Astral Chain

Update (Fri 6th Sep, 2019 15:45 BST): It would appear that Metacritic has taken action against review-bombers and has nuked a whole bunch of negative reviews. As a result, Astral Chain now stands at a 9.0 rating (thanks to Quarth for the heads-up).

Screenshot 2019 09 06 At 15.41.39

While it's good to see that little issue solved, the negative reviews don't seem to have made much of a difference anyway. Astral Chain is PlatinumGames' first UK number one and has also sold well in Japan, inspiring the developer to issue a public 'thank you' message to those who bought it.

Original Story (Mon 2nd Sep, 2019 12:30 BST): Astral Chain launched last week to widespread critical acclaim; PlatinumGames' latest packs in impressive visuals, tight combat and a generous dose of detective work to deliver one of 2019's stand-out Switch releases. We gave it a solid 9/10, stating that it "could well be PlatinumGames' most accomplished game yet".

However, it would seem that even when you produce a title of this high quality, you can't be assured to please everyone. In another example of what is becoming a depressingly regular practice, angry gamers have taken to review aggregate site Metacritic to "review-bomb" the game – the practice of multiple users spamming user review sites with a high volume of negative ratings in order to pull down the game's user score as low as possible.

While some of these disgruntled scores may well be based on genuine complaints, several sites – including GoNintendo, and Game Rant – feel that many of the 'zero' scores are simply down to the fact that the game is a Switch exclusive, and nothing more. You'd certainly have a hard time arguing that Astral Chain is a '0/10' game, irrespective of your complaints against it.

This isn't the first time that gamers have used this approach; Fire Emblem: Three Houses has also been review-bombed recently and sits at a user score of 6.5, and back in 2018 Pokémon: Let's Go became the target of seemingly frustrated fans who tried to pull down its score on both Metacritic and Amazon.

Whatever the true story behind this, the ratio between good (1,297) and bad (794) reviews does seem rather odd considering that the game currently sits at a critic's rating of 87 after polling 58 reviews. Still, it doesn't seem to have harmed Astral Chain's commercial performance – it shot to number one in the UK all-formats chart this week.

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