The Lord of The Rings: Gollum launched May 25, 2023, to overwhelmingly negative reviews. Nacon and Daedalic Entertainment’s new game, which combines stealth platforming and the puzzle genre should have been a successful foray into Middle-earth. Instead, it left players frustrated, thanks to its numerous game-breaking bugs and crashes.


At the time of this writing, Lord of the Rings: Gollum’s Metacritic scores are the worst of any 2023 game. Sitting at a measly 38 on PlayStation and slightly higher at 43 on PC the overwhelming consensus appears to be that even if the player can make it past the numerous technical difficulties; its gameplay and design leave much to be desired.

Why Lord of the Rings: Gollum Is 2023’s Worst-Rated Game

Lord of the Rings Gollum Game, showing Gollum crouching on a rock by the water, his reflection in the water showing a much happier scene

Screen Rant’s own The Lord of the Rings: Gollum review is marked as “a review in progress” due to the inability to get further than Chapter 2 without encountering game-breaking bugs and crashes. Although Nacon and Daedalic Entertainment have responded and promised a Day One patch will fix these issues, it might already come too late for LOTR: Gollum to claw its way back.

At present, LOTR: Gollum’s average rating is under 5/10 with (among others) GameSpot and PushSquare giving it a measly 2/10, The Guardian amusingly advising readers to “Boil it, mash it, stick it in the bin”, and Screen Rant unable to give a score at all. But even if Gollum is successfully patched, there are more issues with the game than just on a technical level. In particular, LOTR: Gollum has faced criticism for its outdated graphics, harkening back to that of the PS2 era. This is best exemplified in a tweet by Alex Avard who highlighted the difference between promotional materials and Gollum’s in-game design.

The Lord of the Rings: Gollum is set between Gollum losing the one ring and the events of The Lord of The Rings itself, with the publishers intending to focus heavily on the book’s lore and Tolkien’s extended Middle-earth. What should have been a lore-rich, universe-expanding game instead was relegated to highly criticized repetitive climbing mechanics and limited, linear gameplay with little innovation.

Fans of the books and Peter Jackson’s movie trilogy who may come to LOTR: Gollum looking for an entry-point into the gaming universe of Middle-earth will be left disappointed as the modern LOTR era continues to stumble. What should be a time of successful games and other media for the LOTR universe has instead faced numerous troubles with The Rings of Power’s difficult launch, followed now by the almost complete failure of Gollum’s release.

Sadly, The Lord of the Rings: Gollum will need much more than a day one patch to make it a viable purchase, and its spot as the worst-reviewed game of 2023 seems, unfortunately, to be well deserved.

Source: Metacritic, Alex Avard/Twitter, PushSquare, GameSpot, The Guardian

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