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O Neill

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  1. I bought Pokemon Violet on Friday, having not followed any of the coverage since the announcement trailer earlier in the year. I've only played a few hours, but I haven't been surprised at all to find that it confirms last year's Pokemon Legends: Arceus was pretty much a tech demo for what they wanted to apply here. My initial impression is that they've taken the base model from Legends: Arceus and tried to paste last generation's Sword and Shield over the top of it. Whether that ultimately is a good or bad thing, I suspect I shall find out as I play more. It's early in the game, but I do feel that the open world aspect is going to be a struggle. The game is pushing the idea of having me walk around at my leisure to explore the world, doing whatever I like. However, it's not as appealing here as it was with Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. It may be that the game mechanics don't feel as tight as Zelda or that it feels like there are more restrictions on your freedom to explore. I don't think the punishingly slow introduction sequence really helped either. It is the same problem that plagued the first few hours of Legends: Arceus, in that I was eager to skip straight to the game, but instead was forced to jump through the hoops of the tutorials. I know it's traditional in Nintendo games to slowly introduce players to the game mechanics and new features etc, but it really drags out here over a couple of hours and should have been implemented in a way that it could be skipped. It's early yet, but it feels like there is something missing that transition from 2D to 3D that wasn't with games like Mario and Zelda. My opinion may change over time, but I think it's going to be tough for this game to match Heart Gold/Soul Silver, Platinum or even Emerald as one of the highlights of the series.
  2. 20 years since the release of Metroid Prime on the GameCube in the US. The best game on the console for the vast majority of people. Another masterful example of Nintendo taking a highly successful 2D game from the SNES and reimagining it in 3D without losing the essence or heart of what made its predecessors successful. There's something unique feeling to Metroid Prime, in that it almost feels like it should never have worked. Taking a 2D platformer/shooter and putting it into a first-person shooter, could have been a disaster. But the adventure aspect remains intact, and it stops the game from ever feeling like many generic FPS games of the same era. The only shame is that the remastered version, which has long since rumoured to have already been developed, hasn't landed on the Switch yet.
  3. O Neill

    Wrestling

    Wardlow is suffering from similar problems to Diesel back in mid 90s WWF. They've brought him in as the heel enforcer of a top heel, but turning him face only got the big crowd reactions initially because the people hated MJF that much. Now that he has moved away from MJF, he's a relatively bland big man, that doesn't work particular well as a face. The WWE has made that mistake countless times down the years. It's much easier to get a big man over as a dominant heel. Worse, is that if you put them in there with another heel, particularly one who is respected, then there's a good chance the audience will pick the other guy to cheer.
  4. O Neill

    Tennis

    I'm sure @Paullow can confirm, but that looked like a continuation of the WTA Tour Finals at the Great Britain tie? Difficult to tell from the TV, but looked like a three figure live attendance? The theory being letting GB back into the event, after they had already been beaten in the qualifiers by the Czech Republic, was that as hosts they would likely draw a big live crowd. It looks like the lack of star power continues to be a problem for the WTA. It can be argued that Raducanu withdrawing hasn't helped, but I genuinely don't think the average person on the street would recognise Rybakina as the current Wimbledon champion. Hopefully there is more interest over the weekend. Don't really want to see a repeat of the scenes from the final in Texas, where empty seats were visible everywhere, for what is meant to be one of the showcase matches of the season. The choice of Glasgow as the host city is equally strange as Fort Worth. A working class city with very little links to what is for the most part a sport only accessible to the middle and upper classes. Perhaps the LTA were presenting it as an option, given the favourable response that the Davis Cup has received in Glasgow over the past decade or so. If so, they probably presented a false picture, given that people were more likely coming out to see Andy Murray specifically, and not Great Britain. My biggest fear is that the current WTA problems may just be a microcosm, of what we are about to see from the sport as a whole. With Federer already retired, Nadal having perhaps two years at most left and Djokovic something similar, there isn't a huge deal of time to build new stars for people to invest in. There is always a next wave of superstars, but as yet nobody is really connecting with crowds in a way that turns them into a must-see attraction when they come to town. Alcaraz looks promising, but the likes of Medvedev, Tsitsipas, Zverev etc are not going to shift tickets. I found it interesting that Amazon has decided not to renew their interest in the broadcast rights to the ATP Tour after the 2023 season. Despite a poor start, their coverage has become very good, but it's clear that they don't see it as worthwhile future investment. The rights to both tours are valued around about £15M per year, but I'm not convinced Sky will offer that sort of money to put the ATP back on their service. As expected, they've regained the US Open, which will always be a popular event, but with the golden years of the top 3, Murray, Wawrinka, Del Potro etc now gone, the weekly coverage can't be a very appealing prospect to them. Things can change quickly, and much can happen in a year, but right now it looks like there's going to be a down turn for a while.
  5. I found Origins to be fun when it first came out. I'd have said it was more comparable to Star Wars: KotOR than Mass Effect though. The combat looks like it has much more of an action element like Mass Effect or Fallout, but is much more based on dice rolls and strategy like a more traditional D&D RPG. It can feel a bit clunky and dated, if that's not what you are expecting. I'd suggest trying to stick with it, even if you aren't feeling it to begin with, as it can grow on you, and the story is worth investing in.
  6. O Neill

    Tennis

    I don't think there's anything suspect. They simply don't want people to see what combination of supplements he is taking. There have been times over the years, when he would put a towel over his head at changeovers, before removing supplements from his bag and swallowing them. He's not the only player doing it. A few players have complained over the years about the cameras zooming in to show what they are consuming or, in the case of Andy Murray, his tactical notes on his opponent. Most players don't want to share the finer details. With Djokovic, my best guess would be that he felt leaving his supplements in the stand with his team, offered him more privacy than having them courtside in his bag. Apparently, that's not the case. I will still maintain there is a certainty that doping is prevalent across high level tennis. The blood bags that were ordered destroyed in Spain would likely have exposed the sport during the peak times. Will we ever find out? Highly unlikely at this stage. I think it's almost as rife as match fixing, something that has become increasingly common at Grand Slams.
  7. O Neill

    Tennis

    It's a complete non-story. A video of his people preparing an energy drink on the floor so that they eliminate the risk of accidentally spilling it everywhere. Just an opportunity for people who already don't like Djokovic to pile on again. This one is completely within the rules. If people want to dislike him for some of the things he has said or done, then there's plenty much more interesting things out there from the past five years. As for the Billie Jean King Cup Finals, I expect it to be similarly received as last week's WTA Tour Finals in Forth Worth. There were more empty seats than occupied ones for most of the week. Tickets for round-robin matches in the front row were going for $5 in a desperate attempt to draw a crowd in. One of the Iga Swiatek matches I watched would be lucky if there were 500 people watching. Glasgow should bring in a bigger crowd, but the interest level in WTA events right now is probably at it's lowest for over 30 years. There are no real stars and no significant rivalries to attract crowds. In my opinion, the WTA as a business could find itself in serious trouble over the next few years. They are very reliant on joint events with the ATP to attract crowds. A lot of the smaller events are pulling in so few people, that they aren't making any money, as the biggest chunk of the sponsor investments are going towards the player prize pot. Worrying times. I'm not in favour of the changes they've made to either the Davis Cup or Fed Cup (Billie Jean King). They've tried to make it a spectacle by having this big finale, in the hope that it draws in crowds from all over the world. In the process, they've taken tennis away from the people, particularly in areas that don't have significant sized tour events. There was a much better atmosphere and local level of interest when they had proper home/away ties over three days and a single final between two nations. Anyone who was in Glasgow a couple of months back for the Davis Cup group would have seen how flat the atmosphere was for matches not involving Great Britain. It made little sense to have Netherlands vs USA in Glasgow, with next to nobody watching. It feels like the default tennis attempt to find a way to further milk the cow, but it has finally run dry.
  8. Assassin's Creed 3 Remastered - Nintendo Switch I never played the third game at the time of release, so I figured I'd pick it up in a recent Switch store sale. I know most people view Assassin's Creed 2 as the pinnacle of the older style games in the series and having enjoyed both 2 and Black Flag in years gone by, I figured this might be a fun blast. It wasn't. Firstly, the 'Remastered' addition to the title may apply to versions that appeared on other systems, but it is hardly appropriate here. The Switch version feels like pretty much a straight port of the original, missing out on the bells and whistles that were supposed to make a 2012 game more appealing when it was repackaged for 2019. On top of that, the frame rate is a major issue. When the screen gets busy, or there is a more open area of the map, the frame rate stutters along. This is less forgivable when Black Flag runs very well on the same hardware. It's a very poor or potentially rushed port, as I can't imagine the original game suffered from those issues. At this point, the game itself just feels very dated. The movement model feels clunky, the combat feels like a chore, just getting around the world is a bit tiresome. I suspect there was a decent game in there when it first came out a decade ago. Or at least one that was similar enough to it's predecessors to draw an audience. This version didn't feel like it was worth revisiting, though.
  9. O Neill

    Tennis

    Massive blow for the WTA seeing Halep suspended for doping. One of the biggest profile players of the last 5-10 years outside of Williams and Sharapova.
  10. I think that may have been where Pilotwings 64 fell down in the eyes of reviewers. As far as I can remember, it was just a case of trying to get gold medals in each of the disciplines for the licence classes. I think the end result was a very limited number of missions, with an over reliance on people being intrigued enough to explore the 3D space in free roam using the bird man.
  11. I think for the time it was a special game and a great showcase of what the Nintendo 64 could do in comparison to the previous generation. I do think had they not released it on launch day alongside Super Mario 63, it would have got a lot more attention. I think the second game I picked up was WaveRace 64, which was the one that really blew my mind with the water physics and the way the tracks changed in between laps. It's great to see these games arriving on Switch, as many of them haven't been bettered.
  12. I'm disappointed that I never owned this when I had a N64. I remember the Official Nintendo Magazine reviewing it as pretty average, which put me off buying it at launch. In hindsight, it was probably a fairly harsh review, given that the competition at the time was Super Mario 64. I I'm actually surprised that the only follow up since has been a 3DS game and an inclusion in Smash Bros. Another one of those Nintendo series that seemingly has been abandoned as they don't appear to have any new ideas for reviving it, or simply think that there is no market for it out there. Delighted to see it on the virtual console, although what to my eyes was once a great looking 3D world to play in, looks very dated at this stage!
  13. O Neill

    Wrestling

    They need to stop all the silly spots, throughout the show, not just the overuse in individual matches. It's little wonder so many people are getting injured with the number of high risk spots. Even worse, is that they all mean nothing, as there are so many throughout the show that they completely lose impact when they happen. A simple example of what I mean was the bump at the end of the Sting match. What did that add to the individual match or the show as a whole? The big memorable moment here was always going to be Muta coming out to help Sting. Never mind next week, nobody was going to be talking about that table bump by even the end of the show. It was needlessly dangerous, and she managed to miss the table, as well as almost catch her head on the railing as she landed. I don't know whether you blame the talent here for being stupid enough to think that spot was adding anything to the match, or the producer for not standing up to the wrestlers to say 'no'. I think I struggle to enjoy AEW on a wider level because it has that Young Bucks indy show style booking. It feels like a lot of the wrestlers are going into business for themselves, instead of being directed to understand the bigger picture. Feels like the message is to look after your own brand, get your own stuff in and don't worry about the bigger picture or what anyone else is doing. It's very much that full throttle approach, which in isolation and on an individual match level can work at times, but for longer shows, just leaves me feeling burned out after the first few matches as I've already seen a dozen high spots and false finishes long before we get to a main event. I will stress though that I do enjoy AEW. There are some fantastic wrestlers and great moments. However, I find it much more digestible in smaller pieces. I do hope one day they address some of the pacing issues, but perhaps that's just me being old and the non-stop action is better suited to the new generation of viewers.
  14. O Neill

    Tennis

    We are in fantasy land here. Anyone who has ever watched a match on Arthur Ashe at the US Open from the upper tiers will know how much the spectator experience suffers. Even a ticket on level 5 at Wimbledon's Centre Court can feel distant. I really don't think you can go beyond 20,000 for a tennis match.
  15. O Neill

    Tennis

    Given the price of the tickets it is almost a certainty that this will be the case. There is a strong possibility that neither will play singles here. With the extortionate ticket prices for individual sessions prior to this announcement, I expect the resale values to go up to 4 figures very shortly, with no guarantee of seeing Federer on the court.
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