Turning Point: Fall of Liberty - First Impressions
Written Thursday, January 24, 2008 By Geoff WhiteView author's profile
The concept for Turning Point: Fall of Liberty was always a good one. Every other game based on the events of World War II has followed the same principle- the Germans lose, the Rest of the World wins, everyone’s happy. Boring!
The start of the demo has a standard quote from Winston Churchill at the very start, and you get the “here we go again feeling”. Then on the next screen it explains that in 1930, when Churchill was in a taxi in New York, he had a near fatal accident. Luckily he survived and went on to be the most important figure in WWII. But what if he hadn’t survived?
The gameplay starts off with you working on the construction of a skyscraper when a German Air raid starts. You have to work your way across the girders, with German planes being kind enough to shoot the wrong paths out of the way for you. This also provides the first real look at the graphics as well. The New York skyline is pleasant, but that’s about as far as it goes. Don’t get me wrong, it looks doesn’t look bad, but at this stage of life for the 360 I expect a game to be pushing the limits. It seems to me that Spark Unlimited knew they didn’t have a CoD4 or Halo 3 beater, so they settled for second best.
The first few minutes are spent running round girders and climbing down ladders until you get to the relative safety of the main building. Due to the bombing, the building is obviously collapsing, and again you are only given one path to go through. Whether that’s them restricting the demo or whether the game is like that in its final release remains to be seen. Variety never killed anyone Spark!
Anyway, once you’ve worked your way down through the building, you have to cross to another skyscraper on a “skybridge”, and luckily enough for you there’s a Nazi with his back towards you, giving you a chance to throw him off the bridge and steal his gun. Again, when out in the open it gives you a chance to look at the skyline and all the planes dropping bombs all over... and for the first time the game does make you question ‘What if?’. Not about Churchill dying though, about what this could have been with top of the range graphics.
From the bridge, you have to run and climb up a few blocks on the side of the building and head into a lift. Once this makes its way to the Manhattan floor, you actually get to kill some Germans. This is when you start to realise some of the major flaws in the game. The hit detection system is poor, as is the mechanics of the whole game. You wouldn’t think this used the Unreal engine if you didn’t notice the logo as the demo was loading. It just feels....slow as you’re running round. As standard in most shooters these days, there is no visible health bar, you just have the colour slowly drain into grey as you take more and more damage.
Once you’ve done some more walking through buildings with only one route in them (spot the pattern yet), you end up back on the rooftops. This time you get to climb across a beam hand over hand, so at least you can use the environment to your advantage. Pipes glow an orange colour if they can be used, and blocks that can be climber turn day fluorescent yellow. From the other side you have to mount two mini charges to wipe out the last eight Nazi’s on the demo. As you run around a corner expecting a barrage of fire, you get met with a cut scene instead. Even this looks like it hasn’t been finished yet – like it needs the polishing layer before it get’s added onto the game. Unfortunately, that layer is never going to make it.
So, at the start of the download of the demo I was psyched. I really thought this was going to be a great game. However, the average graphics and poor use of the Unreal engine has left me with a sour taste. It’s a distinctly average game made out of an outstanding idea. Some people will love it I’m sure, but let them have it. I honestly can’t see this being any more than a rental for the vast majority of people. To be honest, I wouldn’t even say that this game was worth waiting for the 1.2 GB to download. I think we all should just skip the theory of Churchill dying and stick with the normal WWII shooters.