on Apr 26, 2010
Since the Assassin’s Creed 2 DRM is now truly broken, I thought it would be nice to “celebrate” by giving the game a try. Susan Arendt said in her review that, “You’ll find a lot to love, I promise. Assassin’s Creed 2 is the best kind of sequel.” Wired calls it, “The ultimate killer app.” Yahtzee didn’t threaten to sodomize the developers or eat their young, which is pretty high praise from him. In fact, I haven’t found any negative reviews of the game at all.
Of course, all of those reviews were talking about the console versions. Let’s see how the PC version holds up. I have a review copy here and it’s about time I fired it up and saw what all the fuss was about.
First step is agreeing to the EULA:
Once done, the game connects to Ubisoft, downloads a patch, applies it, restarts itself, and then gives me the EULA again:
So, thanks for that guys. You know, that wasn’t exactly a gripping narrative when I read it two minutes ago. But whatever. I agree already. Yes, you can have my firstborn and all my rights and fair use doesn’t exist and you are awesome and the world is just as you say it is. Okay?
Now run the damn software.
Oops. Looks like the launcher itself needs to update… itself.
Once the launcher is re-launched:
Ah. A login screen. We knew this was coming, didn’t we? This single-player game pretends it’s an MMO in the same way that a car plummeting into a ravine might briefly pretend it’s an airplane. I don’t have an Ubi account. So, let’s fill out this paperwork.
Okay. Name. Email. Birthday. (Really? Are you guys going to send me a present?) Password. Done.
Terms of service. Mostly for the forums and other stuff I’ll never, ever use. I hit the “accept” button, but secretly I don’t really accept any of these terms in my heart of hearts. The software is unable to detect my duplicity. However:
How annoying. You know just yesterday I signed up for a Livestream account. It was able to tell me if my chosen name was taken, live, as I typed it in. It let me know if the confirmation fields were ok without me needing to hit the “submit” button first. This functionality took place within the context of a webpage.
Fine. I’ll try a different name.
Ah! Didn’t I just agree to this?
Thanks. You guys are super.
Okay, enough screwing around. Let’s get on the assassin’s murderbus to stabbytown.
Oh. Okay. So now I have to register the game. Right. Let me just look up my 19-digit keycode. Thankfully I can copy & paste this. This is one case where digital is superior to having a hardcopy. It’s always a pain when they print the key using the “Dot Matrix Indecipherable” font in faded ink and you can’t tell the ones from the I’s or the zeroes from the O’s.
When you launch the game, the updater runs for a second and checks for updates. Then it blinks away and this little window appears with a spinning “please wait” symbol. Then that thing vanishes and the login program shows up. Then the thing counts down from three and launches the game. So that’s an interesting little software contraption they’ve built.
Snark aside, the game is fine. I don’t know that I’ll do a proper review series of it. We’ll see if I have anything novel to say after a few hours with it. The game is purportedly dynamite on the console, but you should take a look at the shots above and ask yourself if this is how you want to be treated for your $50.
In any case, I just thought I’d provide a snapshot of how the system “works”.
Shamus Young is an old-school OpenGL programmer, author, and composer. He runs this site and if anything is broken you should probably blame him.