The Lord of the Rings: Gollum is an absolute mess. We were promised the opportunity to play through an epic adventure as everyone’s favourite ex-hobbit. However, the game does not deliver. Here is why it failed so miserably.
The Lord of the Rings: Gollum’s Story is… Passable…
To start off a bit more positively, the narrative is probably one of the better features of The Lord of the Rings: Gollum. The trip into the psyche of one of Tolkein’s most fascinating characters is undoubtedly intriguing. Seeing the war between Smeagol and Gollum unfold, as he repeatedly attempts to escape an Orc prison, is pretty captivating early on! This is especially because you get the opportunity to decide which personality wins out when significant choices are to be made in the story.
The dialogue for Smeagol and Gollum, as well as some of the other main characters, is written pretty well. Unfortunately, the rest of the narrative is honestly quite dull. Way too much of the game is spent in the Orc prison. A lot of this time spent in there feels like you are just carrying out menial tasks. This caused the narrative to drop off, and it took much too long for it to pick up again.
The Biggest Let Down in Gollum
The gameplay is the real downfall of the title. Gollum’s movements are very inconsistent. You can never truly know when moving from one platform to the next if you will actually make it. Almost every jump feels like a leap of faith. This is especially noticeable when you must reach a platform that is behind you whilst climbing. The amount of times that you will miss a platform or Gollum will straight up jump out into the abyss instead of to the intended direction is rage inducing. Though some of the world may be interesting to explore, it quickly becomes undesirable because of just how clunky these basic controls are.
Admittedly, some of the puzzles that you will encounter are slightly amusing. But again, you have to get through tireless hours of awkward platforming to get to them. So, it’s just not worth it. I can appreciate the fact that the developers were attempting to do something unique with The Lord of the Rings: Gollum, but it just doesn’t play very well. Most of my playthrough gave me the same thrill as the ‘follow the target’ missions from Assassin’s Creed II… So yeah, not great.
The Mediocre Visuals in The Lord of the Rings: Gollum
Unfortunately, the game’s character designs and visuals is another place where it really suffers. Gollum’s design in particular looks like a far cry from what we’ve seen so far. I understand that the devs wanted to separate this game from the movie a little, but it did a big disservice to the character in the process. Not many of the other character models look particularly appealing either. This is disappointing as there are moments in the game where it looks like a bit of an eyesore.
Whilst talking about the characters, I want to make quick mention of the voice acting. Whilst I really enjoyed the voices for both Gollum and Smeagol, I can’t help but feel like the former sounds a bit too much like XLR8 from Ben 10. On a more positive note, I must say, I do quite like the overall aesthetics of the landscapes. Whether it be the gritty look of the dungeons or the dark mysterious caves, the design of the world itself is not too shabby.
The Lord of the Rings: Gollum struggles to make an impact in Tolkien’s beloved universe and stands as an outsider when compared to the franchise’s other games. There might be some interesting ideas here, but at the end of the day, I still have this burning question sitting on my mind. Who asked for a Lord of the Rings game exclusively focused on Gollum? The gameplay is not fun, and whilst parts of the narrative are interesting, it all falls apart very quickly.
By Samuel Incze – Reviewed on PC
The Lord of the Rings: Gollum is an absolute mess. Gollum’s movements are very inconsistent. Almost every jump feels like a leap of faith. Although some of the world may be interesting to explore, it quickly becomes undesirable because of just how clunky these basic controls are. The Lord of the Rings: Gollum struggles to make an impact in Tolkien’s beloved universe and stands as an outsider when compared to the franchise’s other games. There might be some interesting ideas here, but it is not fun! Whilst parts of the narrative are interesting, it all falls apart very quickly.
This game was reviewed using a download code provided by Daedalic Entertainment and Nacon. The Beta Network uses affiliate partnerships, however, this does not influence reviews or any other content published. The Beta Network may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links that are on the website.
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