The renegade ex-hobbit is one of the most well-known figures in modern pop culture. Daedalic dedicates his own game to him, which leaves mixed feelings after a detailed presentation.
Since December 2001 at the latest, anyone who is reasonably interested in film should no longer be able to pronounce the phrase “My darling” normally. Because those two little words are through Peter Jacksons three-part film adaptation of Lord of the Rings from JRR Tolkien as inextricably linked to the character of Gollum as wheat beer is to a white sausage breakfast. The hobbit is neither pretty nor charming, no, he’s not even particularly nice. And yet the character born as Sméagol is one of the most iconic of our time, thanks in no small part to the actor’s fantastic portrayal Andy Serkis is owed.
With this interpretation The Lord of the Rings – Gollum from the Hamburg studio Daedalic Entertainment but very little to do. The stealth adventure currently in development, on the other hand, is based on the book templates and lets you go in search of this magical object in the loincloth of the gray-skinned ring junkie. Not only do you already have Mordor, but you also have to flee from the elven-ruled Mirkwood after Aragorn has captured you. I was able to see all this and more during a gameplay presentation from Daedalic to Gollum and accordingly have some impressions of the game, the design and also the story, which of course I don’t want to withhold from you.
|Gollum is not only concerned with the search for the ring, but also with Sauron’s constant observation.|
The past determines the future
Streicher’s capture also explains a narrative trick that the developers take advantage of. Because as you sneak through Cirith Ungol in the outskirts of Mordor, you keep hearing about Gandalf. The wizard asks Gollum numerous questions about eight years after his trip to Sauron’s realm, which will accompany you on your climbs and provide context for what drives your character. Besides the sheer vengeance on Bilbo, of course, for stealing the ring. The developers want Gollum to be at least a sympathetic character, or at least one that players can sympathize with.
Even if I was only able to gain a small insight into the story of The Lord of the Rings – Gollum, it shows that Daedalic takes the material seriously and that the narrative plays an important part and partly explains the gameplay. So the hobbit is quite athletic and an excellent climber, despite its crawling and stooping posture. Because in his more than 500 years in the magical world, he had to acquire numerous skills in order not to end up as Nazugul fodder.
This also explains why the game doesn’t have a skill tree or unlockable abilities – Gollum already knows what it takes. Some moves may be introduced later, but are usable from the start. Appropriately, there is only one real ending, since it has to fit into the canon of Tolkien’s narrative. But according to the developers, there are at least two ways you can achieve it. So your decisions will at least have a soft effect.
|Acting from darkness is your only way to survive.|
On quiet feet
Though Gollum may be an athlete, he is certainly not a fighter. So you mostly move in the shade, if only because your anti-hero can’t stand the sun. Direct confrontations with enemies are not supposed to lead directly to death, at least you are given some time to escape. However, running away is not always an option and so you should make good use of the “Gollum Vision”. This special look reveals important environmental objects, hiding places and much more. You already know it from other games.
However, this special view of the world in the presentation still seemed a bit ugly to me. Because opponents are highlighted in bright red and places where you can hide shine greener than the Bavarian grass in summer. This is more than penetrating and eliminates any tension when searching for your own routes. On the other hand, it is useful that even in normal gameplay, edges and other climbable objects are slightly highlighted and your character becomes dark, you are invisible to opponents.
However, you are of course not completely defenseless. If an enemy turns their back on you, you can cowardly attack and kill them. This makes a lot of noise though, so make sure he’s alone. You can ensure this, for example, with stones that lure opponents away or knock over lamps so that the environment becomes darker. And certain objects in the areas can also be used to prematurely lead the nasty orcs to their fate. According to the developers, it should also be possible to end the game as pacifist as possible, i.e. without killing opponents.
|No, the game’s environments aren’t particularly inviting and certainly not a place for hobbits.|
climb and think
Of course, not only do you sneak around enemies, in many places you also have to climb around the area. Daedalic often relies on puzzles. So you don’t necessarily follow clearly visible paths, you have to find out where to go next. For example, at a scene in a fortress in Mirkwood, about halfway through the game. Here Gollum has to play a melody on a harp, causing a mobile to move on the ceiling, revealing a new path.
Stamina is also very important. This is constantly consumed when you climb in places where Gollum’s feet are dangling freely in the air. As soon as he can brace her against a wall again, he can breathe again and the important resource regenerates. Incidentally, stamina is also necessary for insidious attacks, so jumping on an opponent immediately after a climb is not necessarily advisable.
|You can probably only reach such high places with clever climbing maneuvers.|