Remember that new Ubisoft copy protection scheme we wrote about in January? Instead of installation limits and CD checks, the new DRM mechanism simply requires an Internet connection to play. If you're disconnected, no biggie: Ubisoft said the game will simply pause until you get back online.
Judging from a post on the PC Gamer blog, the publisher pretty much failed to keep its promise, at least when it comes to the PC version of Assassin's Creed II:
The game first starts the Ubisoft Game Launcher, which checks for updates. If you try to launch the game when you're not online, you hit an error message right away. So I tried a different test: start the game while online, play a little, then unplug my net cable. This is the same as what happens if your net connection drops momentarily, your router is rebooted, or the game loses its connection to Ubisoft's 'Master servers'. The game stopped, and I was dumped back to a menu screen - all my progress since it last autosaved was lost.
Pausing the game is one thing; booting a player out and forgetting his progress is another entirely. That could make things particularly frustrating for users who encounter connection issues outside of their control—like cable outages or even downtime with Ubisoft's servers.
As the PC Gamer blog points out, "even massively multiplayer games aren't so draconian about the internet," because players "don't lose anything" if their connection happens to go down.
Assassin's Creed II will be out for the PC on March 16. The new DRM scheme is expected to find its way into most future Ubisoft games, as well.
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