Saturday, December 01, 2012

UPlay and Far Cry 3: This is not how you should distribute your content

If I hadn't received Far Cry 3 for free via a deal on a graphics card, I'd be pretty annoyed about the large timesink that was redeeming / downloading / activating the game via the joys of UPlay. For such a featureless, bare bones "game client" it sure does make things a confusing mess of "what the hell just happened".

So here's the thing.

1) I have to fill out a bunch of info on the AMD website to get hold of a "special redeem key". I'm told to go to the UPlay site, register / login and enter the code after dropping FC3 into the cart.

2) There's a whole selection of versions of the game with various extras added (or not), and of course there's no indication which version of the game the code works with. I get it right on the second attempt.

3) Despite being a free game, the Ubisoft store wants me to enter payment info - without which, I can't proceed. Uhh....okay? I guess?

4) I hit the purchase button, and I'm told "Your basket is empty". That's it. Has it worked? Well, I don't have an email so I reckon it probably hasn't.

5) Try again, it doesn't recognise the code and the game is showing as full price.

6) I go back again, fill all my info in again, and finally it appears to have worked.

7) There's no explanation of how you get hold of the game and register it to your account (I've already seen one guy who managed to buy it twice, on one occasion setting up a new account inside UPlay while logged into his actual account. How is that even possible?) Should I have a download link sent to me? Will it only be sent on release day? Perhaps I have to open up UPlay and see the game is sitting against my account but not yet downloadable?

Who knows, nobody tells you.

8) I log into UPlay, and it says "You have no games on your account yet" and a big blank space in the games section. Not only am I wondering where FC3 is, I'm also wondering where Driver SF is because I bought that on Steam and the 40 play points (or whatever they're called) I've picked up from that game are sitting right there against my username. So, you know, this thing isn't very consistent (especially as Driver SF does show up, but only if UPlay opens when launching Driver in Steam).

9) Out of the blue, I'm emailed a download link on release day for the FC3 download client.
I fire it up, and I get this box in the middle of the screen very slowly downloading chunks of the game. Well, okay, this is better. I'll go do something else while I wait.

10) I'm playing a game on Steam and amazingly, my desktop focus switches from the game I'm playing to my desktop with this crappy download manager telling me that the net has gone down and the download has paused.

REALLY? You felt the need to drag me out of what I was doing to tell me that? Well, okay...you're eager to please or something.

11) Game finally finishes downloading, I see a rather old school "Unzipping all of these .cab files now" box and the 13th and final .cab finishes up....

......nothing.

The box vanishes, and I'm left staring at my desktop. After a little while waiting around, I go back and fire up the installer thing again and realise that, amazingly, it is choosing to drop all the files into a temp folder on the Admin account. Which is great, except I use a limited user account for things and stuff.

12) Login as Admin, plug in an external HD, spend about 12 minutes copying over all the files, then spend another 5 minutes dropping it all onto the account I actually want the game files in.

13) If I'd been running Admin in the first place, would the installer have begun to do things automatically once the final files were unzipped? Who knows, but here I had to go into the unzipped files and manually double click the installer to begin the installation process.

14) When I run Far Cry 3 now, the game works perfectly (except Driver SF still doesn't show up in the games section unless I load Driver itself from Steam).

15) Except when it doesn't work perfectly, because all of a sudden I load up the game to find myself confronted with a request to "bind this game to my UPlay account forever".

I already did that, guys. So I can only assume "forever" means about a day in Ubisoft land. It's like Bizarro Valve time!

In fact, it seems the whole UPlay service has fallen over across lots of titles. This really isn't good enough.

HEY, HERE'S HOW STEAM DOES IT:

1) Buy game, click the download link.

2) Game downloads, and whatever needs to be installed does so when you run the game for the first time, game runs.

I will never complain about Steam having a wobble ever again. As for UPlay, games companies need to realise what they're putting out as wrappers for their games are simply nowhere near the standard required to be seen as acceptable rivals to the Steam service. Never before have I seen such an amazing piece of game design hamstrung by such a confusing, poorly executed content distribution service.

And I've played GFWL.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

well that sucks for you mate. mine worked fine I'd say its way better then origin. i downloaded it from steam uplay downloaded when it was done and it promted me for the cd key i put it in and now the uplay rewards i unlock in farcry 3 can be redeemed on the playstation network it not as good as steam but hell i love the cross platform achievements

Edg3 said...

Dude, you hit the nail on the head, its driving me nuts here to. Its so slow, shortcuts brings you into the bloody thing to click play again, then all the syncing it has to do. Steam wasnt great when it started but it was ten times better then this.
I HATE UdontPlay. Its broken.
You cant even add your game til you dig in and find the .exe (far as i know) and then you have to sit there while it syncs. I love Far Cry 3, I just hate Ubisoft.

Justin said...

I am having the same problem. I got the game free with my new graphics card and was excited to play Far Cry 3 on it but was disappointed by Uplay's silly key issue. Did you ever find the solution?

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with this. I got the farcry3 code from my purchase of a 7770. So I after going through all the hoops you describe, When I launch the setup file it wants to unpack everything to a temp folder on my C drive, which is a tiny SSD boot drive. I had to run an /mlink command to a folder on my e drive because there wasnt enough room on C. In the end after installing the game crashed windows to the point it was unrecoverable. Caused the bios to hang unless I switched sata ports. etc...