I’ve realized that sometimes a review of a poorly ported, or flat-out awful game isn’t going to cut it sometimes. If I ever come across a title that’s so poorly optimized or is going to swindle customers, then I’ll put out a Broken Game Alert on my blog here. I recently purchased the Assassin’s Creed 3 Deluxe Edition on Steam, hoping that by replaying the game, I can see it in a more positive light than I did in 2012, when I felt like the game fell short of it’s potential. What I was looking forward to the most was replaying the story add-on The Tyranny of King Washington, since, as I recall, that DLC ended up fixing every problem I had with the story in the main game. The Deluxe Edition is also supposed to come with a couple extra features, such as a mission that tasks you with exploring some ancient Mayan ruins, new weapons to use, etc. I noticed that the weapons appeared to absent from my inventory, but paid it no mind thinking that I just had to progress further in the story. Unfortunately, I was very wrong. When I realized that the DLC just wasn’t present in the game, at first I thought I missed a step and needed to redeem the codes for the add-on content (a note here: the only place where you can enter and activate the codes for the game’s DLC is inside the game itself, which is a little odd in and of itself). When I go the game’s menu and attempt to activate the downloadable content however, the game immediately notified me that “The Ubisoft servers are not available at this time. Please try again later.” I thought it was odd how the game didn’t even make an attempt to actually connect to the servers, and what was weirder, why I couldn’t use multiplayer at all. So I take what should be the next logical step: notifying customer support.
Unfortunately, that didn’t prove to be very helpful. Due to how busy I was between work and school, I had maybe two hours of down time before I had to show up for my shift, and for about two weeks, I spent most of those two hours talking to customer support. To their credit, they were very helpful and genuinely seemed interested in solving my problem. But none of the suggestions worked. I spent a couple hours attempting to open my ports, uninstalling and reinstalling the game, sending Ubisoft diagnostic information on my computer, and nothing was working. Eventually, I did find what the problem was thanks to a couple very helpful people in the Steam community who had/have the same problem as me, but the problem is so glaring it’s worth writing a whole post about this. A user by the name of “Deathstruck” pointed out why other people like myself weren’t able to activate our DLC:
“Guys, I had this problem before when I bought it during the summer sale and it has nothing to do with tethering, port-forwarding or whatever.
Apparently, there is like a 50% chance that if you buy it from Steam, you’ll get a faulty key that has online features blacklisted (I literally got told that by the Ubi support about my own).
Steam support couldn’t do ♥♥♥♥ and Ubisoft support removed the old cd key and issued me a new one on Uplay, but that didn’t work either because now it was incompatible with Steam (since it still used the old cd key).
Since I was out of options, I ended up refunding the game and then rebuying it again, hoping I would get the un-♥♥♥♥ed key this time. And that was pretty much the only working “fix” that allowed me to play Multiplayer and access the DLC.”
Shocked? Oh don’t worry it gets even better! Now assuming, like me, you weren’t smart enough to see this issue early on and missed out on claiming a refund, Ubisoft, according to another user SillyWalk, will offer replacement Uplay keys as compensation. The catch? As he puts it,
“…my filesave got corrupted with the change of the key, but they had already told me beforehand that would happen if I wanted to change the key. I had only been playing the game for a bit, since I wanted to play again all the previous AC before this one, so it wasn’t a problem for me, but for other persons it has probably lead to hours and hours of gameplay lost (and maybe people who would prefer to keep their saves rather than gaining access to the multiplayer and the dlcs)…”
In this case, it definitely has. I’ve already put around 30 hours into the game, and I have no desire to repeat the infamous 12-hour tutorial.
So a good question to ask is why post about this now? It’s a big problem, but it’s from a game that’s a good four years old now. Well, the reason I think it’s worth posting about now is because 1. There’s no telling if this can happen in the future with another Ubisoft property (and quite frankly I doubt they’d try and fix it because then they get more people to use their horrid service UPlay), and 2. It’s worth noting that the Assassin’s creed Movie is releasing on December 21st, which isn’t that far away. It wouldn’t shock me if in order to garner more hype for the movie, they chose to discount the Assassin’s Creed franchise on Steam and Uplay. So, for anyone who reads this:
DON’T get tempted by the cheap prices
DON’T buy any Ubisoft game on Steam without researching if you’re likely to get scammed like so many others have
And DON’T buy Assassin’s Creed 3 on Steam unless you know that this issue is fixed or you won’t be affected by it.
But DO spread the word if the same thing has happened to you. I have no idea if this issue affects other Ubisoft titles, but if it does, sound off in the comments or share the issue so others will know. Ubisoft has always been a controversial publisher, but this is a new low for the gaming industry. Here’s hoping spreading the word about this issue will encourage them to rectify the situation with their customers.