The Lord of the Rings: Gollum (Video Game)
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The Lord of the Rings: Gollum is a 2023 adventure video game developed and published by Daedalic Entertainment. The game follows the story of the character Gollum from The Lord of the Rings epic fantasy novels and movies as he climbs the mountains of Mordor and ventures through Mirkwood on his quest to retrieve his Precious. In late May 2023, the game became a subject of memes and viral discussions due to its poor-quality performance, gameplay and graphics.
On March 26th, 2019, German video game developer and publisher Daedalic Entertainment announced The Lord of the Rings: Gollum, an action-adventure video game following the story of Gollum / Smeagol, a character from J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings.
Originally scheduled to release in 2021, the game was released for PlayStation 4 and 5, Xbox One and Series X/S and Windows on May 25th, 2023 (launch trailer shown below).
Gameplay and Features
Lord of the Rings: Gollum is an action-adventure game that follows the character Gollum, with the story set eight years before his appearance in The Lord of the Rings books. The game features stealth and platforming mechanics, and the player is presented with choices in which he can take action as Gollum or Smeagol, with the decision-making presented in the form of dialogues between the character's two personae (gameplay video shown below).
Upon release on May 25th, 2023, the game was met with very negative reviews both from critics and players, who criticized its poor implementation of mechanics, bad interface and design choices and poor optimization. On Metacritic, the PlayStation 5 version of the game had a 40 average reviews score with 29 reviews. On OpenCritic, the game had a 42 average score with 46 reviews. On Steam, the game had a 35 percent approval rating with 100 reviews as of May 26th, 2023 (IGN review shown below).
The release of the game and its early reviews were followed by viral discussions online as users shared screenshots of the game to criticize and mock it. For example, on May 25th, 2023, video game journalist Alex Avard posted a tweet comparing a promotional screenshot and an actual screenshot from the game, with the tweet (shown below, left) gaining over 1,300 retweets and 10,800 likes in one day.
In the following days, more users on Twitter posted screenshots from the game, typically criticizing its design. For example, on May 25th, 2023, Twitter user @StellaNoxEclair posted a screenshot commenting on the game's font choice, with the tweet gaining over 1,700 retweets and 27,500 in one day (shown below, left). Later that day, Twitter user @chainsaw_alice posted an image of Gollum with bulging eyes next to a 3D image of Minecraft YouTuber Dream from his music video "Mask." The tweet gained over 390 retweets and 2,700 likes in one day (shown below, right).
 Polygon – A new Lord of the Rings video game is coming in 2021
 Gemtasu – The Lord of the Rings: Gollum launches May 25 for PS5, Xbox Series, PS4, Xbox One, and PC, later for Switch
 IGN – The Lord of the Rings: Gollum Review
 Metacritic – LotR Gollum
 OpenCritic – The Lord of the Rings: Gollum
 Steam – The Lord of the Rings: Gollum™
 Twitter – @alexavard95
 Twitter – @StellaNoxEclair
 Twitter – @chainsaw_alice
Phillip Hamilton Staff
May 26, 2023 at 09:42AM EDT
May 26, 2023 at 09:15AM EDT
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