Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Quality Control Is Not A Next Gen Concept

I really, really hate it when I buy a game for the Xbox 360 and the first thing I see is a request for an update. WTF? I just took my new game out of its wrapper, and I'm already being hit up for an update? And on release day?

This is just one of the small nuisances today's gamers have to live with. Thanks to the proliferation of online gaming, the industry is now full swing in its "launch now, patch later" mentality. Shipping a half-assed product is becoming the norm, and it seems there's nothing we can do about it save for protesting with our dollars.

Case in point: Ubi Soft's Rainbow Six: Vegas 2. As if being a $60 expansion pack weren't enough, the game is also chock full of ugly glitches. Bullets miss their targets at point blank range, enemies kill you through concrete walls, and grenades sometimes have less effect than year-old firecrackers. This alone would be enough to get many a panty in a wad, but Ubi Soft has done us one better. See, in its mad dash to boost its quarterly earnings, it shipped a game with glitched achievements.


Remember the original Rainbow Six: Vegas for the Xbox 360? A great game to be sure, but it had the most annoying glitched achievement. Completing the game on Realistic difficulty was supposed to earn you a hearty bonus, but imagine my surprise when I complete the game and get... nothing. It turns out that if you quit to the menu and later reload your save, the difficulty defaults back to normal. The only way to get the Realistic achievement is to play each level individually and set the difficulty manually. This was annoying, especially after I had gone through all the trouble of finishing the game a second time.

This time around, Ubi Soft took even longer to get off its ass, and the achievement is even worse. Now, it's completely random. You might get it by finishing the game solo on Realistic... or you might not. You might get it by beating the game as the host in online/split-screen co-op... or you might not. Hell, a pal of mine over at The Next Level got it after beating the game in online co-op on normal difficulty!

This is just too much. I'm already upset that my reward for having beaten the first game was 2500 XP - and no PFC achievement. That's the first glitched achievement players encountered, and all they did was load the game. Ubi Soft reportedly knows of the problem and is "looking into it," but I have little faith in its ability to fix this promptly. Chances are, the patch will arrive a month after I've moved on to another game (namely GTA 4), and I just won't care anymore. Ubi Soft pulled this shit before after I bought the red map pack for the first R6: V, when they later said it had been a mistake to charge and then GAVE EVERYONE THE MAPS FOR FREE. I'm still waiting for my refund, but I'm sure that was just another empty promise.

Before you raise your shotgun in my direction, please know that I've enjoyed Rainbow 6: Vegas 2 very much, despite its glitches. I've beaten the single-player campaign twice, finished all terrorist hunt maps on Realistic difficulty, and I'm two ranks away from the coveted Elite status. I love the gameplay, and since Ubi Soft only added a sprint button to what was already rock-solid, that portion of the experience is still as enjoyable as ever. I just wish the glitches weren't there, and the developers weren't taking so darn long to fix things.

For that reason, I think I'll refrain from buying anymore Ubi Soft titles at launch. Until the company gets its shit together and actually finishes its games before releasing them, I'll either buy them used or discounted, or I'll just not buy them at all. Perhaps it's time to put my dollars to better use somewhere else.

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