The Inherent Problem of Metacritics User Reviews

-by Dylan DiBona

For the past few years there’s been a sketchiness of game reviews in the eyes of the consumers. Major websites like IGN have been rumored to scale their review scores based on money given to them by the publisher. While all claims have not been proven true, it’s lead plenty of people to look towards reviews from peers rather than professional critics. Websites like Amazon and Metacritic provide scores in the form of numbers or stars, all amassed from various fans who decide to review a certain game. Today we’ll be focusing on the latter as it’s a site primarily used for entertainment.

Metacritic logo.svg

It seems like pure and “correct” to trust our fellow players, the people who take money out of their own pocket to pay for a game. But the internet is a place with no filtration system and with those honest video game players, comes along dishonest people who may have not even tried the game.

The Fire Emblem Fates miniseries was a good example of people coming together to give all three games 0/10’s. This was due to Nintendo’s strict censorship of the game in certain areas. It’s fine to disagree with Nintendo’s policies and maybe even protest, but to drastically lower a games score on a website many people check is unacceptable. Not only could this deter people hoping to give the game a chance, but that could snowball into a company losing money and thus never making a continuation of that series.

A recent example is Kickstarter success Yooka-Laylee. Kickstarter backers can be very sensitive if their game isn’t a 10/10 across all of the boards. Many people felt betrayed by the games mixed critic scores and took to Metacritic to give plenty of 0/10’s. If you read any 0/10, the person commenting usually leaves bizarrely stupid reasons for their score. After playing Yooka-Laylee for over an hour I can safely say it is not a 0/10, but because of bitter people the score of that game has been lowered. Who knows if Playtonic will even get another chance with a sequel? This is especially painful because they are a new company yet to full expand their wings.

So how do we “fix” these problems? For one there should be a way to review each other game reviews. If there are tons of 0/10’s, people should be able to report them, especially if they seem to be coming from a simple internet troll. I don’t think everybody should be allowed to leave a review, there should be a way to verify yourself as an honest reviewer who doesn’t automatically leave a 10/10 on their favorite game. If we can accomplish these tasks, then the “User Review” scores can finally be genuine.

Everybody’s a critic, I get it. We live in a world where we are constantly fed information on a game before it’s release. We want to know how the reviews look and if I see a 5/10 on the User Reviews in Metacritic, I may not buy the game. With a little investigation I would see an overabundance of negative (or sometime positive) reviews in hopes to control a games score- and that’s just not right. We need honesty with our game reviews.

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So what do you guys think? Is this no big deal? Have you ever given an exaggerated review on Metacritic? Let me know down below and I’ll try to reply! As always, thanks for reading.

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4 thoughts on “The Inherent Problem of Metacritics User Reviews

  1. Sadly, the entire internet is made up of extremes. There aren’t many groups that rally together because something is “pretty good”, they either think it’s perfect and bash opposition (“if you don’t think this game is perfect then you’re a hater!”) or it’s the worst thing since the bubonic plague and anyone who likes it is bribed and/or an idiot (“IGN is just paid off to say they liked it!”).

    Meta critic has been taken over by the element of gaming culture that it can do without – the fanatics! Mostly reactive young kids and teenagers (sorry to generalize, but it’s true to some degree). People forget – at the end of the day, its video games. It’s our hobby and we are passionate about it, but sometimes passion makes everyone crazy.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The problem with people spamming 0/10 reviews on Metacritic is dire to be sure, but it’s nothing new. People have bashed what turned out to be classics long before the internet was even an idea. The only difference is that the internet gives dissenters louder voices. They’re pretty thin-skinned, aren’t they?

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  3. Yea, the big problem with a lot of those user reviews is that they’re mostly reactionary. If a game’s too popular and well-rated like Breath of the Wild, they may overload the 0/10 (because we all know that’s what the game was worth *rolls eyes*), and if a game isn’t that good, fanboys/fangirls will give it 10/10. Generally, I don’t look at most of those reviews because they’re usually just scores and not substantial. It’s not necessarily the case with all of them, but they’re so short that it’s really to truly tell. I’ve always been a firm believer in content and not just score in a review.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. That’s why I prefer steam reviews – at least they list how many hours the reviewer has played. Perhaps metacritic should change their format to pull in reviews that have verified time played. Some aggregate of only pulling user reviews through APIs of platforms that track time played.

    Still not a perfect methodology, but far better than fully anonymous as is now. It is a waste of time to read, and everyone should just avoid it. Once user numbers go down they may actually find a need to do something about it…

    Liked by 1 person

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