Epic Games Store Now Has Embedded OpenCritic Reviews, To Mixed Reviews From Public

Epic Games Store Now Has Embedded OpenCritic Reviews, To Mixed Reviews From Public
Credit: Epic Games via YouTube

In the interest of furthering the gaming industry as a whole, it’s worth taking a moment to recognize when companies begin to take strides in the right direction.  As of today, Epic Games Store has embedded OpenCritic into their storefront, allowing users to see critic reviews at a glance before they purchase a title.  This is a stride greater than a complete lack of reviews, but some are noting that this system might be worse for two distinct reasons.

First, this is a fantastic first step towards empowering consumers that choose to use the Epic Games Store to make informed decisions; nothing in this article is to be construed as taking away from that fact.  OpenCritic operates via Patreon, and is a review aggregate site that takes reviews written from high-profile websites, and displays how many critics recommend the title along with the average review score from the critics.

It appears as though it is embedded into Epic Games Store via an API that allows OpenCritic to know the title that is being requested, and then the server sends the requested information to EGS.  Now, the alleged issues with this are two-fold.

First, OpenCritic is for all platforms; titles are not segregated based on which platform they launched on.  Thus, a title such as Detroit: Become Human that had a fantastic launch on PlayStation 4 and a horrible launch on PC become intertwined; consumers still have no possible way to know that the game was broken for many on launch, besides buying the title and trying it themselves.

Some titles offer vastly different experiences based on platform; Ark: Survival Evolved somehow continues to be nearly unplayable on the Nintendo Switch, iffy on Xbox One and PlayStation 4, and an absolute blast on PC (where admins can control the obscene taming times and resource gathering rates, along with adding a slew of mods).  The current system does not take the wild discrepancies among platforms into account, instead lumping them together as a singular aggregate.

While you can get a solid idea of the title from OpenCritic, you simply can’t trust it as the sole resource at your disposal when weighing purchases; there are far too many variables at play between platforms and their parity.

The second concern that many users have is that titles that reviewers get can be far different from what users end up purchasing.  From the most recent memory, Star Wars Battlefront II locked many reviewers between a rock and a hard place, as they reviewed the title rather favorably.  When consumers began purchasing the title to play themselves, a whole grind and microtransaction system were in place that resulted in players either paying, or losing.

Reviewers were intentionally given titles that differed from what Electronic Arts was going to sell, to mislead the public.  It worked surprisingly well enough for the launch, and wasn’t until after massive social media outcry that the design was reworked to cater less to ‘whales’ (players that have no qualms about spending massive amounts of money for microtransactions).  A system that only gives critics a say in the worthiness of a title opens itself up to far more publisher and developer shenanigans.

It’s worth noting that OpenCritic reflects the bait and switch tactic in the reviews, with only the usual suspects keeping their reviews what they were on launch (namely IGN).

As the dust settles on EGS’ newest feature, and time continues its slow progression ever-forwards towards everyone’s untimely yet inevitable demise, we’ll be able to see if OpenCritic is enough to competently bring information to users of the Epic Games Store.  Many are hoping it is.