One thing you can’t say about JRR Tolkien’s orcs is that they lacked personality. The common orcs of mainstream fantasy may be a brave, foolish man, but for Tolkien it was a key way of injecting humor into his darkest moments. The Lord of the Rings. No orcs say “Meat’s on the menu, guys!” in books, but Peter Jackson’s trilogy was remarkable.

That’s what I thought as I played Lord of the Rings: Gollum, Daedalic Entertainment’s new LotR-inspired action-adventure. Shortly after completing the tutorial Gollum, I was captured by Sauron’s ringwraiths (canon), tortured (canon) and thrown into the slave pit of Mordor (canon, not a spoiler!). A twisted and armored orc yelled at me – Gollum – leave my cell and follow a line of slaves to the black iron elevator. He is in a large stone and jagged metal room, in the middle of which is a creepy lady saying, “The eye sees everything! The eye knows everything!”

But I was able to push the control stick forward and get into his legs, which amused me. He would just issue another NPC bark – “Get moving, slave!” – and harmlessly flap his arm again in a single animation. The scraps of identity I found within the first few hours Gollum were mostly self-sufficient.

Photo: Daedalic Entertainment/Nacon

In fact, I could walk between endless legs in any NPCs in the room including the scary lady. The orcs had some extra bark that I wasn’t allowed to go near it, but nothing could stop me from walking. I could walk into any orcs in any corner of any room the game put me in. I could jump up and down. I could do it to the beastmaster orc as he threatened to feed me to his monsters. I could do that to the miner because he called me a worthless digger.

I did this a lot as I ran my arm from room to room full of orcs, checking to see if anyone would respond to my angry antics. Nobody did. Instead, I had to hunker down and do what the NPC shells told me to do, a series of what I’ll call “slave tasks.”

Superficially they were all different, but mechanically they all challenged me to navigate an area that looked elegant but really only had one intended path. Sometimes I was stolen from the area. Sometimes I used to climb. Sometimes I raced against the timer. If I ever lost track, I could press the trigger to activate Gollum Sense, which turned the world gray and showed me some bright orange threads moving in the direction I chose, as if I had a Daedalic. distrust of the environmental indicators of the game.

Finally, I put Gollum in his cell and gently rock Xi to sleep, and I think after a day of slave tasks, there will definitely be a cutscene that speeds up the game. Unfortunately, I woke up the next day and went down the same elevator (no scary lady this time) and down a hallway where other slaves spat at me through the grate to do more slave tasks.

My time Gollum neatly divided into a soup of traversal challenges, walking (crawling, really) simulation and dialogue options. Daedalic promoted the game as a chance to enter the shattered mind of the lowest victim of Sauron’s cruelty. In my roughly two hours of experience, I suspect that Daedalic then applies the Smeagol/Gollum dynamic to more subtle options than the one I encountered.

Photo: Daedalic Entertainment/Nacon

However, in more random, less consistent dialogue options, I found that Gollum It rests on Golum’s interpretation of “personalities” that sound false to Tolkien’s writings. In The Lord of the Rings, it’s not that Gollum is evil and Smeagol is a sweet silly baby that never did anything wrong. Smeagol is simply a passive and snappy voice that sits in tandem with Gollum’s fierce and manic voice. Sam called him “Slinker and Stinker” instead of “Pretty and Smelly”.

Easy answer Lord of the Rings: Gollum “Why do you make a game about Gollum out of Lord of the Rings?” is to reject the question. But one can imagine any way to make a great video game about Gollum. At least I’d check out the silly Gollum fishing game for mobile! I would 100% Untitled Goose Game-style cheat through basic beats The Lord of the Rings. I’d be looking for strategies for a deck-building “puzzle” game where you play against lost orcs who land in your pool, and eventually the final boss, the rogue Bilbo Baggins.

A better question: “Why did you do it? this A video game about Gollum? If you’re going to make a Poor Creature in Distress simulation game, it should either be meaningful and compelling, or It has the heeheehoohoo factor. Based on trailers and certain hints during opening hours Gollum, I know there is a game on the other side of Mordor. But the lack of identity has already sealed the doom of my salvage file (doom, drums in the deep). I have seen these orcs before; I’ve seen this Mordor before. It’s a completely straight-up version of Middle Earth, but without the creativity or flexibility to maintain immersion.

I wasn’t just put in a cell by orcs. I also got busted for a game that asked me to find eight dog tags from eight slave corpses hidden in the mines before moving on to the non-slave part of the game. The strawberry memory could have continued to get Frodo through Mordor, but I might just turn the game off.

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-release download code provided by Daedalic Entertainment. Vox Media has joint partnerships. These do not affect editorial content, although Vox Media may earn a commission for products purchased through affiliate links. You can find it More information about Polygon’s ethics policy here.

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