Farcry 2 uses a CD-key, like just about every other game. It’s a simple process - each copy has a unique identifier, which must be typed in before the game will work - but Farcry 2 botches the process so unbelievably. It took me about 8 tries to enter my key.
It doesn’t tell you where the key is. Sometimes keys are on the back of the packaging. Sometimes they’re on the inside of the case. Sometimes they’re on the back of the manual. It’s a minor inconvenience to have to look all over, especially when it’s so easy to avoid with an explanation.
It calls the key a “serial”. After a few tries, I wasn’t even sure I was entering the right key, because the program never used the words “CD key”.
It doesn’t make the difference between “O” and “0″ obvious. My key had an “O” - or maybe it’s a “0″, I still can’t tell.
It makes you enter the dashes. This is a common, but terrible, usability mistake. It shows up everywhere, from credit-card numbers to phone numbers, and now CD keys. Some programs use separate text boxes for each piece of the number or key. Better programs just ignore the dashes. The best programs insert, and remove, the dashes automatically.
It’s case-sensitive. I’ve never heard of a key being case-sensitive. It makes no sense, especially because all the letters are upper-case.
It doesn’t tell you if you’re missing a character. The key is 23 characters with dashes, and 19 without. If there were some indication of whether all the key I entered was long enough, I would be able to figure out that I’m just missing the dashes.
Altogether, I tried to activate about 8 times. With a “O” and with a “0″, with dashes and without, and with lower-case and upper-case letters. The only thing Farcry 2 got right was that I didn’t have to type in the whole key every time.