The Lord of the Rings: Gollum Manages to Become One of the Lowest-Rated Games of 2023

Image: Daedalic Entertainment

The Lord of the Rings: Gollum has achieved to be yet another disastrous game launch in 2023 with an abundance of reviews slamming it. VGC reports that from consoles to PC there doesn’t seem to be much, if any, positive, things being said for the game. Within days of release, it is already towards the bottom of the list on Metacritic and OpenCritic. From game-breaking bugs that had been reported by early reviewers before release, to criticisms of a dull story, mediocre graphics that look dated, clunky gameplay, and, of course, unoptimized PC performance, the list of bad things to say about the game goes on.

The following snippets are in fact, just the tip of the iceberg for what various reviewers have had to say about their undesirable experiences with the game. For those wondering about Steam, it currently has a mostly negative rating with only 161 reviews.

From Push Square:

“The Lord of the Rings: Gollum is a broken mess of a game. There are barely any redeeming qualities to be found amidst what can only be described as a massive missed opportunity. There is some serious potential in a single-player linear Lord of the Rings experience like this, but with outrageously dated level design, clunky controls, a severe lack of polish, muddy and unimpressive graphics, and a dull story, Gollum completely misses the mark. As massive fans of the books, films, and games, it’s sad to see that there is nothing precious about this experience.”

From PCGamesN:

“All in all, The Lord of the Rings: Gollum certainly was… a game. It was not, however, a good game, nor was it a good Tolkien-inspired experience by any means. After years of development and multiple delays, Gollum is downright disappointing. Your time would be better spent on grabbing an old PlayStation 2 and a used copy of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. We can only hope the new Lord of the Rings MMO fares better.”

From IGN:

“The Lord of the Rings: Gollum fails to provide a satisfying answer to the big Why’s. Why, of all the interesting characters in The Lord of the Rings lore, would anyone want to play an entire game as Gollum? Why would one trade the solid action of prior games in this universe for busywork, uninspired and frustrating platforming, and bad stealth? It’s not clear who this is for, or what it was intended to achieve. What is clear is that it’s not fun to play, and not something to recommend to any but the most curious and dedicated Lord of the Rings fan. 

The Lord of the Rings: Gollum is filled with dull stealth, bad platforming, and a pointless story, and does little to justify why anyone should take the time to play it.”

A Hot Mess on PC

John Papadopoulos (DSOG) examined the game from a technical PC perspective and noticed in testing that the game behaves very peculiarly at 4K. From using only two CPU cores of an AMD Ryzen 9 7950X3D to nearly maxing out the VRAM of an RTX 4090, the game had some serious performance issues. It was noted that it didn’t have any pre-game shader compilation, something many releases of 2023 have been taking advantage of, so as expected the game suffers from stuttering. However, that is only the beginning as it hoarded more VRAM than Smaug loading up on treasure for a winter nap.

“With Texture Streaming On and without Ray Tracing, the game could use 14-15GB of VRAM. By enabling Ray Tracing, the game’s VRAM requirements increased to 16-18GB.

Now when you disable Texture Streaming, things get even worse. By disabling it, you may be able to avoid any low-res textures as the game will load most textures to your GPU’s VRAM. Without Ray Tracing at 4K/Epic, the game can use between 16-19GB of VRAM. With Ray Tracing, we saw the game using between 20-22GB of VRAM.”

An apology from Daedalic Entertainment

As has become all-too-common in the last few years there has been an apology issued regarding the game’s launch state. At this point, gamers are probably growing increasingly numb from such things in light of their frequency of occurrence.

Image: Daedalic Entertainment

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Peter Brosdahl
As a child of the 70’s I was part of the many who became enthralled by the video arcade invasion of the 1980’s. Saving money from various odd jobs I purchased my first computer from a friend of my dad, a used Atari 400, around 1982. Eventually it would end up being a lifelong passion of upgrading and modifying equipment that, of course, led into a career in IT support.

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