: I'm Forced To Retract My AC Unity Review

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I'm Forced To Retract My AC Unity Review

I would like to explain and clarify before proceeding:

I've been reviewing video games for 15 years. I have never felt the need to retract a review, although I have made mistakes in my analysis (though none so grievous as to warrant a complete retraction). I have issued reviews based on games I did not complete and despite what the obscenely righteous will say, you're unlikely to find any critic who has completed every game he or she has reviewed. Most times, it's simply not realistic for a wide variety of reasons (lack of resources for the publication, sheer lack of time, etc.).

Secondly, this is not an attack on Ubisoft. In fact, I'm one of their biggest supporters and I appreciate their ambition in new IPs like Watch Dogs. I will add that I'm a huge fan of the Assassin's Creed franchise, so this isn't a personal vendetta against the series. Now, in regards to my review, let me be clear: I stand by the sentiments of the review, although I must now retract the overall score. I will not issue a new review and I won't change that score; I don't believe that's the right thing to do. Rather, I'm offering this editorial to all gamers out there.

You may call it unprofessional if you wish. You can say I should've played the game longer or thought about it for an extended period of time before providing the reading public with a review. Personally, I don't believe I should have to play a game for 50 hours before I start questioning things. But regardless of my beliefs and how I approach my reviews, I'm in the wrong. When you write for a gaming website, you really have to produce reviews quickly if you want to remain competitive; whether gamers don't understand this or don't wish to accept it, I don't know. And it's irrelevant, anyway. What matters is that Assassin's Creed Unity didn't deserve a 9.

I still believe we should reward ambition in this industry. It's the only way we'll progress. I still say much of what we see in Unity is wonderfully ambitious and even astounding. However, after playing for a very long time, I've had to accept some harsh truths: First, while I knew Arno was too "sticky" from the start, I never realized just how much of a problem that could be, especially in the last few missions of the game, and in some of the harder Co-Op and Heist missions. In regards to the obvious technical issues, I can only say that they never bothered me too much; this retraction is not due to those problems. They factor into my decision, but those well-publicized glitches didn't dictate for me.

Up next is the fact that the more you play, the more you feel manipulated. You don't really find out until later that there's no way to earn all the Skill points you require simply by sticking to the single-player missions. Co-Op missions offer way more Skill points and while you can play them solo, they're quite difficult without allies. In order to open Initiate chests, you have to have a Uplay account; in order to open Nomad chests, you have to download (and extensively play) the Companion App; in order to see all the collectibles on the map, you have to use Helix points to snag Time Saver Packs. And as nobody can seem to figure out how to reliably earn Helix points, Ubisoft unsurprisingly asks you to pay for them. Prior to this game, viewpoints unlocked these collectibles and optional missions; now, viewpoints unlock less than half.

Parts of the main game are closed off if you don't get the Dead Kings Expansion. This includes the Guillotine Guns, various pieces of equipment, and a different section of the map; you can see these when you play the game, but you're told several times that in order to access them, you have to get the DLC in question. Granted, that DLC is now free, but only because Ubisoft so badly botched the launch; they originally intended for the DLC to be premium. Except, that's not an expansion. That's something else you need to unlock more of what appears to be the base game. This is wrong. This is the kind of practice we really can't encourage in developers and publishers these days and again, it's not the kind of thing I really noticed until after playing for many hours.

I didn't realize how much Ubisoft wanted you to be "connected" or how devious they were in essentially forcing you to play multiplayer. I will admit that you don't have to do all these things if you wish to simply zip through and finish the game. But really, that's not what an open-world sandbox game is about; almost nobody races through and does nothing else. In this case, it seems like most every optional thing in Unity has a string attached. I've been reflecting on the game as a whole for weeks now. I've tried to convince myself that the original score I handed out is justified, for a number of legitimate reasons. But if I sat down to review it now, after discovering everything that I've discovered, would I assign the same score? The answer, unfortunately, is no. As such, I'm issuing a retraction for the score although not the entire analysis, as a lot of that remains sound.

I'm sure this won't go over well with everyone, especially Ubisoft, but at least my conscience will be clear. :)

1/16/2015 Ben Dutka

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Comments (81 posts)

DIsmael85
Friday, January 16, 2015 @ 10:23:02 PM
Reply

Bravo for standing up for your own personal feelings on this game. I can't bring myself to play this at all. Black Flag was the nail in the coffin in my opinion, but with how you described what Ubisoft is trying to implement onto players, it's a good thing I saved my money. If you felt this was necessary then no one should argue with your decision to retract the review. Critics should be allowed to reflect on games even after a review. It's what makes you a gamer.

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FM23
Friday, January 16, 2015 @ 10:26:57 PM

Glad I'm borrowing this from a friend now.

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Rachet_JC_FTW
Saturday, January 17, 2015 @ 5:29:42 AM

AC4 was way better at launch than unity its a whole other kettle of fish atleast thats the way i see it cos it wasn't broken and didn't need a billion patches just to make it work even just normally

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FM23
Friday, January 16, 2015 @ 10:26:06 PM
Reply

Damn...That was deep!!! This whole "connected" and "dlc" revolution is truly problematic. Developers releasing season passes in order for you to play the full product.

But this digital era as a whole is a financial mess for us. PSN is a paid service now, your playstation for some reason advertises a digital copy purchase on the start up menu even though you're preparing to launch the physical copy, and dl freaking c.

And why are we paying for dlc. If a developer didn't reach the gold deadline...save it for the sequel or work harder to make sure your current body of work shines. But of course with examples like this game, Forza (microtransactions) and Driveclub (adding cars to an already limited roster for a fee after all the freebies for a broken game released) floating around...well I don't know how I feel.

Since I got my PS4, I feel like it's always trying to get me to spend money on something. The PS3 era never felt that way at all.

Side note: Why does Driveclub give you the option to open an event that's clearly unavailable because you haven't purchased this event from the PS store??? Haha such nonsense. I mean after GT6, this game is highly deprived of content. And GT6 seasonal events put Driveclub to shame. Just saying

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WorldEndsWithMe
Saturday, January 17, 2015 @ 3:53:34 AM

agree. As far as Driveclub goes that's just sad, Final Fantasy XIII-2 did the same thing, they had an option to buy a portion of the amusement park but never actually made the dlc. Sad.

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FM23
Saturday, January 17, 2015 @ 9:32:48 AM

Oh wow!!! Haha Talk about teasing the senses. No man enjoys just a tease lol

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DemonNeno
Friday, January 16, 2015 @ 10:48:27 PM
Reply

I figured. This whole customization system seems a bit over the hill. Hack, buy, or use Creed(?) points that seem like a pain in the ass to acquire. Color schemes are like a million dollars. Color schemes. Do people really spend 10k just to get yet-another mediocre palette of green/brown/blue/black/purple? Fire truck red it is, then? What really boils my blood about the purchasing system is that you PURCHASE your attributes? Seriously? There isn't a nifty story as to how the Assassin's help Arno become a competent Assassin?

What REALLY has been bothering me in the game are the controls. He just won't let go of crap. The "Press R2 to climb into windows" nonsense isn't true. When you're scaling, it's not that easy OR rewarding.

I'm happy that I decided to play the game, but don't think it's a step ahead of black flag, which I really enjoyed. I wouldn't call this a side step. I feel like it's more of a brotherhood type deal. Totally falls short of what makes playing it enjoyable. Hold this and this to go up, this and that to go down, OR don't hold this and this and just jump, but this and that are necessary to not plunge to your death... UNLESS you're near something he can climb down, which nullifies the need for this and that. ALTHOUGH he'll do it slower.

Seriously, man. Get it freaking right. I DON'T need it, but the animations are SO MUCH SLOWER and, somehow, leaping 40 feet straight down when holding R2+O won't harm you. WHEREAS just doing it the old school AC way would kill you.

Combat *seems* to try and meet this stringent timing model, yet it fails to counter nearly half of the time at the least. It seems like countering a move mid-animation is useless. I'm not a button masher and have tried over and over again to get this straight. Even the rolling from heavy weapons is flawed. I roll, this guy stutters on his swing, and somehow murders me in one hit. Otherwise, it's like 3-4 hits before I dope Arno up on whatever his meds consist of.

This whole online stuff is going to be a challenge for me. I'm simply not intrigued enough to even try it. Companion app, too? Jesus, man.

The REAL question I have to ask is this; What are the repercussions for NOT doing the multi/co-op stuff? I'm not worried about getting anything trophies on this one. I just want to see to the end of the game for the sake of the admittingly intriguing story arc.

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DemonNeno
Friday, January 16, 2015 @ 11:06:39 PM

Yeah, Helix. I thought icon was no longer a helix, but instead a "hack", as the option would imply. Whatever. Just goes to show how freaking confusing all this ruckus gets. Perhaps I just don't have the patience to learn a new language just to play a game...

So, there are Livres, Helix, Sync, and Creed points? And there AREN'T enough Helix or Sync points playing single player. I'm getting dizzy.

Yeah, I haven't spent much time buying stuff yet. I refuse to give up on getting better at this climbing up/down/diving/jumping/fighting/blocking.

I keep calling it Hex points. I need to sleep and stop thinking about AC. :)

Last edited by DemonNeno on 1/16/2015 11:09:04 PM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Saturday, January 17, 2015 @ 12:06:12 AM

""Press R2 to climb into windows" nonsense isn't true. When you're scaling, it's not that easy OR rewarding."

That won't work because it's L2, I believe.

But you're right about most of the other stuff. Arno will NOT let go. It's gets infuriating.

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DemonNeno
Saturday, January 17, 2015 @ 11:08:22 AM

Thanks, Ben. Thanks for the original review and thanks for this follow up. I (obviously) frequent PSXE and visit 2 other sites religiously (dualshockers and GTPlanet) for my console stuff. I find harmony in your views and reviews.

This place is a gem amongst so many flawed sites.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Saturday, January 17, 2015 @ 11:10:21 AM

Much appreciated. :)

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Killa Tequilla
Saturday, January 17, 2015 @ 12:09:18 AM
Reply

Yeah, I have to agree. There's so much wrong with Unity yet the game at first glance is awesome. Once you start stripping it apart, you can tell it isn't a game, it only appears to be one. What it really is--is a money printing device. What a shame.

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Rachet_JC_FTW
Saturday, January 17, 2015 @ 5:27:18 AM

yeah pritty much aye becoming a bit disappointing

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pillz81
Thursday, January 22, 2015 @ 11:13:42 AM

Money grubbing device, more like.

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Corvo
Saturday, January 17, 2015 @ 12:34:17 AM
Reply

Well... I applaud you Ben. I retract any and all negative statements I made to/about you and will say I acted like a jackass. Please find it in your heart to forgive me.

And the window thing got me killed A LOT. Climbing in general got me killed more than fighting enemies. Anyways, sorry again.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Saturday, January 17, 2015 @ 1:16:14 AM

All is forgotten. :)

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WorldEndsWithMe
Saturday, January 17, 2015 @ 12:57:20 AM
Reply

Takes a big man to admit that when you know you're dealing with a serious critic and not a website traffic whore. I know from experience Ben is the former.

This editorial raises the issue that ubisoft is pressing way too hard on, the need to keep paying them to get the full experience. That, I believe, is part of the greed that comes along with annualization. There's this need to grab all the cash they can before the bubble bursts. It's sickening and it wrecks games.

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Ather
Saturday, January 17, 2015 @ 2:28:34 AM
Reply

I remember this. Journalistic integrity.

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Rachet_JC_FTW
Saturday, January 17, 2015 @ 5:25:52 AM

absolutely right on

Last edited by Rachet_JC_FTW on 1/17/2015 5:26:11 AM

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Deleted User
Saturday, January 17, 2015 @ 2:59:52 AM
Reply

The most disturbing trend with professional reviewers is now the patched review. "Yeah, buy this awesome game that I only skimmed the surface of!", then "Oops, We goofed."

I'm not sure that what's above should even constitute a score change. Aversion to any multiplayer seems to be a personal concern NOT an objective opinion which is what a review should be. It's like complaining that a really cool hidden character or weapon is in a game but may be out of your skill range to access and you feel you should get it simply because you paid 60 for the game and it is already on the disc.

As far as the DLC, that is a forgone conclusion in damn near every game this gen,so why does Unity get hook? There are things you cannot do in GTA 5 without having the iFruit app. Shouldn't that game be knocked down a peg for that? Also, because of the game's MP, the Dead Kings portion of Paris may have needed to be put in as a placeholder for technical reasons. Is there any way that can be verified through any of your contacts before we begin acusing them of some sort of underhanded scam?

Like everyone above, I respect that you put yourself out there. Still, when you say "clearing your conscience*, it almost implies Ubisoft is deceiving people with the product they are selling and I haven't seen anything in my playthrough or in your retraction that would confirm that.

Last edited by n/a on 1/17/2015 3:20:06 AM

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Beamboom
Saturday, January 17, 2015 @ 3:29:54 AM

I'm not answering on behalf of Ben or anything but I wanna chime in cause this topic is interesting:

You say "Aversion to any multiplayer [...] like complaining that a really cool hidden character or weapon is in a game but may be out of your skill range to access and you feel you should get it simply because you paid 60 for the game and it is already on the disc. "

No. That's a bad comparison - it's not the same at all!

I experienced something comparable with Mass Effect 3, where there was a power "rating" that were affected also by multiplayer activities, and (at least according to rumours) would influence the single player campaign.

Mass Effect was a trilogy where I got totally immersed in the story, and this was the grand ending. I had my Shepard and I really did care about the characters around me and the universe I was in.

For me, to jump out of the campaign and into the storyless multiplayer mode and kill waves of enemies with some random players just took me so TOTALLY out of the story.

So no, it's not just a gun I can't reach. It hasn't even anything to do with an aversion to multiplayer (I have nothing against mp gaming). It has to do with breaking the experience. To be forced to include random gamers with zero interest in the story or anything but completing a given task feels like a forced short term marriage with a complete stranger you don't like at all.

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Deleted User
Saturday, January 17, 2015 @ 4:11:59 AM

Your comparison is only slightly more relevant. lol.

The thing is, ACU MP is very different from ME3 because while it does hinder you from unlocking certain skills and items it has ZERO affect on the SP campaign for not doing it. Yes, you get MORE for doing MP but what would be the point if there were no rewards for participating in it? One could say that the MP rewards should not be tied with the SP as one seamless experience, still my point is the implied deception on Ubi's part for that design decision.

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Beamboom
Saturday, January 17, 2015 @ 6:34:58 AM

If the multiplayer maps were completely separate, like "physically" an entirely different part of the game, then I'd agree. But it's not. There are items and skills to be gained and used *during your single player campaign* to be earned from it. That merges it into the campaign.

Just like that power rating in ME3. It was in no way essential - quite frankly I seriously doubt it did do much actual difference at all, but just having that darn power bar there in my single player mode, *knowing* that it would have been higher had I done more MP, is enough to ruin it.

It's a psychological thing more than a practical thing, really.

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Deleted User
Saturday, January 17, 2015 @ 8:30:58 AM

Didn't the readiness rating affect the ending and you had to play the mp to get the best ending in the game? That actually seems alot more detrimental than not getting a rew skills. But we agree that rewards for MP would have been better received if it didnt grant tuem in SP but I think it was an attempt to make a seamless experience instead of being labeled as some sort of forced action with negative connotations.

And with ME that was a game that from the start was planned as a trilogy that could be played through as one interconnected, epic saga. MP should have been disorienting. But with AC, each iteration attempts to set itself apart from the previous,

If all of the extra steps required to expand the overall experience function properly and interact together without a hitch then, honestly, how does that merit a drop in score? And if the problem is that that one does not want to have to do any extra to get more items and skills towards the endgame then, honestly, how can any review really be taken as a genuine stamp of approval instead of a knee jerk reaction from a cursory 'dip of the toe'?

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Saturday, January 17, 2015 @ 10:42:06 AM

Kid's wrong again, as usual.

This has nothing to do with a personal aversion to multiplayer. It has everything to do with allowing multiplayer to leak into the single-player and affect the experience. For the same reason I don't believe anyone should have to participate in various single-player activities in order to unlock things in multiplayer (which very rarely happens), being forced to play multiplayer to unlock campaign-related things is equally unacceptable.

The fact remains: Just about every last optional piece of content in Assassin's Creed Unity requires the player to go beyond the campaign. It requires connectivity with Uplay, the Companion App, and multiplayer-oriented missions. They don't even change the difficulty for when you want to attempt those missions solo. Everything about the game is screaming that you shouldn't be playing it by yourself, or without the "connectivity" requirement.

Beating the game is not the point. It's never the point with sandbox games. The point is to indulge oneself in a virtual world as much as possible, which is why people play them. Saying, "oh, you can beat the game without the extra stuff so it doesn't matter" is just beyond stupid. It tells me you have no idea why people play these games, and also tells me you're perfectly willing to be manipulated and pretend that it has something to do with "incentive."

I've played them all, Kid. Just about every open-world sandbox game in existence for the past decade, I've probably tried, if not reviewed. NONE are structured like Unity. None. Unity is so blatant in its discouragement of playing alone and without an Internet connection or a mobile device, that it's just downright insulting. There's a reason why nobody here is agreeing with you, although I'm sure you don't care.

And of course, I expected the first comment from you. What we all should do is just let you review every game that comes out because after all, your "superior gaming mind" (I still can't believe you used those words) would be a great benefit for the entire industry. No, really.

Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 1/17/2015 10:46:14 AM

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xenris
Saturday, January 17, 2015 @ 11:38:42 AM

Kid while I believe one should beat the game before they review it, it isn't a reality and you can usually come to a conclusion of the game far before you beat it.

The problem is some games start off really bad then all of the sudden get really good, whether the gameplay opens up or the story.

Other games start great and then you might start encountering bugs, or the gameplay gets incredibly repetitive etc.

In this case I think that it is fine to retract a review, and I have heard very similar complaints about unity from other people as well.

While the content might be optional, it is different if they make a couple items or things available only through a companion app, or multiplayer. HOWEVER when they take steps backwards to alienate people who only want to play single player that is wrong. Especially when there is not inherent benefit to it, except for the fact that it might nudge people to pay for micros.

Further that with the fact that micro transactions are involved and you get a recipe for a game that comes across as a cash grab.

I think Ubisoft is deceiving people, they are trying to make an annual franchise and this game needs a break, just as much as Call of Duty does.

This game comes across as a cash grab to me, sure they put money end effort into the game but putting up so many barriers to play the extra content is stupid plain and simple. Especially when those barriers are MP in a franchise that started out SP. You are kind of alienating your oldest fans and supporters.

In all the years I have come here this is the first time Ben has ever done anything like this and I commend him. And am agreeing with his decision to retract his review.

Last edited by xenris on 1/17/2015 11:40:15 AM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Saturday, January 17, 2015 @ 12:04:31 PM

xenris: "Cash grab" is unfortunately a perfect description of Unity. "Deceptive" is another good word. Everywhere you turn, there's an option to buy something and that option often doesn't FEEL like an option. This goes double if you feel you're entitled to the full experience, whether or not you choose to be connected or multiplayer.

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Beamboom
Saturday, January 17, 2015 @ 12:52:50 PM

@Ben: No need to be so harsh in your reply, Ben. Make love not war.

@Kid: I haven't checked on YouTube if there were any better endings, but I would be surprised if there are any significant differences *if* you do the single player campaign well. I don't recall exactly how that readiness rating worked during the campaign but I did all missions as well as possible and remember that I was satisfied with the rating as it were. I suspect the mp-addition on the rating will be of more importance if you don't do the single player campaign that well (in itself a good idea - on paper!).

Actually: If there were some ingame items or abilities I missed due to not doing the multiplayer part, I'd be much more annoyed. Cause guns and abilities are fun!

You are right that they attempt to make something new in every iteration - and are of courwse in every right to do so. It's also something I've saluted them for in the past.
But equally, a reviewer is in every right to say that these new things are not for the better, and rate it accordingly. Just like any property of any game is rated.

If BioWare had added a pile of apps and websites and social media plugins and whatnot into their productions I'd cry in public. Cry, I say. Big, salty tears.


Last edited by Beamboom on 1/17/2015 12:59:16 PM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Saturday, January 17, 2015 @ 6:02:49 PM

I'll be as harsh I wish. This wasn't an easy thing to do and all this guy can do is show up and preach. He doesn't respond well to sense, so don't bother. He's here to bully and enforce his will, as has been obvious since day one.

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Deleted User [Administrator]
Sunday, January 18, 2015 @ 4:04:32 AM

Ben, come on. I just disagree with what you are saying about Unity. Ive completed the game. There is an amazing amount of single player content without doing any extras, which I didn't do until free roam. And I didnt drop one dime in a microtransaction. The stuff you cannot get except by doing the app CANNOT be purchased by microtransactions. Those are only for in game items that you can get by playing, completing missions and getting cash which is in abundance.

I've played every open world game too. And there arent many that I have completed that I have been able to get every stat, skill, or item without having to either replay missions, free roam, or start a new game plus. Besides NG+, the options are available in ACU. Grindy, yeah but that's what it takes.

So, again I don't agree with your stance of a nefarious plan on Ubi's part. I think it was an attempt to integrate everything into one seamless adventure amd all the rewards for doing so are interconnected. Would it have been nice to have everything in one single player package? Yes, but the thing that would be missed out on in comparison to what is in the meaty adventure, to me doesn't even warrant the retraction. Which, let's face it, is you falling on your sword with a wink. If you're looking for a pat on the head from me, dude, you will have to do better than this.

And what's with you? Are you just showing off for people who are new to the site? We had it out weeks ago and I apologized, admitted fault, and pledged to change my argumentative ways which I have and will continue to do. Yeah, I cant erase any negative sentiments in a flash, but I'm trying, so cut me a tiny bit of slack. This is me disagreeing.. Do I think you should have gotten it right the first time. YES. And as a loyal reader, why can't I say that? Please explain that to me. This was a nice discussion between two gamers and then you jumped in and it degenerated into the usual name calling and offensive comments whenever you decide to post down here. Seriously, who's the real bully here?

Last edited by n/a on 1/18/2015 4:08:18 AM

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Beamboom
Sunday, January 18, 2015 @ 10:29:20 AM

Kid, just give it time. Don't expect sudden changes.

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Deleted User
Sunday, January 18, 2015 @ 1:14:44 PM

Beam, it's the internet. If there's any place on Earth to lighten up, be tongue in cheek, it's here. To hold a grudge seems borderline retarded. Especially over words, and especially over words aimed strictly at plastic boxes and faceless companies. Actually, that's not borderline, it just plain is.

Last edited by n/a on 1/18/2015 1:16:17 PM

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Beamboom
Sunday, January 18, 2015 @ 3:26:26 PM

No it's not. This is not about plastic boxes and faceless companies at all. This is about responding to something the writer personally found hard to write.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Sunday, January 18, 2015 @ 4:44:43 PM

" We had it out weeks ago and I apologized, admitted fault, and pledged to change my argumentative ways which I have and will continue to do."

A lie. As proven by the very first words written in response to this thread:

"The most disturbing trend with professional reviewers is now the patched review. "Yeah, buy this awesome game that I only skimmed the surface of!", then "Oops, We goofed."

I make an admission, say I'm wrong, know I'm going to get flak for it, do it ENTIRELY for the purpose of the consumer, and all you can do is blame reviewers and of course, indirectly, me.

And nobody ever said anything about a "nefarious" plan on Ubisoft's part. YOU said that. That was your interpretation, not mine. I said they simply hid some things from those who want to play "off the grid" and those things only become more and more prominent with time. That's fact. There's nothing to say against that.

This is not you "disagreeing." This is you preaching and calling me out, as you've never failed to do. The day you can stop letting your ego rule your actions is the day you'll actually prove something to me and everyone else here.

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Deleted User [Administrator]
Sunday, January 18, 2015 @ 5:30:41 PM

"Cash grab is unfortunately the perfect description of Unity."

If that sentence doesnt imply anything underhanded I don't know what does. Yes, I voiced my opinion on review retractions. I also said while I didn't agree with the grounds for the retraction I repected that you put yourself out there by admitting fault. You say you expected flak, but you don't take it like that, Ben. Read the posts here. Youre ok when people say you're great but any dissent or disagreement you lash out. If this truly was for "gamers" then you take the good with the bad, like anyone that makes a mistake in the real world. Man up, take it, and do better.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Sunday, January 18, 2015 @ 5:55:36 PM

Shut it.

You can hide behind your self-righteous garbage all you want. You did precisely what I would've predicted you'd do with this piece: Take it as an opportunity to insult me. The rest is just blather.

You have no clue what it's like to do what I do, and do something like what I just did. None whatsoever. So just stop.

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readerExtreme
Sunday, January 18, 2015 @ 10:59:02 PM

I have watched Ben throw accusations towards Ubi and users. I've watched him be dismissive and hostile but most of all I have watched him be hypocritical and phony.

Who retracts a review and leaves the review WITH SCORE up? Answer, someone who wants the traffic, someone who lines his sidebar in footer with click bait terms (some may call that a cash grab or deceptive - a theme in this article).

Ignore common sense brought to you, flame your users and be as harsh as you want as it is your site. I for one will be more careful to not follow click bait to this site or dream of engaging in a reasonable discussion with the proprietor. It was noble though to SAY you retracted your review. Congrats on that I guess and the micro-spike of traffic it produced.

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frylock25
Saturday, January 17, 2015 @ 3:38:41 AM
Reply

Ben Im not sure if you remember but one time i asked you if you have ever wanted to change your review score after posting a review. you stood by that you are positive about your reviews when you post them. glad to see you will actually change them if you do change your mind.

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Jumpinbeans
Saturday, January 17, 2015 @ 4:38:51 AM
Reply

Maybe you can go back and alter the drive club review because it certainly is worth more than a 7.6 in its current state.

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PHOENIXZERO
Saturday, January 17, 2015 @ 5:21:31 AM
Reply

Will you be removing the 9 from Metacritic?

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Rachet_JC_FTW
Saturday, January 17, 2015 @ 5:25:05 AM

like he can do that just saying but i get you where your coming from

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Saturday, January 17, 2015 @ 10:43:13 AM

No, but there's a link to this article in the review now.

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Bonampak
Saturday, January 17, 2015 @ 12:15:37 PM

They're talking about your article at neoGAF, Ben.

It seems that keeping the 9 is an issue there. Some fail to consider this a real retraction when the score remains.

Other users are backing you up.

There is a user there and who writes reviews for Kotaku. He mentions that you had 5 days to play the game. So he's implying that you had had more than enough time to go deep enough into the game and discover what you eventually did. Plus he brags that he mentions in every one of his reviews how much time he invested in the games he reviews. Again, implying that a real pro would do that.

Here's the thread on your article:

http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=973655

Anyway, I commend you for issuing this retraction. And being honest about it. Kudos.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Saturday, January 17, 2015 @ 6:27:06 PM

I actually think I know who that is and he doesn't work for Kotaku; he just cited them as a source that tells people how long they played a game for before reviewing.

He makes an assumption concerning how long I had the game, though. The idea that all critics from all sources get products for review at the same time is just laughable, really.

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Underdog15
Saturday, January 17, 2015 @ 11:32:11 PM

I didn't go to the site to see, but if I was a betting man, I'd wager something like that stinking of Spartan. :p

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Bio
Sunday, January 18, 2015 @ 4:25:40 PM

I don't post at GAF, Underdog, and if I have a problem with something Ben says, I say it to his face.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Sunday, January 18, 2015 @ 5:57:20 PM

Well THAT'S certainly true.

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Bio
Sunday, January 18, 2015 @ 6:10:02 PM

My only point was that if I was going to rag on you for this, I'd do it here, not GAF.

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Rachet_JC_FTW
Saturday, January 17, 2015 @ 5:23:26 AM
Reply

well i respect that ben you need to be remain true to urself even in ur prefession other wise i think you'll lose faith in ur self but good on you and good points and i know we all apprciate that you doing this being you felt the conviction to do so and went through with it that took some guts to do so repsect be and keep up the good work, and i totally understand where you are coming from

happy gaming

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TheIllusiveMan
Saturday, January 17, 2015 @ 8:15:17 AM
Reply

The part about Dead Kings simply isn't true. Content from the main game is not actually locked, because the content that's locked was added in with an update after the game came out. All of the equipment linked with Dead Kings was not in the base game, including the guillotine guns. The extra map might have had an icon to go to in order to travel to it, but that doesn't mean that the actual map data was in the game. The DLC is 8gb, which almost certainly contained the map data.

That being said, this was still a crap tactic by Ubisoft. The DLC was in development for months before the game was released. They added the weapons into the menus around a month (or more) before it came out, but didn't let you unlock them until the actual DLC was out. There was a trailer for it over a month before the game was even out.

Devs working on DLC after a game is finished is fine in my opinion. As long as the game has gone gold, I have no issue with it. That just means that they want to give a little extra. But making it well before the game has even gone gold is like they're admitting that they're withholding content for the sake of DLC.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Saturday, January 17, 2015 @ 10:42:58 AM

You can talk about the update all you want. On day one, for all players, it was clear that content in the game was locked and without the upcoming expansion, you wouldn't get it.

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Beamboom
Saturday, January 17, 2015 @ 1:28:15 PM

Awesome nick! The guy in Mass Effect, right?

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TheIllusiveMan
Sunday, January 18, 2015 @ 12:14:41 AM

Yes sir. I never post much anymore, but I used to be semi active on here a couple years ago.

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readerExtreme
Sunday, January 18, 2015 @ 11:03:02 PM

I have watched Ben throw accusations towards Ubi and users. I've watched him be dismissive and hostile but most of all I have watched him be hypocritical and phony.

Who retracts a review and leaves the review WITH SCORE up? Answer, someone who wants the traffic, someone who lines his sidebar in footer with click bait terms (some may call that a cash grab or deceptive - a theme in this article).

Ignore common sense brought to you, flame your users and be as harsh as you want as it is your site. I for one will be more careful to not follow click bait to this site or dream of engaging in a reasonable discussion with the proprietor. It was noble though to SAY you retracted your review. Congrats on that I guess and the micro-spike of traffic it produced.

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pillz81
Thursday, January 22, 2015 @ 11:32:26 AM

readerExtreme, you are reposting a comment you made not one hour before, with the same content? what has that net you?

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CrusaderForever
Saturday, January 17, 2015 @ 11:22:17 AM
Reply

I loved the game and had a ton of fun with it. There is so much content you could play it for well over 100 hours. Arno was great along with the coop missions. This was my favorite AC. I will get the Platinum however I am lost and in love with FFXIVARR right now. I played through ACU as a heavy fighter and it was very rewarding. Nothing like lifting the enemies off their feet. Sorry you didn't enjoy it as much as I did.

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SaiyanSenpai
Saturday, January 17, 2015 @ 11:37:06 AM
Reply

You're a good man, Ben. Bravo to your honesty and the admittance of your mistakes in the review score.

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xenris
Saturday, January 17, 2015 @ 11:44:18 AM
Reply

I commend this article Ben. I have never seen you do something like this in the 5 years I have been coming here. Takes some guts and I respect that.

I also agree with what you are saying about the game. Ubisoft screwed this one up.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Saturday, January 17, 2015 @ 12:05:04 PM

Thanks. :)

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readerExtreme
Saturday, January 17, 2015 @ 1:29:30 PM
Reply

It is always refreshing when someone tries to stand up for what they believe and make right for what they perceive as being "wrong" on their own part.

However, this article is all over the place. It is a complete slam on Ubisoft, even if it is disclaimed otherwise. The same admittedly flawed (from the start) game was initially rated a 9 is now subject to a partial retraction for transgressions that were largely included in the game as it was reviewed.

There are two issues in play here. First, these AAA studios spitting out sub-par AAA games over and over. Second, the marriage of "journalism" to these products is a predominantly one-way street.

Ubisoft has been on a roll of late with their issues. Watchdogs, AC, Far Cry, Monopoly, etc. These are games that mostly look great, play great and are in some way(s) broken. This screams unfinished. Then in their case (as well as others') they want to combine their $60 games with the same microtransaction model found in freemium games. When you take a highly hyped game that is broken and tries to nickel and dime people, you have a bad experience.

The problem here in the initial & retracted review is that this game was graded high as Ubisoft expected. It was broken. It had announced DLC. It was integrated in UPLAY. It was known that multiplayer could enhance the single player experience. Bottom line, this game is exactly what it was in design back when it was a 9. All the retraction does is say "I changed my mind because I played it more and I like it less".

This is not to say that Ubisoft is right for the way they make games. They should obviously fix the broken items BEFORE release and certainly before they try to ask for more money on the same broken product. Many people do not like invasive nature of signing up for yet another service like UPLAY or being thrown into games with strangers (assuming there are some that only play single player games).

That said, they made the game playable without needing the companion app or the multiplier or the DLC or most of the extras. If you don't like them, play without them. Simple. You are not being mislead or cheated. If you want the full experience, pony up. Buy the deodorant to get the unique code there and soak the whole game up.

The days of buying a NEW game with one price tag on one day and having the complete experience are mostly over. It has been proven time and time again that DLC, expansions, promotional items, power ups, etc. come down the road later (or same day) to make your experience better. It is time to adjust the way you look at games if you haven't taken this into account.

The truth is that reviewers will continue to get games for free, go to release events and continue to throw up favorable scores. The masses in turn will look to those "trusted" sources for advice on what to buy and see a "9" and spend their money. Perhaps if the review was thorough or truthful, less people would be inclined to buy the game and then the companies will be called to task for their unfinished work?

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Temjin001
Saturday, January 17, 2015 @ 2:34:07 PM

i think when it comes to AAA games that are household names in recognition review scores don't have much of effect. Destiny sold amazingly. Cod has always sold well over the last few years with or without critical praise. Heck AW was one of the highest praised CoD games in a while and it sold worse. Look at Pokemon or Skylanders they sell amazing and they're never praised critically

I believe Hollywood and video games share some parallels in what sells best isn't always what rates best.

Last edited by Temjin001 on 1/17/2015 2:35:06 PM

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readerExtreme
Saturday, January 17, 2015 @ 3:09:37 PM

I'd have to disagree with you. These reviews are crucial to the companies and it is obvious how they view them. In the cases of some games that think they will not review favorably, they hold the review embargo until AFTER the game comes out. If people were made aware of how bad a product is, a portion of them will sit it out or wait for the fixes.

See Halo MCC, see the $30 AC UNity prices, etc.

The Hollywood analogy is not that close of one. A $10 & 2 hour investment is a lot easier to swallow than $60 and hours-days of your time. Plus Hollywood can recoup on rentals, streaming, downloads, DVD/Blu, tv, syndication, etc. Games get a crack or two at it.


This was not the main point of my tldr; post though.

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Temjin001
Saturday, January 17, 2015 @ 3:22:41 PM

I'm sure it matters but it doesn't seem to matter as much for some games as others. Games that don't have a high profile recognition can still get by just fine with lower scores. Of course publishers will do whatever they can to mitigate bad press but it's not the dead ringer like it is for other games.

Games below that status need the scores. Games like Demon's Souls would've never had succeeded had it scored 6's or 7's, whereas Destiny has succeeded just fine without the praise.

Similarly Transformers movies don't need the critics either to be the best selling movies. My point really didn't have anything to do with cost or duration of time and many of the best rated games do see deep price cuts and sales within a season of time. I've had the occasion a number of times to get Dragon Age inquisition for $30.... a high rated game.

EDIT: and there was a time when gaming was less mainstream that any game that rated high was always the most popular in console land. These days that's not always the case.

Last edited by Temjin001 on 1/17/2015 3:31:28 PM

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Temjin001
Saturday, January 17, 2015 @ 5:49:36 PM

Typo. I meant to say games that DO have a high profile recognition etc etc

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Saturday, January 17, 2015 @ 5:58:11 PM

The last part tells me all I need to know. Like most gamers, you actually believe that journalists and critics in the field have zero integrity and will give a game a higher score because they get stuff for free. We're not 8 years old. Nobody falls for that and publishers don't expect us to. And then this:

"The problem here in the initial & retracted review is that this game was graded high as Ubisoft expected. It was broken. It had announced DLC. It was integrated in UPLAY. It was known that multiplayer could enhance the single player experience. Bottom line, this game is exactly what it was in design back when it was a 9. All the retraction does is say "I changed my mind because I played it more and I like it less"."

All wrong. For a long period of time, there's really no way of knowing just how intrusive these things are. Even hardcore, long-time Assassin's Creed players would assume viewpoints would unlock all the collectibles on the screen. And until you play for a long time, you don't start to realize how far behind you're lagging in Skill Points if you don't do the Co-Op missions, which offer more - sometimes twice as many - SP as any single-player mission.

But I don't really feel the need to clarify. The insulting bit at the end really did tell me all I need to know.

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readerExtreme
Saturday, January 17, 2015 @ 10:08:04 PM

It is unfortunate that you took one small piece and neglected the rest. I made a generalization about the well-documented issue of (indirect) pay for play. There is a reason for the trips, unlimited drink tabs, 5-star hotels and unprecedented access. It works.

There is plenty of journalistic integrity and nowhere did I call to question yours. I did not say you were 8 or gave it a good score because it was free. If anything I made generalizations about some reviewers. If that doesn't apply to you, that is great.

That said, if all you took from that was "the insult" then you missed what it was really about. How this game was some massive deception or crippled-by-pay-gate software. It was a broken game that can ENHANCED by all the goofy OPTIONAL extras.

I agree with you that these things hamper the "full experience". I think their practices of late are TERRIBLE (caps essential). But they aren't fooling anybody. There is no secret that there was DLC planned, that buying shaving gel got you a special outfit, that syncing with Unity added to it, etc. It's too much and it sucks to have to go through all the hoops... but you weren't duped. If anything the inflated reviews are as much responsible for the expectations to execution disconnect. If a game rates as a 9, one would think it would function properly.

There is a big problem in the industry. Do you trust companies like Ubi who you claim a deceitful? Do you trust reviews that may be changed later after the game is played more? Do you blindly spend the $60 and hope the company made a quality product and that the reviews tell the whole story? It is hard to tell.

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Underdog15
Saturday, January 17, 2015 @ 11:34:04 PM

You wrote a lot, but the content to your message wasn't as lengthy.

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readerExtreme
Saturday, January 17, 2015 @ 11:54:26 PM

@Underdog15
"You wrote a lot, but the content to your message wasn't as lengthy."

I'm not sure what the point of that was just as you clearly missed the points I made. You wrote very little, but the content didn't exist.

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Temjin001
Saturday, January 17, 2015 @ 1:54:43 PM
Reply

You know Ben you're alright.
I don't care what Underdog says about you.

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PC_Max
Saturday, January 17, 2015 @ 3:12:33 PM
Reply

Ben, nothing wrong with changing your views on a game. You initial review was honest at the time and now you are doing an honest update to that review after spending more time with the game.

I have not always agreed with some of your reviews, but they do help me to decide whether or not to look more closer at a purchase or not.

Good on you.

Keep playing... and reviewing.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Saturday, January 17, 2015 @ 9:36:54 PM
Reply

To all: I'd like to make one thing perfectly clear.

I did this for the gamers out there. It does me no good. In fact, I know how it makes me look. Despite the fact that I've faithfully served the gaming community for a decade and a half, often on no pay at all, and despite the fact that I take my reviews extremely seriously, it seems the only thing people can notice is this retraction.

But that's what I expected. Game critics and journalists have served an unappreciative and hostile group of fans since the industry began, really. Endless accusations of critics being on the take (because they get free stuff, which of course means we're all 8-year-olds who accept bribes), lazy critics, critics with bias and personal vendettas, etc. Yes, I've gone through all of it and it never changes, no matter how hard I work. Is it any wonder that I often think about ditching all this and moving to a field where there's at least some semblance of maturity and respect?

I said I was wrong in the article. I admitted as much and I did that for all of YOU. I did it so someone reading that review will see the follow-up editorial in the future. I did it for the consumer, as I do everything in this job. There's really nothing else to talk about.

Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 1/17/2015 9:38:50 PM

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readerExtreme
Saturday, January 17, 2015 @ 10:19:14 PM

For what it is worth...

I assume you lump me and my position in with the hostile or ungrateful fans that you described in this message. I assure you I am not. I have a high respect for what you do and also see what you do as essential.

If you enjoy what you do, keep doing it. Understand that if you put your thoughts out there, people will have thoughts on it. Your thoughts and mine are very similar on the game except in one area. You believe they were being "devious" and I believe that you are being naive on that front. All other points, I agree. I even appreciate the idea that you owned your "mistake", if you want to call it that.

Just know that people look to you and other reviewers (including the bad ones - which there for sure are). People will trust what you say and might spend money accordingly based on your thoughts. If you change your stance AFTER they spend their money, surely you can see why people might be miffed by it.

Side note: I only found your article because it was aggregated at the top of a news site. Thus this being my only interaction with you and your site.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Saturday, January 17, 2015 @ 10:34:12 PM

I'm aware of all that. Thank you.

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xenris
Saturday, January 17, 2015 @ 10:38:59 PM

I'll say it again I think it's great what you did Ben. We might have our quarrels now and again but we also agree on a lot of things this being one of them.

ReaderExtreme, Ubisoft is absolutely being devious, when you have a game that does micros like this you know that they are only there for a cash grab. I've been playing free to play games on the PC since they were created and in that time you learn how to see the scummy scummy free to play models from the not so scummy.

Unity is NOT free to play so that almost makes its Micros worse, in fact it does make them worse. Sure it is all optional but when the game and currency accumulation is designed in such a grindy way to make you want to purchase the micros well then we have a problem.

The PR Ubisoft had leading up to the launch was also misleading.

The other reason why they will make most of the skill points unlocked in MP is that is where people are going to be most willing to spend on micros. So Ubisoft had intentions to make money on this mode.

All in all good on you Ben, and Readerextreme I think we agree more than disagree. In what way do you think Ben was being Naive?

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readerExtreme
Saturday, January 17, 2015 @ 11:26:46 PM

@xenris - thank you for engaging in a conversation on this. You are right, we are closer to agreement on almost all of this than not. I too appreciate Ben for standing up for his thoughts and having been compelled to share that with his audience while "trying to do the good thing". No problem in that from my standpoint.

Where I disagree with both of you is the perception of deception or something shady. To be clear... I think the microtransaction model in this already expensive game is a bit over the top, greedy and not the best fit. You want to sell new characters or levels, sure, we expect that. But all that other is too much... as pointed out by Ben.

But this was not a secret. This was not bait and switch. Saying it is devious is a stretch. A perfect example is the point made about seeing the Dead King's expansion but not being able to play it. There are literally hundreds of games that do this... pinball with DLC tables, COD with multiplayer maps, racing games with premium cares and on and on.

The naivety comment stems from acting like examples like above are new or tucked away into the game rather than stock ways that companies have been capitalizing on us for awhile now. Also for ignoring technical difficulties on the grounds that they didn't bother him Lastly for blindly defending bad journalists because he himself is not one.

Again, I am not pleased with Ubi on this game (for many of the reasons Ben and yourself listed), Monopoly, some of the issues with Watchdogs and most recently some of the issues in Far Cry 4. We agree they suck, I'm just willing to be surprised by it.

Thanks for the discussion.

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ricksterj
Sunday, January 18, 2015 @ 12:11:46 PM
Reply

RIGHT ON!

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Darwin1967
Sunday, January 18, 2015 @ 5:02:54 PM
Reply

I'm curious...if not a nine, what would you rank it now? I was so incredibly let down by this game that I'm glad you took the time to re-adjust your review on the game. If anything, I do hope Ubisoft re-evaluates its use of micro transactions as I truly feel the way it was structured in AC unity completely wasted the game....I actually felt punished for playing and I didn't feel compelled to even keep the game once the final credits rolled. Unlike far cry 4 where I reset the game and started anew....

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Sunday, January 18, 2015 @ 5:56:35 PM

It'd be very difficult to assign a score but I'm thinking an 8, give or take a few tenths.

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kokoro
Sunday, January 18, 2015 @ 7:03:07 PM
Reply

It's actually rare in today's culture for one to admit to a fault. I commend thee.

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kokoro
Sunday, January 18, 2015 @ 7:31:47 PM
Reply

And I just wanted to add something. Our culture has taught us from a very young age that making mistakes is among the worst things one can do. But never being mistaken goes hand in hand with no change, no growth and no greater becoming. Why should we be enslaved by the fear of making mistakes? Mistakes are glimmering opportunities beckoning us toward greatness. We must work toward overcoming the destructive attitude that dictates each individual work tirelessly to hide their shortcomings out of fear. We can do it. Slowly, gently, bit by bit.

Greatness awaits.

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gamer4lifexxx
Sunday, January 18, 2015 @ 7:32:01 PM
Reply

did ubisux fix the mountain high pile of bugs and glitches in AC Unity yet?

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