Evidence for companies paying off reviewers please. Assumptions don't count.
Gamespot fired a guy one for giving Kane and Lynch 2 a bad review. While there's no real proof showing that they pay reviewers directly, ad space and the like is all typically bought by game publishers, and they don't take kindly to being stabbed in the back in return (via a bad review of the game they're advertising)
On March 15, 2012, it was announced that CBS Interactive, the parent company of Gamespot operator CNET, had acquired the Giant Bomb and Comic Vine websites from Whiskey Media. As part of the deal, the non-disparagement agreement between Gerstmann and CNET was nullified, allowing him to finally speak publicly about his termination over four years prior. Later that evening on GameSpot's On the Spot web show, GameSpot VP John Davison appeared on camera with Gerstmann, marking Gerstmann's first appearance on the GameSpot web site since November 2007. In the segment, Gerstmann revealed that his firing was in fact related to the low review score he had given to Kane & Lynch, though his explanation cited other similar events that led up to the termination, including a 7.5 (good) rating given to Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction by Aaron Thomas, then an employee under Gerstmann. Events such as these led to him being "called into a room" several times to discuss reviews posted on the site. Gerstmann went on to lay the blame on a new management team that was unable to properly handle tension between the marketing and editorial staff, laying additional blame on the marketing department, which he claimed was unprepared in how to handle publisher complaints and threats to withdraw advertising money over low review scores.
During the show, Gerstmann claimed he ran into a few members of [Kane & Lynch] developer IO Interactive at a convention a few months after his firing. He claims one of the people he ran into said, "Yeah, Kane & Lynch wasn't a very good game." Gerstmann responded, "You should totally call up my old bosses and tell them that."
The wind carried screams from the west. I could not help but smile - Kain PSN : Stealth_Cobra | MGO ID : Killed by Konami's Greed