'Review bombing' Metro games on Steam is immature and pointless

Last week, publisher Deep Silver announced that Metro Exodus, the long-awaited sequel to the post-nuclear action horror games Metro 2033 and Metro: Last Light, would be releasing exclusively on the Epic Games Store, and that it's planned to remain that way for a full year. Preorders already done through Steam are going to be honored, but for the foreseeable future, the game is going to be absent from Valve's service.

This news came mere weeks prior to Exodus's expected February 15 launch, and the response from fans was, justifiably, an angry one. After all, Metro Exodus has been advertised on Steam for months, which was a clear signal to people that it would launch there. Also, the Epic Games Store is devoid of features at the moment, including basic things like regional pricing and screenshot capturing, among others. In addition, there are valid reasons to be concerned about how secure Epic Games-designed software is. Earlier this month, an exploit in Fortnite was discovered that left millions of accounts at risk, and Epic Games is partially owned by Tencent, a Chinese internet company that has faced controversy surrounding user privacy before. It's easy to see why PC players aren't happy.

Regardless of how justified the disdain for the Epic Games Store is, though, players have taken it too far by flooding Metro 2033 and Metro: Last Light with negative reviews, also known as "review bombing." Here's why review bombing Metro Exodus's predecessors is immature and pointless.

It tarnishes the games' reputations

Over the course of four years, Metro 2033 only received around 300 bad reviews. Now it has over 2,500.

Over the course of four years, Metro 2033 only received around 300 bad reviews. Now it has over 2,500.

The biggest reason why review bombing Metro 2033 and Metro: Last Light is stupid is because neither of them are related to the situation with Metro Exodus in any way, shape, or form. Both of these games are critically acclaimed works of art, and to see that reputation stomped on by outraged fans hurts, especially when you consider the catastrophically awful working conditions that developer 4A Games dealt with during development. Imagine being someone that wants to try the Metro series, only to see all of the negative reviews. That would be quite a turnoff, and it may steer people away from experiencing some of the best gaming experiences in history as a result.

It's an abuse of the user review system. The point of a review is to give an informed opinion about whether a game is good or bad, and to explain what makes the game good or bad. It's not to type out edgy hatemail to publishers or to create crude text images of sexual organs and obscene gestures, as many of Steam's more childish users have recently done with the Metro games.

It won't change anything

Another reason why the review bombings are idiotic is that they won't actually change anything. The best way to inspire a change in the gaming industry is to vote with your wallet and not buy something that you don't support. In this case, that would mean refusing to buy Metro Exodus on the Epic Games Store — not spamming games that are nearly five years old with bad reviews.

The publishing division behind Metro may lose some money from copies of the older games not selling due to the backlash, but that would only be a marginal concern. In terms of market relevance, the first two Metro titles have come and went, and nearly all people who wanted to play them have done so. Not earning money from them a half-decade later is something that Deep Silver can surely live with. Not earning a lot from Metro Exodus, the current title in the series, is what would hurt.

I suspect that most people angry about the situation are going to avoid buying Metro Exodus. However, the attempt to try and cut Deep Silver deeper by tacking on review bombing of the other titles in the series is not only petty, but it will also be completely ineffective.

It's counter-productive

One of the biggest reasons why many gamers dislike the Epic Games Store is because the user reviews Epic is planning to implement will be developer opt-in. This means that developers will be able to choose if their games can be reviewed by users on the Epic Games Store.

From Epic Games Founder Tim Sweeney:

See more

Personally, I think that opt-in is a terrible idea, as it's likely that the people who publish or develop games with shadier business practices will opt out of reviews to try and hide them, which would prevent deserved negative reviews from being written. However, by review bombing a series that Epic recently became involved with, it's almost guaranteed that they're solidifying Epic's stance on the manner.

The richness of the irony present is nearly too great for words. Epic Games wants to avoid allowing open user reviews due to the risks of review bombing, and what do Steam users do? They pointlessly and immaturely review bomb the Metro series, shooting themselves in the proverbial foot and making themselves look like complete fools. It's completely counter-productive to their own goals, and will only make Epic's refusal to implement open user reviews look right, even if it isn't.

Metro Exodus is expected to be released on February 15. It will be available on PC via the Epic Games Store for $49.99 and also on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 for $59.99.

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.

  • The best way to protest is to not buy . The wallet always sends a powerful message .
  • yeah, just don't buy anything off steam at all in protest over this. it's valve's fault for not doing a better job at keeping the game in their store. send a powerful message to Valve to be better.
  • At this point Steam is a ghost town anyway. Almost nothing AAA comes out on the platform anymore. So yeah I don't trust Epic yet, but Steam has been lazy as the market leader
  • Yup, that's among the reasons why I won't buy anything from EPIC.
  • You pretty much negated a large part of your first point by making your second one. If everyone who's likely to play the earlier Metro games has already done so, then review bombing them harms nobody. True, it's still ineffectual for the intended goal, but, by your second point, it doesn't really affect sales. Personally, I don't much care about reviews, finding very few any help at all. I'm best informed by seeing how the actual gameplay is. And while I'm an FPS-only player, there's entirely too much customization/modification in this game for my tastes. So, I'm not the target customer. I agree that the bigger point is for people to vote with the dollars. If sales plummet, then the publisher may have to rethink the decision to not make it available on Steam. Of course, the fact is that you can still buy the game and play it separately from Steam. That's how we used to buy games, folks. Either you want the game or you don't.
  • I disagree. New potential individual fans are the ones who lose out when they’re driven away from these games because of the reviews, not Deep Silver. The points go hand in hand, I think: the loss of those individual marginal sales do nothing to Deep Silver, but they do hurt the individuals that would have gotten into the series.
  • I don't see your logic. Again, how often do customers actually go look at reviews of PREVIOUS games to determine whether they would buy a new one? I'd like to see real data on that. I'll tell you that I don't. Especially these days, when you're as likely to see a new iteration being made by a different company or developers anyway. I would find much more value in reviews on the new game. And, as I said, I place very little value in reviews anymore anyway. I seriously doubt this campaign is having a significant impact on potential sales of the new game. If people like what they see in the game trailers, they'll buy it regardless of whether it's on Steam or not. I'm not interested, regardless. I actually hate Steam (and have ever since Half-Life, which is one of my all-time fav games).
  • "I'll tell you that I don't." Anecdotes aren't evidence, and there is no data available for this. But I think it's pretty reasonable to think that people who see a giant pile of negative reviews will get the impression that the game is bad.
  • AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH anybodys whos wanted it has played it last winter sale it was 4.99 for BOTH metro games.... the redux's do infact suck ass compared to the originals allthough ranger mode was a nice change of pace, the reduxs dumbed everything down to the point a retard could play it on spartan difficulty and breeze through it with nary a fart to the wind! as for "being babys accomplishes nothing" yeah well they threatened no more pc versions of metro, then they backtracked on that 5 hours later. so how i see it its ALL working so your opinion while valid is moot and pointless because you saying it doesnt work, deep sliver and 4a shows otherwise *shrugs* now how do we review bomb you...
  • That'll learn'em! I used to be in that camp that would whine about that kind of stuff. Now I'm in the " oh well, guess I'll just spend my money on something else" camp. Grew up I guess.
  • If you still care about where to buy your stuff you don't seem to be fully grown up. It doesn't matter if you buy from Steam, Windows Store, Epic Store, Uplay, Origin, GMG or whatever else there is. It just doesn't. Unless you are an entitled brat.
  • oh but it does. epic has let 80k users details (including login credentials and credit card info) leak out on the internet....i guess your fine with getting your money stolen....me im not.
  • I'm embarrassed to call myself a gamer sometimes, people like this make us look like fools
  • It has raised the issue far better than any other form of protect, so I'd say it was a success, regardless of its maturity level. They should have left Exodus on both platforms and moved the next instalment... It has been on Steams coming soon list for so long, of course, it was going to be a major betrayal. People like to have their game library in one place, especially games that come in a series. It annoys the hell out of me that I have Mass Effect 1 and 2 on Steam and 3 and Andromeda on Origin...
  • > People like to have their game library in one place
    Simply put, devs know what you want (cause it's such a simple logic) but you don't know what devs want.
    Just vote with your wallet, buy games on day 1, give Valve a good statistics to shows devs, that 88% cut is pointless.
  • valve's fault, they totally could have offered the game devs what epic did to keep them in the store. now steam customers pay for valve's mistake
  • There's still the chance that Epic gave them a big ass bonus to switch stores. Though Steam does need to work on the profit split moving forward.
  • 3rd party stores were a dumb idea. I wish Microsoft would actually incentivize devs with a competitive share of sales and fix the Store. Sooner or later the Microsoft Store will be the only way to get new games once Windows Core OS becomes the default consumer version of Windows; devs might as well start building their catalogue now.
  • Yeah, Windows Store is in dire need of repair and refit.
  • If Gabe wasn't so much of a git, he'd have been able to work with Microsoft to incorporate the Steam library into the Microsoft store via an API based system.
  • True the Windows Store is complete garbage. I'd love to Grab Gears of War 4 and AOE Definitive but refuse to use the MS Store. From the reviews, people who've paid for content can't even use it half the time....
  • I'd say 99.9% of internet crowd reactions are immature and pointless. Journalists seek for a cheap drama and turn any news to clickbait articles, trolls take these articles an bring them to forums where angry crowd go to steam\metacritic\company's twitter account an do something stupid. True is Steam has 30% cut, Epic only 12%. An exodus from the steam is inevitable as long as it does not change. Yeah this is bad to change the store when the game will come out after two weeks, but instead of mass canceling pre order we see some mass childish tantrum.
  • As a consumer, why the heck should we care about how much cut Steam takes, vs Epic. We just want to play the game on the platform of choice. Choice being the keyword here. Instead, we're forced to opt for Epic if you want to play it.. and that's why people are so annoyed and protesting with review bombs. On the flip side, lets say we do care about cuts... If Epic was so great for the publisher, why not allow it on steam at the same time and let the publisher get the additional profits via consumer choice?
  • yeah so everyone be mad at valve for not offering the devs better terms. they forced their customers to not be able to play through steam.
  • no be mad at deep silver and 4a for taking a huge chunk of change to jump from steam to epic launcher ONTOP OF eventual revenue their getting from game sales. knowing that a shitstorm would ensue because thats just how todays society is....everybodys screeching like retards about somthing.
  • Not pointless at all while sites like this make a news story out of it.
    There will be plenty of people who'll not really understand or be interested in Metro series, but after reading this story they'll be aware of Epic, Deep Silver and the fact that people are upset enough to protest, even if it is 'pointless'.
  • Except it is not a protest. It is childish. Plain and simple. A protest would be to send letters to the publisher. Or simply not buy the game. But going down on the predecessors of the series, games that are and will be on Steam, that have nothing to do with this decision, is just extremely dumb.
  • okay then.... look at it this way....deep silver got a very shiny chunk of change from the move....everybody screeching about it and deep silver is still sitting their counting their money coming in from epic and steam via the old games.....you write them letters...you think their gunna care? NO. you have to effect their income flow. for example you like a movie by a director....lets say ridley scott he makes good movies....well if he ends up being a child molester his current actions have tainted all his past work....ID honestly have no problem with his movies if he was their very entertaining. now same thing with 4a they made good games....they changed publishers and the publisher made a buttfuck retarded decision....now all their old games are tainted by this bad decision.
  • I can't believe you just compared child molestation to a average business decision. That is not only stupid, but F'ed in the head. Do you honestly believe that Fallout 76 being **** has stopped people from playing Fallout 4? Because according to you Fallout 4 is now tainted. I guess there's no point in playing any game that isn't brand new because they are all tainted by something. That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard.
  • I don't understand why everyone is so twisted over a one year exclusive. just wait and buy it on steam like a normal person. The game will still work and considering how much people are hating on epic the community will likely be all be hopping on about that time anyway. The only people this should affect are people who need to review the game and in my experience people who review games for a living tend to be less affected by these sort of things anyway. For a number of reasons. I do agree review bombing is a bad practice and in this case wallet voting can be super effective it's one of the very very very few instances where you can make a legit difference by making a purchasing decision. You can just wait for 12 months and still buy the game on steam making the company more money on steam which should send them a message. Everyone's acting like the game will never come to steam and it's weird and creepy and has me questioning reality every time this story comes up.
  • they left it on steam until 2 weeks until release....they used steam as semi-FREE advertising and are selling it exclusively on epic launcher which has a history of leaking peoples private information including their credit card credentials....how can you not be twisted? and the main issue is they start bringing this exclusivity crap to pc...thats a console thing. again epic aint safe. "wait for steam" epic shouldnt be able to buy out devs off steam so we have to use their ****** launcher it was bad enough sony does it with the tomb raider games now epics being scummy ***** buying devs out. exclusive should be made in house not bought and paid for.
  • Has anyone forgot how much of a lunatic Tim Sweeney is? When you do stupid things and brake your trust with your consumer, you deserve no less than "Review bombing". It's immature and pointless just like Tim's past comments on the industry.
  • This is plain stupid. Protest the new game's deal by not buying it. Review bombing is real a problem though.
  • Will buy it in a year, should be cheaper then... 😀 Won't use any service Tim Sweeny is involved in...
  • Hi Brendan, meet the gaming community, the pettiest bunch of arse hats you'll ever meet.
  • How many of the whiney b.....s leaving negative reviews of past Metro games over Metro Exodus or who left negative reviews of Shadow of the Tomb Raider because it was discounted were the same ones whining about false positive reviews back in the Gamergate days?
  • Basically its like an Antifa mob screaming down a conservative commentator like Ben Shapiro. Just state your disagreement with Ben (or EPIC) and let others decide on their own.
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