No voice chat, no video chat, no dicks, NO SELL!
Uno on Xbox 360 was a magical wasteland filled with strangers chatting it up on their Xbox Live Vision Camera, sometimes with their dicks out. As a man who is known to enjoy dicks from time to time, I quite liked that. Sure, sometimes you’d see a dick or two that you’d rather not, and sometimes someone would be wearing a Nazi or KKK uniform, but most of the time it was just chill people being social.
Ubisoft decided it would be a great idea to make a new Uno and hype it up as having voice and video chat, playing off the nostalgia of Xbox 360 owners. Guess what? Somehow Ubisoft managed to completely fuck it up.
Uno (PC, PS4, Xbox One [reviewed])
Developer: Ubisoft Chengdu
Released: August 16, 2016
Let me cut to the chase: you can’t talk to or see other players’ video unless they are on your friends list, even though Ubisoft lists it. This essentially makes Uno‘s multiplayer mode barely any more entertaining than playing against the AI, which always seems to be extremely lucky but rarely calls Uno when playing its second to last card. Card games are typically a very social experience, and this new iteration of Uno lacks that completely. Hell, even a few emotes like Hearthstone had would have gone a long way to making this a better experience.
On the game’s official website Ubisoft says that you can “Interact with your friends and other players,” “While playing, talk to other players using voice chat support,” and “Put on video chat so you can see the funny expressions on your opponents’ faces as you secure yet another victory over them!” and doesn’t ever make it clear that these features are only for those on your friends list.
Can you even call playing cards without talking interacting with other players? I’ll concede that it does say “Talk to your friends and see them” before saying the voice chat and video chat stuff, but it seems almost purposefully misleading and abusing the nostalgia of players like me. The Xbox Live listing is also lacking any mention of these features being friends-only.
I get why Ubisoft would make this decision. Most people who played the Xbox 360 iteration are familiar with the amount of nudity and drug use that went on during online sessions in the E-rated game. That rating is key, as Uno is a family-friendly game; no adult should have to explain to their little 12-year-old Jimmy what a devil’s three way is, or have to monitor all their online matches to make sure they don’t see someone smoking meth. But locking all social features behind being friends with people absolutely ruins the experience. Now you’ve got to awkwardly send friend requests to strangers hoping the person on the other side isn’t some backwoods crack-smoking racist to play with.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about safe spaces, but for those of us who want to wade through a sea of potentially delicious dicks, and look into the void known as the internet, let us have the damned option! On top of the lacking social features, the online is bare-bones and missing many basic options, and that is only if you manage to stay connected for an entire match, which has been a problem for me and others.
You can either join a classic free-for-all four-player match or a two vs. two match. When joining matches in progress, the rules aren’t stated because there are various rules the host of the match can configure and they have no way of communicating that to you, so it’s up to you to figure out. Also, one of those advanced rules is locked behind Ubisoft Club points (Uplay), so you better make an account and complete a few challenges to unlock it (or don’t). When a match ends, you’re unceremoniously kicked back to the game selection screen with no post-game lobby, though I suppose it isn’t an important feature since the game lacks social features.
If I had to say anything good about this, it would be that the graphics are colorful, and it includes a Rabbids-themed deck with four cards that mix up the gameplay a bit by allowing you to do stuff like block other players from making you draw and other little formula changes. Remember that catchy, infectious music from the 360 version? You’ll miss it after hearing this one’s obnoxious soundtrack.
The Xbox 360 version of Uno was better in each and every way aside from resolution. I was so excited for this. I had hoped to relive the days of big ol’ dicks, and making new friends on Xbox Live, but instead I got a lifeless card game that faintly resembles a game I used to love. Oh, and Rabbids. Fucking. Rabbids.
Here’s a box quote for you: Uno is a shining example of misleading marketing and a great argument for Xbox Live to adopt Steam’s refund practices.
[This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]