attacks the United States in their quest for world domination, rolling the Nazi war machine across the states of America. It’s interesting question even though highly unrealistic on the grand scale of things, but it’s the perfect question for a videogame to answer.
Turning Point: Fall of Liberty is Codemasters attempt to take the WWII genre of shooters in a new direction by twisting the reality of World War II. In this reality the Nazi war-machine attacks North American soil turning historical facts on upside down in what should have been the perfect setting for a shooter. The idea is fresh and the storyline has enough merit to offer another good excuse to shoot a few Nazi warmongers. All is not perfect in this peerless sceneario and something has gone wrong from the storyboard stage to the development cycle. This is unfortunate news, and you’ve probably have already heard, Turning Point: Fall of Liberty doesn’t live up to its FPS expectations. As the nation virtually falls in the game, so do my dreams of an innovative WWII shooter.
The "Everyday" Man
Before I get to how Turning Point ultimately fails, let’s examine those good parts of the game. Turning Point: Fall of Liberty completes their first objective, to make the war more personal. To accomplish this developer Spark Unlimited has made the lead character an "everyday" man. A average civilian who helps save the country from the evil Nazi forces is no more than simple construction worker named Dan Carson, and not a super human soldier. When the Nazi forces attack New York City, Dan climbs down the steel frame of an unfinished building to save himself and fight for his country. This leads up to new events that puts the player into a plot to put Nazis in the command of the country. Eventually, the Nazi achieve their goal and the leftover militant forces of the United States Army turn guerrilla hoping to free their country from the elevated threat. As a substitute American solider, and an outcast guerrilla, Dan gets to visit a number of impressive landmarks as he helps push back the Nazi invasion and save America from the Nazi attack.
Can WWII Still Be Fun?
Concerning the plot line, Turning Point gets some kudos for being original and for putting forth a good effort portraying the storyline in the game. If the action didn’t feel so removed from reality, this storyline and how they delivered it could have went a lot further. The everyday man as the hero is a nice touch in a war against the greatest evil known to man. Since Wolfenstien, I think we’ve seen every use of Nazi’s in a game and even though it’s a tired area, WWII games can still be fun when done right. In the middle of this new battleground against Zeppelins, tanks and Nazi’s armed with unlimited ammo, I wanted Turning Point to succeed. Even with my heart in the right place with my fingers crossed, I had to face reality, this wasn’t going to happen.
Problem Number 1
The first problem with Turning Point relates to the core gameplay mechanics. Turning Point is simply dated, feeling like a FPS that was released around 2001. Being a little dated isn't entirely bad, but more problems persist making Turning Point more of a bad flashback experience. Turning Point features spotty aiming, rocks for brains enemy A.I., linear levels, underachieving graphics, and tired objectives without too many redeeming qualities. All these factors certainly add up, putting a damper on any spark of hope Turning Point had. Can Turning Point be forgiven for promising so much and delivering a ramshackle of game? The answer is, sure. I did manage to have a little bit of fun while playing the game even with all its hang ups and problems, but by no means can Fall of Liberty be considered a good game.
The most enjoyable part of Turning Point is waiting to see what setting you’re going to be introduced to next. Since you already know you are going to placed in areas in the states, it's interesting to see this “what if” scenario unfold. Fixed on the streets of New York filled with Nazi soldiers with Zeppelins or Flugzeugtagers’ hovering overhead is pretty wild, along with the destruction that comes along with a war. The Statue of Liberty gets destroyed in the opening sequence, the White House has been taken over and the famous buildings have been decimated to ground level. Before the game starts, The Third Reich initial strike was a powerful motion doing considerable damage to the United States. After a strong initial strike, I wonder why they se nt their zombie-like recruits onto the ground in their attempt to takeover the U.S.
No Spark, From Spark?
If you’re still wondering about Turning Point, I will explain a little more about the running and gunning experience. In Turning Point you follow simple objectives like defend an area for a certain amount of time, maneuver from point A to point B, postulating the action of killing everything. Once you start a mission you will be instantly updated on a new objective and move accordingly. It’s the standard videogame actions you would expect without too many instances of surprise.
One part of the game that stuck out in my mind is when you plant a bomb underneath an attacking tank. Spark Unlimited implemented a mini-game of sorts to connect the bomb and plant it. For a second I was impressed with their spark (pun intended) of cleverness using the marked buttons to connect the wires and then turn the nuts tight, until I had to do it over and over throughout the missions. This was cool the first few times, but by the fourth time it wasn’t as clever. Aside from a few sporadic moments, Turning Point is one of those close your eyes/run and gun games that you’ve played before. The challenge is staying interested, not the game. If you make it through to the end you will be glad you’ve wracked up a few achievement points for Xbox 360 owners, but aside from that you probably won’t be replaying Fall of Liberty.
Yes, People Are Playing Online
Logging online for some multiplayer isn’t going to help Turning Points cause for longevity. Compared to other war shooters like the old Call of Duty for WII, or the new COD: Modern Warfare, you’re not going to pick up Turning Point instead. I spent a few hours online, giggling as I ran around like a maniac with a loose neck shooting at anything that moved. Turning Point is the basic of basic online, it’s better than nothing, but it’s nothing you will remember. I was just glad I found other gamers online.
The graphical and audio component to Turning Point is going to be a disappointment for gamers looking for the next 1080p explosion in HD. The graphics can’t hold up to the quality expected in 2008 which makes Turning Point look like an older game engine from the late 90's. The art direction and use of images with the swastikas painted all over American landmarks is the real show here. For initial shock value Turning Point has some merits, but it all falls apart once the game starts running. An updated game engine could have helped out Spark Unlimited a great deal and I think they could have turned this project around, however that is not the case, so we are left with a dated looking shooter in a genre filled with halos, gears and rainbows.
Turning Point: Fall of Liberty is a game with an excellent idea that doesn’t live up to its potential. Filled with dull missions, simplistic artificial intelligence, dated graphics, and a whole pile of over used mojo, Turning Point can't get it done. If you are a die-hard shooter fan than you might be entertained for at least one run through the campaign, just don’t expect anything more. Its unfortunate that Turning Point: Fall of Liberty's explosive setting isn't enough to save itself from mediocrity.
Reviewed by Jimmy | 03.27.08
Battle an occupying Nazi force: Employ guerrilla tactics to overcome superior Axis weaponry with a unique art style that brings an oppressed, occupied America to life.
Witness the Third Reich's epic takeover: Participate in intense World War II action against a backdrop of globally recognized landmarks in New York and Washington D.C.
Experience personal combat: Make a difference as a WWII resistance hero. Engage in an in-depth grappling system featuring environmental kills, quick kills, and human shields.
Jump into epic cinematic gameplay: Experience the best-in-class gameplay from Spark Unlimited, the soundtrack from renowned composer Michael Giacchino (Alias, Lost, Black), and online multiplayer built on Unreal technology, and more!