Hitman Arrives On GOG And Is Ruthlessly Review Bombed Over DRM Restrictions
Perhaps as an extension of its origins as a place to purchase older PC games that are no longer available, CD Projekt's GOG—formerly known as Good Old Games—has built a reputation on its history of selling games unencumbered with DRM. With that in mind, it comes as no real surprise that the site's users are in open revolt against its latest big-name release: Io Interactive's 2016 Hitman game, called, simply, "Hitman."
User reviews from English-speaking users on GOG for the Game of the Year Edition re-release have the game voted down to a pathetic 1.2 out of five stars with over 200 one-star reviews. That's a terrible score for a game that currently sits at an 83 on Metacritic, but it's not the game itself that users are enraged about, of course. Instead, it's the fact that this title retains its prior releases' controversial always-online DRM (Digital Rights Management).
In the strictest technical sense, of course, it's not really "DRM." After all, you can technically play the game offline. It's more like a demo, though. All progression in the game is tied to an online account with the game's developer; playing offline will lock you out of the majority of the game's content, including all of the customization and most of the tactical choice that the series is famed for.
For its part, GOG added a disclaimer to the store page for the game which notes, "Internet connection is required to access Escalation missions, Elusive Targets, or user-created Contracts. Story and bonus missions can be played offline." While that is all true, it sidesteps the issue of loadout and mission-start customization—arguably a critical component of the story experience in that game.
Indeed, given the always-online requirement for unlocks in the game, GOG's boilerplate "no activation or online connection required to play" claim reads a bit hollow. A representative for the site, "Chandra," posted in the forums' release thread for the game to remind users that if they have purchased Hitman and aren't satisfied, they can refund the title. Chandra also remarked that GOG "will not tolerate review bombing" and threatened to remove reviews that "do not follow [GOG's] review guidelines."