LOTR: Gollum
Image: Daedalic Entertainment

Oh boy... We were worried when developer and publisher Daedalic Entertainment announced that The Lord of the Rings: Gollum would be arriving on the Switch after its release on other platforms. Now that it's out on PS5, Xbox, and PC, however, we're dreading what an eventual Switch version will look and play like.

Let's not mince our words here: it seems like The Lord of the Rings: Gollum is a pretty awful game. Indeed, at the time of writing, it's currently sitting at a rather bad score of 38 for the PS5 version on Metacritic (which, according to VGC, makes it the lowest-rated PS5 game of 2023 so far). It's probably safe to assume that Daedalic is having a bit of trouble getting the game optimised properly for the Switch - hence the delay - so to say we're concerned about its overall quality would be a vast understatement.

Heck, we already had some concerns when we tested the game out on PC at PAX East, so be sure to check that out before diving into the reviews themselves:

So let's have a look at what other outlets have been saying about the game, shall we?

Starting with our good friends over at Push Square, they gave the game a score of 2/10 and called it 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."

The Guardian was equally negative in its assessment, calling the game a "derivative, uninteresting and fundamentally broken stealth action adventure" in its 1/5 star review:

"If you’ve played a third-person action-adventure game in the past decade, you’ve played Gollum. Minus Gollum himself, of course, but this is such an unconvincing rendition that it’s unlikely to scratch that particular itch. I will praise the animation work; Sméagol himself is as creepily fluid and nimble as you’d expect. But if you’re hungry for some Lord of the Rings in your gaming diet, pick up Shadow of War for a fiver in the next sale instead, and spend the savings on a second breakfast."

GameSpot echoed Push Square's assessment with its own score of 2/10, highlighting the "befuddling incompetence" of the enemy AI:

"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."

Twinfinite awarded the game 1.5/5 stars, lamenting the game's frequent game-breaking bugs:

"The Lord of the Rings: Gollum doesn’t do anything fun or interesting like similar (better) games like A Plague Tale: Innocence and Requiem. It’s hard to say if even the most loyal Lord of the Rings fans would actually find something worthwhile here. Considering good Lord of the Rings games exist, this one feels incredibly out of place."

Finally, to end on a (slightly) more positive note, God is a Geek gave Gollum an average score of 5/10 and hopes that patches will provide a better experience down the road:

"I really wanted to love The Lord of the Rings: Gollum. While the story is its strongest feature, the technical issues hound almost every facet of it. From the visual glitches to a lack of polish in its gameplay, it’s hard to recommend this to those looking forward to venturing into Middle-Earth once more. While I’m sure future patches will fix some of the issues, I don’t think it’ll become a title that will stand up against some of the other great Lord of the Rings games we’ve seen over time, and as a lifelong Tolkien fan, I’m upset this wasn’t the game I wanted it to be."

So that's that! Is there some part of us that secretly hopes the Switch version will surprise us and wind up being good? Sure. But we're not going to hold our collective breath on this one. Judging from the reviews so far, it looks like it might well be a stinker. Given Gollum's personality, that might actually be quite apt.

Do you have any hope left for Gollum on Switch? Did you ever have any? Share your thoughts with a comment down below.

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