June 26, 2022
The Lord of the Rings: Gollum

Good news for Lord of the Rings fans: Daedalic has finally announced a release date for his highly anticipated Gollum game.

The Lord of the Rings: Gollum is coming to PlayStation, Xbox, and PC on September 1. So just a few more months until we can step into the saggy skin of everyone’s favorite hobbit. And based on the 15-minute gameplay preview we know, hopefully it’ll be worth the wait.

Staying true to JRR Tolkien’s books, it’s important to note that The Lord of the Rings: Gollum bears no relation whatsoever to Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings movies. The events of the game take place during the first few chapters of The Fellowship of the Ring, detailing Gollum’s behind-the-scenes actions.

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You see, Gollum has just lost his ring – his precious one! – to Bilbo Baggins. That sets in motion a perilous journey where he decides to leave the Misty Mountains and go to Mirkwood, the realm of the Forest Elves. That journey is where you enter and lead Gollum to safety by climbing, traversing and sneaking through a dangerous – but often striking – environment.

Of course, as any Lord of the Rings fan knows, Gollum isn’t exactly alone. His alter ego, Sméagol, is always lurking inside him – and he will rear his ugly head every now and then. When it comes to making decisions, it’s up to players whether they let Gollum or Sméagol take charge; the old good versus bad dilemma.

However, it appears that those decisions will not have a huge impact on the outcome of the story. The Lord of the Rings: Gollum is a largely linear story. After all, it follows Tolkien’s original novel and does not deviate from the text already written. But it seems that your choices can have consequences; there are two endings available, but they lead to the same epilogue. We’ll have to wait and see what exactly that means when the game comes out.

Related: The Best Games Based on Lord of the Rings, Ranked

Of course, the journey to the end is the most important. The short gameplay segment we had our eye on showed Gollum on his way to his hideout in Cirith Ungol. Huge and cavernous, its way out means plenty of climbing opportunities. Fortunately, Gollum is equipped with several athletic abilities, and so, provided he has the stamina, climbing ledges and mountain walls isn’t that much of a challenge.

Lots of details have been put into the environments and we can’t wait to explore them for ourselves. Daedalic aims to give players the opportunity to explore Middle Earth in three dimensions like never before. And being able to see that world through Gollum’s eyes gives a different perspective on things. In between gameplay, there are regular cutscenes, which give us an in-depth understanding of what Gollum is experiencing.

It’s not just about discovering, of course. The Lord of the Rings: Gollum is a stealth game, so players can expect to take on opponents without resorting to hand-to-hand combat. Luckily, Gollum has some handy skills to make this a little easier: his ‘Gollum vision’ will mark enemies, along with areas where he can go undetected. Think long grass and sheltered caves.

He can also crawl to move between safe areas without being seen or heard. This is not a game to rush through. Your movements must be measured and careful, as the last thing you want is Gollum’s position revealed to a nearby threat. What if you have to face an enemy head on? You can sneak up on them, perform stealth attacks, or use rocks in the environment to throw and distract. Yes, this is stealth 101, and there’s nothing really original in this department.

That doesn’t really matter though, because what gets us most excited about The Lord of the Rings: Gollum is that we can explore new areas of Middle-Earth and get closer to Gollum’s journey than ever before. If you’re not a fan of stealth gameplay, this might be a tough sell for you, but hopefully the beautiful setting, focus on storytelling, and other gameplay elements will be enough for you to ignore it. We can’t wait to see more, that’s for sure.

The Lord of the Rings: Gollum coming to PlayStation, Xbox and PC on September 1.

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