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Assassin's Creed: Unity

Valve "not really sure what to do" on AC: Unity review bomb

This was a positive review bomb after the Notre Dame fire, as players flooded into the game to see the virtual version for themselves.

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Review bombing is a practice that's become increasingly common when games, developers, and publishers make moves that fans aren't happy with, and Steam reviews are more often than not the target for this. This has become such a problem that Valve revealed back in March that they were removing "off-topic review bombs" from Steam scores (something they put into practice when Borderlands games faced a deluge of negative reviews after the third was revealed to be an Epic Games Store PC exclusive), but what about reverse review bombing?

By this we mean a game facing a wave of positive reviews, something that happened to Assassin's Creed: Unity when a flood of players descended into the virtual version of Paris to witness the Notre Dame cathedral following the fire that consumed it last month, which is something Valve has addressed in a lengthy blog post.

This doesn't fit the pattern of negative review bombs, since there was a marked increase of players alongside the increase of reviews, unlike many negative examples, meaning it behaves much like a game that's been recently discounted. Valve also explains that a lot of these looked like genuine reviews from players who have jumped in.

Valve also discusses whether consumers would benefit from having these positive reviews included in the overall score, something which would affect whether it's deemed "off-topic" or not. There's no clear answer to this, but one point made is that Unity "happens to now include the world's best virtual recreation of the undamaged monument. That's a context change that could be increasing the value players are getting from the game, so perhaps the game really is better than it was before?"

"If visiting the virtual Notre Dame is a reason players have reviewing the game more positively, we'd expect the Review Score to continue to reflect it in the future, albeit at a lower volume. But that's still the case even if it's not the reason - the future Review Score would revert to where it was prior to this event."

In short, if it wasn't clear enough already, Valve admits that "we're not really sure what to do here". They explain that it doesn't fit into the pattern of review bombs they've seen so far, and that the overall review score would decrease by 1.3% if they removed it, so it wouldn't have that much of an impact in the visibility of the score.

For all the reasons above, and more (details of which you can find on the full blog post), Valve has decided to leave the score as it is for now.

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Assassin's Creed: Unity

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REVIEW. Written by Mika Sorvari

"You'll scream, swear and pound your head against the coffee table, and then you'll reload the game, because when it works, it really works."

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