War Front: Turning Point

Even the History Channel is guilty of a little "what-if" once in a while. The upcoming RTS War Front: Turning Point takes a turn at putting World War II onto its alternative history head. Hitler is put out of his misery early, but despite his assassination, the Wehrmacht maintains its momentum. Germany rolls into London with the Eastern Front and the non-aggression treaty with Russia fully intact. The conflict dies down, but the frenetic pace of secret, super-powerful weapons development continues. After a cooling off period, the US and its unlikely ally Germany clash with upstart communist Russia in a battle for world domination.

We got a chance to try out the German and Russian super weapons while playing an early version of War Front. Our German infantry got the best toys, including giant lumbering exoskeletons and jet packs for ground troops. However, the Luftwaffe seems to have figured out that whole hydrogen-is-really-flammable thing, with rebuilt and heavily-armed Zeppelins helping out the ground pounders. A veritable who's-who of famous WWII planes, tanks and vehicles round out each country's roster of fantasy weapons, as well.

Not to be outdone by the Nazi pocket protector set, Russian scientists have dreamed up weapons that harness the power of Siberia's frigid winter. Ice Splitter tanks freeze their enemies, making them susceptible to one-hit kills after they've become frozen, and dropping Russian frost bombs either destroy or slow everything within their blast radius. Perhaps the most interesting was the sneaky Mole armored personnel carrier, which tunneled underneath the ground and let us pop up and deploy infantry deep behind enemy lines.

Disappointingly, we found that even these wacky weapon types didn't offer anything that we hadn't seen many times before in militaristic RTS games (like Command & Conquer: Generals, for example). Base building and resource gathering gameplay was all-too-present, and even the gimmick of taking control of gun turrets in first-person came up short.