BootHammer Video Game Reviews BootHammer provides the latest video game reviews, news and previews.. We take pride in delivering entertaining and original gaming videos and content that cover not only the newest game releases and hardware but also classic titles and retro platforms alike. Wed, 21 Jan 2015 16:59:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Resident Evil HD Remastered Review Wed, 21 Jan 2015 16:53:35 +0000 Resident Evil HD Remaster


Resident Evil is the reason we have survival horror games today.  The original masterpiece started this amazing genre and it’s where you should look if you want to see how to effectively build suspense and terror.  The GameCube received an incredible remake back in 2002.  Can this latest remaster reignite the flame for this classic?

The RE Experience

Resident Evil HD Remaster Review


For those that have somehow not experienced the original Resident Evil, I envy you right now.  This remaster builds upon on the already incredible foundation of one of the finest horror games of all time.   You’ll play as Jill Valentine or Chris Redfield who are a part of a specialized tactical group called S.T.A.R.S.  Gamers spend the majority of the game within the massive mansion and facilities surrounding it.  While at first that may not sound like an exciting location, it’s actually the perfect setting for all the horror RE contains.  Opening each door (and yes the animations are still in place) brings with it a sense of heightened awareness because you could walking right in to a nightmare. Resident Evil comes equipped with the rooms full of giant spiders, flesh eating zombies, packs of mutant dogs and much much more.  Ammo is to only be used when escape isn’t possible without it.  Bullets and healing agents are in very limited quantity, while all the creepy crawly things that go bump in the night are in great numbers.   Make each shot count.

Fans will be thrilled to hear that Capcom has kept the feel and atmosphere of this iconic entry, while giving the visuals and overall presentation a considerable upgrade.  It would have been really neat to flip back and forth between what it looks like now compared to its original PS1 debut, as gamers can do in the MCC.  The backgrounds have much more detail and there is some impressive light bloom found throughout the game.   While most will opt for the 16:9 widescreen format, the 4:3 aspect is still an option for those old school gamers.

Controls: Modern vs Classic

Resident Evil HD Remaster Review


In the past, Capcom has been hesitant to alter the controls stating it would change the experience found in Resident Evil.  Luckily, they have finally stepped up and offered a more modern layout and feel.  However, Purists can still select the original controls if one is feeling nostalgic.  The camera system has been updated too but will still get you killed at times.  This is hard to completely eliminate due to the numerous hallways and zombie creepers.  This is another factor though that adds the tension and dread that this entry is known for.  It creates those truly frightening moments where you hear the growl from something evil around the corner but you can’t see it yet.  Gamers are forced to push forward into the darkness and unknown.

Exploration and Atmosphere

Resident Evil HD Remaster Review


Going back and playing through this remaster reminded me how great the exploration aspect within RE was.  This genre has focused more on action as of late and that’s a shame.  The slower, more atmospheric experience found within this remaster is thrilling.  It hits a lot of spots that many games simply don’t anymore because of the emphasis on non-stop action, versus the much more difficult art of slowly building tension.  One of the many beauties of RE is the excellent pacing.  One moment you can feel somewhat safe and reassured with your ammo and supplies.  Then you face off with a hunter or pack of dogs, and you are once again immediately humbled and terrified.

Key Features:


  • More detailed graphics that retain the horror.
  • The environments come alive with detail thanks to resolution upgrades and non-static 3D models.
  • Post-processing effects like Bloom filters, which were not easy to do at the time of the original release, have been added to make the HD graphics even more realistic.
  • High-Resolution Environments – We’ve increased the resolution of the background environments by recreating them with a mix of high-res static images, plus animated 3D models.

Widescreen Support

  • Widescreen (16:9) is supported, so players can experience a greater sense of immersion.
  • In widescreen mode, the screen will scroll. The parts of the screen that get cut off on the top and bottom will scroll into view automatically depending on the character’s position.
  • You can switch the display mode during gameplay in real time.

Sound & New Controls

  • High-Quality Sound – The audio has been remastered to increase the sampling rate, and of course 5.1ch output is also now supported.
  • New Controls
  • You can play using the original control scheme or an alternate control scheme that lets you just push the analog stick to move in the direction you want to go.
  • You can switch the control scheme during gameplay in real time.

Resident Evil HD Remastered Review

Final Thoughts

Resident Evil HD Remaster does a fantastic job in showing why the original entry in this iconic series is still the survival horror king.  The mansion contains some of the most memorable and frightening experiences you’ll encounter within a game.  Not bad for something created nearly 20 years ago.  Everything from the controls to the iconic backgrounds have been updated making this remaster a thrilling experience on the latest gen consoles and PC.  Few games since (if any), have been able to duplicate this formula of combining exploration and survival horror.  So whether you are new to this entry or have played every release, this remaster is a must play adventure.  At $20, it’s also one of the best gaming deals of 2015.


BootHammer Rating


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Kingston HyperX Cloud II Pro Gaming Headset Review – BootHammer Thu, 15 Jan 2015 17:40:09 +0000 HyperX Cloud II Headset Review


Kingston Technology made some serious waves within the gaming headset market with the original HyperX Cloud Pro last year.  It’s 2015 and we are now reviewing their latest headset, the HyperX Cloud II. Will their new headset make the same impressive impact of its predecessor?  Read on to find out.


Once again the packaging is organized, sturdy and beautifully detailed. This is always a good sign and shows that Kingston continues to take great pride in their product.  Upon opening the box, you’ll find an impressive amount of content accompanying the headset which includes a single 3.5mm mini stereo jack plug, optional velour ear cushions,  7.1 Virtual surround sound control module, detachable mic boom and a mesh pouch to carry it all in.  The headset construction and presentation is once again a real work of art.  As the name implies, it’s extremely light yet very sturdy.  Simply looking at the unit will tell you Kingston put a lot of care in designing this headset.  We received the Gunmetal model, which has a sleek matte black finish with silver accents.  The frame is none other than brushed aluminum and the leather headband is laced with silver stitching that matches the HyperX logo found on the outside of the memory foam wrapped ear cups.  This is serious gear for serious gamers.


HyperX Cloud II Headset Review


The HyperX Cloud II Pro Gaming Headset is different from its predecessor in that it comes with a  newly designed USB sound card.  You simply plug the braided gold plated 3.5mm jack into this audio control box to control the headset volume, mic volume and most importantly to select the 7.1 virtual surround sound.

HyperX Cloud II Headset Review


I began putting the Cloud II through its paces by playing various types of music to see what type of range it had for the music enthusiast. Kingston’s headset delivers an excellent balance of sound.  It’s range is excellent showcasing its ability to highlight everything from live acoustic melodies to punchy deep bass notes with impressive extension. These will be great for music lovers on the subway or during a long flight.  You’ll forget you have them on and delivery is rich and crystal clear even when pushed.

HyperX Cloud II Headset Review


Now it’s time to benchmark the really fun stuff…the games. We selected the following titles to see what the Cloud II has to offer including: The Evil Within, Halo: Master Chief Collection, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, Alien Isolation and Dragon Age: Inquisition.  The tension in Evil Within was higher than ever thanks to the immersion you’ll experience from this headset.  Play Alien Isolation in the dark with the volume cranked at your own risk.  I guarantee you’ll enjoy the survival horror setting that much more when terrified both acoustically and visually.  I’m also a huge fan of first person shooters.  Halo MCC and COD: Advanced Warfare are two great new releases that are perfect to test how this headset stacks up to the competition.  The gunfire comes alive as it whizzes by you and grenades accompany a thunderous boom as they explode.  The 7.1 virtual surround sound works phenomenally well.  I could hear an enemy running up behind me, buying myself that extra time to turn and engage instead of being embarrassingly assassinated.  Simple things as the direction of gunfire was very helpful in determining the opposing team’s position.  The 53mm drivers show up for work and create some serious sound for the asking price.


HyperX Cloud II Headset Review


Comfort is just as important as performance in a gaming headset. The HyperX Cloud II Pro is once again built with top shelf parts that are a success in both form and function. The ear cushions are wrapped in leatherette and contain 100% memory foam which allow for hours of comfortable gaming. The silver stitched leather headband is soft to the touch making perfect fitment easy. The Cloud II is a headset that you’ll forget you have on, which is an incredible feat to accomplish. The mic is detachable and performed well during in game and party chat within Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare and the MCC.  My friends heard me loud and clear throughout our gaming session.


HyperX Cloud II Headset Review

Final Thoughts

The HyperX Cloud II Pro Gaming Headset continues to raise the bar and no doubt frighten the competition. High quality parts are found throughout, from the aluminum frame, punchy 53mm drivers to the memory foam ear cushions. It brings a new level of immersion to every game thanks to its ability to deliver unrivaled performance at this $99 price point. Kingston has done an incredible job improving on the original HyperX formula with the most notable improvement being the 7.1 virtual surround sound card module.  Everything else that worked so well within the original unit remains in place making this their best headset yet.  For PC and console gaming enthusiasts, the HyperX Cloud II Pro Gaming Headset is a bargain that should not be overlooked.  It will no doubt exceed your expectations on every level as it simply smashes the competition within its price range.

BootHammer Rating


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Resident Evil HD is nearly upon us Wed, 07 Jan 2015 22:58:24 +0000 Resident Evil HD


The game that defined the survival-horror genre is back and looks better than ever! Check out the remastered HD version of Resident Evil on January 20th. This epic story started in 1998 when a special forces team is sent to investigate some grotesque murders within Raccoon City. Upon arriving they find themselves being hunted by a pack of mutant like dogs and find refuge in a nearby mansion. They don’t know it but this nightmare has only begun.  From here on out they struggle to stay alive from unspeakable monsters and the undead.


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The next Castlevania Wed, 07 Jan 2015 15:56:13 +0000  



Castlevania has provided some of the most exciting and certainly most challenging gaming experiences to date. Taking control of Simon Belmont and facing Dracula and his ghouls has always been highly entertaining.   I can’t help but imagine where the next game in the series will take us.

The first Castlevania on the NES is an absolute classic. It was atmospheric and one of the most challenging games you’ll play to this very day. Many have played while few have finished. Enemies respawn at will and even if you make it to the end, the bosses were brutal and unforgiving. The art style and music are two other elements that has made this one of my favorite series.


Castlevania in 2015


All three games on the NES were absolutely brilliant. As of today, you can find a large assortment of Castlevania games that range from the classic 2D approach to the open world of Lords of Shadow 2. My personal favorite favorite came in the form of Super Castlevania IV. It punished me as a kid and it wasn’t till I later revisited it years down the road that I was able to complete it. I loss count of how many times I died at Dracula’s feet. I eventually memorized each attack and only out of pure stubbornness, finally dealt the final blow to the Count.


Super Castlevania IV


For the next entry in the series, I’m looking for many of the same things that made Super Castlevania IV so amazing. This was revolutionary graphics, a remarkable soundtrack and unforgettable boss fights. We are at a time where many players enjoy an immense challenge such as the Souls series. I would love to see that same difficulty be present in the next Castlevania. I don’t want to be able to beat a boss until I”ve studied their movements and attacks. The trick is making the game extremely tough but in the end fair.

A return to a 2D environment would be great as well. The developers could still get highly creative while staying in this classic format. Lastly, local co-op would be amazing. I think more and more gamers would appreciate seeing this mode make a return to most games. We would love to hear your thoughts on what you want within the next Castlevania entry and even your favorite aspects of this amazing franchise!

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Kalimba Review (Xbox One) Sun, 04 Jan 2015 22:28:46 +0000 Kalimba Hero BH


Kalimba is the latest release by Danish developer Press Play, maker of 2013’s under appreciated Max: Curse of the Brotherhood, for the Xbox One. It is a puzzle-platformer and while it may look childish due to the art style, I can assure that you would be mistaken. As someone who plays any genre, I can admit that I lean toward FPS, RPG and racing games; this game honestly made my hands revert to the dexterity of their youth to complete this review. Luckily since the release of the latest generation, I’ve been playing more “indy-ish” games than before due to the low price as well as the Games with Gold program. I initially dismissed their last Xbox One release, the aforementioned Max, as childish due to the story and art style. I didn’t give it a second thought until it became free with my Gold subscription; even then it sat on my hard drive for two months. A lull in game releases hit and I finally hopped into that world they created; this is when I became a Press Play fan. I realized that just like movie reviews, you should always take a critic’s thoughts with a grain of salt. A few weeks ago, I found that they were releasing a new game just before Christmas, once known as Project Totem, called Kalimba. After a small 2 GB download, Kalimba was here to bring the pain.


Kalimba Ice


Upon loading the game, I was lulled into a false sense of security by the simplistic art style and a sarcastic bear. Your guide through the game is Hoebear who acts as both narrator and guide/comedian. He will tell you the basic good versus evil plot that provides motivation for the player. He also resides in-game at the beginning and end of the secret levels (The Metaspace) dolling out achievements with a heavy helping of dry humor. Don’t get me wrong, I loved his presence in the game, though if you tire of his snark, just jam on the A button. Hoebear will dissolve away with a perturbed “REALLY?!?!” as he knows he’s in a video game and you didn’t let him do his job. Should you give Kalimba a chance, you will find a rock solid puzzle-platformer under the cutesy aesthetics. The key to a good platformer is the controls; this is what made the Marios and Sonics of the world so iconic. From start to finish Kalimba continually adds new game mechanics to the mix, whether gravity or size manipulation or even simple gliding, keeping you on your toes. Essentially you must get your two totems to the end of the level, but this task is by far easier said than done.


Kalimba Action 1


In the single player portion (spiritual journey) of Kalimba, you must guide your two totems to the end of each level as quickly as possible, yet without dying if possible. Each stage has you collecting 70 orbs in the stage, but as you die the prize you are given loses its luster. If you perfectly complete a level, you are awarded a golden totem but with accrued deaths the totem will degrade. From gold to decorated to carved to finally a stump, each piece of the totem will be on display during the level selection. As a longtime gamer, those plain wooden stumps just wouldn’t suffice. I completed the single player campaign in five hours, but put another two afterwards just to make my totems look “better.” If you strive for both better times and most of the achievements you can easily get 10-15 hours of playtime out of the single player. With that said, achievement hunters may get rattled as there are some finger numbing achievements to be had. Hoebear will even mock your insistence on getting them during the hidden levels.


Kalimba Action 2


Kalimba also offers a cooperative mode (companion journey) which is just as fun as the regular version of the game; obviously team work is essential, and you may lose friendships as the frustration mounts. I am glad to see couch co-op making a comeback this generation as I feel it really gels with the old school feel of the game. Speaking of old school, should you complete the game it will unlock Old School mode. Instead of dying all you want you are given three lives and no continues to complete the game, it is as daunting as it sounds but luckily just like games of old you can earn new lives. For each decorated totem you will earn one life, where as the golden totem will net you three lives. Should you grab the “That Eighties Feel” achievement for completing Old School mode, you will earn both 100 Gamer Score and my admiration.


Kalimba Co-op BH


Key Features:

  • Traverse 24 perilous stages across the Underworld, Middleworld and Upperworld.
  • Discover the 9 Metaspace levels hidden throughout your journey.
  • Play solo or with a buddy.
  • Compete for the high score and fastest time with built-in leaderboards.

Final Thoughts

Kalimba released worldwide December 17th for Xbox One with the PC version soon to follow in early January; it was another surprisingly awesome bite-sized title released on the Xbox One in 2014. Obviously this game will not be everyone’s cup of tea but if you are a fan of the puzzle-platform genre I consider this a must-buy. Press Play has released yet another solid title with a friendly $9.99 USD price to boot. Kalimba hits that sweet spot of less than $1 per hour; if you want some bang for your buck give this game a shot and you will not be disappointed.


BootHammer Rating 8

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Gifts for Gamers Fri, 02 Jan 2015 21:04:53 +0000  

GIfts for Gamers









Buying a gift for a gamer can be tough – you don’t always want to go down the obvious route of buying them the latest game release. What do you buy, for example, for the gamer who has everything? If someone’s passionate about a certain interest – such as gaming – then it’s sometimes too difficult to choose a present that is directly related to that. Sometimes it’s better to keep a hint of what they’re most interested in and give it a little twist. That’s not always easy to achieve, but the selection of gifts below might hit the right note with avid gamers.

Of course, most gamers spend a lot of time at a screen, so if you can think of a gaming gift that is away from the screen but somehow linked, that’s even better.

Game-themed lighting

Tetris Game Light


Did your gift recipient cut their gaming teeth on Tetris? Anyone who enjoyed playing the game will like the Tetris Light. Just as in the game itself, you can stack the blocks how you want to, and whatever position you choose to put them in, they’ll light up as all they need to do is touch each other. Even if you’ve never played Tetris, this light would be a pretty cool addition to any living room. Available from Firebox for £29.99.

Pac-Man merchandise

Pac-Man coasters


One of the original and best arcade games around was Pac-Man. You can take the person you’re buying a gift for on a trip down memory lane with budget-happy gifts such as the Pac-Man coasters that are available on Amazon for about £8. A pack of four silicone coasters shaped as Pac-Man, Inky, Blinky and Clyde will protect furniture surfaces from hot drinks and look awesome too!

Gaming sweater

Sonic Gaming Sweater


The novelty sweater is becoming more and more of a ‘thing’ these days.  Just a quick search online will give you plenty of options, but UK retailer Yellow Bulldog has plenty of choice for fans of Sonic, PlayStation and Street Fighter. For the more self-conscious, maybe choose a pair of socks instead of a sweater!

NES Controller Coffee Table (functional)

NES Controller Coffee Table


If you’re looking to splash out on your gaming loved-one then this completely functioning coffee table could make their day. It’s a gift you need deep pockets for but is definitely a statement piece of furniture for any avid gamer (or interior design buff). Made from maple, mahogany and walnut the coffee table comes in at around £3,000 and is available from Etsy.

Game Boy travel luggage

Game Boy travel luggage


Who says travel luggage has to be plain and boring? With this game boy inspired travel luggage you can take a piece of your childhood with you wherever you go. Plus, there’s no chance of confusing your luggage with anyone else’s at the luggage carousel! Available from Think Geek for $69.99.

World of Warcraft Soap Bar

World of Warcraft Soap Bar


There’s no reason why you can’t keep yourself fresh and clean while channelling your love for World of Warcraft. Modelled on the hearthstone, the soap bar provides teleportation and washing capabilities to anyone who dares use it.

NES Controller belt buckle

NES Controller belt buckle


Perfect for the fashion-conscious gamer, this belt buckle pays homage to the great gaming system of our childhood. Plus, it looks good with any outfit. Pick one up from NES Buckle for $30.

Eyes down for a full house


Bingo Starter Kit with Professional Bingo Cage


















The history of bingo is a long and rich one. Although the game as we know it was only patented in the 1930s, variations of the same game were played for centuries before that. Today, the majority of bingo is played online at sites such as Costa and Vic’s Bingo, but if you want a great party game for gamers and non-gamers alike why not buy a Bingo Starter Kit that comes with all the balls, cards, rhyming number calls and a bingo ball basket. The Bingo Starter Kit with Professional Bingo Cage retails at £74.70 at Thomas & Anca Club Supplies Ltd.

PlayStation button earrings

PlayStation button earrings


Continuing with the fashion theme, why not opt for some cute PlayStation button earrings for an ideal gift for the woman in your life. Simple yet stylish, these earrings are great if you’re buying on a budget. You can find these at Etsy for around £5/£6.

iPhone joystick

iPhone joystick


With this iPhone joystick your lucky recipient can customise their smartphone to take their gaming to a whole new level. The joystick is compatible with thousands of games and provides much more precise movement during gameplay.


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ZombiU 2: The Third Party Sequel Nintendo Needs Mon, 29 Dec 2014 19:25:30 +0000 ZombiU_Glitch_BootHammer












ZombiU was my favorite launch title for the Wii U and since its release I have been hoping for a sequel.  Will we see a ZombiU 2 in 2015?  I sure hope so and believe I am not alone in this wish.

ZombiU to this very day is a wildly underrated gem for Nintendo’s latest console.  The game starts off running. Gamers start fighting for their life from the very first few moments of gameplay and this introduction gives gamers a great idea of what they will be experiencing throughout ZombiU’s campaign. You’re never safe and constantly salvaging all ammo and health while trying to simply survive the streets, buildings, parks and sewers of London.













This ever present feeling of danger and threats from every corner is what makes this game such a fantastic survival horror experience.  The Gamepad gives gamers a unique experience in this nightmare of the undead that can’t be found on any other platform. It arguably makes better use of the GamePad than any core game developed for it since.  That’s pretty surprising since this was a launch title.  Its brutal difficulty is another key attraction for hardcore gamers looking for a good challenge.












Last month a listing appeared for ZombiU 2 on Amazon France.  It was taken down rather quickly however once word spread of its existence.  The listing showed an actual release date of October 17th, 2015 which is interesting.  What better time to release than right before Halloween!  Maybe we’ll see an announcement or reveal at E3.


ZombiU 2


At this point, Nintendo has proved that the Wii U is well worth the price with its excellent selection of first party offerings, but the need to fulfill high quality third party games is still there.  With the larger install base and greater system awareness now, I think ZombiU 2 could do very well on the Wii U.  Another key factor would be in heavily promoting it with commercials and possibly a bundle.  This in turn could encourage other developers and publishers to invest in the console they have ignored.  We would love to hear your thoughts on this and whether or not you are hopeful for another chapter within ZombiU.

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Gaming Within the Star Wars Realm Tue, 23 Dec 2014 17:08:19 +0000 Gaming Within the Star Wars Realm


Star Wars features amazing worlds, characters and stories that make it the perfect setting for exciting video games.  However, gaming within the Star Wars realm hasn’t always been the stuff that dreams are made of.  For every gem we were thrown, numerous titles were rushed out the door and not given the love they deserved.  For 2015 however, we are highly optimistic that light sabers will be unleashed in fantastic fashion.

With the latest teaser trailer for Star Wars VII, the hype for all that is Jedi and Sith is at an all time high.  The Xbox One and PlayStation 4 have been out a year now and 2015 will be a banner year for both.  The developers have had some time with each console and it will no doubt show next year.


Battlefront 3


Outside of Battlefront late next year, many gamers including myself, are wondering what we’ll be playing in 2015 within the Star Wars universe.  We would love to see 1313 still rise from the aftermath of Disney canceling all LucastArts projects.  The bounty hunter aspect with a focus on Boba Fett sounds like a brilliant time to us.  He’s an intriguing character in which you could create some phenomenal gaming experiences.  I’m hopeful to also see a nice mix of both third person action adventures with rich RPG features similar to Knights of the Old Republic and a explosive action packed first person shooter like Star Wars: Dark Forces or Republic Commando.  It would be awesome to see a new Rogue Squadron that really pushes the new consoles as well.


Rogue Squadron 2015


We would love to hear what type of Star Wars game you are hoping to see in development soon.  There are so many possibilities within this wonderful franchise and I’m eager to see what new adventures await us in a galaxy far far away in the distant future.



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Latest Update Fail of 2014- Assassin’s Creed Unity Wed, 17 Dec 2014 18:54:26 +0000 Yesterday 12/16/14 the fourth patch of Assassin’s Creed Unity was released on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 after a small one day delay. Released at 6.7GB it would replace many files instead of adding even more bulk to your hard drive. Personally, I switched my Xbox One to “Instant On” in the settings and went to bed, since other recent releases have received numerous patches this has become a common occurrence for me. When I woke up, my game was showing only 40% progression. So I jumped onto Twitter for Xbox Support and Ubisoft’s Assassin Creed portal. On Twitter @XboxSupport was initially responding that it was a simple glitch and only the 6.7GB update was being downloaded, so switched to Ubisoft’s website and found this.

Update 12/16, 5:15pm PST:
We have received and confirmed reports that some Xbox One players who have previously applied Patch 3 are seeing a 40GB download instead of the expected 6.7GB download. Unfortunately, an issue with the patch downloading process is replacing the entire game instead of just the parts affected by the patch. This is obviously not the expected behavior, and we apologize that many of you will have to wait longer than expected to complete this download. This issue isn’t causing any other problems and once the download is completed players will have the most-up-to-date and fully patched version of Assassin’s Creed Unity.
We are working with Microsoft on a solution to reduce the total download to the intended size so that you can get back into the game faster, but as of now we have no ETA on when this will be resolved.
Currently there is one known workaround: Owners of the disc version of the game can uninstall the game and reinstall it. On starting the game, the patch process will start with the correct download size.


So if you downloaded this game through a bundle or recent purchase due to the holiday sale, I suggest you either hold off on the update or suck it up and download another 40 GB. Obviously, if you are on a capped internet connection this could be extremely troublesome as many such plans don’t go past 100 to 200 GB per month. As someone who has unlimited, yet slower internet I’m irritated to say the least as this “patch” will take about 21 hours to complete. Hope I didn’t plan on watching Netflix, Hulu Plus or HBO Go today. I honestly hope this trend stops soon, our broadband service providers will eventually start throttling us gamers. Cheers Ubisoft!!!

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Destiny Expansion I: The Dark Below Review (Xbox One) Fri, 12 Dec 2014 01:54:26 +0000 Dark Below BH version


Activision published, Bungie developed Destiny has finally expanded three months after its initial release. Dan here at Boothammer gave Destiny a glowing 9/10 review, praising both the solid Halo-ish gameplay and the gorgeous graphics. Having put in over 80 hours since launch, I may not have rated Destiny quite so high, probably closer to 8/10. Since launch though, Bungie has listened to gamers’ complaints bringing my review score in line with Dan’s original rating. Much of the concerns I initially had were resolved over a few updates. Being a massive Halo fanboy, I bought Destiny for the Crucible PVP. I was dismayed by the lack of easily accessible voice chat as well as the lack of ability to upgrade my character without farming Patrol missions. In a matter of two weeks, Bungie answered my prayers with the release of version 1.0.3 on November 18th adding a voice chat channel. Then 13 days later to my delight, Bungie released version 1.1 on December 1st which fundamentally changed how you can play the game. This version was released in preparation for the paid DLC, The Dark Below. Not only did exotic weapons get the tweaks that gamers had been clamoring for, they also found they no longer had to farm as a mandatory requirement to increase your light level. You can now sell your Vanguard and Crucible marks to their respective Quartermasters for a bushel of 20 materials. I’m not a big striker or raider for that matter, so this is big for me; other than dropping in a strike or two per week, I mainly live in the Crucible, honing my skills for the next Iron Banner. Basically, even though these additions are technically not the expansion, they are still a fundamental part of Destiny that everyone playing can enjoy.


Eris 1 BH version


Let’s get right into the meat of this expansion, The Dark Below which released 12/09/14 at $19.99 USD or $34.99 USD as part of the season pass. Upon download you are greeted by a gift from Bungie, an EV-30 Tumbler Sparrow, as well as a new character at the Tower, Eris Morn located to your left when you first spawn. She will be the NPC everyone is swarming around to get bounties and missions. She is also a vendor, she’s a various Dark Below source of weapons, armor, class armor, emblems and shaders. As she guides you through the new story, you will notice previously closed areas from the existing maps open for mission purposes. Eris voices the missions in a similar fashion to The Ghost in the main story, it’s odd not to hear Peter Dinklage’s Ghost after how chatty he was during the main portion of the game. From start to finish, I completed the main portion of the new story in an hour and a half. I earned two rare engrams for each quest completed as well as a ton of glimmer by activating the Black Wax Idols Eris gave at the beginning. At the end of the quest line, I was rewarded the new Murmur Fusion Rifle, a new legendary weapon in The Dark Below’s arsenal. The Murmur is essentially two weapons in one as you can switch between Arc and Solar damage, changing the gun at its core. The new Strike is Will of Crota, it takes place in the familiar Cosmodrome. The strike is on par with the launch version strikes, except this time you have complete three bounties the Heart, Hands and Eyes of Crota to access the Weekly Heroic and Nightfall versions. You can access these bounties after completing the DLC story. Just pick up the new bounties, patrol the Cosmodrome at the required spots and you’ll quickly unlock the new versions. Luckily, Bungie doubled our bounty slots to ten with the release of this expansion so there’s plenty of room for the necessary bounties. The PlayStation platforms also received a new strike, The Undying Mind, which is set on Mars in the Black Garden. I’m sure it plays as awesome as it looks, hopefully this as well as The 4th Horseman exotic shotgun will make its way to Xbox owners down the road in late 2015.


Sparrow BH version


After I finished up the quest and strikes it was time to jump into the new Crucible maps. I feel like I saved the best for last as far as this expansion pack goes. Bungie knows how to make multiplayer maps plain and simple. The three new maps Pantheon, Skyshock and The Cauldron are as gorgeous as ever. Pantheon and The Cauldron stand out in particular with their otherworldly visuals; Skyshock, on the otherhand, is kind of bland in comparison. This is due to it being set on the boring Cosmodrome instead of alien worlds. Other than simple aesthetics, Pantheon and The Cauldron also played better due to the smaller arenas and great sightlines provided in the maps. Skyshock is a tad large and becomes sniper reliant very quick, it may work better as a Control map than a standard Clash map. I feel like Bungie may already know this, I played 25 matches in the DLC playlist with Skyshock only appearing twice. Regardless, these maps are a welcome addition to the worn 10 (11 on PS3/4) launch maps and makes my purchase of the content worth it. Quick note to mention, I did not get a chance to play the new Raid, Crota’s End as my main character is level 28 and it requires you or a fireteam leader to be a minimum of 30. As I bought the Digital Guardian Edition for $89.99, I’m basically getting each expansion for a fair price of $15. If you are paying $17.50 to $20 for each expansion your mileage may vary. If you break down modern pricing on DLC, it’s not bad even if you pay full price, its $10 for three Crucible maps and $10 for story content, new strike, new raid, weapons, armor and gear. Simple enough, if you’re invested in this game it is worth the price of admission.

Key Features:

  • New story missions that pit you against a Hive god.
  • New weapons, armor, and gear to further customize your Guardian.
  • The ability to increase your Light level to 32, and five additional bounty slots.
  • Three new competitive multiplayer maps: Pantheon, Skyshock, and The Cauldron.
  • New cooperative Strike: The Will of Crota. Purge a twisted horror from the Cosmodrome.
  • An additional resident of the Tower: Eris, a resolute survivor of an ill-fated mission.
  • A new six-player Raid: Crota’s End. Face him in the deepest dark.

EXOTIC SHOTGUN: The 4th Horseman- Four barrels, five shots. ‘Nuff said.

4th horseman BH version

STRIKE: The Undying Mind- Black Garden of Mars setting

undying mind BH version


Final Thoughts

Between the December 1st update and release of the DLC content on December 9th, Destiny has drastically improved since its launch build. From voice options and numerous stability tweaks to new ways to help PVP players upgrade their gear, Destiny has become one of the year’s best releases. Missing content may detract from the experience for Xbox One/360 owners given the DLC is the same price on both platforms, but most of us knew Sony had secured timed DLC for this release. The price may seem a tad steep, especially if you buy the expansions individually. If you have invested enough time in Destiny to have at least one high level character, this is an essential piece of content. If you are a casual, you may want to save your real life glimmer for an inevitable PSN/XBL DLC sale down the road.

BootHammer Rating 8




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