Reviews are absolutely brutal to write; you have to look at the title from a myriad of perspectives, you need to be experienced enough in the genre to understand what does and doesn’t work (and what the genre standard is), and even then you’re looking at a solid eight hours of writing and drafting to get your points across to the reader while being sensitive of the developers that have grinded out the game currently under your thumbs.
It’s a brutal process that takes dedication and experience, and even then it’s easy to skip an important aspect or mechanic that simply managed to escape your purview.
Unless you’re on Steam and writing a review there, which Steam consistently asks players to do. At that point, your brain is no longer required to function as you shove out anything that your thirteen brain cells can devise, which typically results in something that is less helpful than many wish for.
Troll reviews on Steam for that sweet kar-, I mean rewards. pic.twitter.com/qsNdmC3VxR
— Vlad【衛德】 (@Stutsies) September 3, 2020
Yet pseudo-negative reviews still count against the total for and/or against the title, which many use to gauge public reception.
These ‘humor’ reviews fill the store, for both positive and negative recommendations, cluttering up the store by users that have the ability to speak yet nothing to say aside from yet another tired joke that we’ve seen ad infinitum for the past decade at least, who are then awarded by others who find it the pinnacle of comedy.
This then places the joke at the top of the reviews section when players that are attempting to actually inform are buried underneath them, turning the entire fundamental point of Steam reviews (which is to inform other users about your thoughts) into a segment littered with statements that aren’t remotely helpful to anyone considering the title.
And that's not even talking about the reviews that are like, "3500 hours played": "Boring game, nothing to do."
— Anlysia Gregoire (@Anlysia) September 3, 2020
It’s somehow turned Steam reviews into the biggest joke of Steam; a concerning feat considering how many eschewed Steam’s usage of user reviews when comparing to the Epic Games Store.
How long until Steam bans review quotes because of these shenanigans? https://t.co/spjAYNXXnL
— Civvie11 (@Civvie11) September 4, 2020
We’re not even asking for cognitive thought or solid sentence structure: just make an attempt at explaining what you did and didn’t like (as Steam asks users to do) and move on with your life.
Instead, as Steam has pushed the ‘Rewards’ aspect (an interesting mechanic that may currently be slightly struggling) which seems to bait more low-effort comments from the community. Which, mind you, we noted would happen when the rewards were originally leaked.
This isn’t even looking at the massive issues with Steam’s Curator program, where users recommend titles that haven’t been released for various meme reasons in the hope of getting a chuckle and a bit of a following that they then use to beg for free games from indie developers.
It’s becoming a pandemic on the platform, and there’s no sign of it slowing down anytime soon unless Valve removes their head from the sand; a mechanic that was heralded as making Steam superior to EGS is failing quickly.