Metacritic stops users leaving launch-day reviews

midian182

Posts: 7,766   +79
Staff member
What just happened? Review aggregator Metacritic has introduced a feature aimed at preventing review bombing. From now on, users will have to wait 36 hours after a game is released before they can leave a review. The site insists that the decision didn't come about because of a particular title, but The Last of Us Part 2 likely played a part.

"We recently implemented the 36 hour waiting period for all user reviews in our games section to ensure our gamers have time to play these games before writing their reviews," a Metacritic spokesperson told Gamespot, which is owned by Metacritic owner by ViacomCBS. "This new waiting period for user reviews has been rolled out across Metacritic's Games section and was based on data-driven research and with the input of critics and industry experts."

The feature meant two big games that came out on Friday—Ghosts of Tsushima and Paper Mario: The Origami King—had no Metacritic user reviews until Saturday 12 PM PT. Until the time period expired, their pages read: "Please spend some time playing the game."

While the company says the decision wasn't due to a particular game, the feature's appearance so close to the launch of The Last of Us Part 2 is unlikely to be a coincidence. Major spoilers to Naughty Dog's sequel leaked in April, leading to an avalanche of negative user reviews landing on Metacritic just hours after release.

Valve introduced histograms to try and tackle review bombing back in 2017 after GTA V and Firewatch were targeted for reasons not related to the games. In 2019, it promised to identify off-topic review bombs and remove them from the Review Score.

While Metacritic's waiting period will help, it's not going to stop review bombing completely, which seems especially common with games that appear exclusively on the Epic Games Store.

Permalink to story.

 

QuantumPhysics

Posts: 6,242   +7,164
#1 Reviews-for-profit regardless the platform has always been a problem. People have gotten caught plagiarizing other reviewers. Or... my favorite, pretending to have used the product thoroughly while claiming that:

" I won't go too deep into it in order to avoid spoilers".

You'll never be able to weed these people out now thanks to literally entire games being uploaded for view on social media (Youtube).


#2 The game industry is now seeing just how toxic these alt-right (racists, sexists, etc) are when they can't even make a product without it being attacked for having a female lead or in The Last of US' case: a transgender character.

they are starting to get reviews, comments and general hate speech just like what was targeted at Ridley, Boyega and Tran.

It was one thing when all that hate was voice-only over multiplayer lobbies.

Now they have to face it in print-form on forums, review sites, Youtube, etc.

And they are on the left as well: attacking Far Cry 6's Giancarlo Esposito. They've been around for quite a while in fact.

I'm starting to miss the good old days when reviews were limited and you bought a game just because you wanted it.
 
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Theinsanegamer

Posts: 3,317   +5,502
So metacritic isnt interested in what users have to say, only what paid reviewers, I'm sorry, "influencers", have to say, because the first 48 hours is incredibly important for game sales.

They do know this wont work, right? All this will do is tarnish Metacritic's reputation, and lead to more people using an alternative, like opencritic, similar to what happened to rotten tomatoes. You cant shut down negative consumer backlash to terrible products, it's gonna get out, especially when your product is a personal hatred mastubatory fantasy (TLOUII) that you made with tens of millions from sony then released as a full price hot dump game to an expectant audience.
#1 Reviews-for-profit regardless the platform has always been a problem. People have gotten caught plagiarizing other reviewers. Or... my favorite, pretending to have used the product thoroughly while claiming that:

" I won't go too deep into it in order to avoid spoilers".

You'll never be able to weed these people out now thanks to literally entire games being uploaded for view on social media (Youtube).


#2 The game industry is no seeing just how toxic these alt-right (racists, sexists, etc) are when they can't even make a product without it being attacked for having a female lead or in The Last of US' case: a transgender character.
Funny how anyone who doesnt like seeing beloved main characters murdered and replaced by some beefcake with a woman's face stapled on are always alt-right ists and isms. A character with no buildup, a terrible, unlikeable personality, and a caracature of the main developer's sexual fantasies, which gets railed in a semi-full sex scene with the main developers' self insert.

Those who ferociously defend said product always focus on the gender of the character attacked, or some minute trait, and ignore the horrible writing, political virtue signaling, and attrocious gameplay quality, and any reviews mentioning these are simply labeled "alt right", as if that means anything anymore; anyone to the right of stalin or with any opinions that go against the narrative are "alt right".

It's interesting how some groups just cant take criticism of their garbage products. We've seen it with The Last Jedi, ghostbusters 2016, that new garbage terminator, TLOU II, the list goes on. And the result is the same every time, the product ends up a failure, both financially and creatively, and the studios behind said products end up failing as a result.
 

kimo1

Posts: 243   +450
Oh, so consumers who spent good sum on the product get silenced for telling the truth while official critics are allowed to write paid reviews? Can't trust a single review anymore. Since trash sale is getting super popular, many platforms are adapting to silence the truth, including game and movie review portals and even amazon. But it really is cheaper to pay review portals to be corrupt than to release a quality product that would bring a smile through joy of playing. Also zoomers are to blame, since they have zero expectancy of quality. Simply throw a bucket of **** with 60$ price tag at them and they auto 11/10 it. Educate your damn children...
 

Theinsanegamer

Posts: 3,317   +5,502
Oh, so consumers who spent good sum on the product get silenced for telling the truth while official critics are allowed to write paid reviews? Can't trust a single review anymore. Since trash sale is getting super popular, many platforms are adapting to silence the truth, including game and movie review portals and even amazon. But it really is cheaper to pay review portals to be corrupt than to release a quality product that would bring a smile through joy of playing.
People today have zero spine and skin thin as tissue paper. They take criticism of their product as criticism of themselves. Especially the political types, who jam politics into everything, and derive their identity from their political beliefs.

Also zoomers are to blame, since they have zero expectancy of quality. Simply throw a bucket of **** with 60$ price tag at them and they auto 11/10 it. Educate your damn children...
The biggest cash cow market for games is the 30-45 age demographic. Those are not zoomers, those are millenials who finally have disposable income and blow it on digital skins and blowhard microtransactions.

Zoomers will absolutely do the same thing, but they ar enot to the point of being able to afford it yet.
 

QuantumPhysics

Posts: 6,242   +7,164
So metacritic isnt interested in what users have to say, only what paid reviewers, I'm sorry, "influencers", have to say, because the first 48 hours is incredibly important for game sales.

They do know this wont work, right? All this will do is tarnish Metacritic's reputation, and lead to more people using an alternative, like opencritic, similar to what happened to rotten tomatoes. You cant shut down negative consumer backlash to terrible products, it's gonna get out, especially when your product is a personal hatred mastubatory fantasy (TLOUII) that you made with tens of millions from sony then released as a full price hot dump game to an expectant audience.

Funny how anyone who doesnt like seeing beloved main characters murdered and replaced by some beefcake with a woman's face stapled on are always alt-right ists and isms. A character with no buildup, a terrible, unlikeable personality, and a caracature of the main developer's sexual fantasies, which gets railed in a semi-full sex scene with the main developers' self insert.

Those who ferociously defend said product always focus on the gender of the character attacked, or some minute trait, and ignore the horrible writing, political virtue signaling, and attrocious gameplay quality, and any reviews mentioning these are simply labeled "alt right", as if that means anything anymore; anyone to the right of stalin or with any opinions that go against the narrative are "alt right".

It's interesting how some groups just cant take criticism of their garbage products. We've seen it with The Last Jedi, ghostbusters 2016, that new garbage terminator, TLOU II, the list goes on. And the result is the same every time, the product ends up a failure, both financially and creatively, and the studios behind said products end up failing as a result.


To quote Luke Skywalker:

Amazing. Every word of what you just said was wrong.

#1 Star Wars last 3 films, despite criticism, were commercially successes.

The same goes for TLOU2

#2 When did you complain about sex scenes in any other game?
 

Theinsanegamer

Posts: 3,317   +5,502
To quote Luke Skywalker:

Amazing. Every word of what you just said was wrong.

#1 Star Wars last 3 films, despite criticism, were commercially successes.

The same goes for TLOU2

#2 When did you complain about sex scenes in any other game?
#1 well, TFA was before the controversy, so not sure why you quoted that one. You also forgot that TLJ made 700 million less at the box office then TFA, and led to Solo bombing, and loosing almost half a billion. They CLAIM it only lost $89 million, but everyone knows that is hollywood accounting, and total BS. I can break it down if you are interested. Solo wiped out any profit TLJ made. TROS also wasnt a massive money maker, for similar reasons, and you also completely gloss over how in TLJs wake sales of merchandise totally collapsed (to quote mel brooks: "where the real money is made) and also lead to the failures of the revived close wars cartoon AND star wars resistance, both of which became expensive financial flops as the interest in star wars evaporated.

This has caused massive friction within disney, and this was before Corona arrived to obliterate the failing $4 billion investment made int he disney park for Star Wars. Disney is tryign to wring control out of Kathleen Kennedy, and the result is one torpedoing after another of projects, the disasterious editing and story of TROS (which made less then TLJ by the by) and the shoveling of even mroe woke agendas into future products.

#2 Consider, for a second, that you are aiming the complete wrong direction here with this hot take. Sony has previously censored other games from bigger releases to inconsequential anime fap material games, for being *too promiscuous*, yet is totally OK with a full on gay nude sex scene. This is what we call hypocricy, and it pisses off people who are paying attention. This makes it evident that Sony is playing favorites with a game that pushes political messaging both in and out of the game, which is tactic admission of support for these politics. Most people do NOT want this in their entertainment, and the obvious contradiction creates dissonance in the average consumer, which leads to this backlash.

And once again, you have gone for the sexual aspect, completely ignoring that TLOU II destroys the story of the previous game, insults the audience, and murders one main character while beating the snot out of the other one, ironically using a character that will piss off one part of the "progressive" stack no matter if its a woman, man, or transsexual, because you cant please the #woke brigade.
 

m4a4

Posts: 2,837   +3,597
TechSpot Elite
This just looks like protecting the interests of publishers (using biased critics), despite what legit unpaid users have to say about the game they played. Further pushing yet another review site towards untrusted by users.

If they really wanted to legitimatize user game reviews on their site, they could at least try to hook up to the major console networks and have people sign in as a way to verify they played the game. PC would be a little more annoying to do it for, but consoles should be fine if they have co-operation from the makers. It could also be used to show who played it for how long (applying to critics as well).

In any case, it's not hard for a smart person to find "unbiased" reviews to help figure out if they should buy a game (or buy anything else). At the least such a person can *gasp* wait a few days after launch...
 
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Irata

Posts: 2,034   +3,454
To be fair, there was both positive and negative review bombing, so both 0/5 and 5/5.

Both are equally worthless. Pretending this is all due to critics is rather dishonest.

Other than that, I welcome the waiting period. There are games that people need to play for a while before they can leave valuable feedback.
 

Uncle Al

Posts: 8,659   +7,561
And here I thought they were just trying to prevent a loss of 1st day sales figures so they could build on it as a reason to buy now ...... silly me!
 

Rayneofpayne

Posts: 502   +415
Yeah ironically there are so many 0-3 reviews and 8-10 reviews that you can clearly see people didn't bother playing the game.
Don t get me wrong the game was average at best mainly drug down by the narrative that was so below the other AAA qualities to the point it was written on a level of a high school fan fiction novel. With characterization that were so terrible that the actions and reactions despite the environment led to disbelief of a major proportion. You can't try making a realistic game, and then have such 1 dimensionalism applied to the characters.
I mean the game realistically was a 6/10 if you really like it I can see a 7, hated it a 5. Anything other than that is BS conjecture of a nonlegit critique on the game.
 

Rayneofpayne

Posts: 502   +415
To be fair, there was both positive and negative review bombing, so both 0/5 and 5/5.

Both are equally worthless. Pretending this is all due to critics is rather dishonest.

Other than that, I welcome the waiting period. There are games that people need to play for a while before they can leave valuable feedback.
I had to ask myself did they play the same game as me? Because their reviews didn't even remotely reflect the game itself. Obviously there were issues with the game 70% of Naughty Dogs staff left. The narrative was terribly written and so we're the characters with unbelievable actions despite the context of the environment they lived in. The said masterpiece I say overrated average amatuer trash.
 

Rayneofpayne

Posts: 502   +415
To quote Luke Skywalker:

Amazing. Every word of what you just said was wrong.

#1 Star Wars last 3 films, despite criticism, were commercially successes.

The same goes for TLOU2

#2 When did you complain about sex scenes in any other game?
The last of us 2 sold 4 million copies, Diablo 3 on PC sold 12 million in the first month.
To me that is a failure and a half. It's a third of the overall brought in by the first game.
70% of Naughty Dogs staff have left the studio.
It's a failure,
There is a difference between -
Commercial success
Critical success
TLoU2 was not either of these.
Diablo 3 was commercial but sold on the expectation of the previous 2 games it was commercial not critical, POE and Diablo 2 both had more concurrent players at any given time.
 

Rdmetz

Posts: 366   +178
#1 Reviews-for-profit regardless the platform has always been a problem. People have gotten caught plagiarizing other reviewers. Or... my favorite, pretending to have used the product thoroughly while claiming that:

" I won't go too deep into it in order to avoid spoilers".

You'll never be able to weed these people out now thanks to literally entire games being uploaded for view on social media (Youtube).


#2 The game industry is now seeing just how toxic these alt-right (racists, sexists, etc) are when they can't even make a product without it being attacked for having a female lead or in The Last of US' case: a transgender character.

they are starting to get reviews, comments and general hate speech just like what was targeted at Ridley, Boyega and Tran.

It was one thing when all that hate was voice-only over multiplayer lobbies.

Now they have to face it in print-form on forums, review sites, Youtube, etc.

And they are on the left as well: attacking Far Cry 6's Giancarlo Esposito. They've been around for quite a while in fact.

I'm starting to miss the good old days when reviews were limited and you bought a game just because you wanted it.


OK just need to clear this up because you seem to be misinformed.

Last of us 2 does not have a trans character. The idea that it did was just a part of these *****s smear campaign against the game because one female character happens to be built more muscular than their typical wifu type anime girls that dream about.

The fact that they have people like yourself "defending" a character that doesn't even exist is proof that these morons have become a problem.

Im not saying I care either way and I've 100% the game and got the platinum (after which I immediately sold it as for many other reasons I wasn't a fan).

The last of us 2 has many issues that can make it unlikeable without the need for made up transphobia.
 

Rdmetz

Posts: 366   +178
Yeah ironically there are so many 0-3 reviews and 8-10 reviews that you can clearly see people didn't bother playing the game.
Don t get me wrong the game was average at best mainly drug down by the narrative that was so below the other AAA qualities to the point it was written on a level of a high school fan fiction novel. With characterization that were so terrible that the actions and reactions despite the environment led to disbelief of a major proportion. You can't try making a realistic game, and then have such 1 dimensionalism applied to the characters.
I mean the game realistically was a 6/10 if you really like it I can see a 7, hated it a 5. Anything other than that is BS conjecture of a nonlegit critique on the game.
Very fair and honest look at where the game truly stands.

It's most certainly solid and a great display of AAA design once youre not thinking or caring about the story. But to call it a masterpiece is insane but so is calling it 0-3.

The game is a solid 5-7 like you said with very good highs and terrible low lows but neither side can nor should instantly raise or tank the score.

Anyone not rating it mediocre is literally delusional or has no business "reviewing" anything for anyone.
 

etempest

Posts: 58   +36
Oh, so consumers who spent good sum on the product get silenced for telling the truth while official critics are allowed to write paid reviews? Can't trust a single review anymore. Since trash sale is getting super popular, many platforms are adapting to silence the truth, including game and movie review portals and even amazon. But it really is cheaper to pay review portals to be corrupt than to release a quality product that would bring a smile through joy of playing. Also zoomers are to blame, since they have zero expectancy of quality. Simply throw a bucket of **** with 60$ price tag at them and they auto 11/10 it. Educate your damn children...

I honestly don't think they out right pay for reviews. Loss of access to the game before release date, forcing you to play and produce a review on launch creates the same conditions as a "paid" review. Your competition gets the jump on you, since they will give in to less criticism, higher game scores.
 

Rdmetz

Posts: 366   +178
This just looks like protecting the interests of publishers (using biased critics), despite what legit unpaid users have to say about the game they played. Further pushing yet another review site towards untrusted by users.

If they really wanted to legitimatize user game reviews on their site, they could at least try to hook up to the major console networks and have people sign in as a way to verify they played the game. PC would be a little more annoying to do it for, but consoles should be fine if they have co-operation from the makers. It could also be used to show who played it for how long (applying to critics as well).

In any case, it's not hard for a smart person to find "unbiased" reviews to help figure out if they should buy a game (or buy anything else). At the least such a person can *gasp* wait a few days after launch...
If this is what it takes to eliminate these types of reviews then I'm all for it.

I would prefer something better like you've mentioned and to me you couldn't leave a review after playing it for less than like 2-3 hours of the game. Too many are so quick to leave a terrible review of a whole product after they literally just turned it on and realized they couldn't look up the main characters skirt.

That crap needs to go.

To me this is a form of if you can't play nice you don't deserve to play at all.

Grow up gamers. Be better.
 

Evernessince

Posts: 5,469   +6,157
If this is what it takes to eliminate these types of reviews then I'm all for it.

I would prefer something better like you've mentioned and to me you couldn't leave a review after playing it for less than like 2-3 hours of the game. Too many are so quick to leave a terrible review of a whole product after they literally just turned it on and realized they couldn't look up the main characters skirt.

That crap needs to go.

To me this is a form of if you can't play nice you don't deserve to play at all.

Grow up gamers. Be better.

If you are going to apply a standard to average users you should expect a higher standard from "critics". It's fair to implement policies like this but to ignore the paid reviews and critics that consistently give games a much higher score then they deserve because they make their money by doing so is not fair. All you are doing is creating an artificially high score for games in the first three days, which are the most important for games sales. It's misleading plain and simple. If Metacritic wanted to do this fairly it would require critics who receive any form of compensation from the dev including early copies of the game to disclose that information and to remove those scores from the total until the same 72 hour time frame has elapsed. Now you might be thinking "Well literally every reviewer has to receive early review copies from the dev in order to write the review by launch" and that's exactly the problem. Reviewers beholden to devs / publishers for review companies are stuck in a system that forces them to write a more positive review then they might have otherwise. The ethical thing to do would be for all game devs to give rights to distribute review copies to a 3rd party, perhaps even a game critic union, that would then distribute review copies to any critic who requests one, irregardless of what that critic has given other games from the same dev/publisher in the past with no strings attached. IMO "critics" with any more financial entanglement then getting a review copy should be completely excluded from the score.

In addition, steam has proven that you can have user reviews and put in place systems that prevent potential abuse. Their review bombing system does a good job without silencing anyone.

I'm all for better reviews but let's not pretend this problem solely exists on the user side and metacritic only addressing the user side at this very peculiar moment when the game review industry has had issues for decades doesn't say to me that they want better review scores, it says to me that the game industry is swaying them.
 
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kiwigraeme

Posts: 979   +713
Now can I speak for the rest of us who only buy on sale - I wouldn't trust any reviews in the ist 3 days. Really if you want to buy near the beginning - watch certain Youtube reviewers - some content reviewers give very good nuanced reviews .
Studios will make decisions about whether to pander to fan base or move it on . I like reading reviews in the middle they are more nuanced - I understand "hey dude where's my car?" won't get 100 on rotten tomatoes .
There are a lot of cry babies - I watched Teen Titans with my son when he was younger - check the reviews for that.

Plus this I hate the framing that happens the world over .
If should always be about you - ie will this practice affect your purchase habits? ( oh no I'm smart , intelligent blah blah blah ) - well stop patronizing those others you are angrily trying to protect .
Same here in NZ - next Election - referendums on Marijuana & right to end of life ( euthanasia ) - should other people have the right blah blah - What stupid questions ! - It shoud always be should YOU have the right. That rant over - IS there anyone here who think that this action by Metavritic will cause themselves to suffer ? That's a big no -
Does Metacritic control the channels = er NO - IMHO is actually pretty useless for user submitted reviews on many games - as very few people submit .
TL/DR most on here are frothing over a storm in a tea cup - that will not have a real world effects - ( don't give me no 1st amendment or slippery slope BS either )
If I check Steam I ignore all the first reviews & I'm sure you are just as smart
 

Edster

Posts: 113   +85
Anything to stop review bombing is good, I want a true reflection of the user base's opinion towards the game, not hundreds of butthurt fanboys.

As for people who are saying this silence people over "paid critics". Firstly, 3 days is not a long time, but is plenty of time for people to actually properly play a game. You can claim there are agenda by paid critics (but you can't simultaneously claim review bombers don't), but at the very least they are not hiding behind anonymity and must be up to a certain level of standard, dodgy behaviour will be found out pretty quickly. Most critic reviews are high scores anyway, but all that means is that an 8 is more like a user score of 6. Is a different scale, and people can use their judgment.

If your day 1 opinion is so important, there is nothing stopping you starting a website on game reviews and if you get traction you too eventually get noticed by Metacritic and thus have day 1 reviews posted/linked there.

Like another user had said, best way to do it is a verification system linked to accounts, and perhaps crosschecked that with actual time played/achievement completed is a good option in the future. I don't think anyone's review is worth reading unless they had sunk in a decent amount of time in it or progressed at least past midway. Plenty of game has very average starts that really only starts to blossom mid game. People should be writing reviews for the good of a potential buyer.
 

GamerNerves

Posts: 170   +106
Today it is not an oddity if anywhere there is a huge amount of paid positive reviews. Positive reviews are the problem for me at least, not the negative ones that just say something short like "spyware" or "no Steam release". You can easily distinguish the strictly negative reviews not related to the quality of the game, but it is not that easy to separate the paid reviews. PSN, Steam, Metacritic, you name it, they are everywhere and I think this move from Metacritic actually counters those first and foremost. It is funny how at the release day there are tons of 10 reviews from people, since 8 or 9 would probably make you doubt the perceived quality, but when it's full 10 it must be good.

All this false praising has made even the scores meaningless. Today it's like games only higher than 9 are playable it seems, but if you get 8,5 it's almost a letdown. I would rate many games that I have even liked around 7 and very few games over 9 in the end. Reviews need to be more critical, like the lowest number you can give being 4, because anything under 4 would be waste of time anyways. Whatever the rating system is, give your score some thought and don't try to please your audience like a wussy. Hard to say what can be done to paid user reviews, but at least in Steam you can vote and filter reviews quite well which really helps.

What's the point of critics in this world if it's only to fool the customer and not helping him? Being part of some social hype machine doesn't cut it for me even if I can tell somebody that I played the latest release just yesterday. Who cares? If the game is good it is going to be talked about for a long time and even played more than once, it doesn't matter when you get it or how hyped somebody is. "Hype" is a cold blooded marketing tool and nothing else, and reviews often a trap. You think it would be easier today to figure out if a game is good with the internet, since you can basically see the whole game from start to finish via videos, but these fakers try to make it harder.

 

candle_86

Posts: 729   +730
To quote Luke Skywalker:

Amazing. Every word of what you just said was wrong.

#1 Star Wars last 3 films, despite criticism, were commercially successes.

The same goes for TLOU2

#2 When did you complain about sex scenes in any other game?

I have an issue with sex in a game period,hinting is fine, full on nudity is just flat out wrong and unecessary. Secondly I'm not ok with playing a game pushing a trans or gay narrative, it's not something I wish to be around or have my family exposed to, it's unnatural.