Crispy Gamer

Initial Impressions: The Settlers 7: Paths to a Kingdom

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For the life of me, I can't understand the mindset of Ubisoft. They were (and perhaps still are), one of the only major competitors of the EA juggernaut, and yet they decide, for whatever reason, to actively destroy their brand name on PCs. Their "always connected to the Ubi-servers" DRM will probably go down in the annals of history right alongside New Coke as a "what were they thinking?" self-destructive period. Perhaps it's the French's historically feeble attempts at proper capitalism, but they just don't seem to understand the relationship of trust that needs to exist between consumer and producer. It takes a long time and lots of effort for a company to be so widely respected that people will buy from it without a second thought. Once that reputation is established, it takes a colossal fool to throw it away.

 
     Piracy is the oft quoted "cause" of these draconian DRM measures, and indeed, piracy is a problem, though a much smaller problem than publishers and some media outlets would have you believe. I admit that I used to illegally download games all the time. I never felt good about it, but I was poor and addicted to gaming. Now, I'm still poor, but in aspiring to Objectivist ideals, I forswore the practice. But once again I'm considering it, not as a way to get something for nothing, but as a way of joining the protest. The way it is now, I can either play the pirated versions of these games, or I can buy a useless piece of junk. Even if I had to pay for the pirated version, I would still be getting something I could actually use.
 
     You may be asking yourselves what this has to do with The Settlers 7. I would love to give you my first impressions of this game, as I was a fan of the previous game The Settlers: Rise of an Empire. However Ubisoft, in deciding that I, the customer, am the enemy, has denied me access to the game that I supposedly own. As of right now (and for the past four hours) the game is unplayable to me, displaying a message saying "Server not available. Please try again later," right before shutting the entire program down. I'll keep trying to get access to "my" game so I can review the damn thing, but in the meantime, I would advice against buying this game (or any game) until Ubisoft makes their DRM a little less Saddam Hussein-y.

You're joking, right?