The Lord Of The Rings: Gollum – Will It Be Our Precious?

PREVIEW – The Lord of the Rings: Gollum is out on September 1, a day ahead of Amazon’s upcoming TV series, clearly designed to beat the hype. It’s interesting to say the least; developer Daedalic Entertainment – which Nacon recently acquired; that’s how they got into Big Ben Week – isn’t one of the biggest developers, so it was a surprise when Daedalic announced Gollum three years ago. We’re years later and close to release – what does the game look like?



Like the title character, the game, based on the book licence, seems a little contradictory in terms of the styles of play on offer. Gollum and Smeagol are opposites. Anyone who has read Tolkien or watched The Lord of the Rings knows this. Daedalic Entertainment showed journalists two aspects of the game during Nacon’s Big Ben Week, each very different from the other.


Geoff Keighley gáláján a 2022 végén megjelenő új The Lord of the Rings-játék is bemutatkozik.


“We are tricksters, precious.”


The presentation highlights the stealth aspects that will be found in the game. Gollum is not a warrior; we know that. But he is tricky. The story is set around Cirith Ungol, it’s Gollum’s escape from Mordor after being captured by Sauron, where he reveals that it was a Hobbit named Baggins from the Shire who possessed the “one ring”.

If you’re used to the carnival gameplay of Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor and Shadow of War, you’ll want to forget about that for the evening of The Lord of the Rings: Gollum. Here, you can’t fight an orc face-to-face because you’ll be dead before you can say “mock orc!”, so the trick is in the sneakiness. You can hide in the long grass, take advantage of shadows, and throw rocks to distract or block out light sources – so you can either sneak past the orcs, or possibly herd them in several directions so you can jump on one’s back and take it out.

Of course, there’s no shortage of stealth games, with classics in the genre such as the Metal Gear Solid series, the Hitman series, Thief 2 and Splinter Cell to name but a few. Gollum also takes elements from the Batman and Assassin’s Creed series, where the little gnome has his own Batsuit called “Gollum Vision”.



Dissociative personality


Perhaps the most famous character in world literature with a dissociative personality is Gollum, whose other “self” is Smeagol, so it’s fitting that these two selves are also present in the gameplay. After the stealth reveal, Daedalic revealed the duality aspect of the game to journalists, showing that there will be moments when we have to choose between Gollum and Smeagol. In the tutorial it’s simple; do you crush the eternal bug and kill it (Gollum)? Or do you watch the bug and play with the bug (Sméagol)? These choices are supposed to become more important and more difficult and significant as the game progresses, and will also affect the story.

The other part of the game that Daedalic presented to journalists is the platforming gameplay. This part takes place in the courtyard of Thranduil, the fairy king of Mirkwood, and your task is to climb to the top of the cave-like building. The graphics on this track, by the way, strongly reminded journalists of the movies. Gollum’s animation also looked first rate as he got higher and higher.

There were no enemies in this part of the game, it was all about overcoming obstacles: wall to wall, jumping through gaps to moving platforms that led even higher to the final destination. The heights were truly dizzying: miss one jump and you and Gollum were plummeting to the depths. Speaking of which, it’s worth mentioning that the interface is pretty discreet: it only appears if you’re at a loss of health or stamina, so you can get much more immersed in the game’s cinematic, magical fantasy world.



Not based on the Lord of the Rings movie


It’s important to note that this game is based on a licence of the book, so the characters will not look exactly like the ones we know from the movie screen and, of course, the original actors will not provide the voice acting. Gandalf will not be Ian McKellen; Andy Serkis will not voice Gollum/Sméagol; Aragorn will not be Viggo Mortensen. This fact often puts people off, but here it is somewhat understandable. While Marvel’s Avengers simply didn’t have enough money for stars, The Lord of the Rings: Gollum is based on the source material of the books, not the movies.

As a Lord of the Rings fan I’m looking forward to this one, and as a gamer I’m hoping they don’t screw it up. I am worried about a couple of things though, such as the fact that the gameplay could be very linear with few challenges, or the fact that Gollum will not level up, he has no progression tree, so he essentially does not progress as the game progresses. This is a Tolkienian license problem, but it is somewhat understandable, since Gollum is over 500 years old; and “too late for the old ebe.


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BadSector is a seasoned journalist for more than twenty years. He communicates in English, Hungarian and French. He worked for several gaming magazines - including the Hungarian GameStar, where he worked 8 years as editor. (For our office address, email and phone number check out our impressum)

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