Games

Ring Story: Gollum spotlights an unlikely hero

Gollum is one of the most memorable characters in the Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings story. We all watched those movies. We imitated his voice: “Sneaky little hobby” and “My valuables”-that’s good. But he’s not exactly a typical video game hero. So this is the Gollum we are talking about. He is thin and has not washed! He is wearing a loincloth! He kills his friend and bites Frodo’s finger! But Daedalic Entertainment doesn’t let them do the little things that prevent them from playing games about him anyway. It’s called The Lord of the Rings: Gollum and will be available on all major gaming platforms in 2022. After attending an early level 20 minute hands-off demo, I must say that I might come around. Gollum as a star. That’s because his limits can lead to fun games, no matter how slimy and tragic he is as a character.

Ring Story: Gollum Screenshot

First, it’s not. This is not a large open world game like Middle-earth: Shadow of War. It does not lead the army into battle or fight head-on with hordes of orcs. Gollum is not such a person. He is more likely to slip through the shadows and hide them from anyone. Therefore, Lord of the Rings: Gollum makes sense that stealth and platform are everything. At the beginning of the demonstration, Gollum had just escaped imprisonment in the hole in Balladdua. (It’s the Tower of Sauron-as you know, it’s covered with huge fiery eyes. You can’t miss it.) But as Gollum, you’re still in danger because you have to escape from the fortress. Not exposed. It’s full of oak.

To do this, sneak around, stick to the shadows, look for routes that remain undetected, and climb here and there. Sneak, climb, jump and run on the wall to avoid enemies-that’s the goal of this game and you may even solve environmental puzzles.The level I saw was huge and there was plenty of vertical space to cross. Lava pits were scattered at the bottom of the underground area, rock walls reached the base of the tower, and many wooden scaffolds crossed. Developers say that all levels are equally extensible and that there are multiple paths through each level. Some routes are more stealth oriented, while others emphasize the platform.

The demo primarily featured a platform, with Gollum climbing walls, shimmy along the shelves, swinging from poles, and jumping over pits. Traversal reminded me of Assassin’s Creed or Uncharted games.

Despite its focus on stealth and platforms, combat isn’t entirely out of the question here. If you’re sneaky, you can manage your stealth skills. At some point during the demonstration, Gollum had to go through a lonely orc, so Gollum sneaked behind him, flipped his back, struggled a bit, and then quietly knocked him down.But things don’t always go smoothly. Everything you do makes some noise, and the enemy is always listening. At some point, the enemy heard Gollum and warned other orcs nearby to come and look for him. He hurried away and hung from the shelf until the problem was blown away (classical Gollum).

To help you stay alive, Gollum has the ability to “see” where the sound comes from. This “sound vision” wasn’t available in the build used in the demo, but the developers say it will play an important role in the final game.

It’s a story-driven game, so when you reach different points, the cutscenes play. At the level I saw, Gollum meets a chunky prisoner named Glaschneg and releases him. Grashneg will accompany you for a while and help our brave heroes do things they can’t do, such as breaking through heavy obstacles to reach new paths.Gollum speaks to himself outside the cutscene, even when he is alone. For example, when you come to a room with guards, he says, “Too many orcs. I hate orcs,” or calls a distant door that you need to reach. His voice is similar to Andy Serkis’ performance in the movie, but is clearly processed by another actor here.

Like the source material, Gollum has a split personality that acts on the choices the player needs to make. If you want to lean on the Gollum side, you can choose to do harm to others but help you. If you feel more humane, you can choose a moral path in favor of his smear gollum part.

Despite its focus on stealth and platforms, combat isn’t entirely out of the question here. A sneaky person can manage stealth skills …


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No other familiar characters appeared in the demo, but the developers have promised to meet “very famous characters”, including Gandalf. As the developers suggest, if you’re familiar with source materials, you can also guess some of the other characters you’ll encounter while traveling.

Ring Story: Gollum isn’t the vast open-world action RPG you might be expecting, but it certainly seems to suit Gollum’s character. When you think about it, it is also attractive to secretly parkour in Middle-earth.

Chris Reed is IGN’s commerce editor. You can follow him on Twitter @_chrislreed..

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