Lurking out in the fields and forests of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla are immensely powerful beasts. The kind of animals that people tell stories about. Dangerous, killer monsters that only a hardy, brave, and perhaps foolish warrior could...Oh wait, never mind. It got stuck in the ground like an idiot.
Since wrapping up the main story of Valhalla and writing the review, I’ve spent my time in the game running around and completing side-quests and collecting hidden gear. Effectively, I’m just crossing stuff off a big checklist, but it’s a pretty checklist and I’m having a good time doing it. Recently, I decided to start taking out the legendary animals that dot the map. My target last night was a large bear, The Beast of the Hills. According to a guide, it’s a bit tricky to find, as the bear only appears during the day in his underground hideout. It also mentions having to find some blood and track it back to the lair.
Or, you can do what I did. I just fast-traveled near the spot, ran toward it, and in the middle of a fight with some random enemies, found the bear stuck in the ground performing a strange dance move.
I’m not sure what happened. In the moment, I didn’t even realize that I was looking at the legendary Beast of the Hills. I assumed it was just a random bear that’d been walking around, got stuck, and was now going to be killed in an undignified manner. Only after I started attacking it did I realize that this was indeed the bear of legend. A lot of questions popped into my head. How did it get up here? Why was it dancing? And should I even kill the poor creature while it shook what its mama bear gave it?
Normally legendary animals are dangerous enemies that can easily kill the unprepared, or even hardened warriors who make a few mistakes. So being able to cop an easy kill would be a nice way to save some time and effort.
But was it right? It didn’t feel right. I decided to hit it with my ax a few times to see if I could free it, at which point we could have a proper fight. A few ginger chops later it unlodged from its odd placement in the ground and stood on all fours like a normal, unnaturally giant bear should. I waited for its attack, but none came. A few moments passed. I hit it again, thinking perhaps it needed some encouragement to aggro after being stuck in spacetime for who knows how long. But even a generous serving of thwacks failed to move the magnificent beast to violence. So I slaughtered it where it stood.
I felt bad, but also worried that if I didn’t kill it then it might get stuck somewhere else and I would never be able to find it again. You know how bears are. Then, after I’d laboriously completed every other checklist in this obscenely long game, I’d be left with one lone legendary animal out in the world, making it impossible to officially 100% Valhalla. (Something which I’ll technically never do because the fishing in this game sucks, but focus on the principle here.)
Strangely, killing it yielded nothing: no reward or “mission complete” pop-up. Uh oh! Did I just break the game? Was this karmic justice? I decided to go into the bear’s lair, as it was still marked on the map. Perhaps the bear would respawn, angry about its first death. But instead, once I entered the underground area the game gave me the kill, some rewards, and crossed it off the map.
A sad death for such a noble creature. I suppose it died like it lived, dancing in the hills. I don’t regret what I did, but I do feel a little bad. Sometimes I wonder...am I the real monster? The true legendary beast? Anyway, something to chew on while I go kill the rest of these furry bastards.