We've seen plenty of botched video game launches over the last few years, from Cyberpunk 2077's glitch-filled debut to the underwhelming, so-called 'remastered' Grand Theft Auto trilogy. And judging by the response to the latest Lord of the Rings game, we have another ring (well, disk) that needs casting into the fire.
Released yesterday, The Lord of the Ring: Gollum is already looking like the most poorly reviewed game of 2023. From the graphics to the abominable UI (complete with weird typographical choices), the whole thing is a bit of a mess. (Want to experience the horror for yourself? Check out the best PS5 deals.)
'Gollum' puts you in control of, yes, Gollum – the once-Hobbit who has sort of, shall we say, let himself go. It's a stealth-based adventure game (think Metal Gear Smeagol) set a few years before the Lord of the Rings trilogy. But players have noticed that the visuals don't quite match up to the initial promotional material (below).
Morning. Gollum is one of the worst games I've played in a while. If you can't be bothered to read the full review, the difference between this promotional screenshot and the actual game gives you a decent summation of why.https://t.co/RW0556ov2v pic.twitter.com/3g2Cf9nR9LMay 25, 2023
Holy crap, how does this even happen? Like I get the downgrade on Gollum. They probably had to lower graphical quality in general to meet hardware requirements or performance issues or something, but why drop the fancier looking UI? This looks like a fan remade it in Dreams. https://t.co/83fXmOXT7yMay 25, 2023
First, there's Gollum's dodgy, PS3-esque character model, complete with low resolution textures and weird bug eyes. Combine that with the UI and it's pretty clear we're looking at a car crash of a game. In the promotional material, the UI's text prompts are rendered in a fantasy-esque typface, but in the final game it's... Calibri?
Watching a review of that Gollum game and I'm fascinated by its utterly spartan UI. Like, why this typeface. Why no styling or personality whatsoever. pic.twitter.com/6g6Bf6fMIfMay 25, 2023
It's hard to know exactly what happened here, so for now we'll have to assume the game was somewhat rushed out. Weirdly, there's no mention of the brand new game on developer Daedelic's website, which some on Twitter have taken to suggest the studio might be distancing itself from the release.
Still, gamers can be a tricky bunch to impress – even a single pixel out of place can cause controversy. One thing's for sure, like the people in Gran Turismo 7, this version of Gollum will be haunting our nightmares tonight.