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Review site Metacritic plans to solve its biggest problem
The popular review site is looking to improve its moderation tools
Metacritic has become a trusted destination for aggregated review scores, with video game companies taking positive Metacritic scores so seriously that it can affect their employees’ bonuses.
However, for all of Metacritic’s merits, it’s always had one big problem: user review scores. Specifically, user review score bombing.
Review score bombing is the practice whereby hundreds of disgruntled users leave extremely negative reviews that don’t necessarily reflect the consensus of the critics. And that would be fine – audiences don’t always tend to agree with critics after all – but these user scores are negative because of a single issue or simply because of some agenda they hold.
➡️ The Shortcut Skinny: Metacritic user review scores
💣 Horizon Forbidden West DLC is being review bombed on Metacritic
👎 It currently has a user score of 3.9 after over a 1,000 reviews
😡 Users have taken exception to various aspects of the game including its plot
✋ Metacritic has vowed to take a stronger stance against review bombing
It’s an all too common occurrence to see video games get review bombed, and the situation happens on Steam regularly, too. Steam at least requires users to have played a game for 2 hours, however, there’s no such moderation in place on Metacritic.
The latest title to fall foul of angry users is Horizon Forbidden West’s DLC, The Burning Shores, which has a Metascore of 82 after 43 critic reviews. The DLC is exclusive to PS5 and a lengthy add-on to one of the best PS5 games on Sony’s platform. However, users have seemingly taken issue with the fact the game is on PS5, the price, and a particular plot point. As a result, it currently has a User Score of 3.9 after 1,374 ratings. (Spoilers below!)
One of the side quests in the DLC sees protagonist Aloy kiss a new female hero called Seyka – and it’s fair to say its inclusion has riled up some gamers.
One user wrote: “Politically infested game, it's not necessary. I'm absolutely sick and tired of this agenda and the people pushing it behind. Game made for a very limited audience. Pure woke-ridden filth.”
Again, not every review revolves around this change – some are angry the DLC isn’t on PS4, some didn’t enjoy it, while others have taken issue with the price tag – but a large majority indicate the fact Aloy is a lesbian is the reason they gave the game a score of zero.
Thankfully, review bombing on Metacritic that could be set to change, as the site has told Eurogamer that it’s aware of the “abusive and disrespectful reviews of Horizon Forbidden West Burning Shores.”
Metacritic and Fandom (its parent company) said it’s “currently evolving [its] processes and tools to introduce stricter moderation in the coming months.”
The statement went on to add: "Our team reviews each and every report of abuse (including but not limited to racist, sexist, homophobic, insults to other users, etc) and if violations occur, the reviews are removed.”
Fandom didn’t elaborate on how these new tools and processes will work, or what they’ll look like, but it’s at least acknowledged that review bombing has to stop.
Yesterday, Horizon Forbidden West developer Guerrilla Games quietly announced that Aloy would be back for a third open-world adventure.
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