Last week’s update to the Steam User Reviews feature has boosted some titles’ review scores because reviews for refunded games don’t count towards the overall score now. This change wasn’t highlighted in the changelog released on March 9, but it can be easily confirmed, as any game reviewed and then refunded will now show up as a “Key” purchase (Steam key purchases don’t count toward the overall review score shown on store pages)
This change may or may not have been intentional, and we can see at least one reason for its existence. Games that launched with crippling technical issues but were subsequently patched may have suffered from overly negative reviews that don’t accurately represent the titles after the developers fixed the problems, so nullifying reviews from users who refunded the games will probably help on this front. Sadly, this change will also help titles that are genuinely bad or that were never patched. Hopefully Valve will monitor the situation closely and intervene if it’s necessary.