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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Assassins vs. Fighters

This week has been Ubisoft Week on Steam and yesterday, they finally offered discounts for the Assassin's Creed games. The fist Assassin's Creed was such a yawn-fest thanks to its repetitive mission structure and even with its remarkable visual achievements, I was only able to get about halfway into the game on the X-Box 360. I have played the sequel a little bit using OnLive and I thought that it was definitely a lot more dynamic than the first. Of course the problem with the PC release of the sequel is Ubisoft's awful digital rights management scheme that forces players to stay connected to the game server to play the game's single player only content. I am all for DRM - you have to protect the developers investment so that we can get more games on the Personal Computer - but this method was just too intrusive. Ubisoft did finally abandon the constant connection method so even though you have to log on to the Ubisoft's Uplay client  - can't we all just use Steam? - to start the game: You no longer have to maintain an active internet connection to play the game. The bad thing here is that you still have to log on to start playing but it's an improvement. At $10 though, Assassin's Creed II is worth the slight hassle for me and hopefully this requirement will be patched out entirely since they are no longer using the constant-connection DRM on their newer releases.

Assassin's Creed II on sale? Time to read all the drama from the forums.

Since we are on the subject of DRMs, Capcom's recent announcement of their DRM fantasy for Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition has now turned them into another disgusting Ubisoft-ish monster. Basically, Capcom plans on limiting the amount of characters you can use as well as taking away the ability for you to save the game when you are playing it offline. This means that you must be connected to Games for Windows LIVE, Capcom's preferred online platform, at all times to access the game's full features. The funny thing about this is that when I play GFWL games, I always log-on to the LIVE network - and I am sure that all legitimate customers do so as well - so in theory, this should not have that much impact until you sit down and think about it. Of course, the reason behind this action is to punish pirates who will not be logging in to a LIVE profile to play the game, but the possible ramification this has on us customers can be rather monumental if our Internet connections were to act up while playing the game. After the bad press however, Capcom is reaching out to the community to do some damage control by asking gamers to submit thoughts and solutions that could convince them to change the currently planned DRM scheme. Click here to participate in the discussion. I personally think that the GFWL setup is good enough without the need to lock offline contents where legitimate users can take their games online and gain access to the rich community features while the pirates will get stuck with playing locally or with each other at best. These pirates are shared enemies of both the developers and us gamers but the unfortunate thing here is that they are not going to just disappear.  They will always find a way to crack games but GFWL and Steamworks-based solutions are perfect for this situation because the pirates will only be able to access so much of the game content while no damage is done to those who actually purchased the games. Instead of trying to convince the pirates to buy SSFIV:AE - something that the pirates will never do in the first place - Capcom should just focus on convincing the legit customers to buy the game by ensuring that we will gain a quality, premium access to the game if we decide to spend our hard-earned cash on it.

Update Note: 06/04/2011 - Capcom will release a patch soon after the game is released to remove all of the offline restrictions for the game. This means that the game will be fully playable offline but to access the online features and the patch, one would of course need a GFWL account and be connected to the LIVE service. Also, the game doesn't have any install limits and it will just be tied to your GFWL account. Thank you Capcom!

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