Somehow, the “miserable creature in a miserable situation” game isn’t much fun
One thing you can’t say about JRR Tolkien’s goblins is that they lack personality. The general fantasy Orc may be a huge dimwitted idiot, but for Tolkien this was his main way of injecting humor into his darkest moments. the Lord of the Rings. No Orc shouted “Meat is on the menu, boys!” in the books, but the Peter Jackson trilogy was right.
This was on my mind when I was playing The Lord of the Rings: Gollum, the new LotR-inspired action adventure from Daedalic Entertainment. Shortly after completing the tutorial from Gollum, I was captured by Sauron’s gangs (canon), tortured (canon), and thrown into a slave pit in Mordor (canon, not spoiler!). A hunchbacked, armored orc was yelling at me—Gollum—to get out of my dungeon and follow a row of slaves to a black iron elevator. It was a huge dim-witted idiot, in a great room of stone and metal, with a creepy lady in the middle exclaiming, “The eye sees all! The eye knows all!”
But I could push the joystick forward and walk his legs as long as it amused me. He was just emitting another NPC’s bark – like “Move over, slave!” —and whipped his arm through his solo animation again. Any personal scraps you found in the first few hours of Gollum They were pretty much the people I saved myself for.
Photo: Daedalic Entertainment/Nacon
In fact, I could walk endlessly on two legs any The NPC is in the room, including the scary lady. The orcs had some extra barks about not letting me get close to them, but there was absolutely nothing stopping me from wandering off. I could enter any orc in any corner of any room the game would take me to. I can jump up and down. I could do that to a beastmaster orc because he threatened to feed his monsters. I could do that to the master of the mine because he called me a worthless digger.
I did this a lot, walking Gollum from one goblin-infested room to another, checking if anyone would respond to my fickle antics. Nobody did. Instead, I had to put on a stable and do what the National Barking Council told me to do, a set of what I would call “slave assignments.”
On the surface, these were all different things, but mechanically, they all invited me to navigate an area that looked cool but really only had one intended path. Sometimes I would hide in the area. Sometimes I climb. Sometimes I race against a timer. If I ever lost track, I could hit the play button to activate “Gollum Sense,” which turned the world grayscale and displayed some bright orange wisps moving in the direction I was supposed to choose, as if the Daedalic had a distrust of signals. environment of the game.
In the end, Gollum dutifully walked into his cell and dutifully pressed X to go to sleep, thinking that after one day of slave missions, there would definitely be a quick scene that speeds up the game. Unfortunately, I got up the next day and repeated my walk to the same elevator (there was no creepy lady this time) and through the same doorway where other slaves spat on me through a grate in order to do more slave jobs.
my time with Gollum It’s neatly divided into traversal challenges, simulated walking (crawling, really), and a range of dialogue options. Daedalic promoted the game as an opportunity to truly enter the broken mind of the least victim of Sauron’s cruelty. In about two hours of my experience, I suspect that Daedalic subsequently applied the Smeagol/Gollum dynamic to more subtle choices than those I encountered.
Photo: Daedalic Entertainment/Nacon
But even in the less important informal dialogue options I’ve seen, Gollum It appears to be based on Gollum’s seemingly false “characters” interpretation of Tolkien’s writings. in the Lord of the RingsIt’s not that Gollum is bad and Smeagol is a smart sweet kid unless he’s done anything wrong. Smeagol is simply a passive and cowardly voice, sitting alongside Gollum’s violent and insane voice. Sam calls him “Slinker and Stinker”, not “cute and cool”.
easy reply to The Lord of the Rings: Gollum is to ask lightly, “Out of The Lord of the Rings, why would you make a game about Gollum?” But one can imagine any number of ways to make a great video game about Gollum. You’d at least check out Gollum’s Idiot Fishing for Mobile! I will 100% Untitled goose game-Style fun through key beats the Lord of the Rings. I was going to look for strategies for a deck-building “puzzle” game where you play against the lost goblins that wander into your pool and eventually the final boss, that cheater Bilbo Baggins.
A better question is, “Why did you do that?” this A video game about Gollum? “If you’re going to make a simulation game about a dystopian creature in a dystopian situation, it’s either meaningful and immersive, or it has to be Its a Heeheehoohoo factor. Based on trailers and hints given in opening hours GollumI know there’s a gameplay on the other side of Mordor in store. But the lack of personality has already sealed the doom of the save file (agony, drums in depth). I’ve seen these goblins before. You’ve seen this Mordor before. It’s a version of Middle-earth played quite straight, but without the creativity or flexibility to maintain the immersion.
I wasn’t imprisoned in a dungeon by orcs. I was also jailed for a game that wanted me to find eight dog tags from eight slave corpses hidden in the mines before I could move on to the non-slave part of the game. The memory of Strawberry may have kept Frodo through Mordor, but I can turn the game off.
The Lord of the Rings: Gollum It was released on May 25 on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X. The game was reviewed on PS5 using a pre-download code provided by Daedalic Entertainment. Vox Media has affiliate partnerships. These do not influence editorial content, although Vox Media may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links. You can find Additional information about Polygon’s ethics policy here.
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