World War II has been a defining period in the history of humanity and will continue to be a monument reinforcing truth, justice and the central themes of “good vs. evil.” But what if things ended up differently? With Turning Point: Fall of Liberty, Spark Unlimited takes us on a roller coaster ride through an alternate moment in history. It’s 1953 and The Axis Powers have seized virtually all of Europe and their next conquest is The United States. You assume the role of Dan Carson, a blue collar construction worker on the job when the invasion hits first wave and this puts you right into the middle of the fray.
The stuff blockbusters are made of
Spark Unlimited wants to evoke emotion from you. It’s been generally established through the course of time after WWII that Nazi’s are pretty much bad news, to put it mildly, and from the opening scene of planes flying over New York city with Swastikas on their wings, dropping bombs on the Statue of Liberty, it’s clear that they have a point to prove. From the start of the game you’re in the thick of action. High atop an undeveloped sky scraper, you’ll witness Zeppelins swooping in, paratroopers jumping out of planes, co-workers falling to their demise and smoke, billowing in the wind from all the carnage.
There’s a lot of in-game events going on and, although it’s definitely not the prettiest game running on Unreal Engine 3, Turning Point handles all the chaos without a single dip in the frame rate.
If it’s broke, please fix it!
Turning Point wastes no time getting you acquainted with the games controls and mechanics. For those of you that played the demo, you’ll be happy to know that the sensitivity settings have been much improved. Now slow isn’t even an option, medium is so-so, and high settings are perfect. Not too sensitive, and there’s no erratic panning like in the demo. The standard FPS setup is there, you move and aim with the analogue sticks, fire/throw grenades with the triggers, and the buttons are mapped for different features. In this case, ‘A’ is your action button, ‘B’ initiates your melee attacks and also lets you react when prompts come on to the screen (ie: climb ladders, hang from support beams, etc.).
I personally thought that it was kind of pointless to have two action buttons, while it wasn’t really confusing, it just seemed like an oversight in the development process to have two separate buttons that did the same thing, but one worked only in event situations.
Kill them all! Let God sort them out!
Combat in the game is satisfying as a whole, I mean you get to shoot and blow-up a bunch of stuff, what’s not to like? The easiest way to mow through your enemies is to use a fire arm, but if you walk up to an enemy you can press B to initiate the melee options, which give you the choice of “one-hit” and environmental kills, or using them as a human shield by pressing either up or down on the D-Pad. The human shield option was a welcome addition, giving you cover while letting you fire your weapon. Take into consideration that you regenerate health (no health packs), and sometimes will be catching fire from every direction imaginable, this turns out to be a nice touch.
This however makes it a little too easy to fly through enemies and levels. Out of ammo? Just run into the fray of enemies and press B and kill them in one strike, or let them eat lead from their comrades.
Shooting is pretty standard. It seems virtually impossible to kill a enemy with a head shot though, so a lot of times aiming down the sight of your gun is pointless. The variety of guns in the game is also bare. One of the standards in FPSs is a variety in weapon choices and Turning Point doesn’t give you many. It comes down to 2 light machine guns (which you’ll use for 95% of the game), 2 pistol types, 2 rifles, 2 heavy machine guns, 2 scope sniper rifles, and one standard choice of grenades.
That being said the enemy A.I. offers a challenge. If you do try and line up an aimed shot, they will move from side to side, throw grenades to flush you out, duck behind cover, and fire blindly behind cover. The only problem is that at times it can be a little inconsistent.
Moving in a straight line
The graphics to Turning Point while not horrible aren’t stellar either. Honestly the game looks a lot like Half-Life 2, not atrocious by any means, but that game was built to run on the original Xbox. There are also some glaring bugs with how you interact with the environment. Occasionally instead of opening a door, or climbing up an obstacle, you will just go through it like a ghost.
The levels are pretty much a straight line with no deviation from the set path what-so-ever. While I’m thankful there wasn’t any unnecessary backtracking, the option to complete a level in more than one way would have been nice.
The game tries to mix up the action by at times giving you different tasks to achieve, most of them involving using the controller buttons in a color coded fashion to arm bombs and blow up obstacles or tanks before you can move on, and this turns out to be a pretty painless attempt at introducing some variety into the gameplay.
From the very beginning of this game I was entertained. It was impressive to work my way around the sheer chaos that was happening on screen,and the storyline was interesting enough to keep me playing. I didn’t need to know anything about Dan Carson, or how he became such a bad ass, or why the interim president had sided with the Nazi’s. This game played like an ok popcorn movie. But as I progressed, it appeared that would be it, the levels were very linear with not a lot of variety except moving in a straight line and killing enemies with pretty much the same machine gun.
The story which had such a good premise and a lot of potential, didn’t really end on a high note, and I was unable to test the online during the review trial due to the servers being down.
Overall, Turning Point: Fall of Liberty is really just an average game. In a genre that’s littered with games such as BioShock and Call of Duty 4, as well as a slew of other contenders and pretenders, I feel like this game won’t really sway fans of the FPS genre. To a neutral gamer, this will honestly be a rental. It’s not that it does anything horribly wrong, but it just doesn’t do anything that hasn’t already been done before, or establish itself in a must-purchase exciting way.
- Linear levels
- Weapon variety is sparse
- The ending
- In-game events set the mood, no drop in frame rate
- Solid controls
- Environmental kills