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Early Alone in the Dark reviews upset Atari

Early Alone in the Dark reviews upset Atari

Atari has threatened legal action against several review sites it claim have based opinions on pirated code.

Atari has been kicking up a fuss and getting all different kinds of upset lately in response to some rather negative reviews that have appeared for Alone in the Dark, but it may not just be the fact that the review are so sour that bothers the publisher. Atari is claiming that several sites may have reviewed the game based on pirated versions.

According to gaming blog Kotaku readers tipped the site off earlier this week that a pirate version of Alone in the Dark for the Xbox 360 (piracy on a console?! - Ed) was available on many torrent sites. Shortly afterwards the first reviews for the game started appearing online. Atari was immediately suspicious as review copies of the game have been closely guarded and handed out only to specific sites (we didn't get one, no).

GameReactor in Scandinavia was one of the first sites to put a review up, panning the much anticipated title with a 3/10, but Atari were quick to respond and said that press copies had only been sent out 24 hours earlier, so it wasn't possible that the site had had chance to play the game and write the review properly. The review was promptly pulled down as a result of these alleged shady dealings, but later reposted with the same score.

There is some confusion here though as there were other major European sites which had reviews go live this week and gave higher ranking scores, yet appear to remain unmolested - Eurogamer for example published their review on Wednesday, scoring it as a 7/10 game.

4Players' Jörg Luibl, who scored the game as 68 percent, is also being threatened with legal action from Atari as the publisher has no idea how the site got hold of a copy that early and suspects foul play. Luibl is claiming that while the site did not get a copy through Atari, neither did they use the pirated version. Instead 4Players claims it got hold of a copy through a 'trusted dealer' - i.e. someone working in a local GameStation who handed them a copy of the game before it launched.

Other sites are now also coming forward and claiming that they too have been threatened with legal action by Atari.

As Kotaku astutely points out, it does seem weird that Atari would be so worried of sites reviewing a game which may be based on a pirated version, unless they know that the pirated version is based on incomplete code. If that is the case then it seems strange not to call the sites out by citing an example of how the pirated versions are broken. Maybe Atari is just looking to drown out negative reviews?

Have you played Alone in the Dark yet? What did you think of it? Let us know in the forums.

28 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
Paradigm Shifter 20th June 2008, 10:48 Quote
So the new reason for a game being crap will be "you were testing pirated code"?

Yeesh.
Tris 20th June 2008, 11:03 Quote
seems rather a pointless endeavour if they are trying to get rid of negative reviews - i mean, how many games really make it big based solely on reviews? A good review in a few places may be good for initial sales, but when bloke A who bought it on release plays it for a few hours, turns to Blokes B C and D and tells them its shite, sales arent gonna continue to be high.
LeMaltor 20th June 2008, 11:59 Quote
Is the legal version still crap?
Jokkocze 20th June 2008, 12:14 Quote
I've heard that the pirated version is really, really filled with bugs, but then again, that's only rumors. Bugs can probably lower the % that a game gets when reviewed...
Timmy_the_tortoise 20th June 2008, 13:12 Quote
What do you mean "Piracy on a console???" Piracy on consoles has been rife since the release of the PSX in '95.. You chipped your playstation, you could get brand new games for £5.. Then again with the PS2.. and with the original Xbox you could download games, burn them to disk, and run them if you installed the right software on the Xbox beforehand.. Heck, if you installed the right alternative operating system you could rent a brand new game for £3 and install it to the hard drive to keep.

Even GTA IV was released to torrent sites before it was released.
adamc 20th June 2008, 13:15 Quote
Well the game is out now, and when publishers don't release review copies early that usually means they know the game is not up to scratch.
Veles 20th June 2008, 13:27 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tris
seems rather a pointless endeavour if they are trying to get rid of negative reviews - i mean, how many games really make it big based solely on reviews? A good review in a few places may be good for initial sales, but when bloke A who bought it on release plays it for a few hours, turns to Blokes B C and D and tells them its shite, sales arent gonna continue to be high.

Umm, you haven't met the average gamer obviously, the one who goes into nerd rage because Twilight Princess only got 6.8 or whatever, they people who never buy a game if it scores below 8 on IGN.

I've played the first portion of the game and have just got into central park, I struggle to see how this game would score under 7.
CardJoe 20th June 2008, 13:32 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Timmy_the_tortoise
What do you mean "Piracy on a console???" Piracy on consoles has been rife since the release of the PSX in '95.. You chipped your playstation, you could get brand new games for £5.. Then again with the PS2.. and with the original Xbox you could download games, burn them to disk, and run them if you installed the right software on the Xbox beforehand.. Heck, if you installed the right alternative operating system you could rent a brand new game for £3 and install it to the hard drive to keep.

Even GTA IV was released to torrent sites before it was released.

Sigh, I was being sarcastic. ;)
impar 20th June 2008, 14:06 Quote
Greetings!

Another DRM infection. This time with a twist:
To install the game on a different computer, players must revoke the serial number when uninstalling from the first machine (this is an automatic option during the uninstall process).

So, next time you format to reinstall the OS, dont forget to uninstall all the DRM games that have this option before the format.
Makes a lot of sense...

PS: That would mean that you only get an installation credit???
liratheal 20th June 2008, 14:44 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by LeMaltor
Is the legal version still crap?

As far as I can tell, yeah, it's still pretty 'eh'.

Definitely not worth the money I parted with for it.

Better than a 3/10, but not going to make the replay list..
DougEdey 20th June 2008, 14:46 Quote
OK, I agree with what is said about the controls, 3rd person feels reallllly sluggish and movement in fights is a bitch
[USRF]Obiwan 20th June 2008, 15:37 Quote
there you have it.. a 3rd person first person shooter. That aint working. Thats the way you do it on your mtv...
freedom810 20th June 2008, 15:39 Quote
I feel really bad for atari :( they need a new franchise to get back up there.
themax 20th June 2008, 15:55 Quote
I've read that the reviews aren't too bad for Alone in the Dark. It's 1 or 3 low scores (3/10, 4/10). Eurogamer has it at 7/10 I believe. So take those scores with a grain of salt if you will. Let's give this more time before we go into a frenzy against another oppressive Publisher fighting against bad reviews =P.
mikeuk2004 20th June 2008, 20:33 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Timmy_the_tortoise
What do you mean "Piracy on a console???" Piracy on consoles has been rife since the release of the PSX in '95.. Y.

Even earlier than that mate, there was alot of piracy with the snes by using a special floppy drive and running the cart games off floppys. a friend of mine had one when I was at school and had every snes game released at that time.
Quote:
Originally Posted by CardJoe
Sigh, I was being sarcastic. ;)

I knew that :) but still there are some that dont lol
DougEdey 20th June 2008, 20:35 Quote
Don't you guys remember tapes?
mikeuk2004 20th June 2008, 21:25 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DougEdey
Don't you guys remember tapes?

which console had a tape drive?
CardJoe 20th June 2008, 22:23 Quote
One of the Ataris. And some old thing we had when I was a kid and which we used to play Bobsleigh on. And a game called Punch and Judy.

What was the question?
LordPyrinc 21st June 2008, 01:02 Quote
This reminds me a bit of the whole Iron Lore issue about the pirated versions of Titan Quest being critiqued on forums before the game was officially released. I forget the article on Bit Tech specific about it, but the gist of it was that the company got a lot of bad rep for bugs that were really in place to prevent a pirated version of the game from running properly. I wonder if this is a similar issue here?

I think Atari is well within their rights to take legal action against reviewers that obtained the game through other channels regardless of what their rating ended up being. Unfortunately, the lawyers as usual will end up being the only true winners with the money they will rake in from both the winners and the losers of the lawsuits.
Mr T 21st June 2008, 11:06 Quote
Would their stance be different if the sites rated it 9/10? I'm sure it would.
Veles 21st June 2008, 11:38 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeuk2004
which console had a tape drive?

The C64 had a tape drive
SaNdCrAwLeR 21st June 2008, 20:19 Quote
"According to gaming blog Kotaku readers tipped the site off earlier this week that a pirate version of Alone in the Dark for the Xbox 360 (piracy on a console?! - Ed) "

you didnt know? there's far more console pirates out there than you'd believe, PC piracy can be accounted to arround only 60% of pirated games :P and whilst some pc pirates actually do buy the games afterwards, console ones don't give a damn about it and just burn away
DougEdey 21st June 2008, 21:13 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by SaNdCrAwLeR
"According to gaming blog Kotaku readers tipped the site off earlier this week that a pirate version of Alone in the Dark for the Xbox 360 (piracy on a console?! - Ed) "

you didnt know? there's far more console pirates out there than you'd believe, PC piracy can be accounted to arround only 60% of pirated games :P and whilst some pc pirates actually do buy the games afterwards, console ones don't give a damn about it and just burn away

It's called "tongue in cheek humour" basically because there's been a huge move towards having console exclusive releases before games are released on PC they reckon it's more secure.
CardJoe 22nd June 2008, 02:15 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by SaNdCrAwLeR
"According to gaming blog Kotaku readers tipped the site off earlier this week that a pirate version of Alone in the Dark for the Xbox 360 (piracy on a console?! - Ed) "

you didnt know? there's far more console pirates out there than you'd believe, PC piracy can be accounted to arround only 60% of pirated games :P and whilst some pc pirates actually do buy the games afterwards, console ones don't give a damn about it and just burn away

rollo 22nd June 2008, 21:56 Quote
people pirating console games dont burn themselfs. They buy from markets and stuff like that
dire_wolf 22nd June 2008, 23:33 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by rollo
people pirating console games dont burn themselfs. They buy from markets and stuff like that

Well, not all people but I suppose most kids who's dad got their console chipped by 'a guy at work' would do
DougEdey 23rd June 2008, 00:17 Quote
I don't burn myself, I find it hurts, does that make me a pirate?
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