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The Dark Pictures Anthology: Little Hope Review – Inconsistent Magic

Witchcraft. Doppelgangers. Cenobite-like demons. Evil children. Inescapable fog. Supermassive Games loves to combine horror tropes and create its own spin on them for one big, spine-tingling adventure. It’s part of the studio’s identity and what made Until Dawn such a hit. I always look forward to seeing how the team is going to subvert my expectations. Little Hope is the second standalone entry in Supermassive’s Dark Pictures Anthology, and though it is a step up from Man of Medan, it still falters as much as it succeeds. Little Hope tells a fascinating tale, but lackluster gameplay, predictable scares, and performance issues hold it back from greatness.

This story is completely self-contained, so you don’t need to play Man of Medan to understand it. This fresh break allows Supermassive to explore a new setting, characters, and horror subgenres. For Little Hope, you’re introduced to a New England town of the same name. It has an eerie past connected to the 17th-century witch trials, along with a family from the 1970s that experienced tragedy. When a bus carrying a professor and his group of college students crashes in Little Hope during a detour, you realize more is going on than meets the eye. Not only is a fog preventing you from leaving, but your group also appears connected to the town’s dark history. The new setting immediately pulled me in; not only is it creepy from the start, but the intrigue that holds the mystery together is powerful.

That being said, getting to the story’s best moments takes time and patience. Little Hope is a slow burn, meaning you have a lot of downtime just walking down a foggy path with few clues and boring dialogue. You occasionally go into the sewers, a church, or a factory, but the winding road is the main destination. The journey would probably be more enjoyable if I found the characters intriguing, but it was hard to care about any of them. The problem is they feel more like one-dimensional reactions to a situation rather than being unique people with needs and motivations. It was hard to get a sense of any of them beyond the few traits listed about them when you start the game.

Though the present-day ensemble is uninteresting, their doppelgangers from the past are a different story. They pull you back into their time period to experience the crazy accusations and fear of witchcraft that ran rampant. I loved the tension of these moments, as you see paranoia manifest you begin to question who is to blame for how things unfold (which becomes a big choice you make). It all culminates in a fantastic twist that I won’t spoil, but it is cleverly done and made me approach my second playthrough in a different and exciting way. Changing your decisions on subsequent runs also leads to new scenes and situations, like whether characters proudly show off their relationship, or what form a creature takes. 

I wish the overall gameplay of Little Hope provided the same excitement. Despite having some of the best creature design Supermassive has ever done, Little Hope still can’t capitalize on its terrors. The game tries to unnerve you, attempting its share of jump scares, but they are too predictable and over-the-top to work. Addressing complaints from Man of Medan, Supermassive made some improvements with better indicators for when QTEs are coming, and you can now press a button to walk faster through environments. However, item selection is still finicky, and I had to contend with technical issues like freezes and glitches, especially in co-op.

Speaking of co-op, I had a much better experience playing by myself than I did with someone else – the opposite of my experience with Man of Medan. The story lends itself better to solo play, as co-op allows only certain players to see specific scenes, which makes it difficult to piece together the whole story. Also, if your co-op buddy finishes up their area first when you’re split up, the story moves ahead without giving you time to inspect everything. I experienced crashes, dialogue cutting out, and disconnects, despite both my co-op buddy and I having solid connections. I hope this aspect of the game gets improved after launch, because it gets in the way of following and appreciating the narrative.  

Little Hope is inconsistent, like a witch-in-training still learning how to fully weave a spell. It sets up its story well and keeps you guessing, but the execution is lacking. It needs more variety and interesting things for your characters to do. The action comes too late, and by then, you’re already nodding off. However, seeing the fantastic ending makes putting up with those boring moments a little more bearable.

Little Hope tells a fascinating tale, but lackluster gameplay, predictable scares, and performance issues hold it back from greatness.

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You Can Finally Unlock Genshin Impact’s Magical Seal, And That’s Great News For The Future

If you’ve been playing Genshin Impact for a while, you’ll probably be familiar with the mysterious seal adorning a random door in Mondstadt’s main metropolis. Although it looks like a standard Hydro symbol, lashing it with Barbara’s water bullets unfortunately won’t accomplish anything, nor will Xingqiu’s rain swords be able to pry it open. This is a seal steeped in mysterious magic that’s beyond Genshin Impact’s present world state — or at least it was, until very recently.

Have you met Mona yet? She’s an excellent character that comes into Genshin Impact at Adventure Rank 38, which is a level precious few players have attained as of yet. That’s not to say nobody has — quite a lot of players have already put a huge amount of time and effort into Genshin Impact, and have pretty much maxed out the content that is currently available prior to patch 1.1. However, Genshin is still seeing a massive influx of new players on a daily basis, meaning that the vast majority of people aren’t quite there yet. If you’re one of these people, and are worried about being exposed to light spoilers, you might be better off reading through my experiment in which I did over 1,500 Wishes to test the gacha system, or checking out our speculation as to what the next Genshin Impact banner is going to be after Klee’s Sparkling Steps.

But if you’re happy to hear about why Genshin Impact has managed to convince me that it’s going to have a lot of excellent story content for a very long time, then stick around for a while. Some people might worry that Genshin is destined to be a fad, that it’s going to fade into obscurity the moment next-gen arrives. I’m here to tell you that it would be a tragedy if that happened, because Genshin Impact has a blindingly bright future ahead of it, and I am genuinely excited for every little part of it — all because of a little magical seal that was recently cracked by a fascinating magician named Mona.

The beginning of this piece refers to the magical seal blocking off a random building in Mondstadt for the majority of the game (as it currently stands at the time of writing). When you finish Mona’s story quest, she’ll announce that she’s happy to stay in Mondstadt for a bit, and cracking a pesky little seal like that is small potatoes for her. But until this point there was no one in Mondstadt or Liyue capable of accomplishing such a feat. This might not seem like a huge deal at face value — and maybe it’s not! But in terms of Genshin’s longevity, it’s massively refreshing to see.

The fact that it takes Mona’s narrative arrival to overcome a mysterious and seemingly unconquerable obstacle bodes very well Genshin’s status as a developing game. Let’s consider what Genshin is like right now: it offers us a beautiful open world in which you can do pretty much anything — like in Breath of the Wild, almost everything you can possibly come across is either climbable, cookable, or punchable. At the same time, it’s got that enticing ambiguity boasted by all of the best MMOs. It’s like in FFXIV when certain areas are locked off because you haven’t reached a certain point in the story yet. They’re not slapped with the traditional DLC stamp of most single-player games — they’re given an ambiguous narrative reason for why they’re not accessible right now, despite the fact that Genshin emphatically isn’t an MMO that needs to cater to players of all levels at all times. This is great for worldbuilding, especially when — also like in an MMO — the world is constantly in the process of being built. It’s distinct from DLC because DLC usually comes in the form of add-ons that are external to a base game — new areas that are detached from the original. Genshin’s approach is to expand its world in a more interdependent way, where new areas are inherently attached to previous ones.

If you’ve done the first few story quests, you’ll know what I mean. Razor was the first character I unlocked, so I already loved the weird little wolf boy by the time I bumped into him in Wolvendom. But doing his quest line helped me to learn about him — what makes him smile, and what makes him tick. I learned about his background, about him being raised by wolves after being left abandoned in the forest. And then once I finished his quest, the Wolf in the North challenge in the until-that-point dilapidated and pointless structure in the middle of Wolvendom opened up, and a previously mysterious part of the map became imbued with significance and purpose. The same can be said of Stormterror’s Domain, unlocked as part of Venti’s story quest, while Xiangling’s missions teach us all about Liyue before we’re even a high enough level to go there.

Unlocking new content in games is hardly new. Meeting additional characters as you progress through a story is a given, in most cases. But in terms of untraversable areas… Well, Genshin Impact’s approach to this is unique, and actually mirrors a successful Early Access approach or an MMO more so than a full-fledged single-player RPG. Instead of just locking areas off with level-gating, Genshin has committed to launching several new regions over the next year, all of which will come with their own characters, stories, and elements for the Traveler to attune themselves to.

These regions will spill into the servers gradually over time, but the best thing about this is that they won’t discount the areas that are currently available. As proven by Mona’s magical seal — as well as other yet-to-be-unlocked areas like the mysterious salt ruins in Liyue — there is still so much to learn about the areas we’re exploring right now. I’m excited for Genshin to be built out as one cohesive, developing world, as opposed to phoning in every existing aspect of itself whenever a new expansion drops. Mona’s late-game — and still unfinished! — story quest gives me full faith that this will be exactly the case when push comes to shove. 

Read next: I Wish Dragon Age Inquisition’s Tactical Combat Didn’t Take 20 Hours To Get Good

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Cian Maher is an Associate Editor at TheGamer. He’s also had work published in The Guardian, The Washington Post, The Verge, Vice, Wired, and more. His favourite game of all time is and always will be The Witcher 3, but he also loves The Last Guardian, NieR: Automata, Dishonored, and pretty much every Pokemon game ever released. You can find him on Twitter @cianmaher0.

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Aquanox Deep Descent Review: A Sinking Success

Beginning with Armored Core 2 on PlayStation 2, and eventually, the MechWarrior series, games featuring player-controlled mechs have always been some of the most satisfying titles to play for me, with bonus points coming from a game allowing a first-person perspective. Unfortunately, there really hasn’t been a single go-to mech-based game that has blown me away. The genre has no shortage of titles to choose from, but none ever truly live up to what I’d expect in terms of mech-based gameplay.

Enter: Aquanox Deep Descent, from developer Digital Arrow. While not technically mechs, Aquanox Deep Descent provides a tight and fluid experience while piloting the mech-like underwater ships. The game will likely fly (swim?) under the radar for most, reasonably so in some cases, leaving Aquanox Deep Descent as being worth a deep dive for only the most dedicated fans of the genre.

Aquanox Deep Descent puts you in the cockpit of an armored ship as you engage in underwater battles and traverse depths of the dystopian ocean world of Aqua. While the campaign’s roughly 13-hour narrative is an interesting one, it is bogged down by some of the game’s core components – namely, it’s combat encounters and overall setting.

Encounters at the beginning of the game held my attention, but quickly became redundant. Rather than switching up the pace or tactical strategies of a battle, enemies become more difficult simply because their ship’s armor is more powerful. Coupled with the fact that the various areas of the underwater start to blend together after a few levels – though what’s there does look pretty impressive visually – and too many cringe-worthy moments from the voice acting, and the game begins to slog after a while. However, if you’re able to look past that, Aquanox Deep Descent does have plenty of redeeming qualities.

First and foremost, I find piloting my underwater ship to be surprisingly delightful. I’m by no means an ace pilot in any first-person game, but controlling the underwater ship feels as good as I would expect for a title like this. It’s almost like it’s easy to learn how to control the ship, but difficult to master, which speaks to both the game’s pick-up-and-play accessibility and its challenge level. It’s easy to aimlessly follow your “flightpath” throughout each linear level, but masterfully piloting the ship through various openings and crevasses without bumping into anything (including the toxic nanoplankton fields) is a whole other beast. Once piloting the ship becomes second nature, Aquanox Deep Descent’s levels become a lot more satisfying.

In between missions, you can upgrade your underwater vessel and outfit it with more powerful weapons. I find the overall UI design of the crafting mechanic to be a bit tricky to navigate, which – at least during my playthrough of the campaign – had me leaving my ship “as-is” for as long as I could just so I could avoid having to even use the crafting menu. Once weapons are equipped, dual-firing at enemies feels good despite the touchy aiming system.

Once you finish up with the single-player (or co-op) campaign, Aquanox Deep Descent also features a multiplayer “Dogfight” mode in which you’ll take on other players in either a free-for-all battle or team deathmatch. Unfortunately, despite the Aquanox franchise having a dedicated community following as a whole- the game did become a reality thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign, after all – actually being able to find and joining in on an online match is few and far between.

Aquanox Deep Descent isn’t a bad game. There are just plenty of opportunities for improvement. Piloting the ship throughout Aqua’s underwater world feels great. Honestly, I kind of wish the game had featured more of an open-world to explore, especially with the amount of salvaging and looting you perform throughout the campaign anyways. But that’s not the case, leaving little reason for me to dive back in after playing the game once through. Hopefully, a more robust online community will allow the game to thrive with its multiplayer component, but as it stands, Aquanox Deep Descent will likely be most enjoyed by hungry mech-genre fans who are looking for another ship to pilot. Just don’t forget to bring a towel.

A PC copy of Aquanox Deep Descent was provided to TheGamer for this review. Aquanox Deep Descent is available now for PC via Steam.

NEXT: Baldur’s Gate 3 Community Update Reveals The Most Romanced Companions

  • Game Reviews
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Sam has been writing for TheGamer since early 2018, earning the role as the Lead Features & Review Editor in 2019. The Denver, Colorado-native’s knack for writing has been a life-long endeavor. His time spent in corporate positions has helped shape the professional element of his creative writing passion and skills. Beyond writing, Sam is a lover of all things food and video games, which – especially on weekends – are generally mutually exclusive, as he streams his gameplay on Twitch (as well as TheGamer’s Facebook page) under the self-proclaimed, though well-deserved moniker of ChipotleSam. (Seriously…just ask him about his Chipotle burrito tattoo). You can find Sam on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook as @RealChipotleSam.

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Final Fantasy VII Remake Aerith Voice Actress Cosplays Her Character And It's Perfect

While it seems like we’ve got some time before we’ll get a new Final Fantasy VII Remake update for the next part of the impressive re-imagining, we do at least have another awesome way to celebrate a fan favorite. FFVII Remake’s Aerith voice actress Briana White recently brought her character to life in a whole new way, with her donning the classic look of Aerith fully equipped with flowers and her innocent smile. 

White took to her Twitter to share two shots of her Aerith cosplay, courtesy of famed photographer Martin Wong. While there are more pictures on the horizon for her to share, the below three images were far too perfect for us not to share: 

#3 pic.twitter.com/viblRIaQFd

She opted into the classic Aerith look, sans sword, and she looks beyond incredible. The yellow flowers from the game are a perfect touch, and that stylization from @helloiamkate is just the cherry on top. 

As for when we’ll get the next phase of the Final Fantasy VII Remake, we don’t know yet. Even the amount of entries we’ll see past the first part is still technically up in the air, depending on where the team wants to go next in terms of a release schedule. While we await confirmation on the next step of this adventure, especially given the changes seen in the ending of part one, we at least have this pure cosplay of Aerith to tide us over. 

What do you think of Briana White’s Aerith cosplay from Final Fantasy VII Remake? What were your thoughts on the remake itself? Sound off with all of those Final Fantasy-related shenanigans in the comment section below! 

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On The Level: Taking A Joyride Down Super Mario Kart’s Rainbow Road

For many who played Super Mario Kart, the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) game that marked the beginning of the Mario Kart franchise, the words “Rainbow Road” bring mixed emotions. It’s hard to forget the colorful track, floating in a dark backdrop in some unknown part of the Super Mario Bros. universe. The race was both fun and frustrating, primarily due to the track’s lack of barrier rails. Any miscalculation could send a player off the edge and into a bottomless aether.

Rainbow Road is ostensibly the most iconic course in the Mario Kart franchise. The track reappears in numerous forms numerous throughout the series’ 28-year history.


The Magic of the Original Rainbow Road for SNES

Capitalizing on the Super Mario Bros. name, Super Mario Kart sparked consumer interest immediately upon its 1992 release. The game was relatively simple to understand, even for people who’d never before played racing games. Battle-like features that included speed-boosting mushrooms and a lightning power that would slow and shrink opponents turned up the competition, inspiring countless mini-tournaments among friends.

Players who successfully earned gold medals against the game’s AI in the Mushroom Cup, the Flower Cup and Star Cup at the 100cc level would then unlock the Special Cup. This four-race series then culminated in Rainbow Road, a level where just a few mistakes could mean the difference between first place and last place.

By design, Rainbow Road is the most challenging course in Super Mario Kart. Players must stay ahead of their enemies throughout the bright and distracting raceway. Combine this with competitors throwing turtle shells and banana peels and it’s clear only genuinely skilled players could take home the gold on Rainbow Road.

The lack of guardrails means players had to be able to master control of their karts to succeed. Should they fail to do so, the player would be apt to drive over the edge. Such a fall added valuable seconds to their track time while they waited for Lakitu, a Koopa in a cloud, to pick them up and put them back on course.

As if that weren’t tough enough, the course also featured several other challenging aspects. In certain areas, Thwomps could randomly crash down right on the player’s kart, therefore causing them to spin out and potentially fall.

One part of the course splits in two, leaving a gaping gap in the middle of the raceway as the player navigates a thinner piece of track.

Falling more than once practically guaranteed the player wouldn’t take first place. In some cases, a late-game nosedive could cost the player precious points in the overall series, shifting them from a Special Cup gold trophy to silver or bronze.

The magic of the original Rainbow Road is that it genuinely feels like a finale. With its upbeat music and the possibility of a fall around every corner, it created the perfect frantic finish to an overall great game, particularly at the more challenging 150cc level. It’s no wonder Nintendo chose to continue to include reimagined versions of the fan-favorite course in nearly every major Mario Kart release that followed.

28 Years of Rainbow Road: An Ever-Evolving Course

Of course, by today’s standards, SNES’s Rainbow Road looks like an amateur designed it. But at the time, it offered a portrayal of the fun and innovation that defined the Nintendo brand. As time went on, Nintendo continued to include different iterations of Rainbow Road in many of the Mario Kart games that followed, particularly its major console releases. As it lives in on subsequent Mario Kart games, it’s almost always the longest course in the game. It’s also typically the hardest.

In Mario Kart 64, released in 1996 for the Nintendo 64, the track became much longer and presented a different trajectory with more peaks and slopes. The console’s 64 CPU graphics capabilities allowed a smoother, more refined texture. However, the most significant difference is also the most surprising: the inclusion of railings throughout the track.

As it appeared in Mario Kart: Double Dash, released in 2003 for the Nintendo GameCube, Rainbow Road drew evident influence from its previous iterations. However, it also deviated substantially from its predecessors. Though it mimicked the N64 track’s flowing color aesthetic, it also includes additional obstacles and changes in the course’s flow.

In this version, some portions of the track have rail barriers, while others do not. Some areas provide speed boosts. Failing to navigate them properly can cause their kart to shoot off the raceway. At one point, drivers even get to shoot through a giant space tube.

Almost all of these features are also present in 2008’s Mario Kart Wii version of Rainbow Road. The split-track and gaping hole concept from the Super Mario Kart version reappeared, but this time players experienced several of them in a row. The possibility of launching from track waves that manifested as launch ramps made it more difficult to control the kart upon encountering this obstacle.

The space tube also returned, but this time in a much more colorful fashion.

With 2011’s Mario Kart 7 for the Nintendo 3DS, Rainbow Road evolved once again. This time, the track included new obstacles, such as ring-like objects that allow players to hover through the air and the chance to drive on planetary terrain.

2014’s Mario Kart 8 for Wii U introduced a new, futuristic take on Rainbow Road. This version would also appear in the game’s counterpart, 2017’s Mario Kart 8 Deluxe for Switch. This version is much more industrial, trading the surrealist approach to the track for one that’s more influenced by machinery and technology. Despite the differences in colors and textures, its unique obstacles mean it still feels like Rainbow Road.

These titles also included a remade version of Rainbow Road for N64. This version had a much more impressive graphic range, yet was designed to feel fundamentally similar to the original. However, in an apparent determination that the original course was too long, the Nintendo team opted to shorten the race itself by diving the track into sections instead of using the previously-favored lap format.

In a later DLC, the games introduced a reimagined version of Rainbow Road for SNES. This blocky approach to the original made the level accessible to a generation too young to remember the days of 8-bit and 16-bit technology.

It All Comes Back to the Original Rainbow Road

It’s little surprise that the developers behind the Mario Kart series continue to breathe new life into this particular track. Still, the course wouldn’t have evolved to what it is now without the classic SNES version.

Rainbow Road springboarded a tradition of colorful designs, exciting mechanics and substantial challenges to become a cornerstone of the Mario Kart series. In doing so, it began a longstanding tradition of all-around nostalgic fun.

READ NEXT: 150cc: 8 Ways Mario Kart 8 Is The Best In The Series And 7 Ways It’s Not

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Whitney Meers is a lifelong gamer and professional writer whose credits include Newsweek, Comedy Central, HuffPost, NBCUniversal, Samsung, The Discovery Channel and truTV. She regularly contributes to Frederator Digital’s YouTube gaming channel The Leaderboard, which recently surpassed a million subscribers.

As a former Top Writer on Medium, she wrote several of the site’s most widely circulated satirical pieces throughout 2017 and 2018. Her personal essays have appeared on xoJane and Everyday Feminism. Additionally, she served as the consulting lead on Newsweek’s Fortnite Special Edition, securing interviews with numerous gaming personalities including Ninja, DrLupo, TimTheTatman and Pokimane.

Whitney has a comedy background and has written and performed in various live shows including 8 Bits: A Sketch Show About Video Games at New York’s Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre. She was a house team member on the sketch comedy team Slap Fight at The People’s Improv Theater, also in NYC.

A versatile content creator, Whitney also produces gaming videos, makes gaming-related fan art and writes genre-bending scripts for film and television. Her pilot script Recession Proof was nominated for the TVWriter.com People’s Pilot award in 2011 and was later optioned and produced by an independent production company.

Occasionally, Whitney streams on Twitch, where you can watch her battle royale her way through code:leaf errors in Apex Legends. Twitter / Instagram: @whitneymeers YouTube: youtube.com/wmeers

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New Gameplay Today – Little Nightmares II

I was a big fan of Tarsier Studios’ Little Nightmares when it came out a few years ago. It was an atmospheric creep-fest that contained moments that have stuck with me to this day. In this episode of New Gameplay Today, we take a look at the sequel, the appropriately named Little Nightmares II. Join Alex Stadnik, Blake Hester, and me as we go through a recent demo playthrough. Even though it’s only a small look at the game, it’s a clear indicator that the developers haven’t lost their edge.

While I still don’t think the games are necessarily scary, they’re definitely unsettling in ways that many games strive to achieve. If you’re averse to hands (disembodied or otherwise) and getting grabbed, you may want to sit this one out. Otherwise, enjoy!

Tune into New Gameplay Today to see the latest hands-on previews of upcoming titles, as well as first looks at brand new games and popular titles receiving expanded content.

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Horror-Comedy Hello Puppets! Continues Performance on Steam

Otherworld Interactive loves to scare virtual reality (VR) gamers, originally launching Sisters for mobile VR and then Hello Puppets! arrived for Oculus Rift last year. Just in time for the spooky season, the studio has now expanded Hello Puppets! support to Steam.

There’s nothing like a dead-eye puppet suddenly appearing in your peripheral vision and with Hello Puppets! there are loads to watch out for. With a back story involving a failed children’s show called Mortimer’s Handeemen which used hand puppets, a fire destroying the studio killing eight people and a magic spell gone wrong, the scene is set for an amusingly terrifying experience.

You play a college reporter who goes to the dilapidated location to see if the rumours that it’s haunted are true. Events take a turn for the worse where you end up with a puppet called Scout attached to your non-dominant hand. The foul-mouthed sentient puppet might swear a lot but she’s there to help you, and as the developer says, only: “slightly less evil” than all the other murderous puppets.

Hello Puppets! is filled with puzzles to solve as you look for a way to escape the horror , and the jump scares. A “Puppet Mode” will let you see the world from Scout’s eyes, with the new perspective helping to solve puzzles, uncover secrets and escape the many enemies lurking in the dark.

You’ll also have to watch out how you treat Scout as she remembers your interactions, depending on what she thinks of you she’ll react differently.

Hello Puppets! is available now via Steam for Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Valve Index, with a 10% discount available until 29th October. For further updates from Otherworld Interactive, keep reading VRFocus.

https://youtube.com/watch?v=MlAw-JuPYzQ%3Fwmode%3Dtransparent%26rel%3D0%26feature%3Doembed
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GTA Online Peyote Plant locations: Where to find all 76 Peyote Plants?

GTA 5 has just released another massive GTA Online update this morning as part of the ever-expanding collection of online collectables added to the game as part of the Diamond Casino & Resort DLC.

Despite a flurry of new content at launch, including New GTA Online cars, penthouses, missions, clothes and so much more, Rockstar also added some secret missions.

First up, players were tasked with hunting down a full deck of hidden playing cards, scattered across the city.

Next, they had to find 100 action figures, also hidden across the city of GTA Online.

But today Rockstar Games have added one more secret mission to the game, and it seems sort of fitting what with it being Halloween and all.

As of today, GTA Online players can track down 76 Peyote Plants throughout the world.

Underneath you'll find a map showing all 76 Peyote cactus locations and everything else you could possibly need to know in order to get this latest mission done and dusted.

We'll also explain what the point of collecting these Peyote Plants actually is, because you'll probably want to know that too.

How to start the Peyote Plants Mission?

Unlike past missions, you shouldn't have to do anything. When you next log in you should have a notification to let you know peyote plants have sprouted up across Los Santos.

The Peyote Plants have previously been available in the standard GTA 5 campaign as a collectable found across Los Santos and Blaine County.

In the main game, there were 27 in total to find, but GTA Online has a whopping 76 to track down.

When consumed the peyote plant sends your character on a hallucinatory trip.

Each plant also transports you into the body of an animal, such as a bird or four-legged created.

For now, it's not quite clear what the plants do in GTA Online, but we'll assume that you once again get to transform into various creatures.

GTA 6 Release Rumours, Leaks and News

  • GTA 6 release date narrowed down by fans
  • Rockstar Games reveal is good for GTA 6
  • New Rockstar 'Unannounced AAA' game leak
  • GTA 6 release teased by Rockstar insider
  • What do you get for finding all 76 Peyote Plants in GTA Online?

    Unlike the playing cards or collectable action figures it doesn't appear as though there's any great reward.

    The reward it seems is simply being able to transform into these creatures.

    In fact, GTA leaker Foxysnaps has also confirmed there is no bonus for collecting them all.

    However, it seems that when you collect these Peyote Plants it is possible to get an extra 5000 RP, which is grated to your player if you die, go into the water or simply end the hallucination.

    This 5000 RP is granted after you spawn at the nearest hospital.

    In addition, whilst turning into animals is all fun, you can also transform into the Sasquatch and Chop the dog. Which is even better

    GTA Online Peyote Plants Map

    The below map created by FoxyLeaks shows the locations for all 76 GTA Online Peyote Plants.

    We'd tell you to click the map to expand and get an even bigger one, but our site, it doesn't know how to do that, unfortunately.

    Thankfully there's a massive map that expands, right here.

    ALL 76 Peyote Plant locations video

    If the map above doesn't help, maybe the video below from GTA Series Videos might?

    Otherwise, we've also started the process of listing ALL 76 Peyote Plant locations as we did with the Playing Card and Action Figure locations.

    We'll be updating this page constantly as we get them!

    • GTA 5
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    Pokémon Sword & Shield: The Crown Tundra Preview – Looking For Legendary Status

    Following the launch of Pokémon Sword & Shield last year, Game Freak announced the Expansion Pass, promising two new story-driven expansions for the first all-new Pokémon RPGs on the Switch. The first expansion, The Isle of Armor, was a fun addition to the mainline story, but had plenty of problems that made it less memorable than the base game. With the second part of the Expansion Pass, The Crown Tundra, Game Freak and The Pokémon Company hope to deliver the more exciting content players crave. I was given the chance to watch more than 30 minutes of footage and learn about the soon-to-be-released second expansion.

    One of my main criticisms of the Isle of Armor was that it felt almost aimless in how it delivered the story. You were given a loose narrative while you embarked on a series of fetch quests, but ultimately, the story felt tenuous at best, only serving to push you through the mundane missions on the way to the final encounters. In contrast, the Crown Tundra is more story-centric than the Isle of Armor, and gives you a few different quests to embark on. You start out on an adventure with Peony, a former Galar gym leader, as you learn about Dynamax Adventures and work to uncover the mysteries of the new Legendary Pokémon Calyrex and its influence on the area. On top of those storylines, you also have the mission of learning more about and battling the Galarian versions of the Legendary bird trio from the first-gen games: Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres.

    Players can access the Crown Tundra as soon as they reach Wedgehurst in Sword & Shield’s main story. Once you travel to the Crown Tundra, your Pokédex updates with the additional creatures found in the area and you meet the eccentric Peony, who is gearing up for an expedition into Pokémon dens to find the Legendary Pokémon hidden in the Galar region. You travel to the town of Freezington, located in the west of the Crown Tundra. There, you encounter Calyrex. The footage cuts out, but Peony comes running out, saying he heard a battle. Calyrex wastes little time, possessing Peony and speaking through him and setting the player up for the quest surrounding the new Legendary monster.

    From there, the footage I’m watching leaps to the second adventure, which focuses on the Galarian forms of the Legendary birds. This quest, called A Legendary Tree of a Legendary Three, begins with a cutscene around a giant, pink tree. Moltres and Zapdos break out into a fight, before Articuno crashes the party. However, before long, they realize you’re watching, and they disperse to different parts of the Crown Tundra. The Pokémon Company likens the methods of encountering the Legendary trio to how you encountered the Legendary dogs in the Johto region.

    Picking up on the trail of the Legendary trio, I watch as a player attempts to track down the Galarian Zapdos, which seems inspired by an ostrich, in the Rolling Hills. The player attempts to come at it from behind, but each time, the Zapdos notices the player and flees. There’s no way the player can keep up with the speed of the Zapdos on foot, so they jump on their bike and attempt to cut the Legendary bird off, but it’s easier said than done, since its speed combines with craftiness. Once the player finally catches up to the fleet-of-foot bird, a battle ensues.

    Similar to the Isle of Armor, the Crown Tundra is structured like one giant Wild Area, with Pokémon roaming free across multiple biomes, including snowy mountainsides, vast fields, and winding caverns, in which you’re free to explore. Because of this, you can camp all across the area. In the video, I get to see the lively personality of Galarian Slowking as he trots around camp, playing fetch. Galarian Slowking can prove valuable in battle, as the Poison/Psychic-type Pokémon can have an ability called Curious Medicine, which removes stat changes from all allies when it enters the battlefield.

    Next, I’m given a look at one of the most anticipated new features: Dynamax Adventures. As it turns out, the Crown Tundra is home to a ton of Legendary Pokémon from across the entire series’ history. The catch? You have to venture deep into mysterious Pokémon dens and battle through hordes of Dynamaxed Pokémon in order to find and catch them. In Dynamax Adventures, you team up with three other trainers as you work through branching paths of Max Raid Battles using a Pokémon you borrow from the expedition team; sadly you cannot bring your own Pokémon into these dens. 

    After you win a Max Raid Battle, you choose whether you want to swap your borrowed Pokémon out for the one you just caught, or carry on. You have to be strategic with your decisions, not only must you take into account what types are on the road ahead (you can pan up on the map for planning purposes), but HP and status effects carry over into subsequent battles. In the Dynamax Adventure I watch, the trainers battle through a gauntlet of Haunter, Cramorant, and Tauros before reaching the final battle against Uxie. 

    If four Pokémon are knocked out over the course of the Dynamax Adventure, the trainers are kicked out and must start over again. If you’re successful in your expedition, you can choose one Pokémon from the adventure to keep. You also acquire several items, such as the Ability Patch, a new item that changes a Pokémon’s existing ability to a rare ability. 

    Once you complete the story of the Pokémon Sword & Shield, The Isle of Armor, and The Crown Tundra, a new post-game challenge unlocks in the main game of Pokémon Sword & Shield. Leon issues a challenge to all gym leaders in the Galar region to combine their powers to become even more formidable foes for would-be champions, and the Galarian Star Tournament is born. The Pokémon Company claims this is the hardest challenge in Sword & Shield to date, as players team up with other trainers they’ve encountered over the course of their journey to take on gym leader duos, as well as other skilled trainers they’ve encountered on their journey including Hop and Mustard. In the demo I saw, I watched the player trainer team up with Hop to battle a team of Milo and Nessa, followed by a team of Gordie and Bea. I’m not sure what other challenges await at the end, or if there’s an ultimate reward to conquering these challenges, but I’m excited to once again test my trainer skills against the strong cast of leaders from the Galar region.

    Pokémon Sword & Shield: The Crown Tundra is available tomorrow as a part of the Expansion Pass. For more on the first part of the Expansion Pass, The Isle of Armor, head here. For more on Pokémon Sword & Shield, check out our review. To learn all about the behind-the-scenes details that went into making Sword & Shield, check out our exclusive coverage hub.

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    I Did Over 1,500 Wishes In Genshin Impact — Here’s What I Learned

    There are two distinct ways of unlocking characters via Genshin Impact’s gacha system: you can spend one Intertwined or Acquaint Fate on a single Wish, or use ten Fates at a time on what the community calls a “ten-pull”. The odds are the exact same for both of these options, and yet there’s one clear victor when it comes to optimizing — or at least more accurately determining — the amount of 5-star characters you get.

    Yesterday, I used up all of the Primogems and Wishes I had earned from completing in-game challenges. It’s worth noting that I also purchased the Genshin Impact Battle Pass last week and am subscribed to Paimon’s Blessing of the Welkin Moon package, which awards you 300 Genesis Crystals instantly and promises 90 Primogems per day for 30 days thereafter. All in all, I had about 2,000 Primogems from various sources, which equates to 12 Wishes and some change.

    Here’s a full history of my Wishes up until this point:

    • 10 novice Wishes (using the 10 free Fates Genshin Impact gives you at the start)
    • 19 character event Wishes (Venti, now Klee, using in-game Wishes and the 10 Intertwined Fates from a Mihoyo appreciation mail)
    • 66 permanent Wishes (using 20 Acquaints from Mihoyo and 1470 Primogems from Mihoyo — or nine Wishes. The 37 remaining Wishes come from a mixture of Welkin Moon, Battle Pass, and in-game achievements).

    After getting Noelle from the novice pack, I felt it was relatively useless to roll there. When deciding between character event Wishes and permanent Wishes, I played to the advantage Mihoyo had afforded me — if you do nine Wishes in a row and only get shit 3-star weapons, the chance for your tenth roll to be a 4-star or 5-star weapon or character is boosted (4-star minimum is guaranteed). After 89 Wishes, your 90th roll is guaranteed to be a 5-star. If this is not a weapon or character featured on the banner you’re rolling in, then your 180th roll will be guaranteed to be one — for example, the current character event banner features Klee as a poster fighter. If you rolled Keqing at 90, you’re guaranteed to roll Klee at 180.

    So, I had rolled 95 Wishes across three different banners, which is kind of stupid in terms of efficiency. I was nowhere near 90 on my character banner, and although 66 is relatively close to the mark, I currently only had 12 to play with. I could easily hit 78 and have to spend over a week grinding another 12 to guarantee my 5-star. So, as a means of avoiding spending any more money than the $25 I pumped into Welkin and the Battle Pass, I decided to do what any normal person would and visit a Genshin Impact summon simulator to play with odds. This was strictly academic — there’s no way to beat the bookie.

    However, it did allow me to make some observations that were to my own personal benefit. Not necessarily cheats, mind, or catch-alls for optimally approaching Genshin’s gacha. But definitely results that could help me a) roll regularly, b) avoid spending money I didn’t want to spend, and c) make sure I was being as efficient as possible as per what I, personally, was attempting to do.

    The first thing I did in the summon simulator was roll 500 individual Wishes, which was as painstakingly boring as it sounds. The results were as follows:

    • 1x Keqing (5-star character)
    • 3x Qiqi (5-star character)
    • 2x Jean (5-star character)
    • 1x Mona (5-star character)
    • 3x Beidou (4-star character)
    • 4x Noelle (4-star character)
    • 2x Sucrose (4-star character)
    • 3x Amber (4-star character)
    • 3x Kaeya (4-star character)
    • 2x Barbara (4-star character)
    • 2x Lisa (4-star character)
    • 1x Razor (4-star character)
    • 2x Xingqiu (4-star character)
    • 2x Xiangling (4-star character)
    • 1x Fischl (4-star character)
    • 2x Ningguang (4-star character)
    • 3x 5-star weapon
    • 36x 4-star weapons
    • 426 3-star weapons

    Ten 5-star rolls across 500 is pretty good. It means I got one 5-star for every 50 — despite the fact that pity begins at 90 — and I got 64 of the 4-stars. Granted, 500 Wishes is a relatively small sample size in the grand scheme of things, but when you consider that it’s $5 for 300 Primogems — which is less than two Wishes — 500 begins to seem like quite an unobtainable amount in the first place. The maximum amount you can buy in one go is 6480 Primogems for $100, which is 40.5 Wishes — and Genshin doesn’t do half Wishes.

    I then rolled 50 consecutive ten-pulls, twice. The first 50 (which also amounts to 500 Wishes — it’s 50 x 10) yielded five 5-stars, 59 of the 4-stars, and 436 of the 3-stars. Half the amount of 5-stars, slightly less 4-stars, and ten more 3-stars: worse across the board. The second 500 yielded ten 5-stars, 61 more 3-stars, and 429 of the 3-stars. Similar to my individual rolls, but slightly worse in terms of my 4-star yield.

    A total of 1,500 Wishes for a gacha system with odds as admittedly miniscule as Genshin Impact’s is not necessarily fit for inclusion in an economic journal. But again, this wasn’t about analyzing odds and seeing if the game’s 0.6% chance for a 5-star pull was, in fact, the same for both single and bulk Wishing (obviously the odds are what Mihoyo says they are, there’s this thing called “the law” that exists).

    What this taught me was something completely different. If you, like me, are regularly tempted by the tantalizing promise of ten-pulls — even though the odds are the exact same regardless — then you’ll be glad to know that single Wishes are slightly more desirable in the long run. This means that grinding out 160 Primogems for a gratifying spin of Genshin’s roulette is genuinely worthwhile, allowing you benefit from the innate gratification of doing so without being overly tempted by bulk buying in-game currency using real money.

    The reason for this is as follows: if you only want one character — say Diluc, who I got yesterday using the 12 in-game Wishes I mentioned at the beginning of the article — then you can simply stop as soon as you get him. If Diluc is the first character you get in a ten-pull, then you’ve spent an extra nine Wishes on stuff you don’t care about. Sure, it’s useful to have 3-star weapons as upgrade materials. But you can get them in any pack — right now, they’ve gone to waste, unless you’re also trying to pop Jean or want a second Diluc to boost his constellation.

    If you’re simply trying to get as many of the characters as possible, it’s in your best interest to single Wish and switch as soon as you land them. This cuts waste, which is more important than it sounds — Genshin’s pity mechanic resets every single time the relevant rewards it affords you are received. If you’re due at least one 4-star weapon every ten rolls, and get one on your fifth, your sixth roll is your first one in a new pity run. Similarly, getting Diluc on the 78th roll — like I did — makes the 79th roll the first entry of a new pity meter. If I had rolled a ten-pull, I would have gone the whole way to 88 — but the nine Wishes after Diluc would be nine Wishes toward a new pity target. Instead, I can pump them into a different banner — such as the recently launched Klee one — and benefit from building pity there instead. This is especially important when you consider limited time banners. Given that Venti’s Ballad of Goblets was replaced by Klee’s Sparkling Steps, there’s currently no way to unlock Venti. As a result, it’s obviously useful to go for characters you want from permanent Wishes, but doing it in singles allows you to prioritize more ephemeral banners to make sure you slowly but surely collect ‘em all.

    The only downside to single Wishing is that it takes longer — but you only really notice that if you’re spending a lot of real money on the game. If you, like me, are playing casually but would love at least one good character, single Wishing satisfies the urge to roll the dice while also allowing you to efficiently count your pity build-up in units of one instead of ten. I don’t think my simulations meant that I was guaranteed to get Diluc, but they certainly helped me follow patterns to make sure I optimized my chances of getting a 5-star from permanent Wishes without wasting unnecessary ones I could then spend on the new Klee banner. Ultimately the odds are the same — but if you really care about popping specific characters, you’re better off tracing your pity counts in each banner and single Wishing your way to the right roll without wasting extra ones after landing it.

    Read next: I Bought The Genshin Impact Battle Pass So You Don’t Have To (You Really Shouldn’t Buy It)

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    Cian Maher is an Associate Editor at TheGamer. He’s also had work published in The Guardian, The Washington Post, The Verge, Vice, Wired, and more. His favourite game of all time is and always will be The Witcher 3, but he also loves The Last Guardian, NieR: Automata, Dishonored, and pretty much every Pokemon game ever released. You can find him on Twitter @cianmaher0.

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