Survival games are a dime a dozen. There certainly seems to be no end in sight when it comes to the different types that are going to keep coming out. Iron Gate Studio has taken full advantage of the situation with their release of Valheim. A survival game mixed with RPG elements that will take you right into a great big Norse world of myth and legend. This is our review of Valheim.
It all starts on the wings of a Valkyrie as your soul is whisked away to the tenth Norse world. You begin your story near some standing stones, which are the beasts that have to be beaten to proceed onward into your narrative. Like so many other survival titles out there Valheim takes its gameplay into the realm of building your base up and exploring the world for new materials to help create new gear and materials. It is really fun when you can start building Viking-type houses and ships. Some people have even started doing a random base build, and I know I have seen one fan build the Millenium Falcon to scale and it looked amazing. As long as you know how to build then the sky is the limit for what can be created. One thing is for sure there is a ton of content in this early-access title and you will not get bored.
Survival is key. Some areas are very friendly to characters with nice warm weather and plenty of materials to collect, but there are also areas of extreme cold and other environmental effects to make surviving that much more difficult. I have had a lot of problems in the snowy areas for sure. Make sure you have a base with a fire and some warm clothes with food before you head into these areas. The map is massive and each world has a different seed value so that no two worlds are the same and that changes your tactics from one realm to another as well. The main thing is to explore the world and set up your main base near the standing stones because you will always return here to turn in your beast kills. The early game is definitely hard if you don’t know what you are doing. Getting your first set of tools is make-or-break to even begin moving forward in Valheim. Your axe and pick are essential for collecting wood and stone for tools. Get those branches and rocks from the ground to get moving early.
Combat in Valheim is very fun. I run around with the bow and arrows a lot shooting deer, boars, and all the baddies that you can find. Sword fighting is also pretty cool when you want that hand-to-hand feeling going into the fights. The more gear you can craft the better off you will be. Better materials will allow you to get those rare weapons and armor to make combat more streamlined. Learning to aim with a bow is one of the most difficult things I have done. The better the level of the bow the less you have to worry about though. It all circles back to crafting in Valheim. The best gear will help you win the day. Crafting a ship will let you sail to other areas of the map as well as combating the enemies on the coast before you drop anchor to explore a new region.
(From Xevrin a fellow writer)
The strengths of Valheim as a game that will keep players coming back is that it is a complete game for the box price, personal pacing, and the fun you can have with others. I know multiple couples that play the game together and sometimes jump on servers with friends. Since the networking tech is peer to peer, it is easy for a friend to spin up a game and have others jump online at any given time. You can even bring your existing character with all the gear they currently have on them. My wife and I run a persistent server where friends are welcome to hop online whenever they please. Did I mention every time you start a new game, the map is procedurally generated? Yup, always a new map to explore when you are bored of the current one. Is your current map, with a fully built base, short on resources? Why not jump into a friend’s game that has a better world seed to harvest up a few things or temporarily start a new map of your own.
Everyone in the game can advance, mostly, at their own pace and then jump into playing with friends with few issues. It makes it a great option when you just want to hang out with others with little no need for prep. While someone may have a better set of gear, they can help others hunt, harvest, and explore to get caught up. If you don’t mind skipping the process of making it yourself, having your friends just hand off some gear is always an option as well.
I have seen a few problems occur when new players jump onto a server where a regular team has been building and exploring for quite a while. It can be overwhelming for some players to get their bearings, figure out how they can contribute, and get used to where different portals go if your team has created a large network… I mean we only had close to a dozen, so it really wasn’t that bad… really.
Being in early access, Valheim does still have its issues. These issues include: the occasional enemy stuck inside terrain, the rare enemy that is invincible, and the bane of my existence desyncing with the server and losing gear/boats. I will admit, part of the issue was on my end, and after updating my Killer Network Drivers, I have a lot fewer server connection issues, so make sure your drivers are up to date.
Valheim also has those wonderfully random moments where your partner or friends can swoop in to save the day when you are being chased by 10 or more enemies. Not to mention my idiotic deaths by falling trees always give me a chuckle. I really need to pay more attention when harvesting lumber.
The community growing around the game so far looks to be amazing in most cases. I know one group will log into your game and help with a difficult corpse run if you ask in their Discord. With 160+ hours played, and just about to take on the 4th boss, I can’t wait to see what future content patches bring to the game.
Note: Our copy was reviewed on Steam with a code provided by PR.