One of the guys on that ArsTechnica was responsible for this nonsense so I'm not sure how worth listening to they are. Creston, who is on the EA-sponsered list?
I've yet to get any kind of unlock, although possibly the VPN method just doesn't work and it doesn't officially unlock here in the UK until Friday.
Going by reviews and reports (TotalBiscuit's review is interesting) it's very good. If it wasn't always online and the cities could be 4x the size, it might have been great. As it is, I still regret preordering it but I might as well enjoy it if I can now.