The Last of Us 2 has practically agreed with all the critics who consider it almost unanimously a masterpiece, except for rare different evaluations that suggest greater caution in the use of this definition, something that clashes even more evidently with the many negative ratings emerged on Metacritic, which have largely been configured as a real one review bombing. We have already examined this strange phenomenon halfway between democracy and barbarism and even at the time it emerged as a rather thorny topic of discussion, because it is based on the universal principle of freedom of expression but it folds an important and positive means such as “unofficial criticism”. “, therefore carried out by users outside the standard channels, to target products for purely demonstration purposes. It is actually a double-edged sword that does more harm than good to the gamer community itself, because it basically tends to invalidate the reasoned and well-constructed evaluations of a good part of the users, which instead represent a precious resource, also in this specific case.
Obviously there is a good part of users who fall under the definition of “hater” among the over 34,000 negative reviews that The Last of Us 2 received in less than three days and most of these focus on objectively ridiculous arguments such as the fact that the game wants to advocate apolitical agenda and is excessively subject to “SJW” issues, as they say. The presence of a large number of these subjects who have worked to bombard the game with negative ratings for these reasons is undeniable and can be considered the real problem of the matter, but there are several elements to be saved in the user ratings, also as regards the specific the game in question. User reviews, as we said earlier, are in fact a logical evolution of inter and intra-community communication at the time of Web 2.0, as well as a profound initiative democratic and particularly useful for consumers, which is why their absence is often reported as a rather serious absence, as is the case on the Epic Games Store or on the Nintendo eShop.
User reviews allow you to have a more complete view of the product, observing it from different points of view, which is particularly useful in the case of The Last of Us 2: due to the stringent directives related to the NDA on the reviews published before the game was released (or almost all of them), many elements of this could not even be discussed, which narrowed the field somewhat for an in-depth discussion in a game so strongly focused on narration. It is right to defend users (and the product itself) from spoilers, but the limitations imposed in this way can damage the completeness of the information, but this limits obviously do not affect user reviews. Just some of these have given way to deepen some more critical elements related precisely to the history of the game, to the construction of the characters, to the development of the plot or even to the effectiveness and structure of the message on humanity and the violence on which Naughty Dog has focused all the narration. All this with the big risk of running into spoilers, of course, but what you want to point out is how in several not positive reviews you can find really very interesting discussion elements.
The fact, in short, is that in the almost 55,000 user reviews on Metacritic there is not only a political war and the negative evaluations are not all the result of homophobic or alt-right visions, as well as all those who defend the game are not necessarily progressives. However, there is an actual problem in this evaluation system, which would presuppose a form of very accurate moderation which is in fact impossible to apply on a large platform such as Metacritic, for example: the numerical average, which derives substantially from the number of reviews, more than by their quality. The review bombing hardly has real effects on the sales of a game, as already shown by the first results of The Last of Us 2 and indeed helps to polarize the discussion, perching the users on opposite fronts without there being a real discussion. The question is in a certain sense “mathematical”: if you want to bring out a critical or positive judgment, you tend to resort to the two extremes of the scale, which obviously leads to a final evaluation completely unpacked. This happens above all for the most prominent games and that are perhaps generally evaluated well by the critics, because to bring out a dissonance with the choir, the users align themselves on the “0” in order to lower the average of the user rating, and this clearly creates an absurd imbalance. Evaluating The Last of Us 2 with a zero is simply insane, if only for its production values from a purely technical point of view and this clearly invalidates the evaluation of 3.9 in which the game is currently on Metacritic based on user ratings. However, such a dissonance can be a signal that pushes us to deepen our understanding and to grasp the positive elements of discussion that – immersed in more or less delusional comments – can give a more complete view of the game.