The Lord of the Rings: Gollum is a game that promises to let you experience the dark and twisted world of Middle Earth through the eyes of one of its most iconic characters. However, instead of delivering a compelling and immersive adventure, it offers a dull and frustrating experience that fails to do justice to the source material or the genre.
The game is set between the events of The Hobbit and The Fellowship of the Ring, and follows Gollum’s quest to reclaim the One Ring from Bilbo Baggins. Along the way, he encounters various enemies and allies, such as orcs, spiders, elves, dwarves and even Gandalf. The game also explores Gollum’s inner conflict between his original hobbit personality, Sméagol, and his corrupted alter ego, Gollum.
The game’s premise sounds intriguing, but its execution leaves much to be desired. The game is divided into 12 chapters, each consisting of three main phases: chores, platforming and stealth. None of these phases are particularly fun or engaging, and they often feel repetitive and tedious.
The chores phase involves completing some menial tasks for other characters, such as collecting items, sabotaging machinery or delivering messages. These tasks are usually boring and have little impact on the story or the gameplay. They also force you to traverse the same areas over and over again, which quickly becomes monotonous.
The platforming phase involves jumping, climbing and running across various environments, such as caves, forests and fortresses. While this phase has some potential for excitement and exploration, it is hampered by poor controls, imprecise movement and frequent glitches. Gollum feels floaty and unresponsive, and often fails to grab ledges or land on platforms. The camera is also erratic and often obscures your view or gets stuck on objects. The platforming phase is more frustrating than fun.
The stealth phase involves sneaking past or distracting enemies, such as orcs, trolls and Nazgûl. This phase is slightly more interesting than the others, as it requires some strategy and timing to avoid detection. However, it is also plagued by problems, such as inconsistent enemy AI, unreliable stealth mechanics and limited options. Gollum can only use rocks or mushrooms to distract enemies, which are often scarce or ineffective. He can also use his special abilities to turn invisible or sense enemies’ locations, but these abilities have long cooldowns and are not very useful. The stealth phase is more tedious than thrilling.
The game also features a morality system that lets you choose between Sméagol’s or Gollum’s responses in certain situations. These choices affect your relationship with other characters and your appearance, but they have little impact on the gameplay or the story. The morality system feels superficial and underdeveloped.
The game’s story is also disappointing, as it does not offer anything new or interesting to fans of The Lord of the Rings. The game mostly rehashes familiar events and characters from the books and movies, without adding any depth or nuance to them. The game also fails to capture the tone and atmosphere of Middle Earth, as it lacks the charm, humor and epicness that made the original works so captivating. The game’s story is bland and forgettable.
The game’s graphics are also subpar for a current-gen title. The game looks dated and dull, with low-resolution textures, bland colors and poor lighting. The character models are also unappealing and poorly animated, especially Gollum himself. The game’s sound design is also mediocre, with generic music, uninspired sound effects and uneven voice acting. The game’s presentation is lackluster and unpolished.
The game’s performance is also unacceptable for a PS5 game. The game suffers from frequent crashes, freezes and bugs that ruin the gameplay experience. Some of these issues are minor annoyances, such as clipping through walls or getting stuck on objects. Others are major problems that prevent you from progressing or completing the game. For example, I encountered a bug that made me unable to interact with anything in the environment after loading a checkpoint. This bug forced me to restart the entire chapter several times before I could continue playing.
The Lord of the Rings: Gollum is a game that should have been great but turned out to be terrible. It fails to deliver on its promise of letting you play as one of the most fascinating characters in fantasy literature. Instead, it offers a boring and buggy experience that does not respect the source material or the genre. It is a game that deserves to be thrown into Mount Doom.
What other reviewers say
Many other reviewers have expressed their disappointment and frustration with this game. Here are some quotes from other reviews:
- “Lord of the Rings: Gollum is an unwelcome throwback to the days when licensed games were synonymous with low quality.” – Tom’s Guide
- “Playing as Gollum sounded like it might’ve been a decent pitch for a game…but it thrusts you into the role of the titular character without doing anything meaningful with his defining internal conflict.” – IGN
- “We had planned to post a review for…The Lord of the Rings: Gollum today…but we can’t do that in good faith at this moment…the PS5 version we tested was too broken to fairly critique.” – VentureBeat
- “Gollum is so bad…developer Daedalic has issued an apology for…promises to fix what they can.” – Forbes
These quotes show that Gollum game has failed to impress critics across different platforms and outlets. The game has received a dismal score of 36 on Metacritic, making it one of the worst-reviewed games in 2023.