While other WWII games keep giving us the classic setting of the European theatre of war, Turning Point: Fall of Liberty brings a unique twist to the genre by asking the terrifying question: What if history had taken a different course? In reality, Winston Churchill was hit by a cab eight years before WWII and he would survive the accident; however, in Codemasters’ narrative, Churchill did not survive the accident, leading to the invasion of all of Europe and eventually the United States. Although the game still has yet to be released, a demo was recently added to the Marketplace so that you can get a taste of what’s to come.
The demo seems to begin at the start of the game, which is set in 1953, at the very onset of the German attack on New York City. You play as Dan Carson, a construction worker going about his day on top of a partially completed high rise building, when out of nowhere, immense German aerial and naval fleets arrive. The opening cutscene is quite overwhelming and chaotic, as hundreds of Zeppelins and German jet fighters bombard the city, causing the very building you are standing on to fall apart. These German forces are not like anything you’ve seen in previous WWII games, as part of the storyline involves speculation of what the Nazi war machine may have developed into if had continued past 1945. This includes jet fighters, enormous attack zeppelins, and various other advanced forms of vehicles and weaponry.
Looks like the Luftwaffe have gotten an upgrade.
Your first task is to start making your way down the skyscraper under construction and into the building itself. While you attempt to do so, steel girders are being torn apart, and your fellow construction workers are falling to their deaths. You begin by steadily climbing down a few ladders by pressing B, temporarily transferring the camera from the first to the third person. From looking at all this mayhem, it’s apparent that Turning Point possesses some strong graphics, which seem to be sporting a very 50’s artistic style, rather than going for full blown detail like most other Unreal powered games.
Eventually you arrive on the roof of the building, as it continues to crumble, sending you through floors as they collapse beneath your feet. As we made our way to a window we saw a Nazi paratrooper land on a catwalk outside. Although we did not possess any weapons, we were able to get onto the catwalk and grapple the enemy by pressing B, which brought up a D pad menu that showed which options there were to take him out. Given the fact that we only had our hands, we could only select “environmental” and threw the soldier off the ledge to his death.
We then acquired an MP 40 and continued to the next building, getting into a scaffolding elevator to began our descent, taking out drifting enemy paratroopers on the way down, until the elevator took a hit from a nearby plane and was thrust to another level. Here we had to face off with a few more soldiers, who didn’t really turn out to have the brightest AI for an army that never lost the war. They were good shots, but did take some time to react to us, and their flanking strategy merely consisted of running straight into our sights.
As in other WWII games, the left trigger is used to look down the iron sight, while the right is used to fire, and the right bumper throws grenades. The game controls well for the most part, aside from the sluggish feel of the right stick, which may have to be made more sensitive for those used to other shooters. After defeating these foes, we entered into a building which appeared to be a hotel, and later arrived outside on solid ground. Another German blimp was flying overhead, spewing propaganda to the population below, but before we could take any shots at it more Nazi’s appeared. Using what looked like an updated version of the Gewehr rifle, we dispatched them and continued to fight our way out of the alley.
Some dramatic imagery of what Nazi invasion may have been like.
Upon reaching the street a cutscene began, showing hundreds of people in panic fleeing from the carnage, a firefighter in a pickup truck offered us a ride and informed us that the citizens of NY were already planning for a counter attack. As the truck pulled away, we saw a building in the distance come tumbling down, sending a huge wave of dust consuming all in its path, which made for a pretty reminiscent image of the World Trade Center collapse.
Overall the demo was quite short, and definitely felt like the very first mission of an FPS game. Codemasters has created a fantastic and terrifying experience by envisioning this horrible future, and it’s definitely a breath of fresh air from all of the other WWII games to date. We left the demo impressed with the intense atmosphere and overall visual style of the game, but the core gameplay didn’t leave the same feeling. However we can’t really make a full judgment yet, as this was but the first level, so things should get more interesting and complex later on in the game. Turning Point seems to have hit the mark in terms of its environments and ambiance, but it remains to be seen if the gameplay will be of the same quality.