Metacritic has introduced a 36-hour delay to user reviews, in order to “ensure gamers have time to play games before writing their reviews.”
The change is likely an attempt to combat a practice known as ‘review bombing’, where users will flood a game’s Metacritic page with negative reviews in an act of protest, either against a company’s business practices, because of narrative choices made in the game, or because there’s a woman in it.
The website has stated that the decision was not made due to any specific game, but was “based on data-driven research and with the input of critics and industry experts.” Speaking to Gamespot, Metacritic said:
“We recently implemented the 36 hour waiting period for all user reviews in our games section to ensure our gamers have time to play these games before writing their reviews.
“This new waiting period for user reviews has been rolled out across Metacritic’s Games section and was based on data-driven research and with the input of critics and industry experts.”
The most high-profile recent example of review bombing is The Last of Us Part II, which attracted criticism from users due to various narrative decisions made in the game, and criticism of alleged crunch at Naughty Dog. The game’s user score currently sits at 5.5/10, compared to the critic consensus of 94/100.
Metacritic isn’t the first to take steps to combat review bombing. Last year, Valve introduced measures to Steam to prevents “off-topic” reviews from affecting a game’s aggregate score on Steam.