The Lord of the Rings: Gollum is a traversal puzzle game developed by Daedalic Entertainment and published by Nacon. The game takes us to the perilous outskirts of Mordor known as Cirith Ungol, and it’s currently overrun by menacing Orcs. Set six decades after Bilbo Baggins cleverly acquired the Ring, our tormented protagonist Sméagol, known as Gollum, yearns to reclaim his cherished possession. You’ll embark on a quest to recover your precious from Bilbo’s clutches and navigate intricate prison escapes, all the while skillfully evading the relentless wrath of Sauron.
While the story concept appears promising, the execution falls short, resulting in a rather chaotic experience. As someone with limited knowledge of the Lord of the Rings series, the initial introduction felt like a captivating crash course that held my attention. Unfortunately, the pacing of the game is severely lacking, and the anticipated “big” story moments turned out to be underwhelming. On a positive note, I did find some enjoyment in the dialogues where Smeagol and Gollum engaged in heated arguments, striving to influence each other towards a critical decision. Regrettably, even this aspect becomes repetitive and loses its allure after a 12-hour playthrough.
The visual presentation of the game leaves much MUCH to be desired. The character models are outdated, resembling stale assets reminiscent of games from a decade ago. The locations lack the visual charm and allure that one would expect, with poor level design being a significant drawback. Too much time is actually spent in jail throughout the game, which is disappointing since these environments feel unremarkable and uninspired. One can’t help but wonder if this lackluster visual quality was unintentional, giving the impression that the developers spent most of their budget towards acquiring the IP, leaving limited resources for the visual department.
The gameplay is atrocious and unengaging to say the least. Throughout the majority of your playthrough, you’ll find yourself engaged in activities such as crouching, jumping, hiding, and interacting with items and AI, which quickly becomes tedious. Traversing the game world can be frustrating, as the controls often feel unreliable. Instances of being frozen after crouching and ignored inputs leading to numerous deaths were frequent in my experience. Furthermore, the game crashed during a cutscene resulting in a corrupted save file, forcing me to start anew. In short, the gameplay offers no sense of fulfillment or reward.
The Lord of the Rings: Gollum is quite possibly the worst game I’ve played in 2023 so far. Even with upcoming patches to fix bugs and glitches, at its core, the game is still disappointing. The story lacks depth and fails to captivate, while the gameplay fails to spark interest. Additionally, the optimization and the visuals are underwhelming and feel incomplete. Even if you’re a hardcore fan of Lord of the Rings, I would recommend avoiding this game like the plague.
The Lord of the Rings: Gollum is available now on PC, PlayStation 4 and 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S for $59.99 and scheduled to come to Nintendo Switch later this year.
Watch the Review in 3 Minutes for The Lord of the Rings: Gollum.