On The Record: GFWD(ead Rising)

the zombies represent me, Frank represents rubbish ports, the laser is a laser hitting me in the eye

I received review code for Dead Rising 2: Off the Record last week and was hoping to bring you hilarious tales of my attempts to photographically document a localised zombie apocalypse while wearing naught but spandex and a comedy hat. There would have been a bit with me riding a tricycle and shooting a water pistol at a horde of reanimated corpses and another bit when my chainsaw-paddle contraption spectacularly failed at the very moment a tiger was preparing to chew my face off. Imagine how much fun it would have been!

Keep on imagining because despite buying a retail copy to ensure the problem wasn’t unstable code I haven’t managed to take a single compromising photograph or wear a shred of spandex. A combination of shoddy port syndrome and Games For Windows Live has thwarted my every attempt to play a game I expected to enjoy and say nice things about. None of that now. Instead, regrettably, this.

First of all, let me tell you how much I enjoyed Dead Rising 2, which I did play on the very PC I’m writing this on. I had a great time with it and indeed the first game, which I played on a consolebox out of necessity. I’ve long wanted to invite hard-bitten photojournalist Frank West onto my PC, it’s the next best thing to going for a beer with the great man, so it’s fair to say I was keen to enjoy On The Record. I didn’t have any of the problems with the PC port of Dead Rising 2, although it seems many people did. In fact, I’ve only become aware of many of those problems now because at least some of them seem to be replicated in Off The Record.

These aren’t glitches or a lack of keybinding, they are issues which prevent the game from even loading – no title screen, no developer logos. Nothing. Not even an error message. Quite why Off The Record should object so strongly to my machine when its previous incarnation plays just fine, I don’t know, but the fact that the game has made me jump through so many hoops is bad enough, the fact that it still doesn’t work is unacceptable.

Here’s what I’ve tried so far.

In order to use the review code, it was necessary to uninstall GFWL and use a PartnerNET version, which is fine by me. Uninstalling GFWL makes me feel like I’m striking a blow against hegemony and I’m all about that kind of radical action. Reinstalling a different version immediately afterwards somewhat detracts from my rebellious spirit, but I’ve got games to play so this isn’t the time for anarchistic posturing.

This time, the zombies represent GFWL, Frank represents a PC and the shovel is me. Think about it, but not too hard, because I didn't.

Having dutifully followed all instructions to the letter, I was ready to go, but Off The Record apparently wasn’t. A large low resolution window appeared with the message that the application had stopped running. OK. I’m used to this kind of thing, so I rebooted and tried again, and then uninstalled the game, cleared it from my registry along with all traces of GFWL in both its forms, rebooted, reinstalled the game and the PartnerNET GFWL, tried again. Same result, the application stopped running almost before it had started.

Since the retail version was just around the corner, I decided to hold on and try that instead. So I uninstalled the review code, cleared it from my registry along with all traces of the PartnerNET GFWL. I’ve spent a lot of time dusting my registry recently and have even considered putting up some shelves and turning it into a study.

Yesterday, I installed the retail version of the game and tried to run it, only to receive exactly the same error, which is to say no real error at all – no message, no details, just an abrupt return to the desktop. The internet informs me that some dedicated folks have been identifying the problems with the port and attempting to find fixes. It’s just a shame that no one at Capcom decided to look at these things before selling the game. Adjustments to speaker sound quality in order to run an application? Crashes if the game isn’t installed to the C: drive? I don’t know if either of those things are necessary in all cases, but they have seemingly made a difference for some people.

Even for those specifically configured souls who have the game running, crashes sometimes require graphical options to be disabled, including V-sync and anti-aliasing. I’m not one of those people though – I don’t have the option of uglifying things because I still don’t have anything vaguely resembling a game. Just that same instant crash, which gives no error but does leave a log on my harddrive, which isn’t some kind of dirty protest, but is unhelpful and annoying all the same. All of the fields in the error log read ‘UNKNOWN’, in caps just like that, except that it knows the name of the game I’m trying to run and the name of the computer I’m trying to run it on.

It’s becoming a blasted nuisance, this Off The Record.

This one's easy. I'm Frank and I'm attaching my copy of Off The Record to that bomb. The zombies? Ignore the zombies.

But I soldier on because I am brave and stalwart, although undeniably much less brave and stalwart than an actual soldier. Sound quality adjusted, as suggested, I try again. Nothing new, just the same old sorry state of things. The next step would be to move the game to my C: drive, which I resisted because it’s where I keep system files, not games. Don’t ask me why, but my several hard drives are segmented beasts, with different letters reserved for different categories of item. The c: drive doesn’t have a great deal of free space so I need to do some housekeeping and then I copy the whole damn thing across.

It still doesn’t work. At this point, I didn’t expect it to.

The only other thing that could be conflicting is GFWL and from what I’m reading, the crash that’s affecting me could be related to that Godforsaken front-end of perpetual misery. Off The Record clearly isn’t reaching the stage where it could sign me into GFWL because it crashes almost immediately, but maybe they are failing to communicate and that’s why I can’t play. So I try to fool it; I uninstall GFWL, clear it from my registry (which is so clean I can see my face in it), reboot and then run Off The Record. Most GFWL titles I’ve played would force me to install the software at this point but not Off The Record. Same crash, same lack of information.

For good measure, I try running Batman: Arkham Asylum (I wish I could have said City) and GFWL boots up and everything works just fine. Try running Dead Rising 2 and it crashes but also seems to infect GFWL live, which won’t load up anymore and has to be reinstalled. So the problem does seem to be a clash between the two. I’m not blaming GFWL entirely though because there are apparently some serious problems with the Off The Record port, which is madness when Dead Rising 2 has been available on PC for so long. Surely someone has been listening to the problems PC gamers had with that game? Doesn’t look like it.

In this exciting catalogue of tedium, I haven’t mentioned that I uninstalled and reinstalled Off The Record itself several times (with registry scrubbing). What I’m saying is, I’ve tried everything suggested and the bloody thing won’t work.

Those are just some badass slippers I could be wearing while killing zombies if the damn game worked

Capcom have provided me with many hours of joy over the years, so I was delighted when it seemed they were starting to bring more of their games to the PC. After being thoroughly underwhelmed by their treatment of the Resident Evil 4 port, which managed to look worse than the Gamecube release and didn’t provide genuine controller support for anything beyond a gamepad, I’m wondering about the sense of bringing ports across with so little effort. That said, when the original Dead Rising 2 worked for me straight out of the box (or off the Steam, as it were), I was perfectly happy and had a great time. Right now though, the useless chunk of game on my desk is making me a tad grumpy. And it’s mostly because I actually want to play it.

This is one man’s experience though, backed up by the evidence of internet anecdotes and the existence of long lists of ‘fixes’ for supposed incompatibilities and errors that really should have been eliminated before release. Obviously, many people will be having fun with the PC version of the game but I can’t speak for them.

Has anyone had a better experience? And does anyone have any advice? Although on the advice front, if it’s not mad and esoteric advice, I’ve probably tried it already.


  1. nimzy says:

    Games For Windows Live is the reason I can’t play the original Fallout 3 or Bioshock 2 anymore. Whether it’s errors or proposed solutions being “open twenty thousand ports in your firewall” (seriously)… I’m actually cringing at the fact that the new Batman game, Arkham City, is also going to use GFWL. If it breaks (again) I am going to be incredibly unhappy with someone.

    • tyren says:

      You can load up Fallout 3 without GFWL. I only even bothered to use GFWL at all when I realized I had to if I wanted the DLC (back before it was posted on Steam).

    • Kato says:

      Arkham City on Steam will use Steamworks, complete with Steam Achievements and Cloud saves. Alhamdulilah for that.

    • Ruffian says:

      I have to kind of wonder if maybe ati’s new drivers might factor into the problem too, though Idk what brand the writer is using, I know I’ve had some problems with other games after installing the new drivers and configuring everything for RAGE. basically just had to go back to how everything was before to get alot of my other games working exactly right. once again no clue if it’s really a/the problem, but I have seen more crashes on my machine with those drivers. In all reality though it’s probably just a broken crappy port. It seems like these companies have like 2 semi-trained monkeys in a dark closet somewhere making these things.

    • stupid_mcgee says:

      @ Kato: No. You are wrong. Arkham City for PC will include GFWL no matter if you get it retail, D2D, GetGames, GreenMan or Steam. However, the Steam version will have Steam Cloud for saves and Steam Achievements (alongside GFWL achievements), but it the Steam version, like all other versions of Arkham City PC, will also use GFWL and SecuROM.

      So, yes, you get a few extra perks by ordering through Steam (namely Cloud for save-state backups), but you will still have to deal with both GFWL and SecuROM no matter where you buy it.

      Other Requirements: Online play requires log-in to Games For Windows – Live

      3rd-party DRM: SecuROM™

      link to store.steampowered.com

  2. TotalBiscuit says:

    Had no issues with the game, at ran first time and runs beautifully. It’s a very nice PC port, with the exception of GFWL being involved in it.

    • Premium User Badge

      Adam Smith says:

      That was my experience with DR2, which I thoroughly enjoyed and can actually still play! Really don’t understand what’s happening at all and with GFWL’s odd behaviour since installation, there must be a correlation.

    • TsunamiWombat says:

      If I’ve played Dead Rising 2, any reason to try off the record? Is it just D2 with some new area’s, and a new protag?

    • Corrupt_Tiki says:

      Not trying to be snarky or anything, but good for you.

      These problems are so infuriating for the people they affect, which are usually in the minority (a good thing I suppose, but it may also mean that no quick fixes are done.)

      I’ve had a few where I couldn’t play the game out of the box; C&C 3, Stalker, ArmA (as much as I hate to say it.) and just about every bethesda game I own, spring to mind.

      hmm, post seems irrelevant now, but oh well.

  3. Richard Cobbett says:

    I played the Steam version and it ran just fine, aside from the usual GFWL connection issues and taking forever to download a profile, whatever the hell that means. No problem at all with the game itself aside from one nasty part where I reloaded a save in the Safe House and then wasn’t allowed to open the door.

    As for the deeply disappointing content though… sigh…

    • onehitter says:

      No issues here either (through Steam in the US). It’s on my E: drive and I don’t think I needed to touch my GFWL install.

      I thought this version was much better quality wise. At least there were options for mapping keyboard controls unlike the first DR2 on PC.

  4. pupsikaso says:

    I, too, am incredibly pissed off when games start putting shit on my c: drive. C: drive is for windows and programs, THAT’S IT! DO NOT start putting save files and even entire GAME files weighing upwards of several gigs into my documents. Who the frak puts save files in a system directory instead of WHERE THE GAME ACTUALLY IS?? And then even puts config and other files in there too! MADNESS

    • ScottTFrazer says:

      Well, putting your save and config files in your user directory makes some amount of sense. If I’m rebuilding a machine, I’d prefer to just copy over my last user directory instead of the specific files I need from every game ever installed under Program Files or Program Files (x86) or where ever else I’ve put the games.

      Game files, though. Totally with you on that.

  5. Christian says:

    What a shame.

    (because I don’t dare imagine those pictures because I fear I can’t unimagine them).
    Also that’s one of the reasons not to buy GFWL games any more (the fact that it’s not solely responsible is factored into that statement).

    And forcing people to install games on C: is so 90s..regarding the fact that quite a number of people (not including me, boohoo) have a nice SSD there for their system files.
    Related question: Does Steam handle that fine these days? I recall there being some problems with that as well..

    • ScottTFrazer says:

      Steam supports moving the entire installation to a new drive, but doesn’t support installing some games on one drive and some on another.

    • PeopleLikeFrank says:

      You can use symlinks on Windows 7 or Vista though. I have Steam installed on an SSD, which has enough space for the handful of games I’d be playing at a given time. When I need to make space, I move a game’s folder from the steamapps folder to a much larger HDD, then use mklink to point at the new location. As far as Steam is concerned, all the files are still in the steamapps folder. It would be more convenient if Steam let me manage games’ locations on an individual basis, but this method does let me take advantage of a limited-capacity SSD, without having to uninstall games I might come back to later.

    • Fierce says:

      My drives, and Steam installation, breakdown is as follows:

      1st Partition, 1st HDD: OS, 60gb (C:)
      2nd Partition, 1st HDD: Games, 405gb (D:, Steam)
      1st Partition, 2nd HDD: Pagefile, 5gb (E:)
      2nd Partition, 2nd HDD: Data, 460gb (F:)
      3rd and 4th HDD: RAID 1 Archive (Z:)

      As can be derived, the 1st and 2nd HDDs are both 500gb drives, Steam is installed on and installs games to D:, and the game related folders under ‘C:/Users/Me/My Documents’ and ‘C:/Users/Me/My Documents/My Games/’ comprise of just under 5GB of data. I won’t bother boring you with what’s under %appdata% since that’s barely under your control (See below).

      The save path of a game’s save files usually depends on how recently made it is, but even that can be deceiving as Witcher 2 dumps them in ‘My Documents’ while a game like Darksiders, Far Cry 2 or The Last Remnant resides properly in ‘My Games’. If you search, there are also forum posts I recall about modifying the default save path of your games, and even your entire OS, if you’re interested.

      I can tell you with 100% certainty though that I have NEVER had to tell Steam to install a game to D:, beyond installing Steam specifically to D: itself. Like a good piece of modern software, it modified its internal INI files to reflect the user’s install choice. I can also tell you with 100% certainty that I had to tell Origin specifically to install games to my D: drive as it was all too eager to assume I wanted the BF3 Beta and any games thereafter in C:/Program Files (x86). It was a good thing I checked the Settings before I began the BF3 Beta install, that’s for sure.

      (To be fair though, I don’t remember if Origin’s install itself gave me a choice where to put it; perhaps someone else could clarify that and if it then self-updated its install location defaults.)

    • Christian says:

      Aah, the long lost magic of symlinks. Yeah, that might be a good solution, although it does require some work. I’ll try to remember this up to the point where I’ll get a flashy SSD..

      @Fierc: That seems quite complicated. I had multiple partitions with XP as well, but soon discovered there was no real need for them with Windows 7…so I’d be interested why you have it set up that way. I get the point of having multiple HDD, but more than one partition per HDD? Just for easier backup or is there another reason I’m missing?

      Also: Yeah, the savegames-location really is a bit of a problem sometimes, with no realy standard for it. I backup my savegames now&then..and it’s always a pain to find them all…

    • Fierce says:


      Happy you’re interested, as I’ve told the method of my madness to many of my curious PC gamer friends over the years.

      The way I’ve organized the HDDs and partitions is based on the theory of Short Stroking and HDD read head availability.

      I’ll let you read up on short stroking, but the read head availability basically goes like this according to my logic:

      1) The PC of a gamer is usually doing one of two things; running minor applications like browsers, IM programs, media consumption programs for HD video and audio, et cetera, or it’s running a major application like a game or a graphic design software suite member.

      2) The PC will usually only require the maximum amount of RAM + Pagefile if it’s running a major application. Minor applications will not require the Pagefile to an excessive degree.

      3) If a HDD is running a minor application, minor app reads/OS writes may be necessary from the OS partition alongside minor data reads from the Data partition. If it is running a major application, major reads may be needed from the OS/Games partition and major reads/writes from the Pagefile. Rarely will a user run a game and design software simultaneously.

      So in essence, the partition setup is cross-functional and succeeds in providing an independent read head to your task depending on what you’re doing. If you’re on your desktop, whether its a major or minor application, a HDD head is available to peruse the OS and Pagefile/Data partitions as needed, assuming Data is holding the HD video being watched. If you’re playing a game, the OS partition isn’t going to be heavily read, the Games partition will; just as the Data partition won’t be read, the Pagefile will, and again an independent read head is available to maximize throughput of the needed area.

      The key is in separating the simultaneous tasks that a HDD may need to do to run your HD Video/Design Software/Game between read heads that can act independently to increase overall speed. Having both game data and the pagefile on the same HDD may not be “stupid”, but its certainly less efficient than one needle reading Game and another needle writing to Pagefile simultaneously, when the alternative is having one needle jumping around to read and write on the same platter. It only gets worse when the area the Pagefile is on isn’t short-stroked and possibly fragmented.

      The performance boost this provides is real, “free”, and needs maintaining with defragging (I use Diskeeper) but it proves itself every time I load into a level faster than my buddies, and suffices while I eyeball the SSD prices this holiday season.

    • stupid_mcgee says:

      @ Fierce: That’s actually how I have mine setup, too. I just did it because it seemed to make sense to me. One drive to run a few OS stuff, one to run movies/games. I’m obviously never going to be watching movies and playing games, so there’s no conflict. When I need to run major apps, they run on one drve while the other holds the manipulated data . It also works well when creating and streaming content into Unity.

  6. CaspianRoach says:

    I’ve just completed the game’s main story and it never as much as crashed. (GeForce 550 Ti, Intel E6550, all graphic setting on max). It is a pretty decent port of a good game.
    The only maddening problem for me was inability to load auto-saves (checkpoints) from the main menu. My power went off at one point and I’ve lost about 50 minutes of zombie killing mission progress because I wasn’t manually saving in the loos.

  7. DickSocrates says:

    I see the requirements ask for a 2.4Ghz Core 2 Duo. Any idea how a 2Ghz Core 2 Duo would fare? There’s no demo and I’ve learned to never trust what specs a game claims you need. I don’t want to take the nuclear option to find out.

    • CaspianRoach says:

      My core2duo 2.33 GHz did just fine on 1280×1024 and max graphic settings. It’s not all about the processor though, a good videocard is what you want for good framerate. And once again, it is a console port, and current console hardware is what, five years old? You should be fine.

    • DickSocrates says:

      Thanks. I can run most things well, Arkham Asylum with everything set to max (apart for anti aliasing, which I’ve honestly never been concerned about in my 10 years of PC gaming. I survived the Sega Saturn, I can survive anything) at what I would call a good framerate with only occasional drops in FPS. I seem to be fine with most console ports, though my monitor is 1280×800 so I’m never running things in epic resolutions.

      I’m concerned about the CPU primarily here because of the number of zombies. I doubt they all have AI attached, so perhaps it’s more of an illusion. Even the PS2 managed to render a dense carnival scene in Hitman Bloodmoney because none of the people had AI, just animated props.

      Still, I’m hearing bad things about this runs even compared to the first Dead Rising 2.

    • stupid_mcgee says:

      FWIW, I was able to run the original DR2 with a 2Ghz C2D (e4400) and an HD4850 512MB at 1600×1200 at just under max settings. I’d get some frame rate issues in multiplayer, but SP was pretty smooth. BTW, you should be able to easily OC your C2D to 2.4 GHZ to squeeze some more performance out.

  8. StingingVelvet says:

    PC gaming means someone somewhere is always faced with a game that isn’t working, even if it works for 99% of everyone else.

    Not sure why this is news really.

    • jonfitt says:

      Sad but true, however I’d reserve judgement on the 99%. Although it doesn’t sound here like he’s tried other PCs.
      If I was reviewing games I’d want two complete gaming rigs involving parts from all major vendors AMD/Intel chips, Ati/Nvidia gfx. I’d then also maintain an image of a brand new installed copy of Windows probably without even the graphics card drivers installed. That way you have the option of swapping out PCs and restoring to an image with no chance of their being old GFWL or other conflicting items.
      Unfortunately that’s the only way you could hope to avoid this kind of problem. Ideally, you should never have to, but who’s to say your PC isn’t suffering from a 1% problem?
      Sadly while the imaging part is totally within the reach of a games journo, the cost of keeping 2 up-to-date games PCs is probably not. Still, I’m sure you get to write them off as a business expense.
      I had horrible stuttering problems with FO3 which made it unplayable until a patch, but no reviewer I read mentioned it. I couldn’t play Deus Ex for YEARS, since 2 successive Ati cards crashed no matter what I did.

    • jonfitt says:

      I would love for someone to track the percentages of these problems. It’s completely against Steam’s interests, but it would be awesome if there was a Steam feedback mechanism, for users to record issues.
      Then you could look at a game and it would say, 2% of purchasers reported they couldn’t run the game, 5% reported graphical glitches . Then you could click on an issue and it would show you a breakdown by various hardware specs, parts. That would be sweet.
      The implication would be, no report = no problem.
      The problem with support forums is people only post when they do have a problem, you ave no way of knowing how many had no problem.

    • StingingVelvet says:

      @ Jonfitt

      That’s a great idea honestly, and I’m not sure it would always be against their interests. For example as it stands right now one article like this or a few forum posts can give hundreds if not thousands of people the impression that a game is outright broken for everyone (which is why articles like this are dangerous IMO). However if those people could click a button on Steam that showed them only 1.2% of people reported issues then they might say “oh, so it’s not really a big deal.”

      I have only had one game in the last 10 years just outright not work for me and that was Frontlines: Fuel of War. It ended up being fixed by updating my BIOS of all things. Other than that games run fine for me, sometimes with a little google search, but usually right out of the box. Keeping a clean PC is essential I think, I have barely anything superfluous on it or running all the time.

    • diamondmx says:

      @StingingVelvet It might not be in their interests, as if 1.2% of users (who meet minimum req’s) are unable to run a game (or unable to run it in a reasonable manner) – then they know how large of a group are basically buying a broken product, and who should reasonably deserve a refund.
      I suspect that they have a certain defence in obfuscating the size of certain problems which should morally and legally require refunding. From Dust got a refund probably not because it was very deserving, but because of the size of the outcry. Had fewer people raged, I suspect it would have gotten swept under Valve’s blanket ‘no refunds’ policy.

    • jezcentral says:


      Alas, you would just be arming angry internet man with another weapon with which to beat the game devs. It would get very ugly, and make Amazon bombing look like a tea party. (The nice kind, not the sociopathic US lot).

  9. Mechorpheus says:

    I picked this game up on Steam as a semi-impulse as I was surprised to see it for £20, when I thought it would be a £30+ full-price one. Game plays 100% fine on my Alienware M17xR3 (i7-2630QM, AMD Radeon 6990M), I’ve had zero issue installing, playing, no crashes or anything to report. It even runs better than Dead Rising 2 itself did. Could your problems be being caused by something which the steam version doesn’t require/force upon you? It’s still ‘blessed’ with GFWL, but even that has given me no trouble, and even works fine offline. To be honest, after the hilarious failure of RAGE on this machine (a good 5 evenings wasted trying to get that game playable, and even when I got close it looks like the back end of a dog), I was very glad to just be able to play the game without faffing around.

    The game itself… well so far so Dead Rising 2. I’ve not had THAT much time with it so far, but it’s seems very much a ‘what would have happened if this guy were here rather than that guy’ type scenario, so I wouldn’t expect good old Chuck to pop up any time soon (coop aside, which I’ve not actually ever played even with DR2 itself). I was kind of hoping it’d work like those HL1 expansion packs, same event but from different perspectives, but then I suppose it’d have been harder for them to recycle bits. But I do like the photo-taking system (although having to press two buttons to get at it makes it much easier to miss the PP moments, which is a tad frustrating but I’m getting used to it), and I don’t really know why but I always preferred Frank to Chuck anyway. If they ever make a film of this, Bruce Campbell for Frank West!

  10. Khemm says:

    Adam, I doubt the issues are GFWL related, maybe you should try cleaning your system/ formatting. I know it sounds drastic, but there might be some piece of software your review copies left over which you missed, hence your problems?

    The only problem I had with GFWL was that its most recent release requires that you have Windows Live ID Sign-In Assistant service running on your PC (part of Windows Live Essentials), it’s now an integral part of the service necessary for logging in. Please check if it’s “on”, if that doesn’t help, I honestly have no idea how to help. My Off The Record copy works perfectly fine out of the box.

    • Premium User Badge

      Adam Smith says:

      The Windows Live ID Sign-In Assistant seemed to be the problem at first, but it is working for other games now, although running Off The Record confuses it somehow and forces me to reinstall it (GFWL, not OTR).

      I’ll keep plugging away and get to the bottom of it eventually, I’m sure. Semi sure.

      Glad things are working for most people, although part of me was hoping someone would share my exact pains!

    • Nick says:

      “Adam, I doubt the issues are GFWL related, maybe you should try cleaning your system/ formatting”

      Yes, I’m sure formatting will help. Can’t possibly be GFWL related, no sir, why its a well documented bastion of quality programming.

    • AlexV says:

      Would that be the same Windows Live Sign In Assistant that broke access to windows shares from samba (linux)? The Samba team have since released an update so if you’re running Linux you’re OK, but if what you want to access your shares from is a set-top box media player that isn’t likely to see an update any time soon, you’re SOL.

      Yet another reason, as if any more were required, to avoid any game that requires GFWL.

  11. deadstoned says:

    GFWL scourge of the earth. I’ve had too many issues with it in GTA4 and Fallout 3 to never forgive it. A corrupted 40hour+ save file is a great way to piss me off!

  12. Taidan says:

    The only thing that comes to mind while reading this is that people who are still buying Capcom games in this day and age are getting exactly what they deserve.

    They are evil. Don’t support them financially.

  13. The_B says:

    Possibly – and this may be a silly suggestion – but have you updated your .net frameworks to the latest versions? I know a lot of GFWL problems I’ve had have been fixed by doing that, yet infuriatingly it’s hardly ever mentioned anywhere except buried in the most obscure of support channels. I mean, at one point I’m sure most installations of GFWL claim they’re doing this – but then don’t actually do so, so I get them manually these days.

    • Duckpoop says:

      This. I had to do this recently to get a game to run, which was crashing right at start up. Installing Microsoft XNA might be another solution?

  14. killitwithfire says:

    GFWL, never forget

    It gave me lemons and I can’t make lemonade with it

  15. Wildeheart says:

    Am I the only person here who thinks someone moaning that no matter how much they manually butcher their registry they can’t get some software to work is a facepalmingly stupid thing to do? I’d have thought an error log full of “UNKNOWN” might have given him a clue that perhaps deleting every value he doesn’t like in the registry might not have been the best plan of attack.

    • Eskatos says:

      Well I can’t fathom why reinstalling wouldn’t reestablish all necessary registry values. Of course if other games stopped working then I’d warn against further registry shenanigans.

    • diamondmx says:

      Or it might be that no matter how scary the registry might seem, it is actually not that complicated to use it without screwing it up.
      Give the guy some credit for knowing what to delete and what to leave.

    • Wildeheart says:

      I was more referring to registry values he may have removed relating to software other than GFWL and the game itself. I’m thinking some record of driver installs or DX builds or dll paths may be missing which means the GFWL/Game’s interrogation of the computer to get everything working as it wants can’t get the information it needs to do so. I mean I’m just guessing here but as soon as someone tells me they’ve got computer problems and then drops the hint that they’ve been messing in the registry it does ring some pretty loud alarm bells and ranting about Capcom for a full screen of text before you’re even sure you haven’t messed something up yourself smacks a little of the whole pot kettle thing.

    • stillwater says:

      Yeah, I thought that too. Especially when he said “A large low resolution window appeared with the message that the application had stopped running. OK. I’m used to this kind of thing…”

      I’m *not* used to that kind of thing, and my PC hasn’t been formatted for 2 years. Though I kind of suspect that if I was in the habit of screwing around in the registry regularly, I too would be used to that kind of thing.

      Though I gave him the benefit of the doubt, assuming that he knows what he’s doing, and knowing firsthand that GFWL can be very flaky.

  16. c-Row says:

    At least you are meant to be able to play DR2:OTR. Capcom decided not to allow activating this game in Germany at all, so you can neither buy it on Steam/retail, nor play an imported version, though there are reviewers who were still able to activate it. It’s not even banned from advertising (“indiziert”) – Capcom simply decided not to bother at all and locked us out completely.

    • StingingVelvet says:

      Though it would be legal for them to allow imports to activate I believe, or they could have censored the game, the real root of the problem there lies with your nanny-state government.

    • c-Row says:

      That certainly is a problem, but while not being allowed to be actively advertised, indexed games can be legally sold to anybody above the age of 18, as owning an indexed game isn’t illegal, nor is importing and activating an otherwise indexed or unavailable game from outside Germany (case in point: Dead Rising 2 Vanilla). Not being allowed to activate the game is just bloody ridiculous and makes no sense whatsoever – it’s all Capcom’s very own decision, and the only apparent reason they do this is because they can. I could easily buy the XBox 360 version on Play or Amazon UK and play it at home, and there would be nothing wrong or illegal about that either.

    • stupid_mcgee says:

      My guess would be that they didn’t want to even bother with the review/rating board for Germany, assuming that OTR would get shot down. I don’t know why, considering DR2 (from my understanding) passed Germany’s ratings board.

      It might also have something to do with potential legal liability and not being able to sell unrated games in Germany. Who knows, but it does seem silly since you can legally own such materials as long as you’re over 18 and don’t violate a few other criteria.

      It would still be a hassle, but you could validate DR2:OTR and log-in via a VPN. You would probably also have to run it via VPN whenever you needed to update, too, which would be a pain. You would probably also have to run multiplayer via a VPN or some other trickery. (maybe hamachi? i don’t know, i’ve never used hamachi..)

      Seems like a dumb decision, overall, on Capcom’s part. But I’m sure there was more logic behind it rather than just “let’s be dicks.”

  17. Miker says:

    Hey, Adam, I think it’s worth noting that Dead Rising 2 was made by a Canadian studio, and that the game doesn’t use Capcom’s MT Framework engine that powers all of their other games. GFWL sign in/multiplayer issues aside, Capcom’s other ports, technically speaking, have been almost flawless. I can attest that Resident Evil 5, Devil May Cry 4, and Street Fighter IV have a beauty/performance ratio that bests most PC-centric games.

    • Wildeheart says:

      I really do hope you’re joking about that last sentence. I haven’t played DMC4 or SF4 on PC but I can attest that my i5 quad core with 8gb of ram and 1.5gb GeForce 465 stutters running RE5 on anywhere near max settings despite being not particularly pretty or an open world game. For a little attestation of my own I can attest that out of the 84 AAA games (Crysis, Batman: AA, GTA4 + Eps, Metro 2033, I could go on all day) installed on my PC it’s the only one I can’t run at full settings…Well okay I can “run” it at full settings but between fighting RE5’s horrific PC controls, tediously slow cusor movement and awful gameplay and I don’t think adding a barely 20 FPS framerate to the experience would improve matters.

    • Miker says:

      I would say you’re in the minority there. I just played through Resident Evil 5 on my E8400 and GTX 260 at 1080p with 4xAA on DX10 at a rock solid 60 fps. Same goes for Street Fighter IV. I also had the pleasure of running Devil May Cry 4 at high at 1440×900 on my ancient Dell Inspiron laptop, which had a 2.0 Ghz Core 2 Duo and an 8600M GT.

      I suspect that you, like Adam here, just happened to be one of the few people for which the game didn’t run well. Everybody else I’ve spoken to, even on RPS, has agreed Capcom’s in-house ports are pretty dandy.

      Also, I half-agree on RE5’s PC controls. The mouse wasn’t sluggish, just *slow*. I chose to play it with a controller because it was clearly meant to be played that way, and I got more enjoyment out of it. And I quite enjoyed the game when playing through the entire thing with a friend. Didn’t find it “awful” in the least, just too much like RE4.

    • StingingVelvet says:

      @ Wildeheart

      RE5, like every Capcom PC game since Lost Planet, runs like butter on the PC and looks amazing. It’s an issue on your end.

    • Wildeheart says:

      I’d have thought pointing out that I currently have installed 84 AAA titles and own approx 150 AAA games released across the last decade none of which have a problem would at least hint that it’s not just my machine at fault. I’m perfectly willing to accept that perhaps maybe, just maybe it’s a localised issue but it really doesn’t seem like it to me. I’ve played it from a fresh windows install with brand new HD and still no joy.

      It’s also worth noting that what you guys seem to consider full settings and what I do are two very different things. I run my games at 1920×1200 with 8xAA and max anisotropics, I also insist on V Sync being turned on since screen tearing in my opinion is the single most immersion breaking gfx glitch you can get. Still I’m eager not to get into too much of a debate here, I’m glad the game worked for you, it didn’t meet my admittedly very high standards performance wise but I did manage to play enough to realise it wasn’t survival horror any more (haven’t played since RE3 and didn’t realise the change would be so big!) so really didn’t care.

      I was really trying to question Miker’s opinion that the games looked much prettier and ran better than many PC exlusive AAA’s released recently which I’m afraid I can’t agree with at all. RE5 is actually a fairly ugly game graphically with little excuse given the tiny level size between loads. If Miker really thinks RE5 is a better looker than say Crysis, Metro 2033, Witcher 2.0 etc. then he probably needs an optician’s visit to get those prescription rose tinted specs sorted out. *

      * It should be noted that I’m quoting these titles purely as an example of graphical quality in PC centric so before anyone replies pointing out that Crysis was a tech demo masquerading as a game and Metro 2033 whilst beautiful was nigh on broken gameplay wise – I agree, I’m just saying their shiny bells and whistles were espeically shiny.

    • Miker says:


      Rose tinted specs for a game released two years ago and I just finished playing a month ago? Okay then.

      And Crysis, Metro 2033, and Witcher 2 are undoubtedly beautiful games, but I was talking about looks/performance ratio. I’m surprised you would mention them when all of them are a bit notorious for high system requirements. You need at least a decent rig to play those games and pull good frames — I wouldn’t have had a chance in hell at running those games on my old Inspiron laptop. Capcom’s games don’t push the visual envelope, but they run extremely well and look damn good for just how little horsepower they require.

    • stupid_mcgee says:

      @ Wildeheart: Something is very, very wrong on your end. I was able to run RE5 at max settings with an E4400 (Oc to 2.4GHz), 4GB DDR2, HD4850 512MB at 1600×1200.

      You actually might be having issues because of VSync. I’ve upgraded to an i5, but I still use my HD4850, and sometimes it has issues with VSync. I’m not sure if the 260 is the same or not, but some games and some cards just freak out over VSync.

      Also, if you look at the suggested specs at Game Debate, you can see that this is a pretty low-spec game.

      I tend to use game debate’s specs because they’re way more accurate than publisher’s specs. ie: Rage’s min spec for processor is: Dual Core, while recommended is Quad Core. Yeah, because there’s no difference between a dual-core Celeron, C2D, i3, or X2 chip, and, furthermore, it certainly doesn’t matter what your clock speed is.

  18. neolith says:

    This article reminds me why I still have to stick to a simple rule when buying games: Avoid GFWL like the plague.

    • Khemm says:

      Read the horror stories regarding the launch of some Steamworks games… Unfortunately, we don’t know what the problem is on Adam’s end and problems usually aren’t GFWL exclusive.

    • neolith says:

      Been there, done that. As much as a hassle Steam sometimes can be it still offers at least some points I regard as positive. I’d say that from all ‘services’ out there it is the one with the least problems by design.
      GFWL on the other hand… well, let’s say I cannot see a single point why I would want a game that uses it.

    • Amun says:

      Say what you will about Steam, but at least you have to agree that they have a more robust customer support team than GFWL does.

    • Milky1985 says:

      “This article reminds me why I still have to stick to a simple rule when buying games: Avoid GFWL like the plague.”

      Personally i have never had any issues with GFWL live, but i understadn that some peopel will.

      This issue looks like a classic software conflict somewhere (with the classic issue of uninstallers being lazy and not removing everything), probably the partnernet version interfering somehow, the UNKNOWN errors tho are great, perfect for debugging…..

      But i feel I should say that while everyone is blaming GFWL live etc, all of the error messages seem to be from dead rising, NOT gfwl unless i’m missing something. He even said it crashes before the sign in bit. Not sure which of the two is more to blame, obviously something is up but shouting GFWL is crap is a bit premature at the moment.

  19. derFeef says:

    I had the same issues. Then I ran zdp.exe in the Zdp folder which is located in the game’s root folder. It updated/downlaoded something… and now it runs perfectly without any GFWL hiccups.

    • Roshin says:

      The file zdp.exe is written by Microsoft and the only description of it that I can find is “Games for Windows – LIVE Zero Day Piracy Protection Tool”. The main file deadrising2.exe is appearantly encrypted and zdp.exe *should* run every time you start the game, decrypt deadrising2.exe, and then let you play.

  20. PoulWrist says:

    It’s a way to battle piracy. If you want it bad enough, you’ll go buy it on the Xbox.

    • DickSocrates says:

      You just hit on the perfect DRM, release a version of a game on PC that will literally not work for anyone.

  21. Navagon says:

    “Games For Windows Live has thwarted my every attempt to play [GFWL game]”

    Fixed. Well, not entirely accurate, admittedly. But damn it does that bloody thing fucking try.

  22. Kefren says:

    I’ve had similar problems with Securom. Try to launch a game and get nothing, no error, just won’t start. Spend forever reading online fora and trying to get (non-existent) support. Usually fix it eventually but it is the curse of all DRM systems. They are shit.

  23. Lowfyr says:

    Huh… Seems like I’m lucky for once – installed the game, briefly rolled eyes because of GFWL, started game, game worked like a charm with no crashes just with a strange slowdown for a few seconds every once-in-a-while.

    Only thing I’m wondering how the ‘zombie walk’ is supposed to work, then again why should I pretend to be a zombie when the game gives me so many weapons to kill aformentioned zombies with?

    Game works and is awesome. FYI they included the console exclusive DLC outfits like the ninja or psychopath costume.

  24. ArcaneSaint says:

    Damn, I was hoping the title meant people finally came to their senses and had stopped using GFWL, forever.

  25. Deano2099 says:

    Turn off your second screen if you have one?

    Oddly enough that;s been the solution about three times to issues I’ve had with games that I just can’t seem to fix any other way. Mostly older games though to be fair.

  26. Arglebargle says:

    GFWL thwarts me from playing games where its included, by stopping me from buying those GFWL games.

  27. stillwater says:

    I’m thrilled that instead of writing a review, you opted to write a piece that squarely addresses the bad porting, and the crippling and crippled nuisance that is GFWL. I myself have had hours wasted of my life searching for workarounds to get GFWL games to work, or having to wait for long updates before I can play a game (which is obviously infuriating for anyone who’s used to the silent background auto-patching of Steam).

    Too often, this sort of crap is mentioned peripherally in reviews or not at all, which possibly gives developers the impression that it’s a minor issues, whereas for some users (in this case you), it can be anything but a minor issue.

    We need more of this sort of thing so that either (a) developers become more reluctant to use GFWL, or (b) Microsoft realises it’s doing them more harm than good and either scraps the thing or dramatically improves it until the user experience is as smooth and low-interference as Steam’s (massively unlikely, since Microsoft’s designers rarely make software that knows when to unclench its neurotic hands and fade into the background).

  28. Dreamworkers says:

    I never had a problem with Games For Windows Live. Ask me anything.

  29. boldoran says:

    The last game i could not play because of GFWL was Dawn of War. All i got was the game complaining that there was a problem when signing me in.
    Could not sign into any Windows Live services (hotmail msn etc) either. All that did was redirecting me to an errorpage with a cryptic error-message. What annoyed me most was that there was not even a phone number for support anywhere on the page.

    Finally I found out that GFWL wanted to link my “gamertag” with my WindowsLive ID and it kept crashing without a sensible error-message (or even a decent errorcode) because I had not specified a name and surname for my profile in WindowsLive. Not that it ever forced me to enter these details or told me I had to to use GFWL with the WindowsLive thingy.

    I am honestly baffled how GFWL is still alive. Not going to buy any game that uses this abomination for anything more than a fiver in the future.

  30. Nick says:

    Try cracking it.

  31. rocketman71 says:

    Capcom and Microsoft/GFWL, proud sponsors of the PCGA, brought you this fantastic article.

    Remember, kids: never buy games crippled by GFWL.

  32. Frantics says:

    Awesome game. Works fine.

  33. jezcentral says:

    Yes, I know it’s been out for a while, but I’ve only just got round to trying to play it, and I can’t.

    Definitely a GFWL problem, as all my GFWL games break in exactly the same way. (It can’t download my profile, as it cannot connect to Windows Live).