Subsequently trying to start the game again revealed that my auto save had been corrupted and now there was a fault of some sort that caused it to crash during the 1958 Rapture introduction, rendering any play for that evening impossible. I uninstalled the game and tried reinstalling it, checked the Steam forums for whatever voodoo could be worked and ultimately called it quits. It was then, in that bleak moment, that I remembered an alternative.
I couldn’t have been happier.
Thanks to PlayStation Plus, I’d downloaded BioShock 2 via the PSN when it’d been free several months back. I happily checked online to see if I could download it back to my console without issue and sure enough, I could. I pushed the download via my work computer the next day, started the console as I walked in the house that night and sat down not long after. It was there, waiting for me. I fought to curb a sly smile brought on by the overwhelming happiness of having something simply work. In terms of usability, that places GFWL somewhere between devastatingly poor and downright pathetic.
It’s been said that “the road to hell is paved with the best intentions,” and while it can be seen from the history of what Games for Windows Live tries to do, offering full integration between platforms for its products, it comes off as obtrusive, broken and falls flat on its face. I had heard horror stories of GFWL and moved to avoid it, but a lapse of judgment caused me to buy BioShock 2 in spite of this glaring flaw. Lesson learned. It’s easy to see why people would actively avoid products with the service integrated, because any title doing so is already significantly more struggle than it could possibly be worth.
I’d happily grown back into playing games on a computer since actually owning a machine that can run them and would have truly enjoyed experiencing BioShock 2 there. However, through forced updates, intrusive utilization and ultimately doing little more than running me through a grinder and shoving my time into a black hole from which it’ll never escape, Games for Windows Live destroyed that opportunity. Like a jilted lover standing in the way of two potentially star-crossed soul mates, GFWL turned the whole affair into a murder-suicide, sealing any future personal acceptance of a game using this particular form of torture.