A popular and new Xbox Game Pass game is being revived bombed with scores of zero on Metacritic. This week, Xbox Game Pass and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate libraries across Xbox One, Xbox Series S, Xbox Series X, and PC were updated with some critically-acclaimed games, including Penance a narrative adventure game meets RPG from a small team within Obsidian Entertainment, the makers of titles like Fallout: New Vegas, South Park: The Stick of Truth, The Outer Worldsand many other notable games over the years.
An Xbox console exclusive, Penance launched day one on Xbox Game Pass like all games from Xbox do. And upon release, it garnered a Metacritic score of 88, making it one of the highest new releases of the year and one of the year’s critically-acclaimed games. Its user score is just 6.8 though, with 55 “negative” reviews. For context, the game boasts 116 “positive” reviews and then three “mixed” reviews. And most of these negative reviews are just straight zeros. It’s unclear how many bad actors are acting in bad faith in the name of console wars versus being honest in their reviews, but the end result is still the same: lots of zeros weighing down the user review score.
For example, there is the following review from “Xbox4Lyfe” that clearly seems to be fanboyism: “I told myself I’d give Penance shot. After two hours of some of the most boring dialogue, boring scenes, and boring ‘gameplay’ I immediately uninstalled it. This game may or may not be for you. I’m going back to playing quality games like God of War: Ragnarok!!!”
On the other hand, there are plenty of reviews that seem to be genuine, like this one from Kreplik: “Pensively. I do not know. The game gets almost nothing but 10/10s, and it’s not even a game. At least I didn’t get the gameplay. I’ve come to the point that it’s boring and boils down to clicking through the subtitles. It looks like a western version of Danganrompa, which I couldn’t handle because of boring and annoying clicking through lines of text. So what if the plot is supposedly great, and the atmospheric setting. But it’s BORING! I’m at the age where I don’t want to spend my free time clicking through a line of text. I prefer to read the book.”
As you may know, Metacritic will remove user reviews if believed they’ve been made in bad faith, but so far it seems the game’s many zeros have passed the sniff test and are staying up. If this changes, we will be sure to update the story accordingly. In the meantime, feel free to leave a comment letting us know what you think. Have you played Penance? Do you agree with all these zero review scores?