The recent official release of The Last of Us Part 2 has abruptly moved the waters of the web in the face of an unusual form of review bombing which has led (at the moment) on metacritic to a user score of 3.6 based on 37.941 user reviews against 95 by metascore based on 94 reviews.
And already in this way we would find ourselves faced with something strongly anomalous and practically unprecedented, but to increase the dose is the debate, or rather its lack, which was born around what happened, the approach to it and, in In general, the way in which the criticisms (positive and negative) are being treated leading to unnecessary destructive frictions that lead to the benefit of anyone and which creates a generally negative climate in the gaming sector.

Bomb Review

For the uninitiated (or for those who need a review) the review bomb is a phenomenon typically associated with the network in which a product, mainly entertainment, is "bombarded" with reviews from the extreme evaluation by a large group of users in order to place the emphasis and visibility on some aspects of a production or product.
Extremely positive ratings, for example, may end up being given to smaller productions to give them visibility or praise customer-friendly conduct, just as extremely negative ratings can be given in large quantities to contest practices or content perceived negatively by the community.
The "absolute" reviews are not new for the world of entertainment, not even the most loved and appreciated video games by users are exempt from numerous unjustified and misplaced 0 or 10, yet the vote split between reviewers and users has never been so large for a title so in the spotlight: thousands of negative votes afflict The Last of Us Part 2 with an overwhelming majority on the positive ones, with many on both sides without a real justification for the vote assigned.
It goes from 10 of those who "It is a Naughty Dog product so it must be bought blindly" to 0 of those who "Unacceptable", in a continuous blow and response of monothematic phrases that extreme without actually saying anything.
This type of polarized position is, however, typically normal: the proportion between extremely negative reviews and positive or mixed reviews is not, just as the reaction of the specialized press is not.

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The flame war

As already said, it is not strange to see the phenomenon of review bombing even in titles with great visibility: recently Doom Eternal has undergone a strong wave of negative reviews due to the inclusion of an anti-cheat system deemed too intrusive on users' PCs, with the result of a corrective patch that used a different system; Animal Crossing: New Horizon, Astral Chain, Death Stranding, any title seems to be subject to review bombing in some form for some reason.
However, what does not normally happen is that the specialized press, collectively, covers the phenomenon by throwing it acrimoniously on the users and in immediate defense of the title hit.
And the most gruesome thing is the way in which this happens, a type of setting of tones and arguments that one might typically expect from users with a warmer soul, but that disarms and sometimes makes you shiver to see exposed proudly and in the first place line from news headlines.
And here the negative criticisms of The Last of Us Part 2 are not minimally addressed, with sector journalists (in chorus to loyal users) to collectively relegate these users to intolerant, bigoted people, stating that freedom of speech should not be a the right of all, embarking on virgin-shaming and in the lowest possible offenses without any hesitation or reflection on the phenomenon or on the criticisms themselves.
Let's be clear: it is obvious that the 0, taken literally, are an exaggeration and without a shadow of a doubt some of these extreme reviewers are driven by reasons of hatred, intolerance or general hatred towards the title, the company or the topics covered, this it is undeniable.
However, I find it reductive to ignore any form of criticism of a title using this type of user as a shield and justification, ignoring the possibility that perhaps, given the amount of dissatisfied or disappointed people, something is wrong there is, and it is likely that are real reasons behind the dissatisfaction of so many users, even among those who loved the first chapter with enthusiasm.

The Last of Us 2


We must therefore take note of a fact that, however hard, cannot fail to be taken into consideration: if there are opinions such as "critics write only for other critics", "reviews are bought" and others that see videogame reviewers as generally unreliable the fault lies, generally, with the press itself.
Because when a newspaper offends for free those who do not agree with its evaluation without them being able to defend themselves or discuss their ideas and positions, when they close any possibility of dialogue and comparison and when they publish, expressing themselves belly-up, putting a wall towards the possibility that a position may be questioned, all that remains to the user and counterattack belly and bomb the product and the press of negative opinions.
The Last of Us 2 is not the first title with unanimous positive votes, but it is the first to encounter such a hostile refutation, but if in other titles the criticalities and limits had been defined in the reviews, allowing each user to understand what they were for going to meet and how suitable they were to your needs and requirements, this time it did not happen.
There are many, too many reviews, even at an international level, that speak of the game marginally, focusing on long emotional dissertations that say little or nothing about the actual product, which do not communicate to the reader practically nothing concrete or useful at an informative level, which they make small, exaggerated sensationalism, create expectations which then, in response and with proportional force, encounter mistrust and negativity.
The blind acceptance of the title as it is, without discussing anything that can be questioned, attacking anyone who decides to question it is the main reason why users believe the only option is to do the same in the opposite direction.
You need to be more transparent, take a step back from your immediate enthusiasm and wear more neutral lenses, define the contents of a product honestly and correctly so that everyone can be surprised and no one disappointed.
Clearly this is a complex and demanding task, but it is the responsibility of those who make information to dedicate themselves, in fact, to information, and not to delight in poetic contemplations towards the artistic beauty of an entertainment product.
With paternalistic and mocking PR declarations towards users and articles of attack on readers, all that is obtained is just a further polarization without dialogue and transparency: more precise and sensationalist information is the right way to mitigate and to cool the spirits and to see more balanced reactions, because only in this way can readers become aware of what they are buying and what they are enjoying right away.
The free negativity will never disappear, of course, and the best that can be done is to recognize it, take note of it and ignore those who want to carry it forward as a voice out of the chorus and when we feel we want to say "If an individual thinks such a thing then he is ..." we count to ten, take a step back and do not complete the sentence: it is not by placing ourselves higher than those around us that we can find a common point on a common passion.