Update: OpenCritic has clarified how the reviews displayed on the Epic Games Store are selected. It's done through Epic's algorithm, which determines what to display based on "publication notoriety," the disparity between the outlet's score and the average, as well as a few other factors like swearing (they're "generally tossed out") and if the review mentions non-PC platforms.
That last bit is important, as one of the criticisms of these review systems is that PC ports aren't always the same quality as their console counterparts. A great PS4 game might not work as well on PC, but that wouldn't necessarily be clear if you're just browsing top reviews. Using only PC reviews should nip that in the bud.
One thing that tripped me up is that Epic doesn't actually display the aggregated score—the number is just based on how many outlets 'recommend' the game. In the case of Darksiders 3, for instance, only 36 percent of reviewers recommend it, but the top critic average is actually 69.
Original story: Reviews were one of the most notable omissions when the Epic Games Store launched last year. While Steam features both user and critic reviews, the latter provided by Metacritic, Epic customers have had to do their own research. This has finally changed, with many games now featuring OpenCritic (opens in new tab) reviews.
It's still not quite the same as Steam's review system, however. For one, there are still no user reviews, but that also means no review bombing or the other issues that Valve has had to contend with over the years. Stranger, however, is that the critic reviews are opt-in, so developers and publishers can choose not to display their aggregated score.
Thankfully, most of them—at least on the front page—have opted in. Of the top and trending games, only Surviving the Aftermath (opens in new tab), which is still in early access, and Paranoia: Happiness is Mandatory (opens in new tab) are absent reviews. Surviving the Aftermath doesn't have reviews yet, so that makes sense, but Paranoia does, and they're largely negative (opens in new tab). It's not a good look.
I've looked at some other games that have been less than well received, and thankfully it looks like a lot of them are still forthcoming. World War Z (opens in new tab), which has a score of 51, has that displayed on the page, and so does Darksiders 3 (opens in new tab), despite only netting 31.
It's worth noting, however, that unlike Steam, Epic also displays a selection of reviews to read, as well as the score, and in the case of Darksiders the trio of visible reviews are all positive and thus not representative of the critical reception. The low average score is still visible, but underneath that is a five star review, along with a 7/10 and 3.5 star review. It's odd.
I took a look at the OpenCritic page (opens in new tab) itself, in case it was just pulling the top reviews, but that doesn't seem to be the case. It displays four reviews, which includes a 4/10. Only one of those reviews is displayed on the store and, shocker, it's the most positive one. I've reached out to OpenCritic to find out if it's just pulled from the site without developer or publisher interference, or if they get to pick what reviews are displayed, and I'll update this article once I hear back.
This is absolutely a step in the right direction, and while I've been critical of the choice of reviews on the Darksiders 3 page, having actual reviews on the page rather than just a score is something I'm very much in favour of—but it could still be more transparent.