Wrapping Up #CapcoMonth with Dead Rising 2: Off the Record

If I were the type of person to say that some games are a guilty pleasure, I’m pretty sure the entirety of the Dead Rising series would be at that top of that list. Combing a lot of brutality with even more absolute absurdity, I find just wandering around slaughtering hordes of zombies in these games to be super satisfying. I picked up most of the games back in 2017 from Humble in the Capcom Rising bundle (the same bundle in which I obtained the game I played for last #CapcoMonth – DMC: Devil May Cry). Although I played them somewhat out of order (starting with DR2 while I waiting for the PC port of the original to come down in price), I’ve played all four canon entries in the series from start to finish.

However, Dead Rising 2: Off the Record is a non-canon retelling of the story in the second game, swapping out protagonist Chuck Greene for the star of the first game, Frank West. I originally planned to play it right after completing the second game, but I found it a little tedious to go through the story line back to back, so I shelved it. I briefly dabbled in it again back in 2019, but didn’t get much past the first case.

Since my previous choices for this year’s #CapcoMonth didn’t work out, I decided to give this one another chance to see if maybe the third time would be the charm.

Over the last week or so, I put about 10 hours into the game, just about reaching the mid-point of the main story, and spending a little time dabbling in the sandbox mode. All progress you make in the game holds, even if you elect to start the main game over. This is good, not only because the difficulty curves often feel like cliffs, but because the tight time limits on both story quests and side activities can cause you to hit a hard fail state without being able to prepare for it. It feels like it’s a game you’re meant to restart so you can learn the patterns of the events of these three days in Fortune City and be able to better optimize how you spend your time.

My first major failure came from being too far from the base when a quest popped – there was just no way to get back in time once I was informed of the new quest, causing me to be locked out of the remaining main story line. I could (and did) just revert to an earlier save, making it so I only had to redo a few hours versus the entire story. In addition to the tight timeline, DR2: OTR also makes use of a checkpoint system and limited save points; you’ll need to find a restroom if you want to have an actual save point to reload, but the checkpoints give you an autosave at most story beats and area transitions, so recovering from a death isn’t so bad provided you don’t exit the game.

I thought it might just be a case of both having been away from the series awhile, as well as having played the fourth game (which is by miles the easiest) most recently, but I was surprised by how punishing the game was. However, the general consensus is that this game is near the top when it comes to difficulty in the series, with only the first game being more demanding. Of course, the ability to play in sandbox mode, as well as to carry over progress into new saves means that you can – eventually – overpower the story.

However, that’s not nearly where I’m at now. I’ve hit a jump where I realize I’m going to either need to restart the story again or spend a lot of time leveling up in the sandbox to – personally – feel ready to take on what the game is throwing at me, and with the end of the month so close now, I realize I won’t even come close to completing this one in time to do a Game Over.

In fact, my plan is currently to take a few days off, and then restart the story with my bigger, buffer Frank West, and see if I can save a few more people along the way.

Quick Look – Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (#CapcoMonth)

#CapcoMonth has not been great for me. My initial choice – Resident Evil 4 – made me sick, literally. I have never had motion sickness like that from a game, but apparently, it’s somewhat common for people playing the PC port. So I decided to wholly switch gears, and play a game I’d been really looking forward to – Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney.

I really really wanted to like it, but I petered out midway through the third case.

I’ve always maintained that – at least for me – story is more important than gameplay, and in most cases, that’s absolutely true. I can put up with some really dull gameplay. What I don’t have a much patience for is fiddly gameplay that feels like it just doesn’t respect your time.

Maybe I would have felt differently if I had been playing this on a mobile platform instead of PC – I find myself more tolerant of pokey games when I’m comfy in bed. But by the third case, I was playing with a walkthrough up on my second screen, and the continual (and immensely slow) back and forth of the investigation sections finally made me realize, I just didn’t care enough to go through any more of them.

Which is a shame because I did enjoy the courtroom sections well enough, despite them also feeling pretty slow and finicky at times. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney is a game that revels in its profound ridiculousness, and it honestly makes the whole thing fairly interesting, especially since I frequently found myself unsure of where it was going to take me next. I could overlook the repetitive nature of reading through the full testimony before the chance to cross-examine, and I think perhaps even something as simple as a direct travel option between locations might have kept me playing. But going from the gate, to the employee area, and then through four screens to the trailer, and then back through those same four screens to the employee area for a fetch quest that would take me back to – you guessed it – the trailer was the breaking point for me. I didn’t want to go on.

That said – #CapcoMonth still isn’t over! With a little over a week left, I’ve decided to revisit the Dead Rising series. I have completed the main story of all four games, but I never did more than dabble in Dead Rising 2: Off the Record – my first attempt was right after completing Dead Rising 2, and that story was still too fresh in my mind to want to basically play it through a second time. Now, I’m a couple years off having played the game for the first time, so it seems like the perfect time to revisit it.

I’m not sure if I’m going to get through the whole thing in the time remaining, but we’ll see how far I can get.

World of Warcraft – Taking Some Time Away from Azeroth

The writing has been on the wall for awhile. Once I finished leveling up & gearing my paladin, I started logging in less and less. For over a month now, I’ve logged in solely to either attend raid, farm materials for raid, or when I had a Flashback Friday event scheduled. I had no interest in leveling any more alts, I certainly didn’t want to run any Mythic Plus dungeons, and there just wasn’t anything pulling me to actually boot the game up.

Shortly after our guild took out Sire Denathrius on normal, I made the decision to step away for a bit to avoid the full-fledged burnout that leads to me not returning until the next expansion, as I’m still looking forward to the new content in 9.1 – I just don’t really feel like I have much to do between now and then.

I’ve already told my guild, and passed off my organizational responsibilities to other folks in leadership positions. My main is passably geared – this past week in raid I replaced my last sub-iLvl 200 piece – and her renown is capped. I should be in good shape to pick back up right around the next major content patch without really feeling like I’ve missed out on much of anything at all.

I’m not 100% sure how this will go – I’ve always been the type to keep myself busy with alts, old content, and cosmetic farming between content patches, but I just wasn’t feeling it this time around. When I’m paying a subscription fee, I feel like I have to play whether I’m enjoying myself or not, so I think this was the best course for me. It is, however, the first time I’ve taken this sort of break with full intent to return within a few months – normally, when I let my sub lapse, I’ve kept on so far past when I was actually enjoying myself, I don’t come back for a year or more.

Nerd Girl Goals – April 2021

Play to Satisfaction

For me, saying “Play to Satisfaction” gives me explicit permission to drop a game that’s not working for me, but also to grind away for nerd points if I’m really loving something. I’m trying to make it a policy for myself that I will always play to satisfaction – no more, no less.

I still have a few outstanding game-related stuff I’d like to finish up over the next few weeks, but there’s plenty of stuff I haven’t already talked about I’d like to add onto my plate this month.

Subscription MMO – World of Warcraft (Retail)

I’m actually starting to think that this might be the month I let my sub lapse, but I haven’t decided anything as of yet, and I’m still sitting on a couple of tokens, so even if I’m only playing for a dozen or so hours a month, it’s not actually costing me anything. I really do love the folks in my guild, but it’s really been a struggle to log on, even if once I do, I enjoy myself. With Denathrius down on normal, I don’t really have any goals until the next major content patch, and I’m just not terribly interested in alts at this point in time.

Community Game-Along – #CapcoMonth

I’ve been collecting the older Resident Evil titles for quite awhile, but I’ve never had the proper motivation to dive into them. It did take me an unreasonably long time to decide where to start, since I worried that going too far back would sour me on the series, and I wasn’t particularly keen on buying any of the remasters when I have a bunch of titles waiting in my library. I am hoping that Resident Evil 4 will be a good entry point for the series.

Of course, I have back-ups. Firstly, I am sitting on a copy of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy that I was gifted during the last Steam Winter Sale that I haven’t so much as installed, and if all else fails, I’m going to go back and slaughter some zombies in Dead Rising, despite the fact that I’ve already completed it once.

Subscription Gaming – XBox Gamepass for PC

I realize it has been several months that I’ve been saying I’m going to re-up my sub to this, and several months in which I just haven’t. This is good, because it means I’m playing stuff I already own, but there are definitely some games on there that I’m interested in, just not quite interested enough in to buy them.

However, somehow I missed that the Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan was added, and that’s one I’m really interested in, but it’s super-short, and I’m not planning to play co-op, so I’m not sure that there’d be any reason to go through it more than once. Maybe this will be the month I actually go through with it, especially since I’m still not playing a lot of WoW and reaching a plateau period in Stardew Valley.

Other Gaming

Next up on the Switch, I’m hoping to get into The Caligula Effect: Overdose, although my spotty history with JRPGs in general makes this a big ol’ maybe as far as liking it. One of the major complaints that I’ve seen is that combat is too simplistic, so it might, in fact, be perfect for me.

Although its release date of April 30th makes Pokemon Snap not entirely eligible for my April goals, I am strongly leaning towards pre-ordering it. I’m not familiar enough with Nintendo in general to know how set in stone their release dates tend to be, but I am fairly certain this is a game I’d like to have day one.

I’ve also been toying with the idea of doing some sort of series where I deep dive into my library, but I have yet to work out all the details. I’ve been struggling with getting myself back on track in most areas of my life, so I’m not 100% sure this is the right time for a blog project, but it’s definitely something I want to brainstorm on more.

I fully intend to reach level 100 in Cook, Serve, Delicious 2!! before month’s end, and at that point, I’ll re-asses my desire to chase gold medals all around.

Lastly, I plan to continue with my co-op playthrough of Stardew Valley, in which we strive to explore all the new content that came with the 1.5 update, as well as continuing my current play through and maybe trying out a different farm layout / spouse combination.