Review bombs have become a malicious method by toxic people to drag various products through the muck in modern times. Sometimes it’s a collection of people throwing bad review after bad review at a game and sometimes it’s a single user making multiple accounts to put as many bad reviews upon their own as they can. In the case of AI: The Somnium Files on Nintendo Switch, someone recently tried to review bomb the game’s User Score, but it didn’t turn out the way they wanted they wanted at all. The game is now the highest user-rated Nintendo Switch game on Metacritic.
As early as February 4, 2020, users on Metacritic took notice of Spike Chunsoft’s adventure title AI: The Somnium Files taking a huge blow in user ratings, dropping from 8.2 to 1.9 in the span of one day, as reported by NintendoLife. It led to Director Kotaro Uchikoshi and Assistant Director Okada Akira asking fans for help in giving the game a proper rating. It wasn’t long after that a user going by Krvavi Abadas claimed responsibility in a ResetERA thread where posters debated why the review bombing happened to begin with.
The Somnium Files review bomber had all his reviews removed from Metacritic— Flo. (@FloPerfecto) February 13, 2020
Because people positively reviewed AI to counteract the (now non-existent) review bomb, the game is now the highest user-rated game on the Nintendo Switch pic.twitter.com/bjMFj3172o
Abadas claims to have done the review bombing specifically because they wanted to show that Metacritic’s user rating system was flawed and could be manipulated easily, but it wasn’t long before they admitted to being disgruntled about how a certain character in AI: The Somnium Files was handled, admitting to crushing on the character and being upset at how their arc played out. So ultimately it was a seemingly noble goal backed by a flimsy, petty, and obsessed opinion about how the game played out.
What’s important is that when Metacritic identified the issue, the culprit’s reviews were removed from the user rating on AI: The Somnium Files. Given the aid of fans who came to the game’s defense, once the toxic reviews were gone, AI: The Somnium Files suddenly jumped up the ratings, quickly becoming the highest user-rated review score of all time for Nintendo Switch games, the change of which can be seen in comparison images posted by Twitter user FloPerfecto.
Did Abadas succeed in pointing out a weakness of Metacritic or making a notable statement? Likely not much more than any other user-controlled review system nowadays (see Far Cry: New Dawn, Warcraft 3: Reforged, and Metro Exodus). But more importantly, it’s a matter of a disgruntled review bomber’s efforts not only backfiring, but utterly serving a game’s purpose in the best way possible.