Back to Today's Deal

What's your opinion on review bombing?


It’s not an off-topic review bomb. The game has a true-to-life Notre Dame representation present, which the game is getting recognition for. It’s also been a chance for people who played at launch to get a fresh look at the game, where they won’t be as negative as they were before the patches hit.

It’s not hypocritical at all, and if anything, they may get flack for being “insensitive” if they were to remove this.

Remember, they never said they would take action against all reviewbombs. You’re still free to exclude data on your own as they offered before (“High Volume of Reviews Detected”, the interactible chart, etc), but they only promised automatic removal for off-topic reviewbombs-- ones that don’t have to do with the game. It’s like if they were called hypocrites because (hypothetical terms) Anthem added a ton of crossover items from Mass Effect in a patch.


How is the fact the game is free on-topic? That’s what it appears the reviews are about. Here is one of steam’s definitions:
“We define an off-topic review bomb as one where the focus of those reviews is on a topic that we consider unrelated to the likelihood that future purchasers will be happy if they buy the game, and hence not something that should be added to the Review Score.”

I don’t consider the game being free related to future purchasers being happy.

Oh, just found something else in there (to derail a bit)
“DRM” “They’re technically not a part of the game”… Hmm… except they are integrated into said game, so yes they technically ARE a part of the game. As in, Literally a part of the game.

back on topic. Steam declares in their statement they view Review Bombs as deliberate attempts to lower a score. Naturally, they won’t have much support to conduct the same idea for Review Praises - deliberate attempts to raise the score.

I’m on the side that Steam should really do it for both or neither. But yeah, they ain’t going to do it because of bad PR. I really don’t expect Steam to stand behind applying it both ways.


The game was never made free on Steam, though. Only on uPlay, where there’s no reviews to speak of anyway.

This is no different than if a big name YouTuber decided to stream Watch Dogs 1 and a ton of people played and wrote reviews for it after they were reminded of the game. It wasn’t some grand community bombing run, it was just an event that brought the reviews up.

Personally, I already expressed my own opinion on the “DRM doesn’t count” bit-- I don’t agree at all. DRM absolutely is a part of the game in question, and I would expect that both review bombs and review rockets (is that an okay name for the positive equivalent?) involving DRM and its respective use/removal would be an important concern for users.

This is an inherent part of any reviewbomb-- sometimes, they have both on-topic and off-topic elements. Devotion had real world contexts related to the game, Payday 2 added microtransactions that got people talking about the company, and so on. The line was drawn in cases like Borderlands and Metro, where people were using the review system to talk about completely different games. You may not agree with THQN’s AMA decision a while back, but this doesn’t mean Darksiders 3’s review scores deserve a 20% drop over the following week when it had no effect on the game. If Darksiders had a spinoff or 4th entry announced that caused 3’s reviews to go up after more people looked at it, this shouldn’t be removed by Valve.

You’re talking about the manipulation of user reviews here, and it should only be done when truly necessary. You are already complaining about discrepancy, and forcing Valve to be more trigger happy will only make this more inconsistent.


And the review are “[Youtuber] streamed this game, would recommend” - my response: “And?”

Actually, let’s change that scenario.

“big name YouTuber decided to give away a bunch of copies of a game”

Still. what does this have to do with the content of the game, the stuff that would make someone enjoy playing it.

Hence why I ultimately think Steam should’ve just left it as it was.

A game doesn’t suddenly become amazing to play because a real life Cathedral almost burnt to the ground. You can polish a turd, but in the end, it’s still crap.

That rolls better than review praises. congrats, they’re review rockets now.


And now it is an official cannon term. I advise you establish ownership quickly as it joins the lexicon of the internet.


I would have to read all the recent reviews to argue you on this but just glancing over them shows a lot of “Ubisoft is doing a good deed” rather than “they rendered Notre Dame well.” It’s possible to find examples of both but i see more of the former than the latter. I think the main attraction is their donation (and giving the game away for free) rather than their in-game modelling.

You wouldn’t see it as hypocritical if you don’t agree that these are off-topic, and Valve could easily argue the point of being fair to justify their actions and counter-act the insensitivity criticisms.

Yes, it is different. Those reviews wouldn’t be about the game being offered for free or Ubisoft making a donation, they’d (hopefully) be about the game itself (or the usual Steam review crap).

If people truly are enjoying the game after a long time of not playing again, then fine. I apologize for bringing this up.


If half the reviews in question say something along the lines of “jacksepticeye brought me here,” it would definitely be the same question.

None of the criteria/examples I listed are exactly definitive. That’s why I brought up the Anthem example; you could end up with a ton of reviews saying something along the lines of “I love Mass Effect!” I’d argue that you’re going to end up with a lot of useless reviews no matter what you do, and I’m sure you’ve winced at the accursed checkbox-list-of-categories reviews enough times to know there’s some truth to that claim.

This is definitely a weird case, but there’s a few things that lean me towards saying this remains on topic. First of all, it is directly tied to Unity. If we saw people review-rocketing Rainbow Six Siege, Ghost Recon: Wildlands, and Watch_Dogs 2 with praise for the company’s response here, it would make sense. Even AC Origins and Odyssey would be crossing the line. With Unity, though, it is at least tied into the fact that this game has Notre Dame represented physically, making it actually relevant in this to begin with.

Obviously there is a grey area involved, and this can’t be remedied-- you will always have a little bit of debate here, like when Metal Gear Survive got slammed over Kojima’s zero involvement and Umbrella Corps was laughed at as a part of the Resident Evil/biohazard IP. You can argue they aren’t 100% explicitly part of the game, but they still hold some relevance to the overall experience, so it may just have to slide. I feel that Valve has backed themselves into this corner by claiming that DRM isn’t on-topic; it draws that line of intervention a little far forward, and blurs the lines between what does and doesn’t involve a game.

I’ve been concerned about reviewbombing as a concept for a long time, as far back as when I noticed some reviews on games that would downvote it for something related to, say, a sequel with a weird preorder bonus. For example, imagine reviews on the Arkham games, downvoting Asylum and City for the rough launch that Knight had. It wasn’t enough people to make a dent, but the fact that it happened at all in some franchises was concerning. This is the kind of thing the system seems to be made for-- it’s to make sure that what happens in a single game stays in a single game. Its intent was obvious-- Denuvo reviewbombs, Epic reviewbombs, and the like. Trying to stop some positive press for a game that is at least tangentially related feels like Valve would be pushing it a bit, considering how the this system was already a bit controversial (“stop censoring users!”).

So, there’s where I’m going to draw the line. If Assassin’s Creed 1-4, the Ezio spinoffs, Liberation, Syndicate, Origins, Odyssey, the Chronicles series, or any other Ubisoft title saw a sudden spike in review scores, and a large percentage of it was for this reason, it may be time to take action. Otherwise, as long as it’s contained to AC Unity, I’d say it should pass this time around because it still holds some relevance to the game’s context. Valve should definitely develop some kind of plan for a scenario like this in the future, if they don’t have one already… but action in this case might not be warranted unless it reaches beyond Unity.

Small sidenote: Having all these names on paper together, I can’t believe just how many AC games there are so far.


Theoretical Sekiro review - From Software can do no wrong…look at the Souls games 11/10. Would die again.

Not much different is it…
At the end of the day, if you’re not reading reviews, and just going on numbers then you’re as much of the problem as the reviews themselves.


I’m sure he posted passive aggressive Steam reviews though too…


Which reminds me. Steam’s review system is still fundamentally flawed. And this change is just trying to apply another band-aid to it.

Are there other games that show the Notre Dame? Are they also getting review rocketed?

You can argue that reviews that mention Notre Dame are on topic. But I would argue that context is also important. The underlying reason for the recommend is because the game is free. Remember Steam doesn’t just invalidate the off topic ones, they invalidate the entire period. So even if there are ones on topic, if there are enough that are just “it’s freee”, everything would get nuked.

And sometimes I think it’s the developers getting handed a shit sandwich because of a publishers decision.

I think the main problem is steam’s system is flawed. The only way to hold the devs and publishers (maybe) accountable was through reviews.


While I would probably agree with you had the game actually been free, only the uPlay version was given out for free. On Steam, the price hasn’t moved. That’s why I’m leaning towards this not being an issue.

As you said, this will nuke reviews from this time period… so since it still falls close to talking about the game, I’d say it should slide. This is definitely a grey area with a lot of room on either side of the argument, but I feel that hidden timespans should be reserved for serious cases of things that have NOTHING to to with the game, like…

  • Zone of the Enders 2 HD
  • Syndicate (2012), pretending it’s on Steam for a second
  • Borderlands GotY Enhanced
  • Mirror’s Edge
  • Grand Theft Auto 5

These are some of the situations the system was really made for, and I feel that trying to act on every single instance where reviews are slightly affected by real world events would be a bit overkill for a system that is effectively manipulating review scores, no matter how simple and non-manipulative the system tries to be.