By Zachary Fingerle
Quite possibly the move explosive game on the market, selling over 2 million copies in the last 2 weeks after being released on February 2nd. Valheim is a game that is currently in early access. Your character is a Viking who has fallen in battle but rather than being transported to Valhalla by a Valkyrie as most people understand the mythos of Vikings. Instead, your character has been brought to Valheim, a realm much unlike; Midgard where humans reside, Asgard for the gods, and the various others of the 9 realms. Valheim is the 10th realm that has been abandoned by the gods and left to its own devices. Your character is brought into the realm of Valheim by a large crow and you are tasked with taming the wilderness and making it livable once again. You must build shelter and large amenities such as forges, workbenches, cauldrons, and several others that make the game similar to the concept of Minecraft. Although the building mechanics in this game are far more complex than that of Fortnite and Minecraft. You must have a basic understanding of architecture so that your roof is properly supported and does not cave in on top of you. Alongside the resource gathering and building mechanics, there are dangerous enemies within the realm that seek to harm you and your structures. Various creatures will attack your homestead, and you must defend it as necessary. When you are prepared with armors of various kinds from troll Hide, copper, iron, and your wide array of weaponry you create within a forge. You must face the bosses within the world and claim their heads as trophies.
I am currently over 30 hours in and have a good grasp of the world. My friends and I paid for a community server so that any of us may log in when we wish. We currently have 9 people that have built houses in our world creating a lovely aesthetic of our own Viking village surrounded by trees with access to our own port. We just entered the “Iron Age” as we have dubbed it, donning our shiny armor and weaponry of various kinds. I personally choose to wield the Atgeir which is a long-range polearm weapon, while my friends prefer to wield: swords, spears, axes, massive clubs alongside their trusty buckler shield for parrying. We have cleared the first two bosses known as Eikthyr & The Elder. Eikthyr is a large stag with antlers adorned by chains and gems, he wields lighting powers that have quite a large wind-up. Being the first boss, Eikthyr is perfect to introduce you to the idea of the boss battles that the game presents you with, while The Elder proceeds to show you the true dangers within the world at a large difficulty spike. The world of Valheim is procedurally generated but is absolutely massive and does not shy from biomes and territories for you to explore for resources and all sorts of scary creatures waiting for you within the shadows.
In my limited play time, Valheim has done an incredible job in creating a world that does not lack in beauty despite the graphics not being the most advanced. The combat and status effect features make living in the world realistic and yet frustrating. The stamina system can be frustrating at times as it seems the world is against you but it keeps gameplay balanced so that you are not a living legend roaming the world but rather a simple Viking that is bound by the laws of reality. The combat is simple and yet fun at the same time with a large variety of enemies and dungeons. My group has been truly enthralled and addicted in our short time announcing to the group that it is time to get online by simply typing “V I K I N G” in our group chat as we all rally to explore the world and adventure into the wilderness, bringing the spoils back to our village that we love dearly.