Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is a big game with a lot of side-quests and optional activities. Most of these are good and enjoyable. But then there’s all the bullshit related to fishing, which may in fact be the worst part of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla.
You get the ability to fish fairly early in the game, which is at first a nice way to make a bit of extra pocket change. But soon you’ll be rolling in money and kingdoms to take over and fishing will be the last thing on your mind. You may even forget about it entirely. Like I did. But then, after I had wrapped up the main story, I began sweeping through the map, cleaning up all the random side bits and bobs I had missed. Like the fishing challenges. Oh god, the fucking fishing challenges.
Fishing in Valhalla isn’t especially bad, but it is very boring and time-consuming. You tie your bait to a rope, toss it into the water, and then wait for a fish to bite. While you do this, you can think about all the fun you could be having in this game doing literally anything else. This is a game that lets you ride around England on a giant wolf. (I would never ride the wolf. But I can understand its appeal.) You can also go explore far-off parts of the world. Or go talk to the now-famous Assassin’s Creed character Axehead. But instead of doing any of that fun, cool, exciting stuff, you’ve decided to go fishing so you can clear some challenge icons off your map.
And oh boy, are the challenges annoying. Scattered across the world of Valhalla are small monuments where you can donate different items. Sometimes these donation quests will ask you to bring back some silver or iron. Easy enough. But two of them require you to bring back a precise number of specific fish. Not just five bass or 10 perch. But you have to bring back fish that are not just the correct species, but the correct size. Now there are online guides and in-game notes that tell you where to find given species. But there’s no guarantee you’ll get the size you want. And just because a fish is supposed to be located in a particular area doesn’t mean you’ll get that fish each time you cast your big ‘ole rope into the water. And by the way, after you catch three or so fish in a given area you have to paddle your boat further down the river a bit or the game seems to stop spawning fish. Which is great and not frustrating at all.
Don’t worry, if you complete those donation quests, there are even more fishy challenges waiting for you back at your settlement. At your fishing shack, run by an annoying kid, you’ll find a ton of challenges for you to complete that all involve catching fish. Some of these only ask for a few fish. Others want you to bring back enough fish to cover a lunch rush at Red Lobster. And what’s the reward for all your hard work? You get…a sail. I also hope you like hearing an annoying NPC talk a bunch, because each time you hover over a fish in the challenges menu, the kid yells out some line about how rare it is or how they haven’t caught one of those yet. Kid, the more I talk to you the more it seems like you and your family are bad at fishing. You haven’t caught anything.
I had hoped to maybe complete everything in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. But that means a lot of fishing. I just don’t know if I can do it. Maybe I’ll take a week off of work and just lock myself in my office and finally get all the fish I need to complete all these dumb challenges.
Or I could play something else. Think I’ll just do that.