There’s been some buzz around the ‘net about Atari threatening legal action against several European sites that posted early reviews of the upcoming Alone In The Dark.

Atari is alleging that the reviews must have been made on preview or pirated copies of the game. Interestingly, these reviews are fairly negative, two sites weighing in with scores of 3/10 (ow) and one with a 68%.

Of course, any company would unhappy if a major release ended up with poor scores (ah, those numbers). However, calling “piracy” and suing or threatening to sue is going a bit far.

At least two of the sites claim their copies were legit: one received from Atari itself and the other said their AITD was purchased from a friendly retailer (who obviously broke the street date).

There is one other site known that has a review up: Eurogamer, who gave a score of 7/10. So far as anyone knows, Atari has not gone after them in any way. All these reviews, I should add, are for the Xbox 360 version.

I know the folks around here usually don’t pay much attention to game reviews on the ‘net. However, I’d say that if you were planning on buying Alone In The Dark for the Xbox (or maybe any other platform), you may want to wait awhile. At least until the first returns from the players.

As for Atari, this is not the first time by any means that a game company has tried to keep poor scores offline until after the launch. Over at the MTV game blog, Alex Navarro (former Gamespot reviewer) relates how he was asked by a PR flack not to post an early review unless it was 9.0 or better.

I’ll be keeping an eye on this situation, although I suspect it will blow over pretty soon. One way or another.

Atari Claims Piracy on early views on shacknews

Legal Mess Over Early Reviews on kotaku

Alex Navarro remark on mtv blog