Two Worlds II

By Shamus
on Apr 17, 2011
Filed under:
Game Reviews

twii0.jpg

Hey, I’ve got a review copy of Two Worlds II here. I didn’t play the first one, so this is a good chance to take a look at this series and see what it’s all about. Let me just start up a new game here…

twii1.jpg

Sigh. Yeah, this is the way of things. Type the serial number. Fine. Although, I don’t see the reason for this for games on Steam. Do I need to be involved here, Two Worlds II? I’ve got an account, the game is linked to the account. This could all be automated.

But whatever. I’ll jump through these useless hoops if it makes you feel better.

twii2.jpg

Ok, now we are in stupid country. Online activation on a Steam game. That’s double activation. You’re asking me to activate something I’ve already activated. You know how you can tell the game is activated? Because I’m running it. It won’t offer any additional protection against pirates, although it will open up opportunities for interesting failure modes down the line.

Hold up. What is this business about the activation being “fully confidential”? Aren’t they all? I mean, how could it work any other way? I send you my serial number, and you give me permission to play this thing that I bought with my hard earned money spent so much time downloading. If that wasn’t confidential, it would be your problem, not mine. Whatever.

twii3.jpg

This is what? You want what? Oh no.

No.

No no nonono.

You don’t get to have that. This isn’t the deal. Now I see what the “fully confidential” nonsense was about. You’re promising that you won’t share this with anyone else. But the thing is, I don’t want to share it with you in the first place. This is none of your damn business and is completely unrelated to the business of me playing this single-player videogame. This is NOT “fully confidential”, because YOU are asking me these things.

So this is the shape of things to come? Online activation AND serial numbers AND you want my personal information? Where is this even going? Is this being sent to Devloper Reality Pump? Publisher Topware Interactive? Their holding companies? Designer Mirosław Dymek’s private Yahoo account?

What possible use could you have for my actual home address? My birthday? Are you going to send me a present? Because the only thing I want right now is for you to get out of the way and let me play the game. And if you want my private email you’d better send some ninjas, because I’ve refused to give that one to companies that are smarter, hipper, and more trustworthy than you. You’re not one of my Facebook buddies. You’re a faceless company, and you’re holding hostage a product that has already been paid for. (Er, not in my case. But, you know.)

Yes, I could fill these in with false data. It’s temping to season them in with George Carlin’s list, but I’ll leave that to people who have no choice because they’re out $60 if they don’t cough up the info. There are many games in the world and most of them don’t do this, so I’ll go play, review, discuss, and make comics about one of those.

So that’s my review of Two Worlds II. I’m afraid I can’t recommend it.

UPDATE: Nope, the registration info is NOT mandatory. My mistake. I maintain the entire system is obnoxious and idiotic, and the “opt out” button should be on the page asking for all of the personal info. But it’s not mandatory and you can play the full game without providing it.

So… that’s nice. I guess.

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A Hundred!2020203Many comments. 163, if you're a stickler

From the Archives:

  1. George says:

    And I used to love PC gaming…

    This is more or less why I stick to my old games, they never bug me for my personal info.

  2. Narida says:

    You could try clicking on the “Register Now” checkbox in the second screenshot…

    • Shamus says:

      It throws you into “demo mode”. I don’t know what that does. I assume it walls off content or somesuch.

      • Shamus says:

        NO!

        I THOUGHT I knew what it did. I’ll correct the original post.

        • krellen says:

          If I end up running for and get elected to Congress, I’m planning on proposing a simple bill stating that all check-boxes on online forms, whatever their intent, must be “opt-out” by default (this wording to avoid people just making the check box being checked the “opt-out” option), so we can avoid stupid things like this (and the incessant installation of various browser “toolbars” when simply updating software and the like.)

      • Phoenix says:

        Lol nice post :D Demo mode lets you play the initial part of the game only. The game is not that bad anyway… apart from that. That info it’s for the multiplayer part I guess… usually games asks all that stuff when you register for multiplayer. Probably to counter… I don’t know… passing a game from a person to another. And to give you back one of those codes if you lose it. Or maybe to sell those info to some spam agencies. Confidentially, very. :D A lie should work.

    • RTBones says:

      Agreed. Except that if you read what they wrote about “activation” – it doesn’t leave you the impression that you can get out of “registration”.

      They are purposly trying to blur the line between “activation” and “registration”.

      To them, and that, I say BITE ME!

  3. Psithief says:

    And in how many countries is this LEGAL?

    EDIT: Comment made irrelevant by blog post update!

    Shamus runs Windows XP with 3GB of RAM! I can read!

    • Christopher M says:

      Technically, on XP (or Vista 32-bit) any amount of ram >= 3GB will show as 3GB.

      • Mistwraithe says:

        If you have a 1GB video card?

        Isn’t the maximum 4GB less your dedicated video card memory?

        • X2-Eliah says:

          Only if that 1Gb is taken out of ram. On-board graphics memory shouldn’t affect that, I think.

          • evilmrhenry says:

            The 4gb limit is hardcoded, by definition, in 32 bit operating systems. Video card memory also has to be addressable, and there’s some OS stuff in there as well. Anyway, the short version is that if you want more than 3gb of memory, and a nice video card, you need a 64 bit OS. Nothing to do with shared memory for integrated video cards.

            • Nathon says:

              That’s not strictly true. A 32-bit Linux kernel can address more than 4 GB of RAM if it’s compiled with CONFIG_HIGHMEM64G. Of course, running most games on that is not very easy. The trick is using more than 1 register (or instruction) to address the physical memory and giving individual programs a virtual address space of less than 4 GB.

            • Sindisil says:

              Actually, the GPU RAM doesn’t need to be addressable. A small window may need to be addressable, to allow for DMA transfer of data to the GPU, but the CPU uses system RAM, and the video card RAM is used by the GPU.

              Two different processors, each with their own address space.

          • Chris Robertson says:

            Excellent explanation (that expands a bit on evilmrhenry’s information) at http://www.dansdata.com/askdan00015.htm.

            It is from 2007, so read it with a time filter. 64 bit OSes weren’t exactly common last decade.

  4. Tim says:

    The shape of things to come? This reminds me of the optional registration stuff Fallout and Fallout 2 had (which were also annoying). Seeing the exact same thing here made me think the game looked dated.

    Addendum: What on earth could possibly make having your customers’ fax numbers a useful thing?

    • Ernheim says:

      Yeah, if asking for your personal information in a “Sign up for our monthly spam-newsletter” sort of way doesn’t look dated, asking for a fax number does. Do… do faxes even exist any more? And you’d think that if any of that information was actually important they could get it from your steam profile anyway

      • krellen says:

        Faxes exist. I don’t think end-users have EVER used them, however. Faxes are, and always have been, a business thing. There’s never been a reason to ask a person for a fax number.

    • Agammamon says:

      Get their fax number and then opt in to receiving fax spam.

  5. I particularly hate the gender question because…

    a) The “male” choice is always, always, ALWAYS first.
    b) What the hell does my gender have to do with playing a video game?
    c) It’s a binary question. I want a “None of the above” option.

    • Shamus says:

      Developer Corvus Elrod had this one post on his blog a few years ago. He was making this sort of Male / Female distinction in the code and was trying to decide how to enumerate it. In the code, it MUST come down to a binary choice, and one of them has to be first. (Er, unless you’re adding new genders, which wasn’t part of his design.) He had this long explanation for why female should be 0 and male should be 1, mostly due to the way the numerals correlate to the shape of… uh… sexual organs.

      I pointed out that “Female” should come before “Male” for alphabetical reasons.

      Of course, none of this explains why they didn’t leave an “unspecified” option (default) in the gender question. Or why they asked the question in the first place.

    • Nick Bell says:

      The “male” first problem can be solved at the same time as the “binary” choice problem. You give the player three choices: male, female, unspecified; and make unspecified the default chocie.

      • Christopher M says:

        Might as well add a “Species” box, too, with an “unspecified”/”other” option so you can let the devs know if you think you’re a centaur.

        /sarcasm

        • BaCoN says:

          Don’t forget the “Status: Alive/Deceased/Trapped-In-A-Quasi-Parallel-Universe-That-Feels-Like-Unending-Death-Every-Moment-For-A-Thousand-Years” options. Very important.

        • Viktor says:

          Really? You’re going there? Some people don’t fit into the male/female binary. Don’t dismiss them for that.

          • Vipermagi says:

            Or, for that matter, don’t want you to know.

          • Christopher M says:

            “Some people” would probably put me outside the binary listing. But as “one of them,” I can personally say that, for the vast majority of cases (other than genetic errors/anomalies), it is nothing more than wishful thinking.

            So yes. I’m going there.

            • Viktor says:

              Fuck it, anything I say will either start a flamewar or cross over into taboo subjects on this site. You’re not worth getting banned over.

              • Bobby Archer says:

                For what it’s worth, I’m with you on this one, Viktor. Seeing as I’m engaged to someone who identifies as genderqueer, I can say that it is more than wishful thinking.

                But, this isn’t the place for this kind of debate, so let’s just leave it at that.

                • theLameBrain says:

                  It would probably be best to amend the field name to something like: “Gender at Birth” since that is all they are really interested in, rather than enumerating all the various options in a drop-down.

                  The problem is that the more choices you offer, the more people are going to feel left out, and in my experience, registration is about filling in data-points with data within parameters. Whether the data is totally accurate matters far less than whether or not it falls within certain parameters.

                  I have no advice for people who feel like offering data within parameters is self-betrayal. Whatever, it is just software registration! :)

              • Kdansky says:

                If someone does not identify as Male or Female, you cannot force them. One in a hundred thousand children gets born with both genitals. Sometimes one is not functional, making this easy, but sometimes both work, or neither does. If you don’t have ovaries nor testicles, what gender are you exactly?

            • Gale says:

              Fucking what? Why are you automatically a spokesperson for everyone who would argue against a binary concept of sexual identity because you could also be counted as “one of them”? Who the fuck thinks they can disregard people’s sense of identity as “wishful thinking”, anyway? How arrogant can you possibly be?

        • Octal says:

          Did Shamus start a contest for the biggest troll, or something?

      • Nick says:

        But then you have another problem, which one do you put second? Male or female?

        • Alexander The 1st says:

          This. It’s just delaying the problem.

          I mean, I suppose you could do it alphabetically, and still make “unspecified” as the default, but I don’t think that’d fix the issue.

    • Kyte says:

      Why the hell do people care about this? Do they think developers/test writers/etc. think about this stuff? That there’s some secret conspiracy against people of other sexual denominations?
      All they think is: “Oh, there’s only two options. ‘k, let’s make it a boolean. Why male first? Dunno, that’s how you say it?”
      (Seriously, in most brains, saying “female” before “male” just sounds weird. Stuff is said in a certain order. A before B, male before female, tomato before avocado (that one is probably only in chilean spanish) I’d probably list less lame examples, but I can’t think of any right now).

      Then: “FINE, I’ll just let NULL mean “anything else”. What do you mean we must support multiple levels of genderism. Now I’m gonna have to make it an int/enum, parse the results and make sure nobody tries to put an invalid value. THANK YOU ASSHOLE”

      Or at least that’s how I’d react. Sheesh. I’m gonna start writing myself as female in any non-essential form I find, just to prove how little it matters. (Essential meaning “This is for the govt, bank, education center or somesuch”)

      Of course, they shouldn’t be asking in first place.

      • Kyte says:

        Since I ran out of edit time: I don’t mean to demean (that sounds awkward) anyone of other genders. Yay for them and I’ll fully respect them in a RL context.
        But these forms are, 90% of the time, pure bureaucratic BS. If it’s significant like, say, a government or medical form or whatever, sure, it matters.
        But the rest of the time? It’s simply registration form formats being as old as the earth. I’ll just lie or put whatever value corresponds with what’s between my legs. (If I can’t leave it blank)
        A better cause would be to remove all the BS paperwork. That would, as a bonus, remove all sorts of discrimination grievances caused from the utter lack of interest your average form-maker (written or electronic) places on them.

      • krellen says:

        I feel the same way about race/ethnicity. I insist on the “Other” category and, if forced to elaborate, put “member of the species Homo Sapien“. Why the crap does this stuff matter?

    • Velkrin says:

      “b) What the hell does my gender have to do with playing a video game?”

      It determines if you get Standard Female Battle Armor and a pretty pretty pony that smells like peppermint and sparkles or +7 bloodstained armor of skullcrushery and a infernal warhorse of enemy stompary.

      IIRC the “registration” for Monty Python and the Quest for the Holy Grail (The Game) had the choice of ‘Other’. Mind you it also has a ~127 question multiple choice registration.

    • Christopher M says:

      (b.) Are you saying that this question engenders discontent?

  6. Kelly says:

    As far as Two Worlds 1 is concerned, well….

    http://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=3404798&userid=0&perpage=40&pagenumber=1

    Have a brief perusal of that thread Shamus.

  7. Even says:

    It’s definitely nothing new. Dawn Of War 2 and the add-on Chaos Rising do pretty much the same. While both are independent Steam-titles, they force you to install GFWL to your PC. I still haven’t managed to get that piece of shit to work properly. It wants me to register a separate code given by Steam for my GFWL account to be able to play online, but the damn thing just doesn’t want to work. As of now, I can only play the Single Player campaigns and skirmish.

    They did finally remove that garbage in Retribution, but I haven’t been too keen to buy it yet. I just wish they could patch the other two to work without it as well.

    • Aldowyn says:

      I really, REALLY don’t like GFWL. Got it because of Halo 2, and never did get it to work right, which, iirc, meant I couldn’t play MP…

      • Ian says:

        GFWL generally works on my system, though attempting to do any sort of voice chat insta-crashes it. The funny part about that is that I use a wired Xbox 360 controller with a Microsoft headset on my PC. That issue wouldn’t even be so bad if GFWL crashing didn’t bring down the entire game. I consider that to be a slight buzz kill. After all, pounding on my keyboard tray in fury makes my hands hurt.

        The worst part is that I like the idea of GFWL. It’s nice being able to use one account on my Xbox 360, PC, and phone (yeah, I’m one of those Windows Phone people), and I find it very strange how the PC is the weakest link. I can’t help but wonder if GFWL for PC is just fragile and that the issues are game-specific, since the issues seem to vary by game.

  8. DaveMc says:

    I got hit by that “interesting failure mode” you referenced, last weekend (Dragon Age: Origins suddenly stopped working because of a server error on their end). That was maddening. (That sentence doesn’t convey the *rage* I and many others felt, but print can’t convey it.) It was a classic example of the “pirates get a better play experience” problem: we paying customers were locked out, while pirates were happily playing the game. Gah.

    I know, I know, my own fault for buying a game with that kind of nonsense in the first place … but I just wanted to play it, and on my laptop on the bus is the only practical way that’s going to happen, for me. (The 360 doesn’t fit well into a seat, and where would I put the TV?)

    • Bodyless says:

      1. click on logout 2. …play 3. profit :)

      assuming it does not let you play because of dlcs.

      • DaveMc says:

        Yes, I’ve now discovered the solution, and I’m now playing logged out. That was particularly galling about the whole thing: I’d left myself logged in after the initial authentication, since well, why not? “Why not” turns out to be “because later it can result in you being locked out, and being logged in does you no good at all if you don’t care about updating your online ‘profile’ thingy”. Never making that mistake again … but I assume there will be some new way for this to go wrong, in the future. (If you don’t log in for several months, they assume you’ve pirated your purchased game in the meantime, perhaps?)

    • decius says:

      Hey, I ran into problems with EA’s Download manager. I still haven’t gotten EADM to run, which means after one download, I’ve run DA:O problem free despite my spotty net connection.

      Because of this, I refuse to buy (or pirate) any EA game. Until their management changes, AND I start seeing good independent reviews.

      • Aldowyn says:

        Never got the DLC for BF2142 to work, and I’ve spent hours trying to get that to work. EA’s account system is a mess, the games don’t seem to talk to each other, though I’m pretty sure the accounts are supposed to be independent… or something like that.

  9. John Magnum says:

    Honestly, I’m just kind of ok with it. I can see how this would mark a qualitative paradigm shift, Shamus, I get that you can clearly delineate a space between “I used to own my games, but now I lease permission for my games”. But some of the specific bugaboos, like “insanely byzantine processes required to actually play the game you own” and “bizarre, inexplicable failure modes for games that used to run fine and aren’t attributable to anything the end user did” have been staples of PC gaming since at least your much-vaunted golden age of the late 90s. Just on the level of inconvenience, rather than theoretical considerations, is repeated serial-key activation really more inconvenient than code wheels? And are servers going down really more awful and game-breaking than the pre-DirectX hardware failure states?

    • some random dood says:

      Nope, it’s not ok with me. For a single player game, they have absolutely no need to know anything other than that I have paid for the thing. And to make sure that the payment check isn’t so fucking awful that I will pirate the thing instead. (Although that is unlikely to happen in practice – I just don’t have that much enthusiasm for games any more. I really can’t be bothered pirating, so if a game has an obnoxious install requirement, I just won’t touch it.)
      Yes, in the past games had hardware problems. But the solution was within *your* control. Now with the games requiring external servers, not only does it mean that if there are any problems with those servers you just have to wait until someone gets around to fixing it, but when they switch those servers off – game over. Literally. No more game. Ever again. Guess some of us old farts have a problem with young snots being able to take our money and then bugger off leaving us (and the games) in the dust.

      • John Magnum says:

        If the game just doesn’t work on your hardware, the solution in your control is…replace the hardware? Reprogram the game? Not sure where you’re going with that.

        • some random dood says:

          Yes. Resolve the hardware conflict. There were usually ways short of having to buy new hardware.
          And congratulations on completely missing the point. That was a minor detail – the major is that once you got a game working, then you had the ability to run it whenever you wanted. Now, your ability to play a single-player game *that you purchased* is determined by whether the game company can be bothered to keep their servers switched on (or even if they exist any longer).
          THAT is the place where I seriously disagree with your attitude – you may be fine with paying for a game, and you know you will never go back to it, but I’m not. I *want* the ability to go back a few years later and replay a game I liked. It’s bad enough making sure that I have an appropriate hardware/OS setup sometimes, but being a pack-rat I can usually drag a machine back into service if it won’t run on a modern pc/OS, but if I have to depend on the “generosity” of a company to still run the DRM servers to be able to reinstall/play the thing…

    • Kyte says:

      Actually, and Shamus did a timeline of this, the Golden Age of Gaming was right at the advent of Windows, DX and standardized graphics.

  10. X2-Eliah says:

    One – Two words 2 is NOT a steam game, nor is it a special steam edition or anything. If you are using Steam to get it – instead of a disc, or another digital dl site, then it is your fault you have to put up with Steam alongside whatever the game has.
    Steam is just a goddamn store, and that’s it. You can’t expect a developer to make n dev builds for every store they ship the game to – especially if the devs are short on time and money as it is. If Steam is so touchy as to put up it’s own loops and hooks (like encoding the executable so that you can’t run the game without Steam running), then is it really the developer at fault?
    If Steam has linked your game to your identity, if Steam is showing you the cdkeys, then Steam should handle whatever modifications they need for automation, and not the game’s developers.. And telling the devs to “Use Steamworks or piss off” is not a solution either, for any publisher not wanting to limit itself to Steam exclusively.

    No, really – I get that people like Steam as it is handy and so forth, but it is just an intermediary service between you and the game. If there are problems between you and the game, then the intermediary layer has to sort those out.

    Two – yeah, that info gathering thing is completely over the top. Funny how Steam also collects all that data – every time you buy stuff – and nobody seems to care. But, I digress.

    Three – I’ve played the actual game – when it was released in mainland EU – and I also can’t recommend it. It’s a half-decent rpg, but that’s it. It is short, it grows more unsatisfying with each chapter (the length of chapters 3 and 4, compared to 1 and 2, is absolutely ridiculous). The story is daft, the lore is shallow, and the gameplay leaves a lot to be desired. Graphics are colourful and full of effects, but also horribly overblurred/glowed/depthoffielded. UI is terrible.

    • Shamus says:

      IT should be very, VERY easy to REMOVE THE ONLINE ACTIVATION for the Steamworks version. My position is NOT “use Steamworks or piss off” but “If the game uses Steamworks, it should not have additional cruft for me to deal with”.

      • X2-Eliah says:

        I meant Steamworks as in the whole Steam API used for achievements, etc. like you see in New Vegas. Basically, I didn’t imply you said it, I implied Steam said it – either the devs used Steamworks API code in their builds, or ‘sorry, nope, can’t help you’.

        I’m not sure why I’m even defending this, tbh – the game’s activation system itself is horrible by any measure, and I fully agree with that. I just feel that Steam ought to take up more responsibility in this matter, and that the blame should not be laid entirely at the dev’s feet. (Well.. In principle, at least, since in this particular case it’s bad).

        That said, the game does not use Steamworks – it is just sold on Steam, as-is (aside from steamified exe), and Steam’s not giving a crap about whatever problems you have with it. That’s what I wanted to say.

        • decius says:

          Is the .exe the only thing changed on games sold on Steam that do not support Steamworks? Is it the case that Steam version+official .exe patch=normal version (for games sold in a manner outside of Steam?)

      • Eric says:

        Using Steam and Steamworks is not the same thing, in case that wasn’t clear. Two Words II does not use Steamworks. Steamworks is an API for developers to add things like achievements, cloud support for save files, player matchmaking, friends list support, voice chat etc. The DRM part of Steamworks deals only with the activation process, which should only occur in the case that you’ve bought a retail copy of the game. If you buy a Steamworks game online, there is no key activation at all.

        It’s up to publishers to decide what sorts of DRM they include with their Steam games. Some even use multiple layers, which is stupid and annoying and intrusive, and knowing the corporate culture of most games publishers, is decided on by people who have no understanding of gaming whatsoever. For most titles, Steam is merely the distribution service, NOT the DRM in and of itself (though it certainly could and should be). Removing the DRM is actually not quite as easy as you may think, because many games actually have deep hooks in their code that purposely lock out features, cause crashes and bugs, etc. when a non-verified version is detected. The easiest way, rather than stripping all that code out and making sure your game still works, is to simply provide a serial number the same as you do with the retail game.

        It’s also worth noting that Steam is not the be-all end-all against piracy as some seem to think. Recently, Garry’s Mod was updated to include fake error messages which reported the user’s Steam ID when a pirated copy was detected, which would then be banned – and that’s a Steam-only title. Steam itself is no guarantee against piracy, and in fact it’s extremely easy to pirate Steam games if you know what you’re doing. Publishers no doubt know this, and I’m sure that’s why many feel “more DRM is better.” It never is, of course.

        • Shamus says:

          You’re preaching to the priesthood, here.

          Yes, these decisions are made by people who have no understanding of these things. Idiots or charlatans. This is why I rail against them.

          And I don’t imagine Steam is any better than any other DRM. All games hit the torrents. Additional layers of “protection” just get in the way of my fun, which is why I brought it up in the first place.

          • Hitch says:

            That’s just it, the “deep hooks in their code that purposely lock out features, cause crashes and bugs, etc.” just go haywire in DRMed games and get in the way. Meanwhile the pirates strip all of that out and get their version out in no time at all, often releasing “improved” copies before the DRM-laden bug fests’ official street dates. Often games get pirated because the pirated copy offers a better play experience. There are undoubtedly some cases of players who would prefer to show support for the creators of games they like, but hate paying the corporate masters who insist on adding useless bugs to a game.

            But try telling the industry decision makers that ever more obtrusive DRM is not the “solution” to piracy. I’m not saying that DRM is the main cause of piracy, but it doesn’t stop it, and making games worse doesn’t help at all.

            (I know Shamus knows all of this. I just felt a need to rant.)

            • Eric says:

              “In no time”? Not really. In the more extreme cases (Mass Effect, Assassin’s Creed), it took months of hard work for pirates to crack those games, and they had issues for months after as well. While I admit to using cracks for the sake of convenience (I buy all my games), and much prefer cracked versions if it means skipping disc checks, I don’t think it’s accurate to always say that pirated versions of games are superior products, less buggy, etc.

              • Irridium says:

                Mass Effect used the same DRM as Spore, and Spore was cracked before release. So I doubt Mass Effect lasted much longer.

                As for Creed, yeah it took a while to crack. But now pirates know how to crack that form of DRM. Meaning it is now basically obsolete.

              • Hitch says:

                Mass Effect caught the pirates off guard with a the galaxy map trap, that was missed in the first crack. That was quickly corrected. Now they know to look for hooks like that farther into the game… so it’s not likely to work again.

                Assassin’s Creed worked for so long, because the game kept phoning home for more data from the online servers. It frustrated pirates for a while, but at the cost of making the game unplayable for periods by legitimate customers when the servers failed… a less than viable option.

                • Raygereio says:

                  Yup; it is generally only the first couple of releases with a specific DRM that take long. After that it becomes routine for crackers.

                  Assassin’s Creed 2 DRM itself was cracked pretty quickly; it just took over a month for a fully working crack to be released because there were “ET phone home” triggers all over the place (thus resulting in frustrating lag everytime the player did anything in that game; way to force me to crack the game in order to be able to play it, Ubisoft).
                  Likeways Prince of Persia Forgotten Sand also took over a month before a bug-free crack was released .

                  But then came Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood and a fully working crack was released after roughtly a week.

              • krellen says:

                I miss disk checks. It used to be so easy to prove I owned a game, and disk checks made games much like any other property – I could loan them to friends, with the same drawback as loaning a book to a friend (in that I lost access to the content while said friend was borrowing it).

    • Phoenix says:

      What I truly loved about this game was playing a guitar-of-hero minigame in towns to make money (and it was the easier way to make money). It was balanced poorly on some aspects (to say the least) but it had a lot of minigames in it (playing songs, stealing houses, riding horses, exploring the sea) . And the multi too had some peculiar features. There was really some inspiration in it. Plus, I made the ugliest character ever: small, blotched, with enormous cheeks and a maniac stare.

    • wootage says:

      I have to disagree with one of your points “You can’t expect a developer to make n dev builds for every store they ship the game to – especially if the devs are short on time and money as it is.”.

      Yes, I can. It is entirely reasonable to expect every company that creates products to make those products compatible with the delivery methods. It’s part of the product planning process for every company that ships anything through any channel. So I can’t accept any apologies for those poor, beleaguered, underappreciated developers not anticipating every contingency, because they aren’t the ones making decisions on collecting registration information. That’s a business decision, and on those, they code what they’re told.

      Topware Interactive signed a contract with Steam and thereby had access to all the information on Steam’s delivery methods that they could need. If they didn’t work with Reality Pump to get the necessary delivery planning and work done, it’s their fault.

      Edit – whoops, didn’t realize that this is a retail game. Edited to specify online sales.

      Remember that online distribution saves a TON of money and delivery planning for the publisher on those sales. Instead of having to plan and pay for the delivery of physical media (before they see any returns), they contract Steam to publish, market and deliver it for them. While I’m sure Steam gets paid a fair share, the fact is that Topware has a lot less work to do and needs a lot less cash up front to get the product moving through Steam.

      So to me, this appears to be either a case of laziness on Topware’s part, or a case of “by the time they see this screen, we’ve already gotten paid” attitude.

    • Ateius says:

      “If Steam is so touchy as to put up it’s own loops and hooks (like encoding the executable so that you can’t run the game without Steam running)”

      Funny story: It’s actually very, very easy to disable that feature. In fact, I have done it myself, by accident no less, when creating a backup game directory before fooling around with massive total conversion mods. It took me a few hours to even notice.

  11. Grag says:

    Dear Mr blanker blankblanker,

    We tried to make delivery of your free gift to 9 blankhole lane in blankton Town, but the address came back undeliverable.

    Happy Birthday from the Two Worlds team, and best wishes to the rest of the blankblanker family.

  12. X2-Eliah says:

    Another thing..

    The option State/Shire? Err. If you live in LoTR universe, hobbit place, do you put a “Yes, that last one” there? ^^

    But honestly.. Does anyone call their states/regions ‘shires’?

  13. Slothful says:

    I think that the EULA often says something about a “right to return” if you don’t wanna agree to it, but you might be too far in.

    Things like this can often be only minor annoyances, but after a couple hundred or thousand annoyances should add up to a couple murders. Maybe a rape or something.

    • Eric says:

      “You have the right to return this game to the store if you choose to not install the game, but no store will ever accept it back because you’ve already opened the box, idiot!”

      I’m pretty sure that most EULAs say that. Right down to the “idiot” part. Fortunately, EULAs are not legally binding in any respect, since it is impossible to have a valid contract between two parties when the terms are not made clear upon signing (i.e. purchase), and any publisher which tries to enforce its EULA as law is itself breaking the law in doing so, since laws of the land ALWAYS trump any terms defined by a corporation, and under law, customers are fully entitled to return defective or unsatisfactory products.

      I’m honestly really surprised that there haven’t been more class action suits against publishers. People should know that what they’re doing, like locking customers out of their games for their legitimate complaints on the official message boards, is grossly unconstitutional – even in Capitalism-of-A.

      • SomeUnregPunk says:

        unless if you brought the product at wallmart or other similar type stores.

        i have seen people return used bed sheets and get a full refunds.

      • Chargone says:

        Unless you live in one of the places the IP maximalist idiots got to, such as New Zealand, in this case, where the law of the land trumps the contract in that the EULAs Always tell you you can return the thing and the law of the land says you cannot.

        (dvd movies, music, and games of any sort can only be returned for a replacement copy of the same thing if the disk or other componant that comes in the box is defective. some games shops partially get around this by being willing to buy the game back as second hand for a lot more than you’d expect for the first week or so after it comes out, but that’s about it. other than that you’re SOOL. on the up side, this should still render the EULA unenforceable as it is functionally signed under duress. if i’ve understood it right. not that i’m a lawyer or anything.)

        worth remembering that, so far as the US consitution’s free speech deally goes, it only applies to the Government. the corporations are entirely within the law to do just that (well, if they sufficiantly pretzel logic the whole product/service sale/license distinction). arguably they should, infact, refund you upon doing so, but still.

        the whole thing’s really rather silly.

        • pinchy says:

          Just on the New Zealand situation- regardless of what the law says you can still return games in many places. Last time I bought a game from EB (not going to out which store/guy it was)the guy behind the counter specifically told me that he wasn’t allowed to return it so that I should come in and say that it wasn’t working if I wanted to exchange it for something else. I’ve also seen people returning DVDs at the Warehouse all the time- the company policy was that if the customer got upset enough you were to do an exchange as they didn’t want to lose a long-term customer over $10. Companies also still have duties under the Fair Trading Act- if you ask the underpaid and completley untrained (read expert) employee if something has DRM and they mislead you then you can still bring it back as well- though admittedly these situations can be more hassle than they are worth.

          Though to counter part of the original point no store has to return any product unless it’s physically defective anyway (and they can choose to just give you a replacement anyhow) so one should go into any transaction under the assumption that you aren’t going to get your money back if you don’t like it anyway.

          The whole thing is more than a little stupid, but no more than half the legislation that gets passed,

      • BeardedDork says:

        I always simply click accept on the EULA because in Montana we have a “Whole Contract Law” in which the entire terms of a contract to be enforcable must be presented in plain language and in their entirety in a single place and may not include by reference any other documents. Also if it’s a single party contract such as a EULA where the other party has no input into it it will always be legally resolved in favor of the party with no input.

      • Slothful says:

        The ones I’ve read say some nonsense about how allegedly if the store won’t accept it back, then the company will take it. If I had some extra time and money I might just try that out and see how much they lie.

        • Chargone says:

          i’m pretty sure you’d end up with months worth of fluffing around, paying several instances of postage to ‘prove’ you actually bought the thing, followed by some variation of ‘we lost it’.

          (i also seem to recall one place when it tried to return a dvd made me pay the postage to return it and then refunded me the cost of the item (not including postage) less postage. … i may be misremembering but it sounds like the kinda thing that’d happen)

    • Hitch says:

      My all-time favorite was a sticker across the flap of a software package that said, “By breaking this seal, you agree to the terms of the End User License Agreement enclosed herein.”

      That’s right, you can’t read it until you agree to it. I can see that standing up in court.

  14. CrushU says:

    Play Rift! It’s fun!
    (Emberlord server please, Defiant. ^_^)

  15. Chargone says:

    i played the origional Two Worlds on one consonle or another… good lord that thing was terrible.

    among it’s many failings was that it was insanely easy to get killed before you even got to the point where the game told you what you were meant to be doing and/or how to do it. i actually seem to have blanked out exactly how it screwed me over, but i believe it had somethign to do with ‘your mission is to go over there and look at that thing. no, i’m not going to tell you about all the enemies in between, or how to fight them, or where to get anything, or even why you’re here.’

    only worse.

    i also remember something about the graphics annoying me. but this was some time ago.

    • poiumty says:

      I played Two Worlds and my strongest, most soul-consuming grief is that I didn’t take screenshots.

      Imagine how many people on the internet I would have been able to entertain with my picture of me on a horse, hovering 2 meters above the ground, with the entire front half of the horse stuck in a giant rock. Around 30 minutes from the start of the game. After getting stuck twice before, and not in the same rock.

      Truly a wasted opportunity.

    • Jarenth says:

      All I remember of Two Worlds One is that twice, I was told to go to town X belonging to faction Y to do some quests, only to be barred entry at the gate because faction Y didn’t like me enough yet. With, of course, no indication on how I could change this, as all the questgivers were located inside town X.

      My solution on the first count was to murder everyone who could stop me from entering. My solution on the second count was quitting, followed by uninstalling.

  16. poiumty says:

    By the way Shamus, you should play the game regardless. It’s not the greatest thing ever, but it’s good to try out and I’m interested in your opinion on it. Specifically the spell crafting system.

  17. wootage says:

    I can see how you made the mistake of thinking that you couldn’t proceed without giving your information. It clearly says “All specially marked boxes must be filled in” and that’s right at the top.

    However, at the bottom, it says “After successfully registering, you will receive an email with access to our download section”, so this is a leftover from – something? I can’t imagine where this screen is from. But it’s bad design on their part. You shouldn’t see this screen at all, since you have already downloaded the game.

    And since everyone is pretty much used to following instructions in order, it’s a safe bet that people are filling out these fields and clicking the button at the bottom to send the information to the comnpany (although I wonder how many people are living next to me at 1 Udontneedtoknowmy Street, Internetville USA).

  18. RTBones says:

    Glad you don’t have to “activate” the game with the obnoxious additional information. Like you, I would have said no way. No fvcking way. It sounds suspiciously like they are trying to get folks to REGISTER the game with them (different than activation) by deliberately confusing them.

    It bears repeating: No. Fvcking. Way.

  19. Steve C says:

    Excellent review Shamus! Your screenshots have told me everything I need to know about if I want to buy this game or not. The answer is “not” in my case since I don’t tolerate those kinds questions in my entertainment.

  20. Elite says:

    I sincerely hope that there is a special level of hell reserved for those who design thoroughly unncessary registration processes.

    Yeah you can counter them by putting in fake information, which has the end result of wasting everyone’s time and accomplishing exactly nothing. Registration proccesses like that are completely obnoxious and it’s hard to see how the information is of any use to them unless they’re using it for something nefarious.

  21. Bubble181 says:

    A couple of things…

    a) As has been clarified: this is, in fact, optional, for “registering” the product. I’ve been seeing postcards to send to the publisher to register your purchase included in boxed games since they were floppies…I just went to check in my Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall box (admittedly, that’s a CD-Rom), and the card asks for my date of birth, gender, address, phone and fax, NOT cellphone because, well, no-one had those yet, and so on and so forth. This one’s a little more obtrusive and they *try* to make it *look* like you need to fill it in, but it’s still the same crap from way back.
    Of course, I never fill these things in, either, mind.

    b) Why do they want this info? Consumer research, duh. Better believe that most games that come out aren’t based on people with a great design idea who go and try to sell the next Chime to some publisher – they’re made because a marketeer has seen that 54% of their sales come from Texas, and 48% is male, so the next game should be a shooter with a Texan guy as the protagonist. And whatever. Also, this is why Tony Hawk Pro Skate is advertised on MTV and not on MSNBC – same target audience so higher return on cost. And I know you actually do know that, just sayin’.

    c) I really don’t understand all the hate for Two Worlds. Yes, it was pretty buggy when it came out. With the expansion, the patches and whatever, it’s a pretty good game now. I played through the single payer in 38 hours…I admit I’m of the explore-everything-do-all-quests school of RPG-playing, but still, that’s fin for me. It’s a bit bland, it’s very standard fantasy fare, sure – it’s not exactly a contender for Best RPG Ever – but it’s at the very least mediocre, and I’d even go so far as to say that, after all patches, it’s pretty good. Release state was still better than Oblivion’s.

    • krellen says:

      I need to find the developer that wants to advertise their games on MSNBC instead of MTV. They’re sure to make the perfect games for me.

    • Corsair says:

      Better than Oblivion? At least Oblivion was fun, Two Worlds was like getting teeth pulled. Two Worlds Two was vastly superior, I actually played it to the end, and was kinda sad when it was over. Only a little, because the final battle is -awful-.

      Although, One Worlds Two has a -terrible- difficulty curve. At the start of the game, you need to be REALLY good at the combat and very careful. Then as you get late in the game, you turn into a hybrid of man and combine harvester. There’s this one part where you have to fight this really nasty and evil Demon that’s terrorizing this town. I pulled my Greatsword and killed him without going below half health. In less than twenty seconds.

      Compare to the first part of the game, where I had to dance around, draw single enemies away, etc, just to not get butchered on the starting level.

      • Ateius says:

        That sounds an awful lot like Gothic 3, whose combat system, in addition to being godawful, is insanely difficult. At the start you need to be very clever and dance and draw enemies out to engage one-on-one. But by the time you’re level 20, you … might be able to take on two guys at once if you’re really lucky.

        Okay, so it’s not a perfect comparison.

  22. Supernal Clarity says:

    I wouldn’t worry about not being able to actually play “Two Worlds II”—having beaten the game simply for the amusement of seeing how terrible it is, I can tell you that you’re not missing out on anything.

  23. swimon says:

    Nice post but why are you playing (or trying to at least) two worlds when we need to resurrect GLaDOS? Peoples lives are on the line ^^

  24. Pete says:

    Any chance we’ll actually get a review on the game, or did you just see that whole registration thing and decide to not play the game based on that alone?
    I can understand you ‘taking a stand’ on companies demanding this info, but at the same time, you got a free copy of the game to review, and you decide not to because of a registration page? It seems kind of petty.

    I’m not trying to bash you in any way, I’m just thinking, why can’t you make the post about how much you hate those things, and then still go on to review the game? I’d always enjoyed your reviews in the past, and came back to read some more, and was a little disappointed to not find a review for this game.
    I was 1 of the 3 people that actually liked two worlds, the first one. Figure since everyone says the second game is so much better than the first, that I would probably love it, but wanted one of your detailed opinions just to check.

    I hope you review the game if you still got your reviewers copy. I look forward to it.

  25. shubhajit says:

    my serial number has expaored and need new serial number
    can you give a serial number please please please

    if you can do this god will bless you

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