Top Critic Average
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 is already a paragon of the survival crafting genre, with excellent art and music highlighting a world that generates endless exciting stories from only a few simple ingredients.
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.
Having hit 2 million downloads on Steam in early access, Valheim is almost certainly going to stick around and get bigger and better. If Iron Gate AB stick to their current ethos of delivering faster-paced survival with the true freedom of opt-in PvP and community spirit, this could one day be the biggest survival game available. And considering the size of some of the current dominators, that’s no mean feat.
These issues will be ironed out and Valheim's content roadmap ensures that plenty of new content will be added to the game as well throughout 2021. In its current state, it's an incredibly engrossing experience and perhaps the first survival game of its kind to match Minecraft in pure fun factor. And if it's already this impressive in early access, one can only imagine how good it will be when it has its full release.
Having achieved a modicum of security, I decided it was time to pack my bags, unfurl the sails and expand my horizons. Preparation is key – having a good variety of food and potions available, with better options being more complex to create, will dramatically increase your health, stamina, and overall survivability. Better armour and weapons, meanwhile, will greatly increase your effectiveness at fighting. The crafting system is satisfyingly deep, and finding resources to unlock new recipes provides a strong incentive to explore the world.
Honestly, this game works as intended. It has hiccups as all early-release games do and its main hiccup is the server search/multiplayer aspect of it. Personally, I haven’t had many issues with multiplayer, even on multiple LAN connections. This game has been beautiful, time-consuming, and a lot of fun with my friends. For $20 you can’t go wrong.
While there is a lot of content in this update to bring players back to the game, it may not be quite extensive enough to satiate fans long-term. Hopefully, the time between content patches will shorten as Valheim continues its Early Access period, and players can look forward to further updates as solid as this one.
Overall, Valheim is a fairly complete game even though it is still in early-access. It suffers from some of the normal bugs and glitches that you see in other early-access titles but it also has a lot of content that is wonderful and works well. It is a great group game if you have a bunch of friends who feel like building Norse villages and going raiding. You can get this on Steam right now. I can't wait for future updates.