Yeah! WOOOOOOO! Game journalists, take a stand! Woo! We got him! We got the guy and we'll never have to–
Oh, I didn't notice you there. We were just celebrating the removal of that evil, vile serpent of a press rep, Jim Redner! You know the guy who was threatening to pass over reviewers who had fun writing their Duke Nukem Forever review? Yup! 2K dropped him and we've won a battle in the great reviewer-representative war!
OK, look, I'm going to clarify upfront. This kind of stuff happens all of the time. GameRevolution's been passed over on more than one occasion. We've written things that upset publishers and developers. This situation will repeat itself over and over again until the universe implodes and we're nothing but space-dust circling a red dwarf. Still, it doesn't happen so publicly, and press reps don't get let go so publicly either.
WIRED has given Jim Redner a soapbox to stand on and talk about his feelings post-Forevergate. (Forevergate copyright by GameRevolution. If you want to use that term, you've got to link to GR in the same breath.)
It was a brain fat of epic proportions that registered on the social media Richter scale. I read the review. It was a scathing diatribe masked as a review. Hate is a strong word, but I believe after reading his review it is fair to say that the reviewer hated the game.
Publishers are under no obligation to send out copies of their game for review. They reserve the right to pick and choose who they want to send their game too, just like writers have the right to publish a review in any manner they choose. It's call selection. It's a choice. Hopefully all PR professionals make their selections based on any past dealings. I personally have sent first person shooter games to one editor knowing that he likes FPS games, but then not sent him a copy of a game based on our national pastim because I know he finds baseball boring. That's not blacklisting. It's a selection process.
They call it public relations [I do meant that, JunYard!] because that's exactly what it is. Having a good relationship with a representative, an agent, means that as a journalist, you'll get that review copy, you'll get that scoop, you'll get that interview scheduled.
As far as reviews are concerned, I'll say this: Bad games aren't fun to play, but writing those reviews can be fun. The best press reps will say "yeah this game sucks." They'll own up to it, silently, away from the people signing their paychecks. Bad games are hard to disguise and easy to review. As much fun as it is to write a hard-edged review, there are consequences to everything. Honestly, the only difference here is that consequences were voiced publicly and they blew up in Jim Redner's face.