A number of people have bombarded The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild‘s Metacritic page with negative reviews, suggesting that the game is only attracting critical acclaim because Nintendo has “paid off” game journalists.
Breath of the Wild, which released today on the Switch and the Wii U, currently holds a near-perfect score of 98 on the review aggregation site. However, its user score is significantly lower, with it currently clocking in at 7.8. The reasoning behind this large disparity? Among other things, many seem to be convinced that the game is only rating so highly because Nintendo is dishing money out to reviewers in exchange for positive scores.
One user, who rated the game a 0 out of 10, wrote: “A Zero from me too, i never played it, and i wont ever play it, i give this game zero, not because its bad. But because of payed reviews, and **** overhyped and blind Idiot reviewers giving this game mostly 100% only because its Zelda. Kill yourself **** idiots. When this same game wouldnt be called Zelda it maybe became 80%.” Another added: “Wow the paid reviews and nintendo fanboys on here to boost the score just goes to show you what a joke this game is, the top *reviews* aren’t even reviews they are one sentence long. Zelda botw is a appalling open world game. Giving this the title of a Zelda game is insulting to zelda fans.”
There have also been complaints regarding Nintendo issuing units of the Switch and copies of Breath of the Wild to reviewers, despite that being a perfectly normal series of events that happens with literally every new console release ever. According to these complaints, games journalists are supposed to go out and buy their own review units / copies of games, despite this a) meaning that these reviews wouldn’t be available at launch, therefore rendering them useless to consumers looking to pre-order the console, and b) this being their job, and purchasing a video game every time they were required to write a review would eventually leave them penniless.
User scores often provide an eye-opening glimpse at just how little some people understand the review process, but even by the typically low standard of Metacritic’s user ratings (the site doesn’t require proof that a reviewer has actually played the game before they submit their comments), The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild‘s user reviews are particularly poor. Fortunately those of us in the know acknowledge user ratings as the online equivalent of terrible opinions etched onto the wall of a public bathroom cubicle, so it’s unlikely that this will harm the game’s success.