I consider myself an average Lord of the rings Fan. From infatuation with the award-winning film trilogy – Extended Edition, thank you – to being reasonably tolerable The Hobbit And Rings of PowerI was amazed at the spectacle and scope of it all, at what artists could achieve with their vision in such a vast world and myth. And therefore The Lord of the Rings: Gollum disappointed me.
My enthusiasm for all LotR related media includes games like Battle for Middle-earth And Shadow of Mordor, to. When then gollum was announced, I was totally there. Finally, given that the title character is one of the most complex and contradictory in the novels and movies, I was interested to see how his misadventures would translate into video game form. Little did I know I was about to witness one of the craziest and most flawed releases in recent memory.
The campaign in The Lord of the Rings: Gollum begins with Smeagol being held captive by Thranduil and Gandalf. From there he tells his story, beginning with his wanderings through Mordor. This shows you a younger version of the character, complete with shaggy hair and still reeling from the loss of the One Ring. From there it’s time for a stealth adventure.
The pictures, at least at this point gollum, I noticed. There I stood on a cliff, staring up at a moonlit sky that illuminated the cliffs while lightning bolts periodically flickered to illuminate the area. I felt it set the tone for a darker adventure that lay ahead. Then I started moving and the illusion ended.
Gollum doesn’t move smoothly, at least not in the build I played for this review. His movements are restless and unnatural, parts sway in jerky irregularities. At first I thought it might be because the character walks on all fours and because Smeagol is basically short and lanky. He’s not even a normal-sized hobbit, let alone a normal-sized human.
But then I remembered stray, which I reviewed for our sister site PC Invasion. There, BlueTwelve Studio, another smaller studio like Gollum’s Daedalic Entertainment, perfected the cat’s movements and animations, creating a natural flow state that ran through the game from start to finish. Here it is surprising that Gollum behaves like a cat and has similar platforming elements strayperforms so incredibly poorly.
In The Lord of the Rings: Gollum, you will complete many platforms across numerous jump sections, chasms, cliffs and more. Much of this is similar in design to games like Uncharted and the current Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, where you go from point A to point B, climb ledges, swing from poles, crawl through grates, and generally don’t recover from objects in the environment .
The other issue I have with the game interfaces is here. Unlike these games gollumUnfortunately, it lacks charm, engagement and standard moments that would make these moments unforgettable. In short, it’s as mundane as it gets.
The cumbersome controls don’t help either. Gollum’s Leap is “Floating” with a capital F. Not only does this look silly, it can kill you. It often happened that when landing, I just overshot the target and fell to my death.
Other inconsistent but important mechanics include wall climbing where I would either move sideways normally or try to grab an object that wasn’t there and then stop; Sheaths leading to unnecessarily frustrating vertical jumps; and wall running, where I could either sprint forward instantly over a wall or just screech to a halt.
Awkward controls and sluggish movement are exacerbated by levels or sections where Gollum must move quickly in a slow, stealth-based design. I remember a section where I had to move sideways to hang off a moving cart while obstacles were lined up along a road. Even the slightest misstep caused a stutter, as if the button press hadn’t been recognized. And Gollum just slipped, forcing me to try again. another, one Crash Bandicoot-style chase through a cave serves as an exercise in frustration, especially when the “swim” jump is so imprecise.
Like most Lord of the rings Fans know Gollum is a far cry from the likes of Aragorn, Legolas or Gimli. He does not charge into battle. Instead, he lurks in the shadows. In that sense it makes sense The Lord of the Rings: Gollum is a stealth game. It’s just that the stealthing isn’t very good.
The first signs of this can be found in the presentation of the game. While Gollum acts like a shadow, all too often he literally becomes one. When Gollum enters tall grass or dark areas, he becomes pitch black. It’s not a power or ability. Rather, it’s all about how the game tells you that you’re in stealth mode.
Not only is it hard to spot Gollum in the surrounding shadows, but he doesn’t have to exist given how brainless the AI is. I could practically step into the shadow cast by an overhang, and an orc looking directly my way just went about his business.
Worse still, in a stealth adventure game, there aren’t really many ways to distract enemies If you need. You can pick up rocks to throw at metallic objects, or you can turn off lights. That’s all. While other titles allow different approaches to a given dilemma and create interesting bits of new gameplay, The Lord of Rights: Gollum goes back to basics – in a bad way.
riddles inside The Lord of the Rings: Gollum are also a mixed bag. Some are engaging while others are either monotonous or completely unintuitive. An example is the egg puzzle. The principle is simple: paint the egg a certain color (e.g. black, brown or white) and then put a certain number of logs in the oven that correspond to the egg color you are using. The clues are drawings in space, so of course I used them.
Strangely, none of the suggested solutions worked. At first I thought it was buggy. With no other option left, I just gave it a try and brutally tried every “log and color” combination to no avail. After about an hour of trying, I almost gave up. Then I realized I had to press the oven’s button multiple times – and the reason I didn’t notice it at first was because a cutscene kept triggering even after activating the oven just once, leading me to believe he was be operational.
I absolutely enjoy solving puzzles in games (our last one). Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom Reporting can attest to my love of brain teasers. gollum, unfortunately my patience has been tested. A few sections later, another puzzle section acts more as a companion mission than a puzzle, with the NPC progressing and you being forced to progress with it.
To be fair, Daedalic has a day-one patch coming out that might fix some of these issues, but unfortunately I can only verify what I’ve played.
The Lord of the Rings: Gollum Review – The Verdict
- Gollum is lively and talkative, which suits his character.
- The backstory is an interpretation of the events in between The Hobbit And Lord of the Ringsgiving fans a new perspective on the character.
- Boring and outdated platformer sequences with no exciting or memorable moments.
- Awkward and awkward controls coupled with jerky animations.
- Ineffective and poorly designed stealth mechanics
- Puzzles with questionable concepts and ideas.
Finally, it is worth mentioning The Lord of the Rings: Gollum Seems to have some performance issues on PC. With an Nvidia RTX 3080, an Intel i9-10900K and 32GB of RAM, my device is well within the game’s recommended specs LotR: Gollum Steam store page. Still, with the highest settings enabled, including ray tracing and DLSS performance, I only averaged 45 fps in most locations. It’s a little sub-par considering this is far from an open-world game, and the environments themselves aren’t very detailed for the most part.
In the end my experience while playing The Lord of the Rings: Gollum was disappointing. A creative take on the character’s journey interested me even before release, but the core concepts should also be in line with what we’re expecting from the current generation of games. Outdated and just plain bad mechanics simply means that, much like the Balrog, this title should step back into the shadows.
[Note: Daedalic Entertainment provided the Steam code for The Lord of the Rings: Gollum that was used for this review.]
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The Lord of the Rings: Gollum review – You don’t just walk to Bore-Dor
A combination of clunky controls, jerky animations, and dated mechanics make LotR: Gollum one of the least valuable adaptations of Tolkien’s works.
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