It's safe to say that the buzz around Turning Point has not been all good. First the release was pushed back from November last year to the end of February. Then, having released an Xbox Live demo that elicited some fairly hostile responses, the UK release was put back another few weeks to mid-March while Spark promised faithfully that the issues found in the demo would be dealt with by launch. Now the game is on the shelves, you can only wish it had either been delayed for longer, or just quietly put to sleep and swept under the carpet. This is one of the worst FPS games in recent memory.
It must have looked very different on the storyboards and design docs, or when the original concept art was trotted out. The premise of Turning Point has a lot of potential. In an alternative WWII, Britain has fallen to the Nazis and only America holds any threat to Hitler's armies (kept up his sleeves, in case you didn't know). Cunningly, the Fuhrer and his goose-stepping chums unleash a surprise attack on the eastern states, quickly grabbing New York and Washington and placing a puppet president in the White House. As a member of the resistance, it's up to you to thwart the Nazi plans and save the free world from tyranny.
Every now and then you catch a glimpse of how good this game might have been, as Zeppelins and Messerschmitts attack skyscrapers, SS Officers shoot civilians in a New York brownstone or the Chrysler Building lies in ruins across a Manhattan street. This could have been Bioshock meets Call of Duty 2; a game with the period detail and atmosphere of last year's masterpiece, but with the heightened action and overblown spectacle of Infinity Ward's WWII classic. Instead we have an absolute duffer. Turning Point makes Resistance: Fall of Man seem like Half-Life 2 or Halo 3.
It doesn't help that the visual experience is incredibly patchy. Somehow, Spark has managed to create a game using the Unreal 3 engine that features graphics so bland and lacking in polish that you can hardly credit it. Though some of the character models are decent and some of the surface textures bumpy or shiny as you'd expect from a modern FPS, I can't quite put my finger on what Turning Point's dull scenery, fuzzy textures and not exactly photorealistic cast remind me of. Is it Medal of Honor: Frontlines on the humble PS2? Time Splitters 2 on the same machine? Maybe Return to Castle Wolfenstein on the PC back in 2001? Either way, it hardly says good things about the game.