Monday, 7 May 2012

Microsoft Flight free-to-play (PC)

I'm no expert at flight sims (I usually can't even work out how to switch on the engines), so Microsoft Flight has been a welcome breath of fresh air for novices like me who fancy getting into this traditionally technical genre. Microsoft Flight is 'free-to-play' - that is, you download and play the base version for zero cost. If, like me, you discover you quite enjoy what you have and that you might want to take it further, you can purchase downloadable content (DLC) in the form of more planes and even the entire Hawaiian Island chain to fly between and explore at will.

I've posted a brief video up on the POE YT channel, showing a basic mission's 'take off, flight and landing' scenario. Hopefully, this shows off the title's beautiful visuals and easy flight model (although a far more technical and realistic handling model is available in-game - hey, but this is 'Playing On Easy', right?). I was using a 360 controller (natively supported), but again if you're serious about this stuff and want to spend serious money the sim supports well-known third-party high-end flight sticks for that 'authentic' feel.

I'm also flying one of the game's DLC planes and I've purchased the 'Hawaiian Adventure Pack' which opens up the entire Hawaiian Island chain for exploration and in-game mission fun. Anyone even mildly interested in flight sims but previously put-off by the steep learning curve usually associated with the genre should check out MS Flight - after all, it won't cost you a penny.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Lord of the Rings: War In The North

I have a rather attractive collection of screens from my latest playthrough of Snowblind's excellent LotR: War in the North (PC version) to show off. While the game itself may not have set the world on fire, the visuals certainly manage to impress.

I'll have quite a lot more to say about this hugely enjoyable game in the near future, as well as a few sample gameplay videos to present on the POE YT channel.

Ridge Racer Type 4 (PS1)

The game that had possibly one of the very best title songs of any videogame, ever. I'm talking about Ridge Racer Type 4, of course, which also happened to have one of the very best soundtracks of any videogame, ever. This racing title came out 14 years ago(!) on the Playstation One (1998) and set new standards not only for its fantastic visuals but also for it's infectious 'acid jazz' drum'n'bass lite soundtrack.

I've posted up to the POE YT channel not only the classic opening cinematic in its entirety (above), but also one of my favourite tracks 'Pearl Blue Soul' as played in the game's built-in 'music player'. Both videos retain the game's original 4:3 format, but both are HD uploads. Enjoy.

The Playing On Easy You Tube Channel

I'm kicking off the new POE YT channel with a look at the much-maligned Lord of the Rings: Conquest (PC version, 2009). A game that was pretty much savaged at release, the commercial failure of which effectively shut down its developer, Pandemic. Isn't it funny what a bit of time and distance can do for a game?

Playing the title now I really can't see what all the fuss was about - the combat might still feel a tad bit awkward, but the overall production values of the game shine through regardless and being tied into the Peter Jackson vision of the LOTR universe gives the whole thing a fantastic visual lift, especially for fans of the film trilogy.

Anyway, I've posted a few brief 'Capture The Ring' videos - these are perhaps the quickest and easiest modes to play and make for enjoyable bite-size gaming snacks away from the main game.

I'll be taking a look at some of Conquest's other game modes up on the POE channel in the near future. Meantime, the great news is that this highly enjoyable title can now be purchased for a knock-down price on PC, 360 or PS3. Highly recommended - although the MP servers are all dead now, the game comes with AI bots, meaning all the maps can still played offline in SP quite happily.