Sonic Mania is the Latest Victim of Steam User Review-Bombing [UPDATE]

The PC version of Sonic Mania launches to a controversial response thanks to unexpected DRM inclusion.

UPDATE: Sega has patched “the offline play bug” that was affecting the PC version of Sonic Mania, disabling the ability to play the game offline.

Taking to Facebook, Sega explained there was a problem within the game code that was preventing people from playing offline, denying it had anything to do with the game’s DRM implementation. It specifically said the following:

“We’ve looked into the DRM complaints and can confirm this was not the cause of the problem. We apologize for any inconvenience any of the bugs may have caused players of the PC version at launch and would like to reassure them again, that as with this particular bug, we are on the case and working on fixes so everyone can have an uninterrupted and enjoyable experience playing Sonic Mania both online and offline.”

Additionally, Sega has also now added a Denuvo warning to the game’s Steam page.

Original Story: Steam review-bombing is becoming a more and more common tool deployed by Steam users to show and voice their discontent. For those unfamiliar with the practice, it’s quite simple: large groups of Steam users all at once give bad reviews for a game, often amidst a controversial decision made by said game’s developer or publisher. In turn, this lowers the game’s average review score on Steam. What effect this actually has is unknown.

However, no developer or publisher wants to be in the headlines for vexing a small or even substantial piece of its fanbase. And so the tactic has worked successfully in the past.

Recent games to be the target of review-bombing include Grand Theft Auto V and NieR: Automata. And now you can add Sega’s newly-released Sonic Mania to that list.

As you may know, while Sonic Mania hit consoles two weeks ago, but didn’t arrive on PC until yesterday. And it was yesterday that Steam users discovered the game contained the ever-so controversial DRM, Denuvo, despite there being no indication of such inclusion anywhere on its Steam page.

For those that don’t know: Denuvo is long-standing controversial inclusion in PC games. Its critics accuse the anti-piracy tool of affecting game performance and for disabling offline play.

As Steam users point out, Denuvo makes Sonic Mania an always-online game, much to the anger of fans who were hoping to play it offline.

Since the review-bombing started, Sega has issued the following official statement:

“Like you, we’ve noticed an error in the Steam store not mentioning the DRM for Sonic Mania.

We’re fixing that now.

Sonic Mania is intended to be played offline and we’re investigating reports on that.

We’re also investigating other issues like controller support, these are all PC specific things that Christian and the team have been working on these last few weeks.

Please bare with us while we collate and investigate problems that are being brought to our attention.”

Currently, despite the ongoing review-bombing, Sonic Mania sits at a “Mostly Positive” User Review Rating, with 72% of 1,607 users reviewing the game positively: a testament to the quality of the title, which has been received quite well among both critics  and fans.

Sonic Mania, which is notably the highest rated Sonic game in the last 20 years, is currently available for $19.99 USD on PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC.

Tyler Fischer

Tyler Fischer is the Assignments Editor and News Editor at DualShockers. He specializes in writing breaking news, managing assignments, and organization. Born and raised in New York, Tyler studies journalism and public relations at SUNY New Paltz. In his free time he enjoys playing and watching soccer, getting lost in game lore, and writing comedy scripts.

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