Turning Point: Fall of Liberty asks interesting questions. What if Winston Churchill had died when he was hit by that cab in New York City in 1931? What if America never entered WWII? According to Spark Unlimited, the developers of Turning Point, one possibility is that Germany would have moved unchecked through Europe, before finally attacking the United States in 1953. While this is an interesting premise, the rest of the game doesn’t live up to that build up.
After the interesting start to the story, it almost immediately falls flat on its face. You play as Dan Carson, an unassuming steel worker who just happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. After being witness to Germany’s all out attack on New York, you immediately are thrust at the forefront of the resistance that pops up after the attack. One thing that is never explained is how this resistance is almost immediately set in perfect order, with underground hideouts, weapons caches, roadblocks, etc. Another head scratching moment is how your character immediately becomes the center of attention. While this “Joe Everyday Man is thrust into extraordinary circumstances” worked really well for Bioshock, it doesn’t work as well here. From the outset, you meet up with the National Guard, but for some reason, they seem to look at this lowly steel worker as their savior. It’s even stated, no less than about 10 minutes into the game, that your character is “the best shot we got!” by the National Guard commander. As the game moves on, the story just gets thinner and thinner, until finally you find yourself not even caring what happens next. From randomly moving from city to city with no real rhyme or reason, to the abrupt ending, what could have been a promising story falls flat very early on and never recovers.
The gameplay in Turning Point, unlike the story, doesn’t take any chances. Maybe it’s because I have been spoiled by games like Call of Duty 4 and Halo 3, but the gameplay in Turning Point leaves a lot to be desired. The guns in Turning Point, and really, this is the biggest part of a first person shooter, are awful. I have shot countless M1 Garands and Thompson machine guns in dozens of WWII era FPSs, and the ones in Turning Point are just off. The irons sights on all the weapons seem off and make it almost impossible to hit an enemy from far away. One thing I did like as far as the weapons goes is the inclusion of prototype German weapons such as the MP50, a 3 round rocket launcher, and the like. While the inclusion of these weapons helps the game a bit, it does little to save it.
Turning Point has a grapple system in place and for the most part, it works. As you close in on an enemy, you hit a button to grab them. From this position you have two options, perform an instant kill or use the combatant as a human shield. Also, at certain points in the environment instead of standard instant kills, you perform environmental kills. These range from shoving someone’s head in a toilet to throwing them off a building. These are probably some of the most entertaining portions of the game.
The AI in the game moves from mind numbing dumb to controller throwing difficult. Countless times during my play through, I was able to walk right up to an enemy standing there, looking around, not even aware of my presence. Other times, enemies would run around in circles as I attempted to shoot them. But as the game moves towards the last level, those same enemies become mind reading sharpshooters. And this imbalance in the AI hampers the game, and makes playing through the final level more of chore then it really should be.
One final note about the gameplay, at the outset, you are given audio cues about what you need to accomplish during that level. What the game doesn’t do is tell you exactly what to do. At one point, I was to move to the top of the building. After clearing out the bottom floor of the area, I searched in vain for stairs, a ladder, something to move up. After about 15 minutes of searching, I happened across a dumbwaiter that was to take me up to the next floors. This was never pointed out by the game, and it was only by chance that I happen to find it. The game doesn’t do a very good job of pointing out objectives to you and a few times, it’s almost by chance that you happen across what you need.
The controls in the game leave a lot to be desired. There is no button customization, and that is a horrible exclusion because the controls in this game just don’t seem to make sense. For example, crouch is mapped to the Y button. This goes against every FPS convention that has been set in the last few years and just seems counter intuitive. Also, the sensitivity only has 3 settings, low, medium and high. And even at the highest setting, the controls still seem sluggish. After a little while playing the game, you get use to the odd controls, but I still found myself, even on the last level of the game, clicking the thumbstick to crouch.
The graphics and sound are firmly in the middle of the road category. The sound has your standard bullets pinging off structures, decent sounding guns, and a forgettable orchestral score. The graphics are nothing spectacular either. While the explosions from grenades and the like look nice, the rest of the graphics are sub standard for this generation. At times, it almost felt like I was playing an Xbox 1 game. Even the cut scenes, which should be the best looking parts of the game, pale in comparison to other games in this genre, mainly Call of Duty 4 and Halo 3.
The multiplayer in Turning Point is just as lacking as the rest of the game. With only deathmatch and team deathmatch available, your options are very limited. Add this to the fact that there are only four maps available to play, and you have the makings of a very shallow multiplayer experience. With no character customization, ala Halo 3, or load out creation like Call of Duty 4, you will find little here to keep you coming back to play, besides trying to get the achievements.
Turning Point: Fall of Liberty is a game that tries to turn the WWII shooter genre on its head, but it fails at the most fundamental parts. From the paper thin storyline to the wonky controls, this is a game that could have used a lot more development time. While there is a little fun to be had here, this game is really only for those die hard FPS players that need to play every game on the market. With others in the genre doing almost everything better, this is nothing more than a rental here for those only interested in the concept.
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