In brief: Ubisoft have earnt themselves some goodwill following their gift of €500,000 towards the Notre Dame reconstruction efforts and their decision to make Assassin’s Creed Unity available for free. Gamers have review-bombed Unity’s Steam page with hundreds of messages thanking Ubisoft for their gesture.
While the fire that ravaged Notre Dame on April 15 was undoubtedly a tragedy, the outpouring of donations to help restore the historic cathedral has been heart-warming. Ubisoft, the French game studio behind the Assassin’s Creed franchise, donated €500,000 and also made their Paris-based installment of the franchise, Assassin’s Creed Unity, free via Uplay.
When announcing on Twitter their decision to make the game free, the reaction was overwhelmingly positive, as you may expect. But surprisingly gamers have employed the tactic of review bombing to show just how much they appreciate Ubisoft’s gesture.
In solidarity with everyone moved by Monday's events we’re donating to the restoration of Notre-Dame & giving you the chance to play @AssassinsCreed Unity on Uplay for free.— Ubisoft (@Ubisoft) April 17, 2019
Before April 16 Unity’s Steam page was averaging two to three reviews per day, but since their announcement, the game has had over 600 extremely positive reviews. One user wrote, “Thanks Ubisoft & Assassin’s Creed Unity for giving us an opportunity to appreciate what Notre Dame used to be. God bless France.”
The funny thing is that Unity isn’t even available for free via Steam, as the offer is exclusive to Uplay. But it’s clear that gamers wanted to use whatever channel they can to show their gratitude and support for Ubisoft’s decision.
The overall review score remains ‘mixed’, as Unity was never the most popular game of the franchise, but the recent reviews will go some way to improving that rating despite not being particularly relevant to how the game actually plays.
So far, Valve haven’t decided to use their recently developed ‘off-topic review’ functionality, designed to minimize the impact of review bombs, and it seems unlikely that they would, given the positive nature of this particular ‘bomb’.