Eurogamer stirs up some Darkfall drama

The number one rule game critics need to follow when reviewing a game is very simple – play the game. No matter how bad it is or how painful it might be you have to suck it up and suffer through and play on. However it appears that has forgotten that golden rule. In a recent review Eurogamer gave the MMORPG Darkfall what apparently is the worst Eurogamer score in its history, a 2/10.

On the surface this would be just another bad review of a bad game, but Adventurine, developer of Darkfall, was shocked at the low score and noticed many errors about the game in the review. From that, they took a peek into their server logs and found some interesting things. It appears that Eurogamer barely played the game according to Adventurine. From the logs they determined that of the two accounts provided to Eurogamer logged a total of 2 hours spread out over 13 sessions all of which were dominated by character creation. Time shouldn’t have been an issue as Adventurine was approached by Eurogamer over a month ago about getting accounts to review the game and a month is ample amount of time to review an MMO.

Tasos Flambouras, a Darkfall developer comments: “The reviewer hadn’t even figured out the very basics of the game before he wrote about it. We checked the logs for the 2 accounts we gave Eurogamer and we found that one of them had around 3 minutes playtime, and the other had less than 2 hours spread out in 13 sessions. Most of these 2 hours were spent in the character creator since during almost every one of the logins the reviewer spent the time creating a new character. The rest of the time was apparently spent taking the low-res screenshots that accompanied the article. At no point did this reviewer spend more than a few minutes online at a time.”

Despite those claims and being sent the logs, Eurogamer has left the post up and denies the allegations. They’re claiming that they spent 9 hours playing Darkfall and are sticking to that assertion.

From a response sent back to Adventurine: “Eurogamer got back to us via their editor and said that their reviewer is a contributing writer rather than a staff writer, that he claims to have spent at least 9 hours playing the game and they will stand by their publication. We wrote back that this is a lie and that our server logs(which they already have) show the playtime down to the second and they are at their disposal. They offered to re-review the game and see if the second reviewer has a different opinion than the first one. We wrote back that it might be hard to find someone to confirm the first review, especially if they actually play the game.”

The drama doesn’t end there, Eurogamer came back with allegations suggest that Adventurine had fabricated the logs. However, Adventurine is not phased and has offered to have Eurogamer come out and see the logs on the servers for themselves.

Tasos Flambouras comments again: “We stand by our logs and we’re willing to prove our claims. Eurogamer can send one of their technicians here, we will be happy to cover this expense, and he can examine our procedures and our logs himself and he will be satisfied that our logs are accurate. That, or they can do what they’re doing at the moment: believe their reviewer blindly and keep an unfounded and damaging review of our game public on a few minutes of actual play-time.”

Who knows who’s telling the truth here, however the confidence level of Adventurine and its log files combined with the glaring errors in the review itself certainly doesn’t paint a good picture for Eurogamer. What ever the outcome of this drama may be, we’ll be here to cover it.