Hitman Comes To GOG And Gets Review Bombed Due To Online DRM

Hitman Comes To GOG And Gets Review Bombed Due To Online DRM
Screenshot: GOG / IOI

Earlier this week Hitman – Game of the Year Edition launched on GOG. But soon after, players began complaining and review bombing once they discovered that large parts of the stealth game were locked behind online DRM checks. This rubbed many the wrong way because GOG makes a big deal about being DRM-free.

GOG.com is an online storefront that first started out as a place for devs and publishers to sell older PC games, but now sells newer and modern games too. It also boasts that it doesn’t support or use any forms of DRM (digital rights management). However, Hitman – Game of the Year Edition seems to blur the line between what is and isn’t DRM and that’s led to a large amount of online criticism and review bombing.

Currently, the game’s overall rating sits at a super low 1.4 out of 5.

The main problem comes down to what is locked away from players who decide to play Hitman offline or who can’t access the servers for whatever reason. Without an internet connection, players can’t access escalation missions, elusive targets, or user-created missions. This is advertised on the GOG store page for Hitman GOTY Edition.

However, there’s more that is locked away from offline players including the ability to unlock weapons, items, outfits, and earn new starting locations. While this doesn’t make the game unplayable, it does mean a large portion of Hitman 2016 is only available to folks who connect to the internet. According to this support page found on Feral Interactive’s website, playing offline also means players won’t be able to complete in-game challenges or earn experience to level up your Mastery Rank for each map. (Feral Interactive is the studio that helped bring Hitman 2016 to Mac.)

Now, to be clear: You can still play Hitman GOTY Edition offline after buying it on GOG. All the main missions and bonus missions are fully playable. But almost everything else is locked away of offline users, which to me (and apparently other players) seems like a form of online DRM. This seems out of place for a GOG release and users have spent the past few days leaving negative reviews in response.

Yesterday, GOG responded to the continued backlash over Hitman’s use of online DRM. In a forum post responding to the situation, a member of the GOG team explained that it was “looking into it and will be updating you in the coming weeks.”

Kotaku has reached out to GOG about this situation and what the storefront has planned to address player complaints.

“In case you have purchased HITMAN and are not satisfied with the released version, you can use your right to refund the game,” said GOG. “At the same time, while we’re open for meritful discussion and feedback, we will not tolerate review bombing and will be removing posts that do not follow our review guidelines.”

The community over at GOG wasn’t happy about this response, pointing out that many of the negative reviews just contain information and warnings not found on the game’s store page. The team at GOG further explained that those reviews won’t be removed, but didn’t share any other details about what will be removed.

Likewise, it’s unclear what can be done to make things right, considering how intertwined the online features of Hitman (2016) are with the game’s overall structure.

Comments

  • “At the same time, while we’re open for meritful discussion and feedback, we will not tolerate review bombing”

    *Raises hand*
    Question, what’s the best/easiest/laziest way for a wide group of people to get immediate attention from a storefront owner + inform customers of the issue, other than to review bomb?
    Sure you could find your way to PM the devs or the storeowner, or take to the game’s discussion page, but then that information isn’t on the storefront next to the BUY button, and you’d miss out on informing other customers before they make their purchase and realise the same issue

    • There’s a difference between leaving a constructive negative review that informs other users of a game’s shortcomings and review bombing.

      • Review bombing exists because its the only outlet customers have to give feedback and know it has an effect.

        All other methods like social media, reddit etc can be easily ignored. Customers want to be listened to, not waved away.

        Getting outraged about review bombing only increases its strength and usage because they know it has an effect.

        Want to stop review bombing? Start listening to your customers.

        • Your customers like the mass of chinese users review bombing LiS: True Colors for having a Tibetan flag? Review bombers are trolls, pure and simple.

          • Or, they could serve a valuable purpose unless you don’t feel that potential buyers of Sinking City shouldn’t know that the publisher pirated the game, removed DLC and retrospectively removed the DLC for customers on Steam? Yes, let’s not have review bombs, because some customers are morons and can’t notice topical trends in those review bombs. It’s GOG’s own fault if they don’t have auto filters that pick that up and provide an option to ignore those review surges. For all the people shitting on Valve’s monopoly, they’re really keen to ignore just how much better it is as a storefront for exactly these features.

          • Soo… the folks who where up in arms over wc3 reforged where just trolls and had no valid reasons to give negative feedback? No Mans Sky was also not at fault for the massively under stated release?

            Whilst I agree that review bombing can definitely be started by obnoxious trolls trying to create problems that doesnt mean that all negative review bombs are not without cause or merit

        • There’s a reason why sites like Metacritic have started to not accept user reviews until 48 hours after a game has released, it’s to minimise review bombing.

          What review bombing is is basically a gang mentality when many users submit poor reviews complaining about a game or a game’s features, many of which have not even played the game, they are just joining in for the sake of it. And in that kind of context user reviews are not helpful for anyone.

        • “Want to stop review bombing? Start listening to your customers.” what a ridiculous sentiment. Sometimes customers, sorry gamers, really have a deluded version of reality and their place in the food chain.

          • if you want people to purchase your product, You have to listen to customers.

            If you want your product to be successful you have to listen to customers.

            Being adversarial to your customers does not work out well, WoW’s plummetting userbase is evidence of that.

    • Well the interesting thing is, they are negatively reviewing the game for something that is/is not in the game? Its not review bombing, its a lot of unhappy customers.
      (Even players who like the game, hate how harsh the alway internet connection is)

      Its review bombing, if the review has nothing to do with the game… but is an angry response to a future game or the actions of the company in general.

      • the thing is though what one person might call a negative review is what another person would call review bombing.

        It exists because it works, Its the best way to call attention to something.

        It makes the games media mad, Resulting in attention
        It makes the game devs mad, Resulting in attention

        Like i said above review bombing exists because as customers we feel there is no way to communicate displeasure at something that cant be easily ignored.

        Reddit? – Easily ignored
        Twitter? – Easily ignored
        Customer support? – Easily ignored
        Review bomb/ Mass negative reviews – Almost guaranteed reaction.

        • Review bombing is masses of negative reviews, often by people who haven’t even played the game. That’s when it stops being useful.

          • I can argue the same for positive reviews. Metacritic deleted a bunch of negative and well thought out criticisms of Astral Chain because it was deemed “review bombing”, when in reality the gameplay mechanics were clunky crap and customers said as much. In its place were the extremely positive reviews that completely ignored every single notable deficiency in the game. Instead of removing the reviews, they should give people the ability to sort them so people can make decisions for themselves as to the usefulness of the review.

          • Positive review ‘bombing’ also occurs, don’t act like it doesn’t.

            Last of Us 2 might be the prime example of it, especially when it comes to a site like Metacritic who only deleted suspicious negative reviews.

            All while leaving up massive amounts of suspicious positive reviews for a game that had barely been out long enough for people to have hit the start button.

            Hell, the game’s PSN store rating was 5 stars before it even RELEASED.

  • Ah gamers why spend your time using a review system for the purposes of reviewing the actual game, when you can just hijack it and act like little revolutionaries, waving a red flag, acting like you are trying to save the world. Then again, not sure what is worse people who waste their time doing this or people who actually use such flawed reviews sources to actually make an informed decision.

    • I agree basing decisions on the “omg bad game because the developer said something stupid” or such style review bombing is just foolish… But any platform with review tracking, especially that you can look at by date, is incredibly valuable regardless of what you think of individual consumer reviews.

      Really is just a damn good indicator you should at the very least look into the current situation if reviews have dropped recently compared to the all time rating.

      It raises an immediate warning flag that alerts you to SOMETHING going on, and you can then decide for yourself to ignore if it’s just nonsense you don’t agree with.

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