Now for many reading this, the above statement isn’t exactly news. But if you’re new to the whole GFWL scene, or you just enjoy witnessing people vent their frustration on the Internet, read on.
Two weeks ago, STEAM had a massive end of the year sale on just about anything and everything in their catalog. Among the games I picked up, one of the games I was more eager to get to playing was Red Faction: Guerrilla, as I’d heard some excellent things about it over the past several months. Last night I finally got around to booting it up, and I was greeted by what can only be described as my worst experience to date with a PC game.
Upon initially booting up the game, I’m forced to go through a host of settings changes. Not exactly a deal breaker, or even unexpected, but in 2010 I feel like it’s not asking too much for a game to at least be able to detect the resolution I’m running at.
Okay, now that I’ve got that out of the way it should just be a simple matter of hitting start new game and away we go, right? Wrong. Upon hitting the button that says “start new game” it instead takes me to a screen that requests I sign into GFWL. A bit unintuitive but no biggie, deep down I’m a bit of an achievement whore anyways. So I log in and I’m immediately greeted with a “GFWL needs to update” screen. Now, I just downloaded and installed GFWL not 2 hours ago directly through Microsoft’s website, so why they didn’t provide me with an up to date setup file is beyond me, but whatever. I click OK, and after about 60 seconds or so it finishes updating, then promptly kicks me out of my game without so much as a warning.
I boot up RF:G, again. Go through the whole start game, login process, again. And I’m greeted by the same “GFWL needs to update” message, even though I just did the update. Just wonderful. I update and get kicked back to my desktop again. This time a remember that the GFWL updater said the update “may” require me to restart my computer. I never actually got a message telling me to do so, but it never hurts to try. So I restart, boot up RF:G, click “start new game”, and finally I’m greeted with a login screen.
I type in my info, and as I’m logging into GFWL I get a message telling me that RF:G now needs to download an update. Sigh. Obviously, this shouldn’t come as a surprise to me that a PC game needs a patch, but I’m already 15min into this process, and by this point I just want to play the game. Regardless, I opt to apply the update, and after several minutes of downloading I get, once more, kicked out of the game without warning to apply the update. The only problem is, unlike the GFWL update this one doesn’t finish installing.
Fuck it. At this point I really don’t care anymore. I just want to play my freakin game. I start up again, and this time when it prompts me to update I tell it no thank you. Oh but there’s just one problem, something that I failed to notice earlier. You see, without being logged into GFWL, RF:G doesn’t save any of your progress in the game. And without applying the update to RF:G, GFWL won’t finish logging me in.
In order to keep an already long story from being any longer, I’ll just sum things up by saying that I spent the next 30-45 min searching for, and working through, a solution, which involved, among other things, diving into the command line and editing my registry. Not exactly user-friendly, and definitely not the kind of experience that I would have paid money for had I known this is what it would be like beforehand.
In the end I spent about an hour and a half messing with the stupid updates to this game and all of 15 min playing it last night. The most ridiculous part of it all, if Microsoft or Volition hadn't been so intent on locking down their game and screwing over their customers, none of this would have been a problem. Why do I need to log into GFWL to verify my copy is legit when I'm already logged into STEAM, which verifies my copy is legit? Why can't I download the patch from anybody other than Microsoft? At the very least Volition should have it available on their website.
Again, if you're familiar with GFWL already, then none of this is news to you. It's a horrible abortion of a product, and Microsoft ought to be embarrassed to have their name attached to it, especially when there are so many people out there, including Microsoft themselves, who so much of a better job at this. To be fair, Volition shares just as much blame for this experience. But since problems with GFWL extend far beyond just RF:G, and since GFWL really has no place in the market and should have died a quite death a long time ago, it gets to bear the brunt of my ire.