Recently the Epic Games Store ran their “Epic Mega Sale,” in which not only were games on sale, but they issued ten dollar coupons to everyone to entice people to buy more. Needless to say, this offer worked and I picked up Assassin’s Creed Odyssey for only a couple of bucks, thus starting a several day journey of actually getting to play the damn thing.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey clocked in around 81 gigabytes for its initial install time. I wasn’t surprised by how massive it was considering I knew how big of a game it was. Sure having to wait a few hours for something to install sucks, but it’s an unavoidable part of playing just about any game these days. This was something I anticipated and was prepared for.
What I wasn’t ready for was the disconnect between the Epic Games Store and Uplay, a factor that took me alarmingly long to realize and fix. See, when you launch a Ubisoft title outside of Uplay itself, Uplay still has to launch and authorize that you actually own the game. What I hadn’t accounted for was the fact that I hadn’t actually launched Uplay for a long time, so it needed to update itself as well, but since I was running a shell of UPlay the actual program itself was unable to update.
I was met with a blue dialogue box in Ubisoft colors that said something to the effect of “looking for updates.” This box never went away. It was looking for updates but couldn’t find any. After some time of waiting, I decided to just launch Uplay by itself to see if an update would automatically initialize. Luckily, that did the trick.
So now I was ready to go, right? Of course not. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey had a 30 gigabyte update ready and waiting for me. You would think that in buying the game I would have received the most updated version of the dang thing, but no. For some reason, far beyond my comprehension, I still had an update that was nearly half the size of the game to install before I could have my fun stabbing adventures.
Finally, the update was applied and I was ready to go, right? Nope! Because suddenly Uplay was asking me for a CD key for the game I just bought, and I couldn’t find that information in my cursory searching through the Epic Games Store. So I restarted the Epic store to see if that might refresh some entitlements or something, and it kind of worked out. I had to link my Epic account to Uplay, something I could’ve sworn I already did when I bought The Division 2 when it initially released. So I did that and finally I could play the game, right?
If that was the end of the saga, I might not have written this article at all, but unfortunately for me a new problem appeared just in time to properly piss me off. The game launches, I do the intro mission and start to progress. Not five minutes into actually playing the game as the protagonist, it crashes.
The first mission in the game has you face off against two hooligans who come and harass you on behalf of some gang leader named “The Cyclops.” After roughing them up, you get to make your first choice in the game of whether to kill them or let them live. I chose the latter. A cut-scene happens and you have to make your way a short distance to the next objective. On that journey, I was ambushed by the hooligans I had spared and had to properly dispatch them this time. Upon killing the final enemy in the group, the game crashed.
It did this every single time. I have played this 3 minute portion of the mission a total of 5 times already in the hopes that something different would happen, and I could finally enjoy the fucking game I paid for. I don’t even want to play the game that badly anymore thanks to the multi-day calamity that I’ve been through with Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, but part of me doesn’t want to let the game get away with this bullshit.
This whole article has been pretty directly pointed at Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, but this is the kind of shit that can happen in the world of PC gaming and digital distribution. Now, I love playing games on my computer and consider it my go-to place for gaming, but this kind of nonsense is the exact kind of thing that makes me think I’d be better off just playing it on my PS4. But this isn’t unique to Assassin’s Creed Odyssey considering that just last year I went through this exact same thing with Red Dead Redemption II, also through an Epic Games Store purchase.
I know that all of this sounds like I’d end this article bashing Epic or Ubisoft, but I kind of get why it’s such a mess. Publishers want to make as much money as they possibly can, which is why almost all of them have their own PC launcher and storefront. But they also want to put their games where people will actually see them like Steam, Epic or GOG, and still be able to verify purchases and track their players habits in game. That’s why whenever you buy a Ubisoft game on Steam, it launches an extra layer of DRM in the form of Uplay. It’s cumbersome and annoying, but I get it. The problem is that while these problems don’t always crop up, when they do it’s usually because the solutions aren’t as seamless or elegant as you’d hope. I don’t know what the solution to all of this is, but I do know that I’m going to fucking play Assassin’s Creed Odyssey even if I have to reinstall the god damned thing.
UPDATE #1: I have verified the files of the game and unfortunately was greeted with the same crash in the same place, every time.
UPDATE #2: I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I’m going to have to reinstall this game, and have already begun that process. It’s been two hours and I’m around two-thirds of the way through the download.
UPDATE #3: The installation process is complete and I have officially completed that mission without any additional hiccups. The frame rate is a little wonky though.
UPDATE #4: I haven’t played the game in days. This was a really good use of my time.