Published on April 29th, 2013 | by Shawn Long, Features Editor
Games That Could Have Been Great Episode V: Turning Point – Fall of Liberty
Sometimes a game can sound great just based upon the premise of it. The very concept or idea behind it can make it stand out from the competition and spark interest and intrigue.
Codemasters must have realized this when it came up with the concept for Turning Point – Fall of Liberty. In an oversaturated World War II FPS market, Turning Point set out to shake things up by not simply offering a fictional story, but by allowing gamers to experience an alternate history–one that could have actually happened.
What it did right:
Turning Point – Fall of Liberty was the first game to start out with the bad guys actually winning the fight. The game is set during an World War II, where the Nazis have taken over most of the world, and the United States is the next target. The game starts off with you as a construction worker in New York City. While you are on top of a high-rise building, Nazis invade and bombard the city via air strikes and aerial infiltration from bombers and enormous zeppelins.
With everything at stake, you must make your way down the infrastructure while fighting to stay alive. How freaking AWESOME does that sound? The average war game has a clear and predictable story, one that many elementary school students can retell. But this? The possibilities are endless.
Think of all the epic things that could happen: Nazis breaking down home barricades while you defend the helpless populous. Think about setting up gun turrets on the head of the Statue of Liberty. I’m not the most patriotic person, but come on, that sounds amazing.
The game has some pretty good voice acting too, accompanied by an excellent musical score. So this is shaping up to be a recipe for success, right? No. No, it’s not.
What it did wrong:
Basically everything; this game sucked. How do you take a concept that is so unique and muck it up so spectacularly? Simple: you make the lead character a generic idiot with no personality whatsoever. Players are never given real emotional attachment to any of the characters, and this game should have been heavily rooted in its story.
Instead, you get a convoluted pile of rubbish that doesn’t even make sense, defies logic and, to top it off, the final cutscene of the game is SEVENTEEN seconds long — that’s it. You just saved America from the Nazi war machine and all you get is SEVENTEEN SECONDS to show for it. And it’s a terrible 17 seconds as well. The story is just a constant tale of nonsense, which has your construction worker, mysteriously astute with weaponry, single-handedly saving the world for a barrage of Nazis.
There are times that you feel like you are part of a resistance, but those are too few and far between to suck you into the game and make you believe what is happening could actually occur. And isn’t that the point of alternative history stories?
How about the graphics? Well if you like PS2 shooters, you will feel right at home with this game. Muddy textures, no artistic creativity and repetitive enemies litter the landscape. A crumbling New York City seems to have no destructible environments as well, which makes no sense whatsoever with everything that is going on.
You travel to other areas of America, such as the White House, but everything just feels too “samey.” Repetitive enemies, guns and poor physics, it just gets so boring and familiar that you don’t even care what’s going on. Guns feel inaccurate, there are random difficulty spikes and, come on, I never get to kill Hitler? You can’t have some epic showdown with Hitler one-on-one in the White House or something? Who the hell wrote this terrible story?!
My main issue against Turning Point – Fall of Liberty is that I really wanted to like the game. The concept was so fresh and different that if any real effort had been put into the story and mechanics, it would have been awesome. Sure, everyone has played a WWII shooting game before, but never one where history was completely changed and allowed for artistic liberties to be taken to a whole new extreme before.
Instead, Codemasters got bored about halfway through making the game and released it (more than likely). Which is a shame, because it might not have been a Call of Duty killer, but it would have been a great distraction for people burned out on those games with a throwback to the older Medal of Honor-style games that were so popular on the original PlayStation. But it feels stuck in that time period graphically and writing-wise, and ultimately did not achieve any level of greatness.