Shadow of the Tomb Raider sale triggers review bomb

Posted on October 24, 2018

Shadow of the Tomb Raider, the third instalment in the rebooted adventures of Lara Croft, was released last month. Many outlets, like ourselves, liked it quite a bit. However, there is one group of gamers who are currently rather unhappy with Shadow of the Tomb Raider. As you might expect, they have let their displeasure be known on the game’s Steam user reviews page. What happened over the weekend to see 196 negative reviews posted on a single day? The publisher decided to place the game on a 33% discount, and many gamers who paid full price aren’t happy.

Now, spending 60 US dollars or more pre-ordering a game, or buying it shortly after launch, only to see the price drop by $20 is no doubt a frustrating experience. One player, who had almost 60 hours of playtime logged on Steam, said “Aren’t i a total mug pre ordering this. Never again Square Enix.”. Another player says “”Game is good btw…but never pre-ordering a Square Enix game ever again.”.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

Obviously, there are risks with being an early adopter, with sudden and dramatic price drops being just some of those risks. A discount of this size so early in the game’s lifespan is a little unusual. In all likelihood, this probably doesn’t indicate that it is selling very well. Steamcharts states that Shadow of the Tomb Raider’s concurrent player count is down to a few thousand. It is likely that the publisher hoped that the discount would bring in new players who might check it out at that lower price. Well, they’ve certainly brought attention to the game, but perhaps not the attention they were hoping for.

This does show a weakness in Steam’s user reviews system, as now the average user score for the game is “Mixed”. This is in spite of the vast majority of negative reviews coming in over a month after release, concerning a temporary sale that lasted for a single weekend. The ability to filter reviews by date, and see how many types of reviews were posted on certain days, are helpful features for curbing “review-bombs”. However, it still doesn’t give a very accurate picture of the genuine community opinions of the game. The fact that reviews are restricted as being either positive or negative leaves little room for nuanced critique or discussion. It serves as a reminder to pay more attention to reviews, such as when they were posted and what they are complaining about, rather than simply the score, when deciding whether to buy something.