WASHINGTON — Russians enraged by a new video game's depiction of the Soviet Red Army in World War II have mobilized online to protest, the video game website Polygon reported.
"Company of Heroes 2" received mostly strong reviews from critics upon its release in June, earning a score of 80 percent on the entertainment ratings aggregator website Metacritic.
But after a caustic review on the Russian website carambatv.ru went viral, a surge of negative reviews has driven user ratings down to a miserable 1.8 at the time of writing. Simultaneously, thousands have signed an online petition to ban sales of the game in the former Soviet republics making up the Commonwealth of Independent States.
Russian outrage is fueled by the game's focus on Red Army cruelty, Polygon reported, "including tactics like sending soldiers into battle without weapons and mass shootings of retreating soldiers."
The game's maker, Vancouver-based Relic, argues that "Company of Heroes 2" offers a balanced historical portrayal, while game director Quinn Duffy told Polygon that the game was inspired by the writings of Vasily Grossman, a war correspondent and acclaimed Soviet novelist.
Russian critics, however, are not convinced. One recent review posted to Metacritic read: "Thank you. Hitler would have played this game with pleasure."