The Lord of the Rings: Gollum never looked particularly promising, but after a series of delays, some were hoping that the final product might be halfway decent. Well, it seems that hope was in vain as Daedalic Entertainment’s ambitious release was almost universally panned by critics.

According to some publications, LOTR: Gollum is an unprecedented bug-fest. Rachel Watts of RPS pulled no punches, saying that “playing it for more than 30 minutes at a time makes me feel restless, giving me some wild urge to pull my brain out of my skull.”

Reviews describe an unfinished game prone to near-constant crashes if the player gets ambitious with the graphics settings. Sam Pape from GameSpot showed that during 11 hours of playing Gollum, it crashed 120 times. Other bugs noted include cutting into terrain, spawning in the wrong place, missing music, and cutscenes ending prematurely.

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In addition to being unplayable, critics don’t find the game fun or engaging. LOTR: Gollum is a stealth game, as this wretched creature lacks the strength to engage in combat. However, judging by this, stealth mechanics are the bare minimum. It basically just hides in the shadows and destroys light sources, similar to Plague Tale.

Well, surely Tolkien’s world redeemed Gollum? It would seem not. The game runs more or less parallel to the events of The Fellowship of the Ring, but of course Gollum wasn’t eating pies in Rivendell, he was languishing in the dungeons of Barad-dur. While Daedalic deserves credit for highlighting one of Middle-earth’s least-explored locations, Barad-dur, with its grimy dungeons and orcs, doesn’t make for either picturesque scenery or engaging conversation.

It’s very rare to find a game that receives universal praise, and it’s hard to imagine that the opinions of players will be more positive when the game is released today. However, that’s not all there is to IP owner Embracer Group. The price of shares of a huge game company fell by more than 40% (trans Reuters) as a result of a $2 billion deal that suddenly fell through. In addition, several issues owned by Embracer have been pushed back to 2023, prompting the company to lower its financial guidance for the year.

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