Our coverage of Battlefield 4 got rather interrupted by the arrival of a baby. It happens. So in trying to catch up, I wanted to play through the single player campaign, see how it compared to COD: Ghosts'. Yeah. That would have been nice, wouldn't it. But then EA happened.
Here's how the process for launching a game should go:
1) Launch game.
That's the system by which I think we can all agree games should start. This was how it went with Battlefield 4's single player game. Let's just repeat: single player.
1) Download via Origin. This went smoothly enough.
2) Launch game. Except no. Clicking "Play" took me to a web browser, and the Battlelog site. Except no. Because it told me that there was an error with my login details. The ones it hadn't yet asked me for.
3) Persist with logging into Battlelog. I don't want to use Battlelog, because I've no intention of playing the multiplayer. I want to just play the game. But eventually it let me in.
4) Select "CAMPAIGN".
5) Click "PLAY CAMPAIGN".
6) "DOWNLOAD AND INSTALL THE LATEST BROWSER PLUGIN TO PLAY THE GAME" it booms. So I click Download Plugin.
7) I follow the instructions, and it tells me it will now work.
8) I click "PLAY CAMPAIGN".
9) It continues to ask me to download the plugin.
10) I reboot the web browser, and now when I choose "PLAY CAMPAIGN" things start happening at the bottom of the screen. It is "initiating".
11) It jumps back to Origin, in its attempts to start.
12) It jumps back to the Battlelog site, with a new message about logging me in.
13) It jumps back to Origin, with a new window that declares that my version of Battlefield 4 is not registered to the address I'm using. I'm using only one address for the entire process.
14) I try to start over, but now the EA servers won't let me log in at all. "Problem contacting EA Login, please try again in a while."
15) Start writing this.
16) Keep trying to log in. Eventually it works.
17) Click "PLAY CAMPAIGN".
18) If faffs around, flips back to Origin, back to the website, and then finally, it launches.
19) I alt-tab out of the "Borderless Window" game to get back to this CMS page to report the success.
20) I can't do that.
21) BF4 has taken over Chrome, despite the number of tabs I have open, and it's impossible to access any of them while the game is running.
22) Quit out of BF4.
23) Drop to my knees, shake my helpless fists at the sky, and wonder if EA just hates its customers beyond all previously known scales of hate.
This is pitiful. After the clusterfuck of idiocy that accompanied SimCity's pathetically embarrassing launch earlier this year, you'd imagine EA might have gained some insight into the abject stupidity of making your game near impossible for people to play. The above likely happened because of a blip on their servers. But it happened. And goodness knows how often they blip. I tried to play a single-player game, with no interest in the multiplayer component, and I was forced through a monstrous process of gibberish that had nothing to do with anything. Sure, if it weren't permanently spying on my otherwise offline gaming I wouldn't get the Wuzzles sticker to put on my soldier's backpack in the online game, or whatever blither it might be. I think I'd scrape through.
And yes, BF4 is considered, by the hardcore die-hard fans, to be a multiplayer game, it's single-player there for only the silly people. But what die-hard fans tend to forget is that they aren't everyone else, and the single-player game was created - at vast expense - for people to play. Except then the bullshit gets involved and what a miserable experience it is to try to.
It runs, in a fashion, now. But bloody hell, if I hadn't had the satisfaction of being able to chronicle the tedium on here, I'd have given up trying and gone to play something else.
Update: People are reporting switching Origin to Offline mode gets you a working version of the game. Two things there. 1) Why the hell should that be necessary? and 2) I don't want it in offline mode, when updates, etc. A useful workaround, but one that should never be needed in the first place.