Valheim

Icon - Calendar Released: 2 Feb 2021
Icon - Edited Reviewed: 18 Feb 2021
Platform: PC

Valheim

[EA Review] Valheim has seen enormous success in a short space of time, with over 2 million copies sold in the first 2 weeks and it's easy to see why. It's relaxing, approachable and quite forgiving. You start in an easy area and can build anything you like, and venture out as your equipment improves for better resources. It's marginally a 'survival' game, but focused around base building, character progression and combat. The loose aim of the game is to defeat a series of bosses. Each of those drop something that increases what kind of resources you can gather. It's got plenty of room for improvement, but it's a very solid start.

Pros

  • Thankfully it's PVE focused which sets it apart from the other multiplayer survival crowds
  • Online multiplayer co-op
  • Huge amount of things to make
  • Crafting, building, bosses, events, gear upgrades (made from creatures you kill), fishing, farming, lumberjacking, mining, smelting
  • Really relaxing. I felt really proud of the wharf I built for my first ship, and genuinely defensive about my little home when it was attacked by greydwarves
  • Physics like trees can fall on your base (or your head)
  • Your character retains gear, skills and inventory when switching servers, so you keep progression even when playing with different people
  • Has an original mechanic for hunger. What you eat affect max health & healing rate. You can't actually starve
  • Weather systems which actually affect the ocean wave height
  • Very atmospheric. Beautiful lighting
  • Simple, but pretty flexible building system
  • I kinda thought that the 'repair gear and buildings for no cost' was just an early access mechanic, but I think now it might be deliberate. You're always using your resources on something new and not worrying about grinding materials just to maintain what you already have
  • Old buildings and settlements litter the landscape, which add atmosphere, give you ideas, and provide an easy place to fix up and create an outpost when exploring

Cons

  • Some mechanics aren't explained at all yet. For example, the chopping block and tanning rack don't do anything, you just put them near the workbench to ugprade it's level. Buildings degrade until they have a roof
  • Can't increase inventory space, and it's pretty limited
  • The UI isn't explained anywhere yet. For example, there's a bar in the middle of the screen when you crouch which I assume is related to stealth, but no info
  • No idea what to put in the fermenter
  • It took us 5 hours to realise you could show your map location to other players
  • When you learn new recipes, they only appear for 0.5 seconds then disappear
  • Went out on an expedition. Slept in a temporary bed, died on an island, lost all my stuff, and the mobs destroyed my boat. So now my spawn point is on an island with no resources, and no boat, and no way to leave. Glad there are console commands!
  • The game doesn't cope well with huge bases. Loading into a dedicated server, it took several minutes to load the surrounding area, and it was very laggy after that (not framerate, just taking 5 seconds to pick up wood)
  • Sailing is really bad. Always takes me 10 times longer to get there than running
  • Need more carry weight and more inventory space
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