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Friday | September 18, 2020
Turning Point

Turning Point

If the United States had never been involved in World War II, history would be very different with Nazi Germany probably controlling most of Europe and Asia. Turning Point makes this scenario a virtual reality.

As the game starts the storyline is laid out, Winston Churchill, instead of being injured by a taxi in New York in 1931, was killed. This is the Turning Point for the change in history. Geddit?

Game developer Spark Unlimited can certainly be applauded for the fasincating change of history, however as I will discuss shortly it isn’t all peaches n’ cream.

You take control of Dan Carson, a construction worker who decides to take on the germans when the skies of his city become engulfed with Zeppelins. I guess inside us all there is a superhero? Spark Unlimited seem to think so, especially as Dan is clearly Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger in one wholesome all american package.

These Zeppelins are everywhere in the game, I was even expecting to see a few parked outside the stores in the streets. Interestingly, even though the game is set in the 1950’s, these blimps have futuristic 2040 technology, as they can take five or six rockets to destroy. They are called "assault blimps", perhaps even coated with futuristic kevlar reinforced hulls. Suureeeee.

Good artificial intelligence can transform a mediocre game into one extremely enjoyable to play. Turning Point has probably the worst AI I can remember, with almost every enemy taking a predetermined line of fire while moving across invisible gridlines to their objective. Both myself and my friend were in hysterics watching the germans mindlessly lumbering along while we easily picked them off. They don’t try to flank, nor do they use their colleagues to form complex strategies. They just get shot, right between their bright orange goggles, which were obviously in vogue in the 50’s with kevlar plated zeppelins.

Your health recuperates automatically over time, so you just have to stay out of sight for a short time to be back to full strength, I wasn’t sure if Dan had perhaps borrowed a Crysis suit, however he sure has a few tricks up his sleeve. Your arsenal comprises two weapons and four grenades and you can swap these out for anything the idiotic germans drop.

As well as firing guns you can grab the germans and either knock them out or use them as a shield. This sounds rather nice in theory but in execution just feels tacked on. After trying it a few times I just went back to walking up to everyone and shooting them in the face. Watching the enemy movements I was actually able to manoeuvre around most of them after analysing their scripted AI routines. Frequently if you walk up to them they actually don’t even realise you are there, this makes shooting them in the face feel rather hollow, especially as there is no gore, no blood, or even a basic damage model. Rag Doll effects? I think not.

The aiming system is also substandard with jerky movements galore, and quite often it feels as if you are wielding a cucumber rather than a submachine gun. The lack of polish continues unfortunately into other areas of the game. Whenever there is an interactive object a hand icon appears over it instructing you that you can either push, pull, or use it. However this seems to randomly not work, so you are left frequently in situations wondering what the hell you are meant to be doing, only to find the button you moved past 20 times already suddenly has a hand icon over it, until you move another 2 pixels to the right and it vanishes again. It absolutely baffles me how this was not caught during game testing, so I can only assume that the game didn’t actually receive any.

As if things couldn’t get any worse the graphics are also shoddy which stunned me as when I first loaded the game I was greeted with the Unreal 3 engine logo. My "YAY!" was quickly replaced with a "WTF!".

There are framerate issues, clipping issues and the graphics look like they have came from a last generation engine. If you have more than a few enemies onscreen the game noticeably slows down. I would class this as unacceptable last year, but in 2008? Come on guys, seriously…

If you love the free flowing expansive game play of Crysis, then Turning Point would be the absolute polar opposite, it gives a new meaning to the term linear. I don’t think I can remember one single moment in game which remained in my memory, so I guess I can add bland to the long list of problems. Equally so, there is little replay merit, there are no hidden rooms to be found, no secrets, collectible items, or anything else of interest which can appeal to many gamers. Imagine yourself walking down a road which occasionally bends, with cardboard cut outs popping up every so often for you to shoot them. This would be a basic and pretty accurate description of Turning Point’s level design.

The storyline gets even more ridiculous the further you progress, because as a construction worker involved in repelling the nazi invasion you would feel that trained US troops would say "ok man, thanks a bunch for the help, but please leave it to the professionals from now on". Sounds realistic right? Not so in Turning Point, when you first meet up with the National Guard you are instructed to plant and arm bombs on Nazi tanks. As far as my knowledge goes, I don’t think construction workers get extensive military training to land a job. If this doesn’t sound bad enough, you can imagine my surprise when I went to blow up a tank to find the bomb was already placed on the hull for me to match three wires. Clearly the German vehicle builders put these bombs already in place for such an eventuality.

The game features very little attention to detail on all levels, and the cutscenes fare little better. In their attempt to drive the story forward (can we even call it that?) they feel contrived, sterile and somewhat bewildering as they quite often seem to have very little to do with what happens next in-game.

Multiplayer is absolutely rubbish and its painful for me to remember it enough to write about it, there are two modes, deathmatch and …… *yawns* team deathmatch, for up to 8 players online or via a system link cable. Load your weapons, pick one, wait for it to load, then hit the power button or stab yourself in the eyes, whichever comes easiest.

Turning Point: Fall Of Liberty, is absolutely rubbish. It has no redeeming qualities, nothing I can even vaguely recommend for a possible purchase. It is a game that should never have been released. It was clearly never play tested and after playing it myself I can understand why, I am positive the play testers just all went out for pizza after seeing the first level and said "yeah great job guys! can we have our money now?".

Avoid at all costs, unless you are the sick kind of person who loves the dentist.


Unless you have to review it, like I did, take the disc out and use it as a coffee cup mat.

Unreal 3 engine? Yes, even this has been butchered beyond all recognition.


Big sweeping orchestral soundtrack. Clearly all the budget was spent on this.

Very little, unless you want to hear the audio.
(not an average)

Close your eyes and imagine the most awesome game ever. This is the complete opposite. Rubbish.

About Author

Stuart Davidson

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