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May 28, 2008
Turning Point: Fall of Liberty - PS3 Review
Release Distributor Publisher Developer Offline Players Online Players
27/3/2008SonyCodemastersSpark Unlimited12-8
Media HDD Space Resolution Sound Format Tilt Controls OFLC Rating

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Using the machine gun on the tank.
Spark Unlimited has proven itself in the shooter genre in the past with the rather superb Call of Duty: Finest Hour on the Playstation 2. With that game proving a critical and commercial hit we were keen to check out their second title Turning Point: Fall of Liberty which had a unique storyline, and looked the part. In fact the storyline is one of the key selling points in this game so let's see what it's about...

In 1931, Winston Churchill was hit by a taxi in New York. In the real world, he survived, and went on to rally the British people to fight the Nazi threat. But what if he hadn't? It's from this premise that Fall Of Liberty takes it's theme - without Churchill's leadership, Europe and the United Kingdom have fallen to Hitler's forces. By 1951, using crushing technical superiority, the United States is invaded and defeated by the Third Reich. Can the American's fight back and survive the invasion?

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Battlegrounds look suitably war-torn.
Turning Point: Fall of Liberty is pretty much a by-the-number First Person Shooter. The game actually opens quite well, excitingly in fact. You play the role of construction worker Dan Carson who is working on a new building when the Nazi's attack. As you are the top of a building being constructed when the Nazi's invade America, your first task is to navigate your way back down the scaffolding to ground level. Not only do you have to watch where you're walking but there are zeppelins flying by, and enemy soldiers taking pot shots at you from all directions. When you get to the ground it won't be long before you're looking for weapons and Turning Point provides everything you would expect - pistols, rifles, machine guns, and grenades. As is the case with many games these days you can only carry two weapons and a couple of grenades at a time bringing some strategy into the game.

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Getting hit from enemies below.
Split into three acts covering New York, Washington DC and London (the latter of which is the heart of Nazi territory), the 8 rather large levels in Turning Point this isn't the longest game that you are likely to play. Indeed we finished the title in about 7 hours. Each of the lengthy levels includes a checkpoint system although we did find their locations a little inconsistent at times with a need to replay some rather lengthy sections upon dying.

As a FPS this game seems to have the right ingredients, but simply falls flat on almost every point. There is nothing new here, nothing you haven't seen a dozen times before, and probably a dozen years ago. Indeed no matter who you are this game isn't going to redefine gaming at all. Even the story, which is very unique and should have been a key selling point, seems to get pushed to the wayside for the most part as the game degenerates into a standard resistance fighter 'save your ass' type game.

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Time for a break, for a moment!
The levels are pretty linear with narrow pathways or only a single way to complete each mission. The games AI is also pretty lacking as enemies tend to stand out in the open while taking pot shots at you, and often seem to freeze in place while thinking about pulling the trigger with the gun pointed in your general direction. For a next-gen game this certainly demonstrates some previous-gen intelligence.

Another issue I had with the game was that it locked up several times. The first level alone locked up three times before I actually got thought it. Atari's response wasn't so flattering stating that the PS3 is always prone to locking up and crashing! For the record I haven't had any problems with any other games locking up with the notable exception being Grand Theft Auto IV (although that seems to be fixed since the patch).

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Are we going to see poison gas in the game?
So there isn't much to get excited about in the single-player game, but perhaps the online gameplay could offer some additional game time couldn't it? Indeed Turning Point supports 8-players online although it only offers two game modes - Deathmatch or Team Deathmatch. There are no online co-op modes, no Cpature The Flags, and nothing original. Perhaps worse is the inclusion of only 4 maps! As expected from a crappy game like this we had a hard time finding other people to play with. The couple of games we did have were a bit laggy, although that could have been the internet connections rather then the game itself.

Using the Unreal Engine 3 there were high hopes that this game would look the part. Sadly this game turns out to be one of the most disappointing uses of the engine that we have seen. While it does, for the most part, run fairly smoothly the levels look so poor it's no wonder. Texturing is poor, characters are blocky and poorly animated, there are graphical and clipping issues everywhere too. What could, and should, have been a tour de force on the Playstation 3 turns out to be one of the weakest efforts on the system. If there is one slight positive it's the artistic style and effort put into the game. You really do get the sense that the Nazi's are invading America, no doubt about it.

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The Nazi's are in power.
Audio in the game is probably the strongest point, well at least the music is. The effects and speech are adequate but the 76-piece orchestral music composed by Michael Giacchino (who has composed music for Lost and Alias on TV, the Medal of Honor and Call of Duty video games, and Mission Impossible III, The Incredibles and Ratatouille in the cinemas) is quite atmospheric and suits the game quite well.

Despite an interesting game world, a rather exciting opening segment and a strong developer this is a game that fell well below expectations. Indeed I would go so far as to say this has been the most disappointing game on the PS3 to date when you look at the potential that it had, and the final product. This is a hard one to recommend to anyone besides hardcore FPS fans, and even they are likely to be unimpressed with Turning Point: Fall of Liberty. This is not Spark Unlimitedís finest hour (get it!), far from it.

Review By: Dave Warner

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GRAPHICSAt times solid, but for the most part choppy, poorly animated, poorly designed.
SOUNDSome good music, but everything else is pretty poor overall
GAMEPLAYIt's a shooter. Everything here has been done before, and much better.
VALUEBy god this is a short game, and you won't want to replay it either.
OVERALLTurning Point: Fall of Liberty is one of the weakest games we have played on the Playstation 3. Poorly designed and developed this game should have been so much more. Leave it alone, unless you're desperate for a new FPS.

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