Metacritic has been inundated with fake user reviews for Assassin’s Creed Origins as one or more people have been creating accounts and posting favorable ratings for the PlayStation 4 version of the game. The posts vary in wording but include lots of repeated content.
“Great game and amazing ac game, great comeback for assassins creed series, best ac game since assassins creed black flag in 2013. modern day is great too,” say reviews from users frf34343434, fgtg45545454 and ffjhrd8748934.
If identical postings weren’t a dead giveaway, the random mashing-of-the-keyboard usernames are. Many of the other duplicated posts show broken English or are borderline incomprehensible.
Metacritic co-founder Marc Doyle told Kotaku that they are aware of the situation and that this is not the first time something like this has happened.
“It’s not a frequent occurrence - maybe 2 - 3 games a year,” he said. “We’ve been moderating those reviews (and suspending those accounts - most off of which [sic] had one single review in their history). The people doing it appear to be changing it up with the chunk of text they keep replicating, but our moderators are working overtime to combat it.”
User reviews hold less sway than those taken from publications which Metacritic aggregates. However, user reviews can be used to get the attention of a developer or company. We saw this with the flood of negative reviews for Forza 7 when users got upset upon finding that the $20 they paid for a VIP pass no longer gave them an unlimited CR boost.
However, the Forza case was different in that it was real users posting negative feedback directly on the site of the offending company (Microsoft). In this case, it is a few users creating fake accounts to give positive feedback on a website that is in no way affiliated with the product so the intentions are unclear.
Do those behind the fake reviews has a reason behind their actions? The user ranking for the game is currently 7.8. Are they trying to pad the score for some reason or are they just being trolls?