A popular and new Xbox Game Pass game is review bombed with scores of zero on Metacritic. This week, the Xbox Game Pass and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate libraries on Xbox One, Xbox Series S, Xbox Series X, and PC have been updated with a number of critically acclaimed games, including penance a narrative adventure game meets RPG from a small team within Obsidian Entertainment, the creators of titles like Fallout: New Vegas, South Park: The Stick of Truth, The outside worldsand many other notable games over the years.
An exclusive Xbox console, penance launched on day one on Xbox Game Pass, as all games from Xbox do. And upon release, it achieved a Metacritic score of 88, making it one of the highest new releases of the year and one of the critically acclaimed games of the year. However, the user score is only 6.8, with 55 “negative” reviews. For context, the game has 116 “positive” reviews and then three “mixed” reviews. And most of these negative reviews are just zeroes. It’s unclear how many bad actors act in bad faith in the name of console wars versus being honest in their ratings, but the end result is still the same: a lot of zeroes weighing on users’ review scores.
For example, there is the following review of “Xbox4Lyfe” which seems to be clearly fanboyish: “I told myself I would give penance a shot. After two hours of some of the most boring dialogue, boring scenes and boring ‘gameplay’ I deleted it immediately. This game may or may not be for you. I’m going back to playing quality games like God of War: Ragnarok!!!”
On the other hand, there are plenty of reviews that seem genuine, like this one from Kreplik: “penance. I don’t know. The game gets almost nothing but 10/10s, and it’s not even a game. Anyway, I don’t understand the gameplay. I’ve gotten to the point where it’s boring and boils down to clicking through the subtitles. It looks like a western version of Danganrompa, which I couldn’t handle due to the tedious and annoying clicking through lines of text. So what if the plot is supposedly great, and the atmospheric setting. But it’s BORING! I’m at the age where I don’t want to spend my free time clicking through a line of text. I’d rather read the book.”
As you may know, Metacritic will delete user reviews if they are believed to have been made in bad faith, but so far it seems the game’s many zeros have passed the sniff test and are holding up. If this changes, we will update the story accordingly. In the meantime, feel free to leave a comment to let us know what you think. Did you play penance? Do you agree with all these zero review scores?