I recently played The Wolf Among Us on PS3, and I loved the bejeezus out of it. While not a 10/10 experience, it was still one of the best games on the 2014 roster, despite a story that sagged a bit in the middle. My mom and stepdad, being big fans of fantasy, magic, and that really bad Fables rip-off show on NBC(?), were the first people to come to mind in terms of who I might suggest the game to.
As such, I got it for them for Christmas to play on my stepdad's 360.
My stepdad is about a half-decade away from retirement, and my mom works part-time while tending to the house and their "daughter" (a 3-year-old hound dog adopted from a local shelter). They've kinda begun growing bored of TV and movies, so I figured now would be a great time to introduce them to gaming... My stepdad plays Halo: Reach almost daily, always playing the same offline mode where he has to blow up a set number of Grunts to advance. My mom would always play games for the Sega Genesis while my brother and I were much younger, especially if we were stuck on a level. I also dropped off my copies of Lost Odyssey and Raiden Fighters Aces, since I don't actually own a 360. (And my mom is committed to beating Lost Odyssey after seeing the intro cinematic and boss battle, which completely surprised me).
But back to the game at hand... If you've heard, in passing, that the disc version of The Wolf Among Us for 360 is an unplayable piece of shit, you should consider that a compliment on its behalf. The following is the story of my Christmas Day nightmare, trying to get this game working for my parents.
We started the game up around 9pm, after we finished Skyping with my brother in Japan. Started the game up, hit start, selected the USB drive (which had more memory) and... Nothing. Just a black screen, no loading symbol, just nothing. I reboot the console; same thing. The front of the box mentions that the game requires a hard drive to play, so I figured, hey, maybe I have to install it. So I went into the game options and... No such option exists for that title. Frustrated, I went to the Telltale support forums. Several people had created topics with the same issues, and the response from Telltale seemed be a pathetic "Clear the system cache". I tried this; no change. I read through more forum posts, and discovered that this issue persists, even if you exchange the disc.
Trying everything at this point, I cleared a bunch of data off the hard drive and... The game actually started! But we're not out of the woodlands yet, folks. I was able to select the first chapter and start up a game, but holy shit, the lag! Now, most Telltale games, there's a bit of a lag when you first start up a save file... Not the case here. We're talking crippling lag, where a character will start talking before their character models start moving. We were able to crawl past the first bits of dialogue, but once we started the first fight against the Woodsman, it was just impossible to play. The game was so chuggy that you'd never see the button prompts before the game runs out of time to press them. It was completely unplayable.
At this point, I said, "Sorry guys, I'll have to return this. This really sucks." And keep in mind, this is Christmas Day, and I'm trying to spend some quality time with my family. Frustrated out of my fucking mind, I created forum topic (slash bitchfest) on the support website detailing my experiences, which can be seen here:
They went to bed at about 11pm. I had seen on the forum that the digital version was way less buggy, so I figured I'd pick that up and surprise them in the morning. Luckily, it was actually on sale! For CDN$7.49. I'd paid USD$29.99 at a Meijer in the States. And this is when I begin to remember why I sold my 360 in the first place. :D
I tried to purchase the game, but I was on my stepdad's account. I figured, what the hell, I'll use my own PayPal. I try to set it up and... It asks me for his password. Which he doesn't know. No big deal though; I tried creating a new account. I go to create a Live account and... It won't let me. I don't know if this was because of the Lizard Squad hack or not, but it just would not accept any e-mail I tried to sign up with. So cool. I'm a little pissed at this point, but I remembered the log-in credentials of my old Live account. I get signed in, pull up the store page again, out in my PayPal informa- Okay, cool, it won't let me select Canada as a country for some reason. My guess is that I'd registered the account as a US one for some reason, and I couldn't find a way to change this. "Whatever," I figure. "I'll just put in my motel address in Michigan." So I do that aaaaand... I'm not able to buy the game, because the billing information doesn't match my PayPal. Which is fucking weird, because I use my PayPal to buy ship stuff to my motel all the time, but whatever.
My brother also had his account on there, so I figured I'd just charge it to his credit card and pay him back double or something. I did that, and it went through. I pretended I "accidentally" layed on the controller and "accidentally" hit confirm without his permission, but he wasn't angry. But the real fun was still to begin.
I start to download the game and it gets to 79%... Then stops and resets to 0% and starts counting up again. I stared at the screen with this face:
So I go into the memory management space, and see this lovely file on the hard drive:
So I delete it and try again... Same result.
At this point, I just don't even know. I've now paid for the game TWICE, and neither version is working. I happened to remember my brother, who set up the USB drive on the console, had told me that the USB was shit and I should get a new one for them. I figure, fuck it, and I pull the USB out and try downloading to the hard drive without any other memory devices possibly muddling the process. And... It actually works! Despite setting the hard drive as my primary drive, I realized the console was downloading to the USB automatically. No idea why. Saving it directly to the hard drive actually worked.
The next morning, we started playing this game, and my mom really enjoys it. She just got to Chapter 2 this morning, and I think if they enjoy this one all the way through, I'll get them a copy of The Walking Dead as well. I had to go out to buy a new USB drive to download the remaining chapters then painstakingly transfer everything over to the USB, but it worked out well.
Moral of the story? Two big gaming companies need to get their shit together. Telltale should not ship out such a broken mess of a game to retail shelves, and Microsoft really needs to improve its user friendliness on the 360. This whole experience has made me extremely wary of Telltale products going forward, and it's made clear to me that Microsoft's consoles are an unholy clusterfuck to try and use (making it unlikely I'll ever buy an X-Bone). I really hope that these, and other companies, get a chance to read this post, because no one should ever have to jump through so many hoops just to get a game working. It's amazing to me that I can buy a game from 30 years ago, pop it into my Sega Power Base Converter, and have it work without any problems, while in 2014, the whole process has gotten so much more frustrating, and pointlessly so.
In conclusion: Stop hating the consumer. We keep your asses in business.