Well, we all should have seen this coming.
The Last of Us Part 2 has only been out for a few hours, and yet there’s already a war raging over on Metacritic. The game is the newest battleground for user score bombing of a major release, where it has a 3.4/10 score as opposed to its 9.5/10 critical consensus which puts it as one of the top reviewed games of the generation.
I am already seeing this being used as ammo for the “ah, critics are so out of touch with mainstream audiences” argument but no, no that’s not what’s happening here.
For some context, The Last of Us Part 2 has been out for exactly seven and a half hours in the US. In some regions like Australia, it debuted late yesterday. But it’s a 25-30 hour game, so unless people are doing blitzing speed runs and then immediately going to Metacritic to post angry 0/10 reviews, these scores are made up of people who are either only a few hours into the game, or more than likely, have not purchased or played the game at all yet.
Right now, half a day into release in some regions, The Last of Us Part 2 has amassed 5,015 user scores. The Last Of Us 1 has 9,628 user scores total for its entire lifespan so yeah, something fishy is clearly going on.
Why are people bombing the game? There are likely three reasons.
1) The game’s prominent use of trans and LGBT characters.
2) The spoilers for the game that leaked out ahead of time where, context free, many people did not like the plot turns revealed.
3) Perhaps some who have played the initial hours and don’t like the game, albeit scoring it a 0/10 for clunky controls after a few hours seems extreme.
I do not recommend you read the user reviews as they are full of spoilers.
I can’t say this is an “organized” campaign because any time you say that you get asked to point to one specific organizer, which is rarely possible. But I do know a number of “angry gamer YouTuber” types that have been ranting about the game since the leaks, so I would not be surprised to count some of their viewers among the user bombers here.
Do I think that yes, everyone must agree that the Last of Us is a 9.5 out of 10 like most critics? No, and I do think it’s worth examining some critical, non-scored reviews of the game from the likes of Polygon, Kotaku and SkillUp, albeit they’re certainly not 0-3/10s, if the criticism was translated into a number.
However, this is not your usual “critics versus fan” divide. This is very clearly 0/10 bombing by thousands of players who have only played a few hours of the game or have not played it at all, basing their entire scores on a few leaked cutscenes or plot points.
I would expect that Metacritic may take some kind of action here, as they don’t take kindly to these sorts of campaigns. I still think they need some sort of verification system that you at least own the game to post a user score, and Rotten Tomatoes has recently instituted something similar for film. Because this is just silly, and I don’t think anyone should read anything into the quality of the game based on these “unbiased truth tellers!!!” that are currently mobbing the game.