Turning Point: Fall of Liberty has you playing as an unlikely hero named Dan Carson who is caught in the thick of things when the Nazi invade New York. The premise of the game supposes that Winston Churchill was fatally injured in an accident while he was a visiting dignitary in New York City. Because of this world history is changed forever. The Nazi campaigns in Europe and Africa are not stopped by the Allies and the Nazis take over Europe. As a New York construction worker Carson witnesses the devastating Blitzkrieg that is the Nazi invasion of New York City from atop a sky scraper construction site.
The overall look of the game is drab and very blocky. Spark Unlimited's version of 1950‘s New York city is filled with generic textures, passable shading, and very few destructible objects. The lack of destructible environments really affected the immersion of the game. While in a subway I threw a grenade in the middle of a mass of allied non player characters and they just stood there while the smoke slowly dissipated. Not only was their lack of reaction to the grenade disappointing but in taking a few moments to survey the surrounding area I realized that almost nothing in the game had changed except for the number of grenades my character was carrying. After playing through the game I unlocked the concept art and almost wept when I saw the beautiful images that could have been. The art was incredibly detailed and very beautiful and revealed the developers true intentions at scope and environments that had sadly not been realized. Putting in those images as unlockable content is cruel considering that the game pales in comparison to the concept art.
Level design proved to be a worse foe than the Nazi themselves. Why does a game that has mechanics like climbing across gaps on pipes and shimming across ledges have instant kill zones where the player will die if ventured into? When playing the single player game I was often placed in situations where there is little cover and even if there was any around crouching doesn’t even place your character fully behind cover. I was often popping in and out from behind corners to take shots at enemies which became quickly tedious because of the lack of a decent cover system. One level had Carson, armed only with a single drum of ammo for his Thompson,parachuting onto the roof of a building right in between two enemy machine gun emplacements! A level that took place inside an air ship had enemy soldiers materializing out of thin air with jerky spastic animations as they tried to move through narrow corridors. These problems made the levels, in a game with no true boss fights, as difficult to survive as if there were true bosses in the game.
There were only a few game play mechanics that worked well. The one that stands out in my mind was planting timed explosives. I had to push aside the logical thought “Why do you have to assemble the bomb in the middle of combat?” and generally enjoyed hooking up the wires and setting the arms switch before sprinting to a safe distance. Grabbing pipes and swinging across them to traverse over gaps however was a pain because if you happen to be in a firefight while located under said pipe the action icon will replace your aim sights and hamper your aim. I also fell to my death several times before realizing that pressing the A button drops you character from a ledge while shimmying across it and the B button hoists your character up to higher ground.
The grappling system was the worst by far. The mechanics of the game required that the player character be a certain distance from an enemy for the grapple icon to appear. Too far and you’ll get your chest chewed up with hot lead, too close and you’ll get your face blown off.
The game doesn’t have a health bar but instead Carson’s vision degrades as he takes damage. As Carson takes more damage his vision begins to blur and colors fade and eventually time is slowed down. The change in vision is an effective visual cue indicating how close Carson is to death but as soon as time started to slow Carson’s death was pretty much immanent as there was often no way to get to cover before being killed.
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