Valheim – A First Look
Valheim, The Next Mega Game?
Brought to you by developers Iron Gate Studio, and published by Coffee Stain Publishing, Valheim is an open-world sandbox that features up to 10 player coop but can be enjoyed by just a solo player. If you have the tech, you can set up a private server for free, which basically means that you can immerse yourself with friends in a game that the host doesn’t even have to be online to enjoy. Also, if you chose, you can port over your already created avatar, with progress intact, to any world created by any of your friends. Kinda cool.
Set in Norse lore, you begin the game as a warrior that fell in Midgard and is now sent to Valheim, a world between worlds. Your mission, to defeat 5 mystical boss creatures, to impress Odin himself, and be granted passage back to the land of the living. As you take your first steps, you quickly realize that you need basic supplies, mostly food, and resources, and luckily, these are scattered about the very early section of the game. Enemies are about, so a weapon is a priority, and the easy-to-understand crafting tab is available from the start. As you adventure further you may encounter some prefabricated buildings, inside might be a loot chest, or a bed, you can make any of these structures your first home simply by building a bed or claiming 1 if it was already there. This is where, for me, the game really started to shine. I spent hours just getting familiar with the building mechanic, setting up, then tearing down again. Truly, a full game on its own. Soon after, I figured out that all my crafted items were upgradeable, this is where the hunting came in, boar and deer are easily accessible early on, and hides are required as part of the process. I could literally go on and on about how all this works, however, I do not want to spoil too much, nor do I think 5000 words would do it justice, so let’s move on to some things I have found that I hope will be looked at by the developers.
First and foremost, this game is early access. So you will have to take all this with a grain of salt. The building mechanic works well, but as you go vertically, the snapping system for building pieces gets a bit rough to deal with from a lower level. This is easily worked around by building ladders, or scaffolding, but I found it a tad annoying to have to build things that were just temporary. Second, some people are going to say that the graphics are a lazy bit of programming. I find the throwback style fitting to the world, it reminds me of some of the older, early attempt 3d games of years past, however, I also find that the generous amount of vegetation can sometimes be a hindrance. Hunting can be very frustrating from time to time as you can stumble onto a deer, and spook it away before even training up your bow for a shot. I think this can be fixed by adding a first-person option, but that is for the developers to decide. Third, the system requirements may keep many from enjoying this game. Granted, I am running an older card, (soon to be fixed), but I find that I can’t run this title at anything but the lowest resolutions, with all the bells and whistles turned off. Also for consideration, most of these issues happen when I am streaming, so this is quite a burden for my rig. Typically, I have no issue running other big games and streaming at the same time, but this title isn’t yet fully optimized, so maybe that is the issue, not fully sure.
The bottom line, with a $20 price point on steam, and well over 2 million copies sold in just 3 weeks, the masses can’t be wrong. I feel like I have already got my money’s worth, and have just barely scratched the surface. This game will dominate my streams for the foreseeable future, in both solo play, and coop with friends. I can’t wait to see where the developers take this title, I am a huge fan of builders and survival games with hundreds of hours in games like Subnautica, Jurrasic World, and The Forrest. This Title might end up being more hours spent than the lot of them combined. If you are still unsure, come check out my stream, I go live 5-6 days a week and can guarantee this will be a minimum of 3 to 4 of those. Hope to see some new faces come to say hi, and watch the fun as I discover more.