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Video Game» Forums » Video Game Related » General Video Gaming

Subject: review bombing rss

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maf man
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will there ever be a reasonable alternative?

I just found out that there was a positive review bomb for AC unity being given away with the notre dame fire. It got me thinking, how is there not a popular go-to review spot that is more focused on the developers and publishers rather than the game. So there is a more useful and on topic place for players to hit back on things like the epic exclusive deals that I've seen spark review bombing recently and alike.

A part of this steamed from the fact that from what I can tell AC unity was not well received for having many bugs; which as some point was fixed. Yet I know a few of my friends still will ignore AC unity assuming all the positive reviews are just due to the view on the company rather than the game.
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I don't really understand... first, what is a "review bomb?"

Also, can you expand on what you mean by having a place where reviews focus around the developer/company and not the games they publish/develop? I don't think I get it. Is the concern that, when a company does really stupid things, it unfairly poisons the review pool for otherwise good games?

Sidepoint: I've long felt that reviewers are too soft on a game's technical problems. Some are taboo to even mention (load times being one). A game usually has to be comically overflowing with bugs for a mainstream reviewer to open fire, and understandably, once the floodgates are open, they go in pretty hard.

I could see the value in reviews being amended later with endnotes regarding patches. But who is going to see that? Game sales are so front-loaded, and gaming publications barely work economically in the first place. The companies with the resources to avoid review-negativity due to bugs are the ones developing and publishing buggy games that they then scramble to patch (or, sometimes, don't).
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JRJ, a "review bomb" is a scary-sounding term that publishers came up with for people writing negative reviews en masse when publishers release broken games, cripple existing games with new microtransactions, etc.
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It also includes writing massive amounts of reviews for a game when the publisher does something that isn't connected to the game in question. This is usually a negative (Randy Pitchford inserted his foot in his mouth again, I'm going to write a negative review for all Borderlands games) but it could be positive (the aforementioned AC Unity reviews when Ubi gave the game away). I think this form is what mafman is wanting to discuss.

Something like this somewhat contrived narrative:

- Skyrim is great. It gets outstanding reviews because of this.
- Bethesda did boneheaded thing A. Bethesda's reviews go negative because of this but no one "bombs" Skyrim because its quality hasn't changed.
- Bethesda does something good and starts getting good reviews as a result. Like earlier, this doesn't affect the reviews of their existing products.

People who care about such things can check the publisher ratings. People who don't can just look at the games on a case-by-case basis.
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tdphillips wrote:
People who care about such things can check the publisher ratings. People who don't can just look at the games on a case-by-case basis.

but thats what I'm questioning, because this practice is making it so you can't just look at a game's rating in ignorance. Valve had to step in within hours after boardlands 3 was announced to be epic exclusive to stop boarderlands 2 rating from bottoming out.

Where does one go to check the publisher's rating? Why aren't the people involved with review bombing going wherever that is?
 
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Sorry. That line should have been part of the "constructed narrative." An ideal situation where a publisher review service existed and was popular, if you will.
 
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JohnRayJr wrote:
Is the concern that, when a company does really stupid things, it unfairly poisons the review pool for otherwise good games?

for not knowing the term I used (sorry about that) that is well put.
I've grown bitter about the industry practices and I'm sure I'm not alone but for all the outcry there seems to be zero useful impact. Instead we have this practice where players end up going to the nearest alternate place to vent even though they know its the wrong place.
 
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I think I get it now. I don't game on PC so that's why this is all new to me.

I can see the attraction of having a review site for publishers, but I don't think it would solve the problem. Take the example you gave about negative publicity regarding the Borderlands 3 limited exclusivity via Epic's storefront. If that makes customers sufficiently angry, and they have time to 'go after' Gearbox online, they're going to do it in whichever way they think will most harm Gearbox.

If the angry writers don't think people will read a publisher-centered rant, they will attack games directly. They will troll gaming forums - sites like GameFAQs are already 50% trolling of exactly this kind.

It would be great to have a better way to organize information for 'innocent' would-be buyers, but that phase of the internet may be over. The internet is mostly noise and (mis)information warfare, and while I think it's unfortunate for a great game like BL2 to be tarnished with actions taken by its developer years later, I also don't feel sorry for Gearbox.

If you try to artificially restrict access to a multiplatform game, you are making an explicit economic tradeoff: you think that the money given to you by Epic outweighs the angry backlash from fans who don't want to shop with Epic and resent having their decisions made for them.

Randy Pitchford made that choice. In my opinion, he doesn't get to then try to control the backlash in the name of fairness.
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Unfortunately the practice of review bombing makes user reviews useless to a large extent. If user reviews are useless, then people will stop reading them, which means the review bomb will no longer have its desired effect. It's a tragedy of the commons.
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Simple solution - don't use or view or give any credence to moronic users' reviews on STEAM.

I've learned that no matter how much people might think professional reviewers suck, they're still infinitely better than the moronic masses, who are rarely correct about anything. shake
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This is why I generally only pay attention to critic reviews. I especially like to check out Metacritic for an aggregate of all the critic reviews.
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shelflife3000 wrote:
This is why I generally only pay attention to critic reviews. I especially like to check out Metacritic for an aggregate of all the critic reviews.


Yeah, even without a true "review bombing" happening, Metacritics user scores are pretty useless. People will go there in droves to rate a game 0 because of some reason (like lack of dubbing, or lack of Japanese voice acting, or what have you), then other people will go in and rate the game a 10 to offset the zeroes. In the near future, sites will likely ignore all 10s and 0s and people will start reviewing games as 8 or 2 to continue the cycle. Then in 50 years, all games will be rated a 5.
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It's worth mentioning that Steam has already taken steps to alleviate the problem. I have no idea if their solution is effective, though.
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JohnRayJr wrote:

I could see the value in reviews being amended later with endnotes regarding patches. But who is going to see that? Game sales are so front-loaded, and gaming publications barely work economically in the first place. The companies with the resources to avoid review-negativity due to bugs are the ones developing and publishing buggy games that they then scramble to patch (or, sometimes, don't).


Not to mention, Metacritic doesn't take into account when a publication update its review score. Only the initial value is kept.
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GibbRS wrote:
Metacritics user scores are pretty useless. People will go there in droves to rate a game 0 because of some reason (like lack of dubbing, or lack of Japanese voice acting, or what have you), then other people will go in and rate the game a 10 to offset the zeroes. In the near future, sites will likely ignore all 10s and 0s and people will start reviewing games as 8 or 2 to continue the cycle. Then in 50 years, all games will be rated a 5.

And by then, there will be such a glut of games around that it'll be hard to tell them apart anyway, so they might as well all be rated 5.
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Probably best to go with reviewers you know and trust. This includes editorial reviews. It used to be that you paid for the latter via mag subscriptions. Having as unbiased as views as possible was worth such fees.
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ackmondual wrote:
Probably best to go with reviewers you know and trust. This includes editorial reviews. It used to be that you paid for the latter via mag subscriptions. Having as unbiased as views as possible was worth such fees.


That's great for someone who wants to read a huge number of reviewers, keep in mind their reviews, and then contrast the reviewers opinions with their own opinions in order to collate such a list of reviewers they know and trust.
 
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I don't really see much utility (for me) in the review section of say, something like Steam or even Metacritic in the first place, so the idea of review bombing doesn't really impact me. I have found much more utility in hearing the thoughts of members of this forum since I have a much better understanding of their tastes, and they often make the reviews fun to read.

I've always felt that the discussion around games is a bit more elevated on VGG, so I find myself anxiously awaiting the thoughts of people here as opposed to professional review scores or user-generated reviews on other platforms.
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This whole thing is a minefield and is the issue with modern day media reviews.

Finding someone to trust in a medium where reviewers and 'respectable' critic sites are literally paid off to give good reviews is near impossible.

You can always turn to the general public but they are as a whole useless (and that goes for the majority of BGG and VGG too). People will rate 0/10 because of nearly anything- they dislike the devs, the genre, a marketing model. 0/10. Then others will rate a game 10/10 just to counter those ratings.

Of course many of the people that have rated the game have only played it for 2 fucking hours, so they basically know nothing about the game nor can they voice any accurate objective criticism because they haven't got much further then the tutorial before giving up on it.

As games are much more organic now due to receiving patches and additional content after release reviewing metrics should match that flexibility. In an ideal world reviews would not be allowed to be made until a player has either completed the game at least once on any difficulty or spent a minimum amount of time to play it based on a game by game basis, and older reviews would drop away after so long in order to get rid of old reviews from people complaining about bugs and issues from the game's early release that have long since being fixed and are now misleading to new potential players.

In an ideal world games would also be developed to completion BEFORE being released to the public.. this would instantly fix the problem of players being angry about games coming out incomplete.
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Mr Boris wrote:

Finding someone to trust in a medium where reviewers and 'respectable' critic sites are literally paid off to give good reviews is near impossible.


I do have moments where I'm surprised how little I get out of a professional review. I watched IGN's review for A Plague Tale: Innocence, and I thought, "man, this game sounds... ill-conceived at best, and also, what are you even talking about, review-guy??"

It's not often that reading/listening with a critical eye/ear seems to get me nowhere, but that's how I felt.
 
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Yeah, that's always super disheartening. Sometimes when you get a game for review that you really aren't that keen on or have less experience with, that's the big risk.

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I love review sections in Steam and believe review bombing is perfectly legitimate. It can often be petty, but that information is there for me to use or not use at my own discretion. More information is always a good thing.


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I get a lot of use out of the user reviews on Steam, but I actually look at the reviews themselves. I know the overall user rating is often pretty useless.
 
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