OpenCritic User Reviews Let the Players Chime In

Published: September 22, 2020 3:03 PM /


OpenCritic user Reviews cover

OpenCritic has been hard at work building a better gaming review aggregator over the last few years. Now, OpenCritic user reviews have finally gone live with "Audience Reviews" — but it won't be as easy to write one as it is elsewhere.

If you're unfamiliar with OpenCritic, this website acts somewhat similar to MetaCritic. It aggregates review scores from multiple sources for most modern games, letting you get an idea of the larger picture of how the professional critic community views a particular work.

OpenCritic has been generally more open to professional critics than MetaCritic — many sites that are not listed on MetaCritic are aggregated on that service (including TechRaptor!). One feature that it's been lacking, however, is the ability for the average user to submit their own review. That has now changed with the introduction of Audience Reviews.

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How do OpenCritic User Reviews Work?

Audience Reviews use a pretty straightforward system as outlined in its announcement of the new feature. These OpenCritic User Reviews must meet the following criteria before they can appear on the site:

  1. They must be 30 words minimum.
  2. They must have generally correct English spelling and grammar.
  3. They cannot be posted until 72 hours after a game has launched.
  4. Naturally, reviews must also be about the game they're reviewing.

Once a review is written, it will be checked by a moderator to ensure that it meets all of these criteria. This moderation should filter out most of the problematic content right from the get-go, so we're less likely to see reviews without any practical value.

OpenCritic notes that it would be difficult to independently verify game ownership for various reasons — they'd need to create a desktop application to check PC game ownership and a system to check console game ownership would be difficult to maintain. Furthermore, they haven't figured out a way to verify ownership of Nintendo Switch games at all.

We reached out to OpenCritic to ask about some common issues that can crop up with user reviews. One particular benefit of this new system is that review bombs are much more unlikely than on an unmoderated system.

"We're curious to see what happens with simple moderation," OpenCritic stated. "Reviews must have at least 30 words and include high-quality grammar and spelling. We think that these two safeguards may be sufficient to block review bombers."

There's also the matter of scores. OpenCritic user reviews won't have an aggregate score as MetaCritic does, but users will have the option to score their reviews. They don't have to leave a numeric score, but they do have to serve the purpose of a review and let gamers know whether or not the reviewer recommends it.

"[We] always support reviews that don't use numeric verdicts, or issue any verdict at all," OpenCritic explained. "However, we do ask that reviews indicate if they recommend the game or not in order to be included on game pages."

Of course, you'll also need an account on the site to make your own reviews. You can sign up for an account at OpenCritic to get started, and don't forget to check out some of TechRaptor's reviews on OpenCritic while you're there!

Disclosure: TechRaptor's Owner, and Editor and Chief also have roles with OpenCritic.

What do you think of OpenCritic user reviews? Do you think a moderated system will stop review bombs in their tracks? Let us know in the comments below!

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A photograph of TechRaptor Senior Writer Robert N. Adams.
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One of my earliest memories is playing Super Mario Bros. on the Nintendo Entertainment System. I've had a controller in my hand since I was 4 and I… More about Robert N