If you missed the hype surrounding The Lord of the Rings: Gollum, we don’t blame you. Daedalic Entertainment’s latest stealth adventure game set in J.R.R. Tolkien’s legendary Middle-earth universe was panned by critics this week following the review embargo break. As of writing, Gollum currently commands the lowest review scores for any video game released in 2023 so far, somehow managing to outdo Redfall. You can read our review of the game here.
The OpenCritic score for The Lord of the Rings: Gollum currently sits at 42 out of 100 from 33 reviews with only 6% of critics recommending the game. On Metacritic it’s even worse, sitting at 40 out of 100 based on 23 critic reviews. To add more fuel to the fire, the game was released on the same day that the review embargo lifted, which doesn’t exactly inspire much confidence.
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The official description for The Lord of the Rings: Gollum reads:
“The Lord of the Rings: Gollum is a story-driven action adventure. Take on a perilous journey as Gollum, chasing the only thing that is precious to him. Gollum is skillful and cunning, but also torn by his split personality. One mind, two egos you decide! Athletic and agile, sneaky and cunning. Driven by the desire to once again hold in his hands what he lost, Gollum is one of the most fascinating characters in the world of The Lord of the Rings.”
Unlike the description above, many critics seem to agree that Gollum is one of the least fascinating characters to build a game around, with plenty of outdated gameplay mechanics, terrible visuals, a plethora of bugs, poor storytelling, bad AI, frustrating level designs and no option to turn off motion blur.
PC Gamer was one of the more forgiving reviews, awarding Gollum a 64/100 and stating, “For all its many flaws, LOTR: Gollum is an oft-beautiful and oddly endearing adventure.”
For TheSixthAxis, it’s a much more brutal affair as the site only gave it a 1/10, stating, “The Lord of the Rings: Gollum was conceptually a game with some promise, but from what I’ve seen so far, it’s a mediocre and messy experience that doesn’t really come together into a cohesive whole. That is, of course, before coming to the bugs, the crashes and the game-breaking progression issues that make it impossible to complete at this time. Considering that I was actually looking forward to this, this one really stings.”
GameSpot echoed a similar opinion by awarding it 2/10, saying “Daedalic’s long-delayed Tolkienian adventure is just as unlikeable and tragic as its namesake protagonist.”
We weren’t much kinder in our official review: “So should you play The Lord of The Rings: Gollum? No. No amount of post-launch work will fix this game. It is dated, dull and at best, a forgettable experience. It is like playing one of the worst PlayStation 2 games back in the day. There’s no silver lining here and “what ifs” or “that is a good thing” because there’s nothing to see here.”
The Lord of the Rings: Gollum is currently available for PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S and PC.