Turning Point: Fall of Liberty
Review by kiriyama2
"It's not the worst shooter made, but it is pretty high on the list."
Sometimes you can be really looking forward to a game, for various reasons, it looks flat out awesome, it's part of a genre you like, other such reasons. This game for instance, I was rather looking forward to it, I'd heard little to nothing about the project, just saw some concept art of Nazis parading around the White House. I like alternative history stories, so I thought this game would be pretty cool, after all what's not to like about an alternate history game in which the Nazis invade 1950s America. It sounds like a recipe for success right? Wrong. This game is positively horrible; almost every single aspect of this game falls flat, and is downright atrocious.
The story in Turning Point is, admittedly pretty neat, back in the 1930s Winston Churchill was hit by a taxi in New York, whereas in history he lived, in this game, it exposits that he died from his wounds. As such the armies of Germany were unstoppable and they did indeed conquer the whole of Europe. Not just content with having Europe under its malevolent clutches the German government plots an invasion of America. The game begins mere seconds before the actual invasion of America by the German war machine. The opening cinematic itself is of German zeppelins flying through the New York skyline, as they bomb the Statue of Liberty into oblivion. A cinematic that could've been great, but here clocks in at a scant fifteen seconds before throwing you into gameplay with nary a warning. The game throws you into the role of Carson, a construction worker in New York before the Nazi invasion. He soon becomes a member of an underground resistance movement intent on expelling the German menace from the good ol' US of A. You see Carson it seems is not only a construction worker, he's a graduate from the Gordon Freeman school of FPS heroism, as he never says a single word, and possesses an uncanny aptitude for firearms that he's only recently come across. The story, as I mentioned above, is pretty cool, it's a nice change of pace from the typical World War II game, unfortunately it's just not as good as it could've been. A lot of the plot, particularly near the end of the game, just seems to progress far too quickly, the pacing just seems wrong to me.
Graphically the game is a mixed bag. In the opening section of the game, with the actual invasion of New York, it looks great, with the sky full of German planes and zeppelins bombing the city to ruins, it looks really cool. Sadly though, after that the game just falls to pieces graphically. The character models are horrific; the soldiers look really pathetic, their uniforms in game, are just about the same shade as the environments. I'm sure some say it's supposed to be camouflage, but I sincerely doubt it. For a game that uses the Unreal 3 Engine, it really doesn't seem like it. The environments in this game are horrible looking, I know that the Germans bombed the life out of seemingly the entire eastern coast, but good lord does the game look bland and uninspiring. Also there's the fact that almost all of the game takes place in seemingly nothing but corridors. Ninety percent of the game takes place in corridors or trenches, even the mission that takes place on the streets of DC you are limited to nothing but halls and alleyways. This game looks like it could have easily been put on the PS2 or the original Xbox.
Gameplay is your standard FPS faire; you go forth and mow down the German menace with a plethora of weapons. Which might have been enjoyable, if not for the fact that the controls are horrible. The sensitivity for the analog sticks are either entirely too slow or too fast and loose. Then there's also the fact that the aiming is a joke, you can be aiming at the chest of a German soldier and just unload on him, and not one bullet will hit him. However, if you're aiming just a hair away from the soldier it will kill them. It would be understandable if it happens once, or twice, but many were the times when I would just shoot an nothing would happen. The one way to kill them without fail (with the machine gun, mind you) is to just run up to them, get about two feet away and then fire at them. Still, even with the rifle, and shotgun the aiming is a bit wonky, and unreliable. The above mentioned having to aim away from the soldiers to hit them, for instance.
Another curious fact is the absurd amount of bullets it takes to kill the Germans. For whatever reason a simple headshot is not enough to take the Germans down. Also you can unload thirty machine gun bullets into the torso of a soldier and he'll keep moving. You can also fire a rocket at a squad and a portion of them will still be alive. It seems the only foolproof way to take them out is to rush them with a shotgun and shoot them point blank. Also, the handguns in the games are near useless. Speaking of useless the grenades are nothing but a mild distraction for the enemy soldiers, you'll never actually kill anyone using them, as they have really pathetic splash damage.
Conversely, the amount of bullets it takes for you to die is remarkably low. Unlike the Germans, who take a whole lot of killing to put down, it takes a scant three to four bullets to take you down. It's mildly aggravating, because your guy controls very poorly, his turning speed can be generously be described as annoyingly slow (even with the heightened sensitivity), and when you do opt to sprint away, you only get about five feet before slowing down to about walking speed. What makes the whole dodging enemy fire thing more of an annoyance is the fact that more often than not you can be behind cover (wall, mailbox, TANK!) and you will still take damage from an enemy shot. Which would be fine if some part was exposed, but even if you're completely concealed by any form of cover, you will still take damage. The mind boggles.
As I mentioned briefly above, Turning Point is an amazingly linear game, particularly for this day and age. Which actually does work to your advantage, as the game rarely leaves you without a clue of what to do next. Most, if not all the game is amazingly straightforward, and simple requires you to march from point A to point B and slaughter every single German that stands between you and the end of the level. And it works, it truly does, because the game never has you go off on little find the key/switch/other widget type errand that other FPS' do. While it's a nice throwback to the days of old, it means that the game manages to cut it's own length shorter as a result. Also the game is pure run and gun action, not once throughout the entire course of the game does it throw an escort mission at you, which is nice, I must admit. Even on the mission where you have to save a general from being executed you never have to worry about him croaking on you, it seems that he is oddly bulletproof.
I wanted to like this game, I truly did, I thought that the setup was pretty cool, but sadly the gameplay just didn't back it up. The aiming is in short a joke, the enemies vary between nearly invincible (what with taking a full machine gun clip to the face), or perplexingly easy to kill (like aiming just a centimeter away from them to kill them). The graphics are horrendous, the soundtrack, while decent, just doesn't really sound very good, and the voice acting is laughably pathetic. What's sad about this is, I actually defended this game when the demo first came out, I thought it was going to be good. If this game had just a few more weeks to iron out the bugs this game could've been something worthwhile, it's a shame that it turned out to be so worthless.
Reviewer's Score: 3/10 | Originally Posted: 04/16/09
Game Release: Turning Point: Fall of Liberty (US, 02/26/08)
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