Game of the Year 2021: Valheim

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Here it is: PC Gamer’s Game of the Year for 2021. To see the full rewards, visit our GOTY 2021 hub.

Lauren Morton, Associate Editor: The week that Valheim was launched, I scoffed at it. “Do we really need another early access crafting survival game?” Whether we needed it or not, the appetite my friends and I developed to gain over 100 Viking Survival Hours in a month suggested we really wanted one.

Valheim is like any other survival craft game. You start by picking up rocks and sticks, slapping a rough stone ax together, then chopping down every tree in sight. In practice, it’s full of twists and turns. The building system, with supports and structural integrity, challenged me to ultimately view the base build as a technical puzzle instead of just an aesthetic puzzle. The food system that made me think about improving my health and stamina convinced me that I should think about cooking afterwards that I couldn’t have bothered to do it in another game. , like needing to touch a resource before figuring out what I could craft with it, made it a bit of extra fun.

In the end, that all of my friends wanted to spend countless late nights together planning a great rowboat expedition through a sea we hadn’t yet crossed or into the swamps is what I love. about Valheim. Millions of people spending two months engrossed in a small studio-made Early Access game is the kind of magic I love in PC games. I would easily call this the highlight of our year.

Christopher Livingston, Feature Film Producer: That says a lot about the size and reach of Valheim that I played for probably 20 hours before realizing: Oh, I’m on a Isle, not a continent. I am on a very small educational island, and there is a huge world full of other things that I haven’t even seen yet.

And the day that I left my island, taking everything I could take on my little shabby wooden raft and setting off across a vast ocean, towards the unknown, was an exciting adventure. By the way, absolutely nothing happened during the trip. Night fell, it rained a little, and I reached the coast of another island in one piece. But I spent the entire trip peering into the darkness, my heart in my throat, feeling like a vulnerable little Viking in a big dark world stuck with me. And every trip I take into the unknown in Valheim, whether it’s a quick trip to gather supplies or a major trip to explore a new biome or fight a boss, feels like a daring adventure with the same awe and awe that I felt when I first trembled. trip.

Every trip I take into the unknown in Valheim, whether it’s a quick trip to gather supplies or a major trip to explore a new biome or fight a boss, feels like a daring adventure.

Jacob Ridley, Senior Material Editor: Like Lauren, I was done with survival games when Valheim rolled around. Well I thought I was. Tune in about a month later, and I’ve played Valheim for over 100 hours and more. There was just something so wonderfully accessible about the appearance of the world of Valheim, that there is always something to occupy you, whether it is this building or this exploration.

I spent dozens of hours building a magnificent mansion on top of a precariously placed boulder in one of Valheim’s most inhospitable biomes, running for the tallest tower against a friend who s ‘is installed on the next rock. I sailed across the ocean to find the best sources of ore to smelt to build towns and villages on islands. I established trade routes with friends in other parts of the world and we tried to create bridges and canals, partially changing the face of the landscape I had only wandered into as a freshly dead warrior. weeks ago.

It really is the most fun game I have had in a game all year round, and it provided a great opportunity to share that fun with my friends as we were exploring and shaping our shared server together.

(Image credit: Iron Gate Studios)

Sarah James, Guides editor: I didn’t expect to devote hundreds of hours to Valheim when I first took it. I went with pretty low expectations, but I can honestly say I haven’t been very excited to start playing a game again since World of Warcraft first drew me into it. years ago. I swear the game has some sort of time warp ability – I would load up my world of Valheim for example at 8 p.m., intending to play for a few hours, then roll my eyes to find it was okay to the little one. morning of the morning.

I seemed to spend most of my time planning for one thing in particular, then I was distracted by something else, literally. hours– before I remembered the original thing I intended to do. Whether you don’t have to worry about hunger – or any other brutal survival mechanic – really plays the game for me. You can take it at your own pace and play the way you want. It clearly worked for me, as I ended up racking up just over 300 hours before I even tried the third boss. I had too much fun building bases, exploring and taming wolves.

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