At instances, an occasion or character might be profoundly impactful to its originating fiction, however not the suitable alternative for a devoted highlight mission of its personal. It’s laborious to consider a stronger working example than The Lord of the Rings: Gollum, a recreation that essentially misunderstands the enchantment of its supply franchise, specializing in a personality who, by nearly any measure, is the flawed alternative for a lead. That stated, it’s not unimaginable to think about the sport that may someway have made the weird premise click on. This isn’t that mission; like its depressing and piteous lead, this recreation is finest prevented in any respect prices.
Gollum tracks the story of the titular fellow within the time interval between The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, principally throughout his slavery and misuse in Mordor and the associated escape to pursue his valuable ring. With its drab colours, deal with merciless and unappealing characters and chore-focused gameplay, it feels at odds with many of the core tenets and themes of Tolkien’s fiction. Even stripped of its connection to that vaunted legendarium, the storytelling is poorly paced, meandering, and sometimes incoherent. A promising exploration of the dichotomy between the Gollum and Smeagol character initially appears compelling however isn’t leveraged in a significant approach.
Gameplay is break up mainly between old style linear traversal sequences and clumsy, uninteresting stretches of stealth. In navigation of the levels, the leaping is imprecise, levels are poorly structured to speak the place you may go, and the digicam is unwieldy, or generally even damaged, flipping fully the wrong way up whereas climbing or refusing to rotate to view the following crucial leap. I died repeatedly and steadily to jumps that ought to have been simple or mistakenly guessed the place the following platform might be reached. The one small blessing is frequent checkpoints to melt the blow of the limitless repeats.
Whereas horrible, I longed for these platforming sequences each time the sport switched to certainly one of its plentiful stealth sequences. In contrast to any trendy stealth recreation, Gollum has no fascinating methods or instruments to complement these passages. As a substitute, the slippery protagonist can solely glide between the shadows previous immeasurably silly guards, alongside paths upon which it’s laborious to know whether or not you’ll be seen. No sense of mastery or management over the atmosphere emerges. Once more, respawns are fixed. At any time when the sport requested me if I wished to reload to the final checkpoint, it was a pressure of will to proceed.
Technical issues and poor implementation abound. Sound mixing typically makes voices laborious to listen to. Character faces (except Gollum) are poorly animated or in no way. Onscreen figures transfer in excellent synchrony with each other, like one thing seen in early PS2 video games. Textures are muddy and lack element. Greater than as soon as, the sport demanded an goal that didn’t perform or seem and didn’t respawn upon a checkpoint restart; solely redoing all the stage would repair the issue.
I always struggled in opposition to the controls, digicam, and targets as they have been introduced. And nothing concerning the story or characters of The Lord of the Rings: Gollum affords purpose to push previous the frustration. As a longtime fan of Tolkien’s fiction, it’s doable that I appreciated the sport even much less for the way in which it appeared to misuse the supply materials. It’s laborious to have a extra damning indictment than to say that this Gollum recreation isn’t for followers of The Lord of the Rings, however right here we’re.