The last decade has seen an influx of games featuring Norse mythology. God of War, God of War: Ragnarok, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, and more have transported players into the world of Norse mythology, often featuring recurring elements with a unique franchise twist. In 2021, developer Iron Gate Studio released its Viking survival game Valheim in early access. In the years since, the title has grown in size and popularity, as updates have added additional biomes, dungeons, enemies, and mythological elements. One such element, the leviathans, inhabit Valheim‘s oceans. However, their appearance has left some fans wanting. Should Valheim wish to improve their inclusion of mythological creatures, they could start by taking notes from God of War: Ragnarok‘s Lyngbakr Island.
Valheim is a multiplayer Viking survival sandbox game that tasks up to 10 players with navigating a procedurally generated world of Norse mythology. Over time, the scope of Valheim’s world has grown to include various unique biomes, each with specific ties to Norse mythology. Despite being rooted in Abrahamic Religion, rather than Norse mythology, many forms of media feature leviathans in their Norse worlds. Valheim is no different, as players can find the creatures deep in its ocean biomes.
Valheim’s Leviathans Are A Far Cry from God of War: Ragnarok’s Lyngbakr Island
Valheim‘s island-like Leviathans borrow features from both Norse and Abrahamic mythology and function primarily as easter eggs. The large creatures require quite a bit of work from players in order to be encountered, as players are required to build a raft or longboat in order to travel out into the farthest reaches of the title’s ocean biomes. Even then, elements such as the leviathans appear randomly, so players have no real clue where exactly to find them. Once found, players can gather loot from a leviathan’s back. As part of their passive inclusion, players cannot damage or kill the leviathans, a rare instance in the world of Valheim.
Unlike Valheim’s leviathans, God of War: Ragnarok‘s Lyngbakr Island is steeped solely in Norse mythology. The island is actually the back of the massive Lyngbakr, a whale-like creature referenced in Norse mythology’s Orvar-Odds saga. In Ragnarok, the whale is a prominent feature of the Svartalfheim realm, and players are tasked with exploring its back and tail in order to free the creature during the Weight of Chains side quest. Upon removing its chains, players are confronted with one of the most emotional interactions in the game. Mimir attempts to convince Lyngbakr (who has grown accustomed to captivity) that it is free to leave, but to no avail.
Valheim’s Leviathans Squander Their Potential
Given the mechanical and narrative complexity of God of War: Ragnarok‘s Lyngbakr Island, Valheim‘s loot-generating leviathans fall a bit short. While players can find them in the water and venture onto their backs, similarly to Ragnarok’s island, the leviathans effectively function as dynamic scenery. Should the title hope to embolden its mythological elements before launching in Full Access, it could take a page from portrayals such as God of War: Ragnarok‘s, which offer dynamic and weighty narratives to accompany the inclusion of its biggest mythological creatures.
Updates for Valeheim offer its developers the chance to consistently improve its procedurally generated worlds. One big change that the title could make, prior to Full Access, is incorporating a narrative component into its featuring of mythological elements. Given its multiplayer survival foundations, it certainly doesn’t need to match the efforts of God of War, but it could attempt to improve its world-building by utilizing other elements to enforce the gravity of its Norse mythology, such as unique runestones. Valheim has yet to announce the conclusion of its early access period, though fans are hopeful that it will come by the end of 2023.
Valheim is available now in early access for PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.
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