The Last of Us Part II is likely the most controversial game of 2020, with gamers battling critics over what kind of review score Sony’s blockbuster is. It’s not even in the top 10 for the most controversial games of all time, according to a study by TheToyZone.
With the game by Naughty Dog, a group of gamers launched a “Review Bomb” campaign on the Internet to criticize their cultural and political positions. It showed strange relationships and nonconforming sex characteristics. However, critics rated it as one of the best games of all time (I rated it 95 out of 100), according to ratings aggregator Metacritic.
Review bombs are often one of the few ways players can give their strong feedback, and sometimes there is no good reason for doing so. Politics, views on monetization, mistakes and misunderstandings from developers can trigger violent reactions. And the internet makes it easier to spread such campaigns these days, which may explain why so many EA Sports and 2K Sports titles top the list.
Review bombing became so popular that Metacritic stopped it on the first day a game was released. Metacritic did this in July because so many gamers were checking out bomb games without playing them, which skewed the results.
TheToyZone, which rates the best toys it can recommend based on its own research, compared the reviews of critics and users on Metacritic for over 24,000 video games. The most controversial video game of all time is FIFA 20, which was rated 79 by game critics while gamers rated it 11. Sports games occupied the top six spots on the list, including NBA 2K20 at number 2, FIFA 21 at number 2.3, Madden NFL 20 at number 4, FIFA 19 at number 5, and NBA 2K18 at number 6. FIFA 21 was won by fans, who felt it was little innovative, rated it black, while NBA 2K20 was bombarded for lack of new microtransactions for content and bugs.
The first non-sports game on the list is Company of Heroes 2, a real-time strategy game from WWII, at number 7. The full list can be found here.
Other standout titles included Artifact at # 9 (rating apparently bombarded due to monetization issues) and Star Wars: Battlefront II at # 11. Battlefront II was unpopular with gamers – even before many played it – because it had “pay-to-win” microtransactions to purchase additional characters even after players have regularly paid $ 60 for the title. Ultimately, EA overhauled the monetization and kept fans happy with many more updates to the title. However, this nuance does not necessarily appear in the user reviews.
Nintendo 64 is the platform with the smallest gap between critics and users. On this platform, Perfect Dark was the most controversial game, but only 8 points separated the critics and the users. Final Fantasy as a series is mostly loved better by users than by critics. The most controversial game is Final Fantasy XV, which was rated 28 points higher by users. The least divisive franchise is Super Mario, with an average of 8.9 points between critic and user ratings.
On PC, Company of Heroes 2 is the most controversial, planned by gamers with a spread of 80 for the critics and 21 for the gamers. Russian players in particular were annoyed by the depiction of the Soviet army in the game and they bombed them again.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare was barely a second, with critics on 81 and gamers on 24. This game had controversy related to modern war atrocities and their level of violence. It was also reviewed bombed after users discovered that a historic American war episode, dubbed the “Highway of Death” in history, was attributed to the Russians in the game.
On Xbox One, NBA 2K20 is the most controversial game, with a breakdown of critics at 80 and players at 13. On the counter, it’s Pokémon Sword / Shield, with critics rating it at 80 and players at 34. (This game has been heavily reviewed by fans who were unhappy that it didn’t include Pokémon from previous games.) And on the PlayStation 4, FIFA 20 is causing the biggest controversy. Critics rate it 79 and players 11.
Left Alive was the game critics hated (37) and users loved (83).
Photo credit: Naughty Dog / Sony
ToyZone’s Jonny Addy said in an email to GamesBeat that the study failed to address the social analysis that might have uncovered issues such as the bombing of The Last of Us Part II for political or cultural reasons. The intention is to present the data in an unbiased manner, he said.
However, looking at the data, it is clear that The Last of Us Part II has received tremendous user attention. The original The Last of Us has received 10,783 user reviews since its release in 2013. However, the sequel has received ten times as many user reviews as its predecessor with 109,912 user reviews since its release in June this year.
The Last of Us Part II is the most user-reviewed game in the study. Warcraft III: Reforged is the second with 30,278 user reviews since its release in January. Fans felt that the cutscenes and graphics weren’t as good as Blizzard had promised, and there were a lot of bugs too.
Interestingly, the user rating for The Last of Us Part II was 51 (on Metacritic), which means that the number of positive to negative reviews the game hadn’t received was pretty evenly balanced, Addy said.
“It’s clear that The Last of Us Part II made big waves in the game review community, with as many people coming out to defend it as they came out to criticize,” said Addy.
Another controversial game, No Man’s Sky, had a critic rating of 71 and a user rating of 4.7. This game touted a procedural galaxy for the players, but it didn’t deliver that at launch. That sparked a huge outcry among gamers, even though the developers kept their promises long after the launch.
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