Review by CardigansFan

"An innovative story that makes the game worth playing...when it drops in price"

I'm a sucker for any limited or collector's editions of games, and I've always wanted a game with an alternate WWII time line, so I happily preordered this game, expecting sheer awesomeness; however, while I wasn't completely disappointed in my purchase, it's definitely not my best.

Story (7/10)
If you don't know already, this game is pretty much WWII gone completely the other way. In 1931, Winston Churchill is killed by a hit-and-run accident, and because of this, all of Europe and most of Asia is conquered by the Axis, apparently due to the absence of Churchill's diplomacy and strategy. Then in 1953, Germany, after years of war research and development, attacks the United States in full-scale. That's where the main character, Dan Carson, comes in. The story is set up in a way similar to Bioshock, where the main character has no idea was is going on in the beginning, and eventually just “goes with the flow” to vanquish the evil that is set upon him. In Turning Point, Dan Carson quickly joins a resistance group fighting against the Germans in a series of strategic battles. I find this story very good (not to mention unique), but it could be much better; they could have included Italy and Japan making attacks on different parts of the United States, and expand it to three main characters (kind of like the Call of Duty games) fighting against those three forces, and then they meet up by chance in the end to finish them all off with a master plan. And as for learning the story, I had to use the time line included in the limited edition version of the game, as the game itself never really explained what happened and how it happened.

Gameplay and AI (5/10)
There's nothing too ground-breaking about this game, but there also isn't much it's missing from other first-person shooters, and there's also numerous little flaws. First of all, there is no auto-aim in the game, which I actually like, as auto-aiming usually dumbs the game down and gives the player too much of an advantage. The disadvantage of this (or perhaps, just a mistake by the developers), is that for some reason, scrolling up or down to aim is much faster than scrolling left or right to aim; that, and the fact that there's no sensitivity for aiming that seems to work well – it's either too fast or too slow. The health system is pretty good too; the screen turns more colorless as you take more damage until you die, and if you manage to take cover, you can slowly recover your health. This sure beats running around maps looking for health packs. There's a indicator to tell you when a grenade is nearby and in what direction it is from you, but the major flaw of this is that it doesn't tell you how far the grenade is, so while you think you may have escaped it, you still might get killed. And don't think you can just back-step away from a grenade in front of you, oh no. If you attempt to move backwards, you'll be moving at the speed of a slug, and if you turn around and try to sprint away, you still might not make it due to the time it takes just to turn around; sometimes you just have to run to the side. There's no real cover system; all you can do is hide face-first behind a wall or crouch face-first behind a crate or barrier or something. The sprinting system isn't too bad; you can sprint for about 5 seconds at about twice the speed of normal walking, until your character gets fatigued and actually runs slower. A nice thing about this game is the extensive use of the environment. You can throw people off buildings, down ladders, drown them in toilets, put them in ovens, and plenty of other things. Along with environmental kills, you can grab hold of any enemy and do an instant melee kill (as opposed to regular melee in most games that would take two or three hits) or use them as a human shield when going into large groups of enemies. In addition, this is one of the few first-person shooter games where you go into third-person mode when climbing ladders, and where you can actually climb onto some ledges and crates. As for the AI, it's a mixed bag here. Sometimes the AI can be really smart and try to flank you and work in a team; some enemies go into the open guns blazing while the others shoot from behind cover (sometimes even blankly). Other times, the enemies will stand there like training dummies, waiting to get a headshot. The objectives aren't always clear too. On one of the levels, I was supposed to “hold” a barricade; it took me about 5 minutes and about 50 enemies killed to figure out that the enemies would not stop coming, and that I was supposed to go to a specific place on the barricade to end it all.

Controls (7/10)
Definitely not the best, or even completely average first-person shooter controls. Not only is it barely customizable, but this is probably the only shooter where you crouch using the Y button instead of clicking the left analog stick. In addition, instead of using the right analog stick button to zoom in, you use the left trigger, which would have been a much better place for throwing grenades than the current position of right bumper.

Graphics/Environment (6/10)
While the environment of the game is nice an all – a war-ridden America ready to collapse, with destruction and ruins everywhere – the graphics aren't the best. At points, the graphics can be at what can be the standard for the current-generation, while at other times it can easily be described as graphics from last-generation games. You can tell the developers didn't put too much time into this. And while I'm not a graphics-whore and don't play games based on graphics, the developers probably should have put a little more time into this.

Sound (7/10)
Again, nothing ground-breaking here. It's pretty much all the sounds you'd expect from any WWII game: machine gun sound from machine guns, rifle sound from rifles, explosive sound of tanks, etc. Simply put, it's not bad, but it's also not above average.

Weapons (7/10)
Same here again: nothing ground-breaking. While they did take the time to add some new, prototypic German weapons to the line-up of classic, WWII weapons, there's just something missing. Maybe it's the fact that American weapons haven't advanced at all. But at least the Americans get a bolt action rifle capable of killing any enemy in one shot. At least they got the aiming right; while the tommy gun shakes all around the enemy when fully automatic, it can be pretty good when in fast, short bursts, and every non-automatic weapon or long-range weapon stays relatively steady when aiming.

Singleplayer Replay Value (4/10)
Yes, you do unlock cheats by beating the game fully once, but beyond having fun with cheats, there's not much to do after beating it once. You can try beating the aptly-named Insane mode, or you can relive the epic-ness of the first level, but just like many first-person shooter games, there's not much incentive in beating singeplayer more than once.

Multiplayer Replay Value (5/10)
The only reason this is one point higher than singleplayer replay value is simply because the multiplayer on this games feels older than multiplayer on a game like Quake II. You have your choice of player or ranked matched (both of which have the same amount of people playing, close to none), deathmatch or team deathmatch, and if you host a match, a choice between 4 maps (something the developers should really work on doing as a FREE download, like Prey's free multiplayer maps), time limit, and kill limit. Then, instead of having your player's starting weapon and character as a setting usable for all games, you have to pick every time what character and what weapon to choose. If the multiplayer had more maps, then it might be more worthwhile, but right now, it's just something to do when you're really bored.

Achievements (5/10)
Something new to my reviews, reviewing achievements. The achievements wouldn't be so bad if they're weren't so easy and so flawed. For example, the achievements for completing the game on a certain difficulty can be gotten by playing only the last level on that difficulty, with cheats if you like. The headshot achievement took me a while, due to the game not registering headshots from anything but a sniper rifle, and even then, being off by about 5 headshots. The multiplayer achievements are a pain in the butt to get, not only because many people choose to quit mid-game, but also because not that many people play. And the achievement for sprinting 30 minutes in the game is pretty much impossible without taking the time to do it; after replaying the game a bit to get all the singleplayer achievements, I'm only halfway to getting to those 30 minutes.

All in all, if you're looking for a change in WWII games, or just a first-person shooter with a good story, I'd recommend this game, but only as soon as the price drops to say, $40, since this is about a little over half the enjoyment I'd usually get from a first-person shooter. Otherwise, it's a good rental, since you can complete the singleplayer in a day or two and then play multiplayer until it's time to return it.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Originally Posted: 03/10/08

Game Release: Turning Point: Fall of Liberty (Collector's Edition) (US, 02/26/08)

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