Forza Horizon 2

ForzaHorizon2_mainLet me present you today one of the game from my favourite genre Рracing. Well, this game is not from my totally favourite sub-genre Рthe racing simulation. But I changed my mind. This game was a gift from a friend, who I told I will never play Forza Horizon Рthe game from unknown developers, with weird techno music. And it was not a simulation like Forza Motorsport. I was just not open minded. And never say never! This game convinced me that even the arcade game can be fun.

First of all as said before this is not a simulation, but arcade. But what do I expect from arcade game? Well it must be balanced. Something between the totally arcade-thing and totally real simulation. Is it? Yes it is. After few races I admitted that the developers made it pretty good balanced. And the second is the most possible speed experience that can the display, gamepad and the speakers provide. This all was delivered to players also in the Horizon (1). And the developers had a quite easy task – to improve the graphics and to adapt it for the Xbox One. Next thing they did is to pick up another environment. In Horizon (1) it was US state of Colorado. And maybe to grant some more content. They delivered it for 100% and my expectations were fulfilled. So where we are this time? Here:

ForzaHorizon2_countryDo you recognize it? No? Are you sure? I’ll tell you: Southern France and we all do love France, don’t we? Oh, the sceneries are so beautiful, that you will find yourself you need to do some screenshots and post them into your online gallery. Really it is beautiful and the graphics is amazing. If you think you have seen all of it, it will come with the rain, some drizzle and you will see each little drop on your car in the sunset. The roads will become huge mirrors.

So now we know how it looks like, but how’s the gameplay? It is not the Forza Motorsport 5 and it will not punish you each time you will don’t the job with the throttle. Instead of it it will give you second chance and enough time to correct your mistake. But there is no third chance and as the world is totally open and there are no invisible walls, you will just get off the road pretty far away. You will not be driving on the roads only. Exploring the country can bring you to for example airport, which runway is so long that you can’t see the end in the horizon :) But this is still kind of a road, isn’t it? What about the old completely dry river bed? Or mister wants the old ruins of castle, where the ramps and jumpboards are? Or taking ferrari to the vineyard or meadow? No problem, the game will not stop you, but my heart will be bleeding. Take impreza or lancer that way! There are 200 cars and other will be available in DLC I think. Also there are perfect models or real ones including the interior.

As there is also the multiplayer maybe we will meet in southern France soon! See you there.

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LG smart TV user experience and gaming

Today I will present you my experience with the LG smart TV. Maybe the experience is not a good word, but let’s stick to it for a moment.

I will present you the TV I bought – LG 49UB850V – 4k smart TV.

First of all the picture:

lg_49ub850v

On the paper this TV looks amazing, the reviews also said it is acceptable. So here are the main characteristics of technical solution inside:

– resolution: Ultra HD 4k – 3840 x 2160 (pretty impressive, isn’t it)

– screen: 49 inches, IPS panel, LED technology

– processor: quad core

– remote: standard remote control + magic remote

– 3D: passive 3D (after update of SW it is available in full HD) + 2 glasses

– Dualplay: YES (no glasses packed in)

OK, so it seems nice and you can find the technical reviews on the other sites on internet and the full specifications on the LG webpage. Now I will share the feelings and the usage, which is 1M+ with this smart TV.

First of all let’s point out what is connected to the TV. It is Raspberry Pi and the digital satellite receiver Amiko Alien 2. Both via HDMI. Second of all, the usage. The TV is mainly used as a display (so not using that smart stuff). What we just wanted is the impressive picture [they say on the official page that the view is the best in the world], passive 3D [we know that active will probably cause a headaches to us] and from time to time to use smart functions like watch youtube videos.

Well, after the unpacking the TV, I connected Raspi and Alien to this TV and the fun started. I was not able to get a signal from it. Always said that there is no signal, which was weird. After playing with settings and reading the manual about HDMI ports, I get it working. But the picture was awful. Still configuring it, so I was not in panic. I updated the firmware as I knew that with the new FW it was quite usable. OK, firmware updated, picture still awful. Looks like soap opera from 90s. What to do now. Use google and check the technical reviews. All right, Local Led dimming: LOW, TRUMOTION: OFF, motion eye care OFF. I set it for each HDMI/device. SO, now it was quite nice. I checked that smart features, it was slow as hell and updated all the applications. Quite playing around to setup something smart. But what you can do., today you have no other option to buy an impressive screen quality on the dumb TV.

So in the next days of using it I was really upset. Each time I switched to the other device after the TV was turned on, the Trumotion was again enabled, Local dimming was on the medium. WTF? After digging in, do not use the user preference, but switch to Expert for each device. This will fix it. BTW, the effect this trumotion gives you is called Soap opera effect. OK one most important thing fixed.

The other discomfort: TV boots a long time and you are not able to use the smart features, settings right after it is up. What the hell is doing that quad-core CPU in this TV? And once you can use it, it is slow. 10 seconds to get the settings displayed, 2 seconds between each move on the main menu is a hell slow. Another thing which is still making me crazy – volume control. Do you think that if you press the volume- it will do something right away? Forget. Sometimes it works, sometimes it work but the volume control is not displayed on the TV OSD, but sometimes IT JUST DO NOT WORK and you need to turn your TV OFF and ON again (isn’t this familiar to you?).

Smart features: except the youtube, which is most time not accessible, I do not use it to keep my head still on my neck and not to rip it off. If youtube is working, searching is impossible with the smart control. I am using the android phone paired with this smart TV.

4K: can’t tell, I do not have a relevant source for 4K

3D: pretty impressive after SW upgrade. Almost like in cinema. In combinations with passive 3D technology we can watch 3D for 3 hours without headaches.

Dualplay and gaming in general:

No of the 4K TV are these days excellent for playing  720p or 1080p games due to the fact that there is a lot of the upscaling involved. In the game mode you will have 66ms lag.

Dualplay is interesting technology – two players play on the same TV with glasses and fullscreen. Also this avoid cheating as there is no split screen and you see just your screen. You need special polarized 3D glasses from LG, but they are not very expensive. This is very promising technology and you it is compatible with each console and game that can deliver split screen.

Conclusion: if you have 1080p TV, do not think about 4K, it has no advantage for you. If you want passive 3D technology, you don’t have much choice and LG is best for you. If you do not care about 3D or active 3D is OK for you, get samsung – it is much faster and has perfect picture. But if you want passive 3D and you want to upgrade from 720p TV, this is not as bad choice for you once you will tune the thing that will almost make you crazy. Why I am saying so, even this review is not so positive? Because its price was 1300 usd (Sept 2014).

But think twice what you expect from your TV. Me personally will not buy this TV again. Nor buy any LG without proper testing in the store.

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