The Lord of the Rings: Gollum Review
When Lord of the Rings: Gollum was first announced… I had thoughts. Number one was, who asked for this? But Number two was, this actually looks kinda neat, maybe it will surprise me. Shadow of Mordor and Shadow of War were decent games, perhaps this isn’t completely crazy. Well as the game officially came close to release and folks got there hands on the game (without the marketing spin), they were in fact surprised.
The Lord of the Rings: Gollum is an action-adventure game developed by Daedalic Entertainment, who also published the game with Nacon. The game, set in the fictional world of Middle-earth created by J. R. R. Tolkien, takes place in between the events of The Hobbit and The Fellowship of the Ring.
The player controls Gollum through a series of locations, such as Cirith Ungol, Barad-dûr, and Mirkwood, as he attempts to find Bilbo Baggins and retake the One Ring whilst battling himself and avoiding Sauron.
The game was initially supposed to launch in 2021 but was delayed until recently. Some gameplay footage leaked out and thus began the controversy around this game. Graphically it looks absolutely nothing like the marketing and trailers had led us to believe. We were in the end subjected to muddled colors, poor character modeling and honestly a rather bland story.
The game attempts to fill in story gaps around what Gollum was doing after the ring was taken from him. The story is told as Gandalf is interrogating Gollum on his adventure, which unfortunately has zero consequences on anything really.
We don’t encounter anything that adds to the cinema-graphic adventures we’ve already experienced and no other characters come in to play here. Honestly it sadly feels like one of those really poor early 2000’s licensed shovelware. Since Gollum as a character is constantly belittled, abused and at war with himself, gameplay suffers as well. Gollum is basically a hide and seek simulator.
He cannot fight with the very few exceptions where he can choke out enemies (if they aren’t wearing a helmet, because reasons) which takes a long time to accomplish. He mainly has to resort to hiding in the shadows and attempting to not be caught. Outside of that there are some lame platforming mechanics, wall running and climbing to get around. All of which if you mess up even slightly will resort in an instant death for Gollum.
A large portion of the game takes place in a dull and drab prison environment where Gollum is kept. Many of the missions there are simple fetch quests that again echo things in the PS3 era of gaming vs PS5.
Gollum’s character model is EXTREMELY goofy looking and poorly done. There is lots of textural issues in this game as well as his hair, I ran into lots of frame drops, pop-in, character glitches, you name it. A few times the game even completely crashed on me.
Sadly in a year where I have been fortunate enough to experience (and review) some REALLY good games, Gollum falls really flat and feels largely out of place in today’s gaming market.
Honestly, in this day and age, franchises like Harry Potter (film and novels) like Lord of the Rings, paid much more respect to the source material than the team being Gollum did on their game. Even if you are a massive LOTR fan, I would still say pass on this one. The marketing misled us all here.