Top Critic Average
Developers: Richard Svensson, Iron Gate AB
Publishers: Richard Svensson, Coffee Stain Publishing
Genres: Action, RPG, Survival
Valheim might be the rare exception. The game as a whole is not complete, but the parts that are there do feel complete, if that makes sense. I can see the areas in which I'd like it to grow, but Valheim feels refined and satisfying as it is right now. I've put 70 hours into it so far, and I fully expect to at least double that, and it's a $20 game. No matter what happens in Early Access, it's hard not to feel like I've already gotten my money's worth.
Valheim's world is low-poly for the most part, but features enhanced lighting and water refraction effects that create a beautiful blend of the early 2000s and modern graphics. Oceans and rivers look lovely, while even the dreariest of environments somehow stand out. Particle effects bloom and blossom in snowy locales, with dense fog sometimes permeating endless meadows of yellowing grass. It made me stop and appreciate the environmental design and procedurally generated scenery. This approach also allows for those even with fairly low-end machines to run the game.
But any Valheim wishlist betrays the truth of the game's current, "unfinished" state: there's already so much adventuring, crafting, building, and discovery available-and in ways that can easily be shared amongst friends for only $20. (And if the screenshots I've chosen haven't made clear, this game can be very pretty, as its engine smothers its blocky characters with handsome effects and gorgeous vistas). We've put games in our year-end lists for less potential than what I've already enjoyed in Valheim thus far, and I don't see us getting out of 2021 without repeating praise for this killer multiplayer adventure option on PC.
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Valheim Release Trailer
Valheim Guerilla Collective Trailer