Overall - 40%
It is good to know that we already know the worst game of the year in May. Do yourself a favor and forget about The Lord of the Rings: Gollum - it is anything but precious.
When Daedalic Entertainment and Nacon’s The Lord of the Rings: Gollum was first announced, most of us wondered why. Is there any hope for this game in The Lord of the Rings universe? Check out our review and find out.
The Lord of the Rings: Gollum Review
As the name would suggest, you play as Gollum in this title.
If you are asking yourself: Why would you want to do that? Well, the answer is: You do not want to do that.
The story begins with Gollum being captured by an elf king and Gandalf as he retells the story of his time in Mordor. As you might expect, it was rough. He worked in the mines with some other slaves and had to do the work others couldn’t due to his size. This mainly included dangerous tasks like finding dead miners deep in the cave or setting off explosive charges that didn’t go off. Eventually, he escapes with one goal in mind: finding his precious.
Another story feature are the choices made between Smeagol and Gollum’s internal decision-making. You seem to be choosing who is the more dominant personality. For example, you find a beetle that you can eat or let go of early on. Letting it go lets you watch it fly away, and Smeagol is happy. Eating it makes Gollum happy, but you get an upset stomach. Not that it matters because you are hunted right after. Also, you quickly realize your choices are pointless as The Lord of the Rings’ story has already been told, and your choices aren’t changing that.
The gameplay revolves around sneaking and platforming, along with some stealth kills. Unfortunately, the stealth kill takes so long that you might as well not bother unless it’s one target. Sneaking around works fine, but the AI can be dumb as bricks. If you get into a shadow, it is to the point that you are nearly invisible to them. However, getting caught can put you back some steps, and the checkpoints are a bit annoying. I didn’t have much issue with the platforming; that worked fine when the camera did what it was supposed to.
The mission structure of the game is also very odd. You feel like you are doing a bunch of busy work. Yes, I get it, you are a prisoner, but man does it drag on. Even the first few days in prison have a bunch of tasks that feel like they take too long. Then there is the bird hatching if you consider random guessing a puzzle, that will be right up your alley. I really don’t know how someone played any of this and thought: “This is fun.”
It isn’t really a game with side quests or big areas to explore, and it feels linear. There are collectibles to find and worms that can heal you, but there isn’t much reason to explore off the path anyways. And if you do go off the path, your stamina meter lasts approximately two seconds before running out. You do go very fast for those two seconds, but the bar takes forever to recharge.
For a game that looks this bad, it also doesn’t run great. It looks like an early PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 game, with the gameplay to match. I had plenty of bugs and crashes. Creatures and objects are clipping, NPC’s walking circles, and floating heads, among others. My favorite was when my checkpoint put me near a guard who was already alerted. I’d spawn in and have to run around the corner or get caught again and again. I was also told to turn Gollum’s hair off to help with crashes, which is very funny to me.
It is good to know that we already know the worst game of the year in May. Do yourself a favor and forget about The Lord of the Rings: Gollum – it is anything but precious.
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