Does Dead Rising 2: Off the Record belong in retail outlets?

, | Games

Now that I’m a bit further into Dead Rising 2: Off the Record, I think I understand what Capcom is doing. This is an alternate Dead Rising 2 timeline, in which Frank West shows up where Chuck Green was originally. I didn’t quite understand this until I met Chuck, which is one of the highlights of Off the Record. And while I appreciate this sort of narrative shuffle in a game where the narrative is so unimportant that you can entirely ignore it if you want, is it enough for a standalone product? Certainly not, which explains the new sci-fi-themed area of Fortune City and the (slightly disappointing) sandbox mode. Overall, I can’t help but shake the feeling that this should have been downloadable content.

Consider Rockstar. The Undead Nightmare add-on for Red Dead Redemption, the South Central add-on for Midnight Club: Los Angeles, and the Ballad of Gay Tony add-on for Grand Theft Auto IV were about the same amount of new content and re-used content as what you’re getting in Dead Rising 2: Off the Record. And while it’s not my place to guess how readily you’ll spend $10 instead of $40, I can’t help but notice the dramatically different asking prices.

Not to mention that I had to deal with Gamestop to get Dead Rising 2: Off the Record. The store had three disks, but none of the salesfolk could find a box. They offered to sell me just the disk.

“I’m not paying full price for the game without the box or manual,” I had told them.

“Sometimes the boxes get stolen,” one of them confided. As if Dead Rising 2: Off the Record boxes were so in demand among shoplifters that three of them had been filched within a week of the game’s release.

“Sir, I can give you 15% off,” another salesperson said in a hushed tone, as if he didn’t want the guy in line behind me to hear. I ended up going elsewhere to buy my copy. If Off the Record had been DLC, it would have saved me both trips.

Of course, the separate DLC for Off the Record was announced today. Next week, for $2, Frank West can don a Terminator skin and do extra lightning damage when he attacks. While I really appreicate what Capcom has been doing creatively, I hate how they’ve been packaging it. And I hate even more that I just spent $40 to support their business practices.