Crystal Dynamics, Eidos Montreal and Square Enix released Shadow of the Tomb Raider back in September to mostly positive reviews. However, the game has recently been the target of the community-driven act of review-bombing. It's for a rather interesting reason, too. So what happened?
Well, Shadow of the Tomb Raider was given a 34% discount on Steam back on October 16th. That was just a month removed from the September 14th release date, for which the game launched at $59.99. According to GameInformer, this is what's caused the negative backlash through review-bombing.
Basically, after the 34% off price slash was made public, gamers became angered at the reality of having paid full price for Shadow of the Tomb Raider. When, in theory, they could have waited just one single month to get the game with a third of its price lopped off.
It might seem like an inconsequential thing, but putting $60 into the game on Day One, only to find out that it's marked down shortly after release, would make a lot of people fume. Especially if they're short on cash and could have saved some coin in order to purchase some other game like Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 or Red Dead Redemption 2.
The general feeling among gamers is that the so-so gameplay, mixed with the rather quick price-cut, has led fans to feeling like they got burned. Thus, the sudden uptick in review lambasting.
I do wonder if Square Enix could have spared itself some of the pushback from users had the company just launched the game at only $39.99, instead of the full $60. A lower price point may have been enough to convince gamers to give Shadow of the Tomb Raider a fair try without feeling guilty about the purchase, even if a discount did take place a month later for 10% or 15% off.
To be sure, there are also some legitimate complaints about the actual gameplay. A lot of people feel as if Shadow of the Tomb Raider was a step back from the more expansive, open-world offerings featured in Rise of the Tomb Raider. There were also some people complaining they didn't like how Lara was depicted in the latest installment, which was only compounded by the gripes about the game being price-cut so soon after its release.
Some people think that the negative reactions to the game are unfair toward the developers. Others, meanwhile, feel as if some people are justified in being angry that they paid full price for the game only for the game to be discounted weeks later. It's a prickly situation, since Square obviously wanted to make bank on the game as much as possible.
If the sales were not doing so great during the initial launch, however, then the company possibly felt compelled to lower the price to bring as many customers in as possible before the other fall heavy-hitters dropped. Let's not forget that Battlefield V and the Let's Go Pokemon games are also set to release in November. That timing makes it even more difficult for a game like Shadow of the Tomb Raider to stand out.