Hell hath no fury like a gamer scorned, or so the saying goes, but it doesn’t seem like somebody told the team at Square Enix that.
“But why?” we hear you cry. “Wasn’t Shadow of the Tomb Raider a critical and commercial smash?”, you wonder aloud. Well, yes. But that’s not what got PC gamers so frustrated last month. No, it was the pricing of Lara Croft’s latest adventure which led to a campaign of “review bombing” on Steam to bring down Shadow of the Tomb Raider’s overall review score.
Originally priced at $59.99, Shadow of the Tomb Raider was ticking along quite nicely, with good sales and glowing reviews. That was, of course, until the game got discounts of up to 47% off, just one month after its launch. It led to frustrated customers to venting their frustrations on the game’s Steam store page – by leaving negative reviews.
The sale offered a 34% discount on the base game and a 47% discount on the ‘Croft Edition’, which includes the game’s season pass and a number of cosmetic extras. It was a pretty steep discount, to be fair, especially so early in the game’s life cycle. However, the response from fans went just a little too far. Reviews on the page for the 16-18th of October are overwhelmingly negative as gamers – primarily Chinese according to some theories – let rip.
User Anth3na wrote: “I pre-ordered the game and after one month of the released date there is a 47% sale. WTF this will never make me pre-order any more Square Enix / Eidos-Montreal games ever again”.
User YS agreed, reviewing: “just a month, and 50% off, what the hell?”
Some reviews, like that from user Dahl, writing in English (from native Chinese), take their frustration just a little further, saying: “Seriously??! -34%??! I really love being a killing machine in a brit chick, but my wallet is my truly spiritual mentor, YOU RUINED IT! I HATE U!!!”
Thankfully, reviews have since levelled off for the critically acclaimed conclusion to the rebooted Lara Croft franchise, Shadow of the Tomb Raider. Recent reviews for the game are now back to being “Very Positive”, with an overall “Mostly Positive”.
It’s been a good few years for the Tomb Raider franchise – one of the biggest in gaming – with a trio of AAA video games in the form of Tomb Raider, Rise of the Tomb Raider and Shadow of the Tomb Raider. They even proved popular enough to get the long-rumoured Lara Croft movie reboot off the ground – Tomb Raider – which finally released this year to mixed reviews. Alongside it has come a host of promotional tie-ins, including the Tomb Raider slot game, Tomb Raider II, which has joined the likes of Monopoly, Worms and other huge video game franchises which made the leap to online slots versions available at websites such as Casino Euro.
Despite all that success though, negative reviews from customers on a mammoth platform like Steam can do a lot of damage. With that said, huge price drops for recent games are a large part of why so many gamers choose Steam as their primary PC gaming client.
With that said, it seems like the brief period of review-bombing for Shadow of Tomb Raider hasn’t caused too much lasting damage, as positive reviews once again overshadow the negative. At best, it might convince a few folks to avoid paying full price for Square Enix games at launch in the future.