What would you do if I told you that not every single person in the world has fallen head over heels in love with Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End? The most I’d do is shrug my shoulder. However, this video game reviewer learned the hard way that having an unpopular opinion can be a dangerous thing in the video game industry.
Michael Thomsen, The Washington Post‘s video game critic, caused quite a stir on the Internet for his somewhat negative review of Naughty Dog’s latest epic.
He wrote: “The “Uncharted” games have never excelled at storytelling. Instead, they’ve used it an accompaniment to overwhelming visual technology. The games have always struck me as garish more than gorgeous, more interested in overwhelming the senses than communicating with them. “A Thief’s End” is overflowing with useless detail. – Robert Thomsen”
Thomsen has been a video game reviewer for a number of years now and he’s made a name for himself by giving bad reviews to some very popular games that other publications don’t dare challenge like Dark Souls II and Red Dead Redemption. Though his personal review of Uncharted 4 does not have a score attached to it, The Washington Post submitted a 4/10 rating to Metacritic, making it the only negative review the game has received on the aggregator.
The negative review prompted dimitris xorikos has started a petition in order to get the Metacritic review removed. So far, the petition only needs 478 more signatures to achieve its 7,500 signature goal. Even Troy Baker, the voice actor that co-starred in Uncharted 4, has signed the petition and has been encouraging others to do so.
This is completely outrageous. A single negative review on Metacritic will not hurt a game that’s received near-perfect scores everywhere else like many fans (and even some cast members) may believe. Even if you truly believe that Thomsen is simply trashing the game for attention, this sort of mob mentality to suppress dissenting opinions is why video game journalism isn’t taken seriously. Reviewers who go against the grain and offer lower scores than average are regularly faced with abuse via social media from video game fans who feel the need to defend their latest purchase.
Admittedly, Thomsen’s review doesn’t make a convincing case that Nathan Drake’s is an “inconclusive wreck” nor does it have much to say about whether the game’s creators accomplished what they set out to do. But at the same time, we don’t have to agree on everything. In fact, if we weren’t so threatened by dissenting opinions, we may someday have critical discussions about video games that ultimately make the medium better. But until then, cyber-bullying a video game reviewer who didn’t like your new favorite game only sets us our community back.
Were you personally offended by Thomsen’s negative review? If so, we’d love to know why in the comments.