Much like the titular character himself, The Lord of the Rings: Gollum’s life has been long and tortured. Originally announced back in 2019 by, it has been delayed several times from its initially planned 2021 release. Early trailers didn’t exactly illicit an excited response from gamers which might explain why it has released today to deafening silence. Seriously, did anyone remember this was coming out? I didn’t.
Well, it did and critics are not impressed with it. On Opencritic’s list of eligible 2023 releases, The Lord of the Rings: Gollum is tying for last place with Across the Valley, both sporting a score of just 42. The game is supposed to chart the story of Gollum’s escape from Barad-Dur, taking place between his encounter with Bilbo and his eventual appearance in The Fellowship of the Ring.
Gamespot delivered a particularly brutal review with writer Sam Pape scoring it a staggeringly low 2 out of 10. He wrapped up his review with these scathing words: “Much like Gollum’s quest for the One Ring, my quest to complete The Lord of the Rings: Gollum was full of endless setbacks, impossible odds, and ever-increasing levels of madness. And, like Gollum, my journey was doomed from the start. So if the developers’ main goal was to really put you in the shoes of such a pitiful, unloveable character faced with constant pain and suffering at every turn, they were at least successful at that.”
Clearly Sam has inherited Samwise Gamgee’s hatred of Gollum.
Push Square weren’t any more merciful to Gollum’s plight. Aaron Bayne handed it another 2 out of 10, saying: “As massive fans of the books, films, and games, it’s sad to see that there is nothing precious about this experience.”
There’s no much more hope over on Metacritic, either. On its list of eligible games launched in 2023, The Lord of the Rings: Gollum is dead last. The PC version sports a score of just 43, while the PS5 version is even lower at 38.
It was Donovan Erskine of Shacknews who delivered a review with at least some positives. He ended his review by saying, “There’s no doubt in my mind that Lord of the Rings fans will appreciate a lot of what Gollum is offering. It’s genuinely cool seeing such a fascinating side character step into the protagonist role in a story that further expands on a universe teeming with secrets to discover. It’s a bummer that there isn’t much else to write home about. A dull gameplay experience and technical hiccups make The Lord of the Rings: Gollum just as much of a polarizing experience as its main character.” Not exactly glowing praise but its certainly better than the kicking other sites gave the game.
Conversely, it was just a week or two ago that The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom became the highest reviewed game of all time on Opencritic. Talk about two extremes, eh?
It’s a sorry state of affairs for a Lord of the Rings game, and for Daedalic. This one project might spell the end for them getting hold of the precious Lord of the Rings license. Maybe they should have just dropped this one into the fires of Mount Doom.