Artifact is slowly kicking off with rather positive reviews from critics, but they are offset by enraged players who are review bombing the game on both Metacritic and Steam. Most of these complaints are about Valve's monetisation approach.
Valve gained some infamy with Artifact's monetization model even before the game was released, but now it seems like they have a full-blown rebellion on their hands. While reviewers are praising Artifact's depth and polish, players are coming down hard due to having to pay an entry fee of $20 / €17,95 / £15.99 and then purchase cards as well as loot boxes on top of that, in order to be competitive.
As far as Artifact's grades go so far, Destructoid gave it a high 85/100, praising Valve for balancing the game well and distancing it enough from Dota 2 universe to provide newcomers a seamless experience, without the need of knowledge of the universe the game is based on.
Meanwhile, PCGamesN gave Artifact a score of 80/100, stating that the tactics and design are the game's strong points, while the monetisation model makes Artifact's future uncertain. This sentiment resonates with many players it seems, as they keep giving Artifact low scores for that exact reason.
It's not hard to see where these strong feelings come from either, as most of the zero scores on Metacritic are accompanied by complaints of having to pay for the game, and then pay for additional cards, effectively making it a pay-to-win title.
Granted, when we covered the issues Valve had with Artifact's monetisation earlier, their proposed solution didn't really bring much to the table, as players are still largely forced into microtransactions if they want to remain competitive.
Even when not gambling via loot boxes, players are not exactly faced with decent prices on the Steam Market, as the most popular card, Axe, stood at $16,23 / €14,26 / £12.70 at the time of writing and is likely to go up further. Then again, these practices are in the nature of TCGs and it's unlikely Valve will change the monetisation too much.
Speaking of Steam, players are throwing "Not Recommended" reviews around as if they were baseballs. Once again, the most pressing issue is the unforgiving model that forces players to pay in order to do pretty much anything.