Mass effect art book getting expanded and released again

Mass Effect has some of the most memorable sci-fi visuals in gaming. Next year, you can soak in the aliens, technology, and environments of the trilogy with a new iteration of an art book showcasing the series’ iconic designs.

The book is an expanded version of The Art of the Mass Effect Universe, which released in 2012.  As reported by Eurogamer, preorders for the new hardcover recently opened up. It costs about $40 and is scheduled to release on February 23, 2021.

According to its official listing, this expanded edition adds art from DLC including “The Lair of the Shadow Broker” and “Citadel.”

The last game in the original Mass Effect trilogy came out in 2012. So why re-release this book now? Hopefully this points to some new Mass Effect-related developments, like a new game or the long-wished-for remasters.

[Source: Eurogamer]

Ooblets would be the most chilling game you play in 2020!

Basically Ooblets is all about dance battles, cute critters, and “chilling out with the homies”, so not so surprising, this game made it to 2020’s top 40 most anticipated games.

Ooblets starts off with you deciding to leave your boring ol’ life and head out to a new, kinda weird island where people live side by side with small, cute critters called Ooblets. Think Pokémon, but cuter, smaller, and less dangerous and way less creepy!

These little creatures can look like mushrooms, tree stumps, robots, and more. They are adorable and I fell in love right away with all the cuteness.

Ooblets world

When you arrive you quickly get an Ooblet of your very own and the mayor gives you a beat-up old shack and some land in exchange for helping out around the island, and that becomes the game’s prime setup: you help people, meet new Ooblets, and use the resources you earn from performing all these activities to build up and improve your farm and home. It’s quite simple, with a satisfying never-ending loop made even more enjoyable by just how cute and nice the world of Ooblets is to explore.

Ooblets game

This is world is a total ideal, people get to say all sorts of weird, made-up words and where nobody seems to stress about much, everything sort of goes!

Anyone can be who they want to be, and that includes you. The game lets you mix and match traditional masculine and feminine clothing and hairstyles with total gender fluidity! Also, all the menu options are written casually, with stuff like “Nah” instead of no and “Sure… cool” instead of yes. If that sounds annoying to you then you’re probably too old!

The rest of Ooblets’ style and presentation pretty much mirrors this, and I found it just quirky and funny enough without crossing into annoying territory.

Ooblets game release
watch my character (middle) dedie dance at a house party!

Nevertheless, no matter how cutesy it all sounds, it ain’t barbie as there is a lot of “combat” between your growing team of Ooblets and other Ooblets. This combat isn’t about physically attacking or hurting the other critters nevertheless, Instead, you fight in dance-offs, surrounded by other dancing Ooblets! (Okay, maybe there’s a little bit of “barbie” there).


While in-game these “fights” are shown to be contests of dance, the actual combat plays out via cards. These card battles aren’t like Hearthstone, where you’re trying to destroy cards and hurt your opponent. Instead, you try to earn points quickly to fill a meter and reach a certain amount first.

To do this you either play standard move cards which you always have access to or special cards that only certain Ooblets bring with them into battle. For example, my little robot Ooblet, candy, had a special ability that let him double the number of points I earned for my next move card. Each card has a “beats” cost, which is just another word for mana. Each turn you get three mana points and you try to earn as many points as you can. It’s sorta simple in my take, but only after you’ve been playing for a while.

In Ooblets, you have a town filled with locals who all have their own personalities and behaviors. You can talk to them all and be friendly with everyone or ignore some of them.

Ooblets game review

Additionally, you also have to manage your energy. Do too much, like tilling a bunch of lands or picking a lot of fruits, and you’ll get tired and fall asleep. You can drink and eat to regain energy, but the best way is to sleep at night. Nevertheless, you should try to explore a little bit while the sun is down, I found out that the game looks even better at night.

There’s a large amount of stuff in Ooblets. Lots of people to talk to, side activities to try out, challenges to complete, furniture to buy, and farming to be done. You can grow crops to sell, eat, or even collect seeds from defeated Ooblets and grow new critters who join you on your adventure. I’ll admit that I wasn’t expecting this much depth and was pleasantly surprised to find so much to do, it sort of addicting, but in a good way.

Ooblets game


Ooblets is available now in early access on the Epic Games Store or Xbox One via Game Preview.

Release year


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Here are some our top rated selections!

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Sushi Go! – The Pick and Pass Card Game. $8.54

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Throw Throw Burrito by Exploding Kittens – A Dodgeball Card Game – Family-Friendly Party Games – Card Games for Adults, Teens & Kids. $24.99

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Betrayal at the house on the hill. $29.49

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A Gamer’s review of the Ghost of Tsushima

The story opens with Japan on the brink of war. A small group of samurai has gathered on a Tsushima beachhead to repel an invading Mongol force led by Khotun Khan, a fictional descendant of Genghis and Kublai Khan. While the Mongols attacked Japan on multiple occasions, Ghost of Tsushima liberally combines various historical and cultural artifacts for an entirely new narrative. As was the case in the late 13th century, the samurai find themselves unprepared to deal with the invaders’ overwhelming military tactics and get almost completely annihilated.


Ghost of Tsushima puts you in control of Jin Sakai, one of the island’s last remaining samurai. A half-dead Jin is pulled from the battlefield by a wandering thief named Yuna, only to rush off in an attempt to free his captured uncle. Jin makes it his mission to save his home from the invaders, who have wasted no time in running roughshod over Tsushima as a prelude to their attack on the Japanese mainland. For the player, this would translate to a heck a lot of random battles throughout the countryside and liberation villages occupied by the Mongols. Sometimes this would be done with Jin’s allies but most often than not, you were on your own.

Jin is presented pretty much as an enigma in the early hours of Ghost of Tsushima and only through brief flashbacks to the time he spent with his uncle does the player get an insight into what’s really underneath Jin’s rather gruff façade. As an idealized image of the samurai warrior caste that existed in Japan at the time, he spends a lot of time worrying about the dichotomy of honor and shame. But it soon becomes abundantly clear that Jin must adopt new tactics, even those he views as “dishonorable,” to liberate Tsushima, adding a thin layer of internal strife to the more overt conflict against the Mongols.

Ghost of Tsushima gaming techniques

The classic Samurai have been extensively mythologized in modern times no doubt, which was why in this reimagination what was essentially the paramilitary arm of a system of feudal land ownership were seen as noble, as superhuman dispensers of justice. Before playing the game, a lot of people had expected that this stereotypical concept might tie into some sort of weird, Mass Effect-Esque morality system by which the main character would vacillate between “honor” and “shame” depending on how he approached every situation.

Thankfully, that was not the case, even if the game’s narrative tunnel-visions on that concept. There’s no penalty for approaching battles in Ghost of Tsushima stealthily, which Jin considers a violation of samurai code. You don’t get locked out of any skill trees or storylines depending on how you decide to fight. While Jin is forced to take a more stealthy approach for both tutorial and narrative reasons early on, there’s also nothing stopping you from proudly walking into an enemy encampment and challenging dozens of Mongols to a straight-up fight. Granted, the best approach would always be a mixture of traditional katana skills and more “underhanded” tools like smoke bombs and firecrackers, but the game never punishes you for living out your own personal version of Seven Samurai.

That enduring image of a lone warrior surrounded by foes becomes a neat gameplay mechanic in Ghost of Tsushima. When approaching a group of enemies, Jin can call out to them with a challenge for a one-on-one combat against their strongest fighter. Here, the game asks you to hold the Triangle button and keep a close eye on your opponent. When they make a move, that’s your cue to release the button, which causes Jin to unsheathe his sword and unleash a deadly, one-hit kill. By the end of the game, a combination of skills and armor made it so you could slice through five enemies in a row before actually starting a battle.

Ghost of Tsushima’s swordplay is basic and engaging, a mixture of light and heavy attacks, parries, and dodges, tied to specific buttons or button combos. The combat system is very easy to grasp if you’ve played any recent video game, perhaps as a way to indicate, through gameplay, that Jin has been learning to fight with a katana since he was a child. As the game goes on, you learn various stances—combat styles that you can shift into at will—by observing and killing Mongol generals. Stances are meant to deal with different types of enemies: The stone stance, for instance, is better suited to taking down swordsmen, whereas the water stance’s flow of bludgeoning strikes is perfect for decimating shields. These stances, much like the rest of Jin’s repertoire, can be improved with skill points earned from defeating enemies and completing missions to unlock more combo strings and increase damage.

The “ghost” in Ghost of Tsushima could refer to Jin’s transformation from a rigid samurai warrior into a guerrilla vigilante willing to do anything to save his home. Where a samurai might focus entirely on his katana and bow, the covert tactics Jin learns over the course of the campaign gives him access to a multitude of more subtle weaponry. This starts out with some basic kunai, which can be thrown to break an opponent’s guard from a distance, but quickly expands to include tools like smoke bombs, explosives, and even wind chimes that draw enemies’ attention. Jin’s most important tool, however, is his tanto, a short blade that allows him to perform quick, violent assassinations from the shadows. It’s rare to enter a fight where you’re not vastly outnumbered, so it’s best to balance the scales as much as possible from the relative comfort of stealth. The only time where stealth really feels required is when the Mongols have taken hostages. If an enemy spots you, they’ll start to cut down prisoners unless you can stop them.

These two aspects of Jin’s arsenal combine to make every battle in Ghost of Tsushima fluid, ever-evolving affair. While you might initially sneak into a Mongol encampment, one wrong move can turn the mission into an all-out brawl against the camp’s entire garrison. I usually found myself picking off high-priority targets like bruisers with medieval shotguns and explosive-throwing support troops with my bow before wading into battle, where smart usage of my stances was key to surviving. Eventually, the Mongols begin to employ the services of animals like hunting dogs and hawks, which can sniff you out or spot you from above. I never found myself tiring of the basic flow of combat, but I quickly got so strong that stealthy approaches were just a waste of time when there weren’t any hostages to protect. Why assassinate Mongols when I could just walk up, challenge them to a duel, and mop up the stragglers?

Ghost of Tsushima review

Besides combat, much of the game is dedicated to exploring the island’s lush environments. Jin strides across vast fields of flowers, the muck and mire of swamplands, and even the icy northern reaches of Tsushima during his adventure. At one point, he dropped his hand to feel the foliage as I raced along on a horse, mimicking my exact desire at that moment. Tsushima also features a weather system that, while not offering much apart from rainstorms and rolling fog, gives the beautiful scenery an additional coat of aesthetic flair. Over the course of the game, Jin can learn songs on his flute that change the weather at will.

Ghost of Tsushima tricks

Ghost of Tsushima has an almost insatiable desire to remind you of its influences through its visuals. Each mission opens with a title card that draws inspiration from old samurai films. An optional black-and-white visual filter is literally named after legendary director Akira Kurosawa. Important duels are preceded by a lengthy, tension-building cutscene that ultimately functioned as a minute or so to check my phone while waiting for it to playout for the tenth time. Every attempt at infusing Tsushima with these cribbed details feels like a wink and a nudge for recognition rather than true homage.

Ghost of Tsushima spoiler

Ghost of Tsushima fills its expanses with multiple diversions. Tall, white flags indicate the presence of a bamboo strike mini-game, which asks you to quickly tap out increasingly difficult button sequences to increase Jin’s resolve meter.


In combat, this meter allows you to heal, use special techniques like a series of devastating slashes that homes in on opponents, and even revive yourself. Hot springs can be found beneath trees with orange blossoms, giving Jin a chance to decompress and extending his health bar. Swarms of fireflies mean a fox den is nearby, the denizen of which will lead you to a special shrine that lets you carry more charms, accessories with bonuses that range from simple stat boosts to more interesting mechanics like regaining arrows on a headshot.

Ghost of Tsushima overview

While it’s fun to listen to Jin’s internal thoughts while at the hot spring and to pet the foxes after their guidance, I never found myself excited to see one of these landmarks on the horizon. They were merely there to complete for a reward, a far cry from the dynamic intensity of battle.

~Ian walker

Spilling the tea on what I think about the game

Ghost of Tsushima review

Although some people may argue that It feels very weird having to save a peasant from a group of Mongol soldiers, only to have them turn around and reward Jin with whatever meager possessions they were able to hide away. This and also the fact that game had no problem with allowing you to raid homesteads for materials like iron and leather which could then be used to upgrade his gear, this in my take ran a little bit counter to who Jin was and what he was trying to do for the people.

Ghost of Tsushima storyline

According to the game’s narrative, Jin Sakai is the head of his clan, an aristocratic warrior who never lusted for anything in his life, so why then was he so eager to squeeze out every last bit of resources from the people he was supposed to be protecting?


Life was hard before the Mongols arrived, and now villages and farms are burning. People argued that those supplies would be much more useful in attending to refugees rather than a man whose sole ambition is reinstating the power structure that enforced these hardships in the first place.

Ghost of Tsushima gamers tips

I guess the underlying message there could be that Jin was just secretly another imperialist all along who was fighting under the guise of mass liberation to bring back the old world order which had favored him, wouldn’t that be a plot twist? This probably could be one of the reasons why he had no problem looting from the very people he claimed to be protecting. A sense of entitlement, I guess.

Jin was also shown to be somewhat unsympathetic to the plight of the locals, any growth he shows over the course of the game usually deals entirely with his approach to warfare, rather than the imbalances within the society he seeks to protect or even his own responsibility for maintaining them.


This lack of empathy was also evident when a childhood friend betrays him, Jin did very little personal inventory on his part on how he might have contributed to his friend being motivated to betraying him, rather he went on a “holy” quest for revenge. All of this could have been entirely prevented if only he had been a little bit more compassionate.

Ghost of Tsushima release

“Another open-world game” has been my problem this generation. With more and more games coming out all the time, it’s become more of a problem picking out what games to play and when. This generation has been rife with open worlds and live games that are only getting bigger and demanding more and more of our time, helping to fuel our video game addiction.

I quickly got tired of open-world games as soon as they truly became a thing (I believe this was around grand theft auto 3) I noticed early on that these games sacrificed tight narrative, which was what really stuck to the mind long after a game has been finished. But when the game begins to get elaborate for the freedom to do anything in the world, You start to see inconsistencies and holes in the plot as a result, with some missions or quests seeming all too repetitive.

Ghost of Tsushima


“Press R2 to compose haiku.”


Open-world samurai simulator


Fluid combat, gorgeous landscapes, charming side characters


Tedious missions, uninspired protagonist


Sucker Punch Productions


PlayStation 4


July 17, 2020


55+ hours to finish the story and 100% the map

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Here are some of my selections!

Every single product recommended here have been personally curated by me and is found to be reputable. These are also affiliated links, meaning if you use them to make purchases I would earn a little stipend but at no extra cost to you.

Ghost Of Tsushima collector’s edition PS4 by sucker punch production. $265.98

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Ghost of Tsushima Launch Edition – PlayStation 4. $64.27

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Gaming Glasses | Blue Light Blocking Glasses | Riot/Onyx by Gunnar | 65% Blue Light Protection, 100% UV Light, Anti-Reflective To Protect & Reduce Eye Strain & Dryness. For video game/TV addicts, and computer junkies $38.97

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

SOMIC G951pink Gaming Headset for PC, PS4, Laptop: 7.1 Virtual Surround Sound Detachable Cat Ear Headphones LED, USB, Lightweight Self-Adjusting Over Ear Headphones for Girlfriend Women. $65.99

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Ghost of Tsushima’s out today, and here’s what’s mind blowing

 Ghost of Tsushima is a game of compulsion. Like most open-world adventures, everything is designed to get you to explore what’s over the next hill or across that nearby river. The map is peppered with question marks, many of which surround towns and temples in which you meet allies and upgrade equipment. Helpful diversions like hot springs and fox dens have obvious environmental tells. The wind, a major contributor to the game’s overall aesthetic, literally guides you to objectives. But there’s a big difference between scouring a map to completion and actually having a good time, no matter how obsessive a person you may be.

The Ghost of Tsushima, which premiered to the public today features some of the fastest loading times I’ve seen in a modern game despite its beautiful, expansive environments. They’re so short, that it’s often hard to read more than one or two of the gameplay tips the developers included as filler between gameplay. But it was almost even harder.

Most people are impatient these days, that’s why there’s been people I know who’s given up on games like Prey and XCOM 2 just because they took too long to load between areas or missions, for this reason a lot of people had expected a significant downtime in Ghost of Tsushima. They ended up nevertheless, being mind fucked by how little a time it afforded them to even check their smartphones or get a drink in between. Transitioning from gameplay to cutscene and back, or fast travelling between two distant environmentally diverse biomes, both incurred load times of just a few seconds! Well, at least when played on a base PlayStation 4 loading a digital copy of the game from an external HDD.

Sucker punch production lead engine programmer once wrote to kotaku via email

We really got to where we are through focus and substantial team effort, I wrote the foundational code for our fine-grain texture and mesh streaming systems for Ghost. It started as a forward-looking side project and came online just in time as we began running out of memory on PlayStation 4 developer hardware due to the huge amount [of] art the team was adding.

Adrian Bentley

Ghost of Tsushima is sleek as hell, featuring vast fields of flowers intersected by dusty roads give way to claustrophobic bamboo forests containing secluded Buddhist temples. Leaves, cherry blossom petals, and pollen filter through the air thanks to an ever-present, guiding wind. Waves crash on beaches, hiding rocky pathways to offshore secrets. And while the responsibility for pulling all those disparate assets together was already monumental, Bentley explained that the art team also had to make sure to keep data compact as it ate more and more memory.


“Our art teams did an amazing job pushing their assets to fit in our aggressive performance and memory budgets,” Bentley said. “They accomplished a huge amount especially considering the size of our team. As an example, one of our 200m x 200m terrain tiles only usually takes up around 2 MB (compressed) on disc, including all the terrain and foliage placements. It’s easier to load a lot of data when you keep it compact.”

“Our mesh and texturing systems are very fine-grain and fairly conservative,” Bentley added. “We only have one copy of every asset on the disc. During most loads, when not jumping into a close-up, we only load newly required assets and can dial down our streaming density a bit. This usually results in requesting one or maybe two fewer mipmap levels for big textures. Users shouldn’t see pops because we still have the texture data we need to render when jumping into gameplay 99% of the time”.

But as far as I know, Ghost of Tsushima developers most likely employed some sort of fancy, behind-the-scenes tricks to reduce these loading times even if Bentley argues that it was mostly just the “hard work of the team” that ensured load times remained as short as possible.


Nevertheless, they did hide some loading times behind prerecorded movies that rendered in-engine, a technique Sucker Punch has utilised since the early inFamous games. Streaming and decoding multiple assets simultaneously in this way requires “somewhat complex code.”

According to Bentley, a “fundamental part” of the engine’s loading strategy is to put data exactly where it needs to be in memory with as few disk reads as possible. Such precision is mostly only possible on a console, because the hardware (and hence, memory layout) never changes.


Once it’s all loaded up, they can then “spawn” anything in memory into wherever it’s needed in the game world. As the player runs around, further incremental loading occurs as needed, which Bentley describes as a relatively lightweight process.

“When you die,” says Bentley, “we only need [to] re-run this quick ‘spawn’ process with most of the data already loaded. In contrast, many other engines use serialisation-based approaches, which require reloading a substantial amount of data to run again.”

Ghost of Tsushima’s largely natural, bucolic setting further contributed to the speediness of its loads.

Like many games, Ghost of Tsushima provides players with tips during loads to both kill time and fill them in on parts of the story or gameplay they might have missed. During development, however, the team at Sucker Punch found that reloading from death, specifically, was so quick that it was impossible for the player to read any of this advice. Late into the project, Bentley said, they decided to artificially extend downtime in these situations so that the tips could be on-screen for “more than a fraction of a second.” Just between you and me, it’s still pretty hard, but I can typically get through one or two before being whisked back to fighting Mongols.


Even so, Bentley still isn’t entirely satisfied with some of the load times, especially when it comes to fast travelling into different biomes or cities. He credits his team’s general optimisation for making extended downtime less noticeable, as well as techniques like deferring the loading of data only used for close-ups on textures and other assets until the player is actually in the game. In my experience, loading times increased as more of the world opened up, but I never found any individual moment too taxing on my patience. Overall, Ghost of Tsushima is a game that never takes you out of the action for too long, which is great when you’re hunting down those last few Mongol camps or scouring the map for the last fox den.

“We realised early on that the scale of Ghost would create challenges,” Bentley said. “We did some math, and carrying forward our previous streaming approach verbatim would have resulted in either a large memory and disc footprint or constraints too tight for the art team to pack enough content into the world. We really had to be cognisant of all parts of the pipeline when making changes to make sure we could efficiently build, run, and stream Ghost. And do all this while making the game at the same time. In the end, I’m pretty happy with the results and am excited to see what we can improve going forward.”

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Here are some of my selections!

Every single product recommended here have been personally curated by me and is found to be reputable. These are also affiliated links, meaning if you use them to make purchases I would earn a little stipend but at no extra cost to you.

Ghost of Tsushima Launch Edition – PlayStation 4. $58.88

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Ghost of Tsushima Special Edition – PlayStation 4. $121.01

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Razer Kraken Gaming Headset: Lightweight Aluminum Frame – Retractable Noise Isolating Microphone – For PC, PS4, Nintendo Switch – 3.5 mm Headphone Jack – Classic Black/Blue. $70.99 $46.10

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Seagate Portable 2TB External Hard Drive Portable HDD – USB 3.0 for PC, Mac, PS4, & Xbox (STGX2000400). $62.49 $43.12

Rating: 4 out of 5.

PlayStation 4 Slim 1TB Console. $339.99

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Ninokuni: the next binge-worthy anime series?

Maybe I’m too old but I just recently started watching Netflix, I’ve been seeing ads on YouTube for it, been hearing people talk about the series or movies they’ve been watching on that platform too, but I didn’t bother checking it out till last year’s December.

I’ve been contemplating adding to my lifestyle blog entertainment talks, especially about movies and series for a long time now, so today I decided “what the hell, I’m just going to go for it”, and I did.

This blog post officially would mark the antisocial tomato’s debut into the entertainment news world.

After seeing the trailer for this series on Netflix today, I knew just have to talk about it!

The storyline had me hooked almost immediately.

The Nino Kuni storyline

Two average teen goes on a magical quest to save their friend and her counterpart from another world, but love complicates their journey…..

High school students; Yu, Haru, and, Kotana have been friends for almost all their lives, they were the best of friends, rather inseparable.

From the right; kotana(girl), Yu and Haru(boys)

One day, a child falls unconscious on a busy road, and Kotana rushes to the rescue to get the child’s body off the before it gets crushed, but unbeknownst to Kotana, there was a truck heading her way already,

Moments from being crushed along with the child, Haru rushes over to get them out of the way. Yu, who was subjected to the wheelchair quickly follows along trying to catch up with Haru who was presumably rushing to his death.

Yu manage to pull Haru out of the way, but Kotana?

All goes blank.

Continue reading “Ninokuni: the next binge-worthy anime series?”