Metacritic implements 36-hour user review delay to combat review bombing


20, 2020

Review aggregate website Metacritic has introduced a 36-hour user review delay to limit the number of review bombing campaigns that occur immediately after a game or movie has been released.  

Spoilers for: The Last of Us 2 below

One of the latest review bombing campaigns by angry manchildren occured last month with the release of The Last of Us Part 2, a story that includes the death of a major character, a lesbian relationship and the inclusion of other LGBTQ+ characters.

While many were upset at the death of a major character – a death that many had assumed would’ve been the case when the game was originally revealed – much of the review bombing campaign declared the title to be “SJW propaganda“.

Many review bombing campaigns follow the same trend. Disney’s Captain Marvel, an inoffensive superhero origin story, currently houses an extremely high percentage of negative user reviews that declares the movie to be “feminist propaganda” despite the film never commenting on actual feminist topics; it’s just a normal superhero movie.

Outside of review bombers slapping ones and zeroes on entertainment products for including a political message or a story that touches on social injustices – which most entertainment products do on at least a surface level – some review bombing campaigns have been used to protest updates or minor features of games.

Last year, Killing Floor 2 started to offer paid DLC after years of providing free updates for players. Entitled gamers decided this wasn’t fair as they were already used to receiving free content; the game was review bombed fit this. Square Enix’s Shadow of the Tomb Raider was review bombed the same year for going on sale not long after release.

Popular free-to-play shooter Valorant is the latest product to be review bombed. Despite fan responses being extremely positive, the introduction of anti cheat software to combat rampant cheating upon its release saw players swamp the game’s Metacritic page with negative reviews.

Following these latest review bombing campaigns, alongside many more, Metacritic pages will now see the message “Please spend some time playing the game” for the first 36 hours of a new game’s release.

“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 explained to GameSpot.

“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.”

Metacritic isn’t the only service to have introduced methods to combat negative review bombs. Valve’s online storefront Steam recently introduced review timelines from fans to show negative reviews over time to help consumers understand if recent updates have ruined a game, if games have gotten better over time and other criteria.

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