As I cast my fishing line into the ocean in Assassin's Creed Valhalla, I look out over the horizon and admire the snowy peaks of Norway. The soothing sound of the waves rocks me into a feeling of calm, and I soak up the peaceful atmosphere of the moment. Then I feel the telltale rumble through my controller as a fish takes the bait – even as I begin to reel in my prize, I can't help but take in the scenic views of the world around me. Lately, I've been completely hooked on fishing. In this world of pillaging, raiding, and stealthy assassinations, I've hung up my axe for a fishing line and I've been loving every second of it. Essentially, I've found a new way to get some relaxation by transforming Assassin's Creed Valhalla into my very own little fishing sim.
But with all of the fishing sims out there, why did I choose Valhalla? Surely I could just as easily dip into games like Stardew Valley or Animal Crossing: New Horizons to get my fishing fix, right? Well, there are some game worlds you just keep coming back to, and even after finishing the main story and the recent Assassin's Creed Valhalla: Wrath of the Druids expansion, I still found myself wanting to return. Fortunately, there is still plenty left in the world for me to do and discover – guided by the achievements I'm still yet to collect. Little did I know that my little trophy hunting session would turn into a full-blown fishing expedition.
Not FIN-ished yet
Initially, I was caught by the idea of earning the Good Catch trophy, which requires you to reel in at least one of each kind of fish that can be found in the regions of both England and Norway. So, with my raiding days behind me (for now), I venture out to catch the remaining fish I need to complete my collection and bag myself that all-important achievement. As you may already know if you've journeyed through Eivor's adventure, merchants helpfully sell you lists with the general locations of where you can find all of the different types of fish. With all the parts of Fantastic Fish and Where to Find Them in my possession, I journey to the cold climbs of Norway to try and find an Arctic Char.
The fishing in Valhalla is certainly not the best I've ever tried when it comes to fishing in games. While it is quite straightforward, the mechanics can be a little finicky at times. Occasionally, it doesn't seem very responsive to my directional inputs and a fish will pull on the rope and then awkwardly proceed to snag along the shore nearby until it eventually ends up in Eivor's hands. For the most part, it's a breeze... and if I'm being entirely honest, the actual act of fishing comes second to the serene feeling it instills me as I do it.
When I eventually locate a big Arctic Char swimming beneath the surface, for example, I'm surrounded by the soft, gentle sound of boats swaying on the still waters nearby. As I wait for a fish to take the bait, I'm presented with a pocket of time to really appreciate the beautifully rendered landscapes of Valhalla. In the distance, misty mountain peaks frame the skies, and crisp, white snow blankets the ground. Everything feels so still and calm. There's no fighting, or the loud clashing of weapons here to distract. In this moment, Eivor is simply fishing and I'm right there with them. There's something quite meditative about it all, and in a sense, it takes me away from the noise of my own life and the worries of my own mind – I can just focus on catching a fish and enjoying the views of the beautiful vistas.
As someone who has a penchant for taking eye-catching screenshots in games, fishing also gives me the chance to really make the most of the photo mode in Valhalla. I've lost count of how much time I while away attempting to frame up artistic shots of Eivor holding a prize catch, or trying to angle an underwater shot to get a close-up of a fish. The many screenshots that fill up space on my console have become a fun little album of memories from my great fishing expedition.
Over the years, I've always been quite partial to a spot of fishing in the world of games. From successfully reeling in a gigantic catch as Noctis in Final Fantasy 15, to most recently searching for legendary fish in Red Dead Redemption 2, and spending far too long trying to complete my aquarium by catching all of the Animal Crossing: New Horizons fish, I really have fallen in love with it as a side activity in all manner of virtual worlds.
As much as I enjoy all that Assassin's Creed Valhalla has to offer, turning it into a fishing sim adventure gave me some much-needed reprieve from my day-to-day stresses. And even after I hear the satisfying ping of the trophy when I catch the last fish I need to earn the achievement, I throw the fishing line back into the water and continue to enjoy a little bit of calm.
If you're trying to catch all of the fish, be sure to check out our handy Assassin's Creed Valhalla fishing guide.
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