Updated: May 26
The Gollum Game Review Round-Up isn't pretty to look at.
The Lord of the Rings: Gollum, developed by Daedalic Entertainment, has hit the gaming market with a profound thud, turning high anticipation into widespread disappointment. From its incohesive story to underwhelming gameplay, Gollum does not seem to have done justice to the much-loved J.R.R. Tolkien universe.
When first announced, Gollum drew mixed reactions. The concept of a game centered around the notably non-heroic character Gollum, beautifully portrayed by Andy Serkis in Peter Jackson's film adaptations, was undeniably intriguing. However, the decision by Daedalic and publisher Nacon to charge upwards of $60 for a game built around this ancillary character was met with skepticism, a skepticism that now appears to have been justified.
Sadly, Gollum's execution has been lackluster, with gameplay primarily focused on platforming and stealth. Yet, the latter seems more of a burden than an immersive experience, as being detected by guards results in an instant game over, breaking the flow and increasing frustration levels. Furthermore, Gollum’s graphical quality doesn’t measure up to the standards promised by the promotional images, causing a jarring disconnect between expectations and reality.
From a narrative perspective, the game offers little to Tolkien's lore. Gollum, an iconic character with an incredibly layered psyche, is merely a shadow of his literary counterpart. The dialogue is disappointingly shallow and uninspiring. To add insult to injury, the user interface fonts seem oddly reminiscent of standard Microsoft Office fonts.
The repercussions of these flaws are starkly reflected in the game's shockingly low Metacritic score. The PlayStation 5 version holds a pitiful 40 (up from 38 earlier today... yay?), while the PC version barely outdoes it with a score of 43.
Several reputable review outlets have also voiced their criticisms. The Guardian condemned the game as a "derivative, uninteresting and fundamentally broken stealth action adventure," while Inverse cited the game's rampant technical issues and lackluster story as major deterrents for any potential players.
Gamespot bestowed a dismal score of 2 out of 10 on The Lord of the Rings: Gollum. The site's reviewers found the game to be profoundly disappointing, citing an array of issues from underwhelming graphics and frustrating gameplay mechanics to a narrative that failed to engage or enrich the Tolkien universe. Their low rating underscores the general consensus among critics, expressing disappointment in a game that had so much potential but ultimately fell short.
DigitalTrends went a step further, hysterically refraining from even scoring the game altogether. In an unprecedented move, the site stated that the pre-launch day version of Gollum was so dysfunctional that it would be unjust to publish a scored review.
While there might be some hope that post-launch updates could salvage Gollum’s reputation, the damage has already been done. Undoubtedly, the development team must be disheartened by the negative reception, as no developer ever intends for their creation to be met with such criticism. Nevertheless, Gollum serves as a stark reminder of the pitfalls of failing to meet expectations, especially when dealing with an iconic franchise such as The Lord of the Rings.
The question remains... Are you morbidly curious enough to pick up this stinker to see just how bad it is? Even so... Wait for the clearance bin. It'll be there in a flash.