The art of fishing in a computer game takes some practice. While many games claim to include such a mechanic, only a select few are able to pull it off successfully. In the previous few years, I can’t recall a single fishing mini-game that I’ve enjoyed. Pokémon? Embarrassing and time-consuming. A Tale of Three Houses in the Fire Emblem series? Zzzzz. Hades? An otherwise flawless Roguelike with only one minor flaw:
If you’ve ever tried fishing in a Ubisoft map game, you’ll know how frustrating it can be, especially if you don’t have the patience to do so. Assassin’s Creed Valhalla required players to play through a frustrating mini-game before proceeding in the main storyline, which was introduced in 2013. Far Cry 6 gave me a side quest to catch some fish ‘to chill out,’ as if that were the only reason anyone played the game. To my surprise, I received a call from the quest’s giver every 15 minutes or so to come back and complete the mission. To finally get the quack to quiet up, I watched a number of video lessons.
If you wait long enough, you’ll occasionally acquire a salty cooking ingredient if you hurl weak strings at the water in an attempt to win the game’s five-year anniversary edition mini-game. Even though I hadn’t played Skyrim in a long time, I couldn’t help but wonder. Maybe this will be the one to convince me to reconsider my long-held views.
Fisherman’s instructions for Skyrim
To put things in perspective: Fish have always existed in Skyrim, but the fishing mini-game was just introduced at this year’s Quakecon. Furthermore, fishing in Skyrim does not require the brand-new Anniversary Edition released this week. As one of the game’s most noteworthy additions, along with a survivor mode, it’s included in that, but it’s also available as a free add-on to the 2016 Special Edition (around two dozen GB, at least on Xbox). An in-game storefront for microtransactions is included as one of four free mods from the “creation club” in this game. The latest version of your game should be installed automatically if you’re playing on Xbox, at least.
You’ll need a fishing pole before you can catch any fish. The Guardian Stones and Riverwood are right across the river from a similar one (damage: 4, weight: 3, value: 10) that washed up on a nearby shore. Next to a makeshift camp, you’ll find it leaned up against a boulder.
What happened? It’s also possible to make one yourself. Go to any blacksmith’s shop. At the entrance to Riverwood, there’s a (bonus) fishing place in the vicinity. You can get a new fishing rod for just one iron ingot and one piece of firewood, a seemingly common resource that I had a hard time finding today.
In Skyrim, you can’t just go fishing at whatever piece of water you come across. The ‘fishing supplies,’ which are really boxes of bait, must be found in predefined locations. The fishing mini-game is activated when you interact with those. (You can locate one on the beach next to the fishing pole.)
So, is Skyrim’s fishing fun?
There is very little reel involvement in Skyrim’s fishing, which is more or less the same as the basic fishing mini-games. Once you’ve cast your first line, you’re ready to go. When your fishing pole rattles, you press A to reel in the fish you’ve caught. It’s done. You have no choice but to keep the rod in the same place. There’s no way to pick and choose which kind of bait you want. A more expensive fishing pole, on the other hand, appears to increase your odds of catching a fish. It’s a far cry from what you’d expect from a game like Skyrim.
The third-person perspective is also unavailable. Catman, my khajiit, will have to remain a mystery to you for the time being.
Skyrim is without a doubt one of the most influential role-playing games of all time, and for good reason. To be honest, even an hour spent playing about with this fus hite stupid feature had me feeling nostalgic about how great this game is. A stomach-churning realization that I’ll have to spend another 100 hours playing through the game swiftly followed. As a work of art, Skyrim manages to cram an incredible amount of content into a single game without ever feeling overstuffed or losing sight of the game’s setting. A letdown that one of the year’s highlights is a mini-game requiring you to click a button at precisely the right moment. Fishing, on the other hand, is as thin as horse armor.
It wasn’t perfect, but I still gave it a chance. For some reason, when I caught a spadefish, someone advised me that I should head all the way up to Riften and take on the task “Angler Acquaintances.” On this save file, I haven’t yet been to Riften (and probably won’t for a while). River Betty and other fish with names were among the species I caught. The fish I caught was referred to as a pogfish, which I’m pretty sure is an online joke I missed.
After that, I caught a pair of leather boots. That’s a baited hook.