Nine Things To Do If You Can't Play Zelda

Like many of you, I failed to order a Switch and instead spent the weekend kicking myself because I couldn't play Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. While the weekend only lasted the usual 48 hours, it felt like 10,000 hours, making me an expert on this subject. I am, therefore, authorised to give you some tips.

Play a different game

This one might seem obvious, but when social media is exploding with enthusiasm for a thing you can't have, it can be hard to get excited about, well, anything else. Let's not forget, though, that it's already been an incredible year for games. Just off the top of my head, we have Horizon: Zero Dawn, Torment: Tides of Numenera, Yakuza 0, Night in the Woods, Nioh, For Honor and Resident Evil 7. Sure, none of those are "the best Zelda game to date" according to Kotaku's Jason Schreier, but they're all Really Damn Good according to people who aren't Kotaku's Jason Schreier (and some who are).

Go for a walk

OK, so maybe playing other games just makes you feel even worse about the fact that Breath of the Wild is, to you, like a star-crossed lover in the hands of another. Good news, though: You have options. For instance, you can go for a walk. It's autumn at this point — or a hellish mix of ruinous summer and suffocating winter, thanks to global warming — so just take it all in.

The birds chirp, the breeze sings and you're CERTAINLY not thinking about Zelda, seeing it in every blade of grass and each conspicuously placed clay pot in your path. Your mind is serene, like a fairy shrine or a Zora cove or the second childhood that was stolen from you when Nintendo didn't manufacture enough Switch units.

Ignore the resentment, it will pass

Oh great, some fucker is walking down the street with their brand new Switch, like they're putting on a damn parade. They might appear to be quietly minding their own business, but you know they're flaunting it. You are rightfully disgusted. Now they're taking out their phone to tweet about it, and they refuse to stop, even though you're screaming at them from across the street, rivulets of perfectly reasonable saliva streaming down your chin and neck.

OK, just breathe deep. Be cool. Everything's fine. Do finger guns at them to let them know you're cool and everything's fine. Smile through gritted teeth. Smile harder! Beam at them. This isn't weird! It's their fault for thinking it's weird to despise someone from the bottom of your heart for owning a game console. What's their problem?

Buy a horse

Did you know that people just sell horses? How crazy is that? And I mean, you're out and about anyway, so...

Now, some people might suspect that you're doing this because you keep seeing people post gifs of their goddamn dancing Zelda horses and you think that, somehow, purchasing a flesh-and-blood transportation mammal will patch up the hole in your heart. That's dumb. People buy horses all the time, and besides, the real reason you're buying a horse is because everybody you care about is playing Zelda, and you need a friend. That will show 'em! Now then, hop onto a horse that will bear your weight as well as your emotional burdens and continue having a perfectly normal and great day.

Find a sword

Can you believe that people just throw away swords sometimes? Now you can, seeing as you just found one while rooting around in somebody's garbage. It pairs well with the tunic you fashioned out of garbage bags and the broom you've named Not Zelda Because For The Last Time, That's Not What Any Of This Is About, Jeez.

Wait outside Target for days on end

Fact: Cool people with cool horses and cool swords hang out in Target parking lots — sometimes for days. At this point, it would be patently ridiculous if you did anything else. In a pinch, EB Games or JB Hi-Fi will do. It's your call, really. Just be chill and go with the flow, like you have been this whole time.

Slay the moblins

When was the last time you slept? Or drank water? The thoughts vanish from your mind almost as quickly as they enter, because moblins are attacking! You brandish your gleaming garbage blade, hacking away and shouting until your throat feels like splinters. The moblins emit a sort of metallic shrieking noise before turning tail and fleeing. The battle felt like it only lasted seconds, but you realise hours have passed. The moon is out, and soon, the wolves will be too. You recede into a forest of shopping carts to recuperate and plot your next move.

Fight Ganon

It's nearly sunrise, and you're startled out of your meditative state by an otherworldly roar. It is Ganon, king of lies and pigs. You know what you must do. Tears in your eyes, you bid farewell to Not Zelda Because For The Last Time, That's Not What Any Of This Is About, Jeez. It's time for one last battle, one more triumphant ride atop the horse you just realised you never named, even though you immediately and unquestioningly named a broom.

You charge. Ganon counters with a blinding light, as though he turned on his high beams. Dazed, you lose your balance and tumble from your loyal steed, who immediately peaces the fuck out. It's just you and Ganon now. Ganon slowly pulls forward, bringing his full immensity to bear. It's now or never. You lunge, striking like a demon at his arms and legs and belly and tyres and grill and trailer. You fall to one knee, blood and hope rapidly streaming from your wounds.

You realise, however, that your hand has come to rest atop something. You feel Not Zelda Because For The Last Time, That's Not What Any Of This Is About, Jeez, and she plants an idea in your mind. You summon all your remaining strength to roll beneath Ganon and shove Not Zelda Because For The Last Time, That's Not What Any Of This Is About, Jeez into his exposed undercarriage. Oil spills across your face and torso like hot rain.

Ganon halts, and you can't believe your eyes. Nintendo Switches come pouring out of a hole in his backside, as does a man. "Congratu-fuckin-lations!" the man yells, equal parts furious and fearful with what you can only interpret as unbridled joy. "Please, take whatever you want. Just don't hurt me."

Shuddering with anticipation, you hoist your new Switch high above your head. Lights flash, and victorious music chimes. You begin to suspect that those things might be coming from the police car that's pulled up behind you. "Sir," says a voice addressing you as the honourable Hyrulian knight that you are, "you are under arrest for — seriously? — swinging a sword in the general direction of a bunch of cars and, uh, really freaking people out."

Take up a hobby

There are plenty of healthy hobbies that can help take your mind off video games you may or may not have. For example, running. I recommend doing it now.


    Count down the 15 days til Mass Effect: Andromeda.

      This is a very good one for those who can't Zelda. :D I endorse this.

      I was going to write "Have a wank" but then I realised I can do that at the same time as waiting for Mass Effect.

    sit... play other games... be happy.... save an exorbitant amount of money and be glad you are not funding bad policies

    (dead pixel policy)

    Personally, I really don't think I'm missing out.

    I have my shiney switch.. and it's irking the heck out of me to get Epona you need to have the Smash Bros Link. Which is now impossible to find............... GRRRRRRRRRRRRR

      (Second attempt, because a ninja edit apparently put me into moderation:)
      Hey, you *could* have the amiibo, like I do, use it to get Epona, like I did, then not even know about stables or that it's a one time thing. So I have now missed my one shot to get Epona and am actually in a worse spot than you (well, until they hopefully patch in a second chance).

      Thanks, Aonuma.

        I purchased one online from Ebay. I hope. I think? Who knows. Hopefully it's actually what i purchased so get me EPONNNNAAAA!

    So glad I secured a Wii U for $200 + MK8 with that absurdly cheap Target bundle back in 2014. Unfortunately the days at work are longer when you're not at home playing Breath of the Wild.

      You pleb. Get a switch! Join the revolution. At work right now and it's on my desk. Sold my Wii U years ago because it was a piece of junk. Can confirm that both the Wii and the Wii U caused almost instant buyers regret on the day I brought them home. This is the first time in a long time I've bought a system and no buyers regret has sunk in.

      This system is sleek as F and sexy to boot. Went to melbs on the weekend and playing Zelda on the airplane was a surreal experience. Also HOW GOOD IS THIS DAMN GAME :O

        I was tempted, but why buy a Switch now when I can play the only game it has on the Wii U? I'll get the inevitable Switch v2 in a year or so, or whenever a new Donkey Kong is on the horizon.

        Funny, I've got instant buyer's regret over the Switch and am barely touching it because there's so much Wii U to be played instead. And this is the first time I've had buyer's regret over a Nintendo console :P

          One man's trash. I had my wii u for a few months before I had to sell it. Can't see myself selling this anytime soon as it's actually got some use that my beefy pc can't do (the mobility)

    I feel like I'm being gaslighted. Zelda looks painfully mediocre and yet it's getting praised to high heaven. Occam's razor is that I'm missing something and I'm wrong but nothing I've seen has impressed me in the slightest. Generic world, same-old open world mechanics, a weak aesthetic (under the guise of "artistic choice"), graphically fidelity that might've looked OK on a PS360. The technical issues alone (frame rates etc.) should be enough to disqualify it from getting a 10/10.

    I feel like I'm taking crazy pills here!

      Fine, it's graphics are not as good as the Witcher 3 and it has very occasional frame-rate drops... so give it a 9/10.

      Mechanically however, this is miles ahead of the competition. It's got the physics of something like Trine 1 or 2, but implemented in a full 3D world. The world design is actually interesting to explore rather than following the line on the mini-map to the next destination. The hills are not just invisible walls, but challenges that can be overcome (man I wish I had Link's climbing ability in Skellige).

      I was a skeptic going in. I was sure it was going to overreach and be a second-rate Ubisoft open world rip-off. Yet after a few days with it, it's consuming my thoughts (and the time when I should be sleeping) like nothing else in years.

      It feels more like an adventure than anything I've ever played before. I start going, um, that way, without a clue of what lies beyond the horizon. I know I'm missing loads of things along the way, yet they ultimately don't matter, because it's rarely the items that I'm searching for - it's the joy of the discovery itself.

      It also feels amazingly real, possibly because it's not trying to be photorealistic and failing. Everything behaves and interacts in delightful yet expected ways. e.g. last night I was sure that I'd found a glitch to keep me warm on the mountain tops. Nope, turns out it was because I had holstered a flaming sword and it was keeping me warm!

      Correct it DOES look mediocre and graphically there are heaps of games better than it. But like World of Warcraft, it has its own art style. Fair enough that isn't enough to make someone like it.

      However the open world is done impressively well. You climb better than Assassins creed ever could. You can cook and gather. Weather actually affects you unlike the gorgeous weather in the Witcher 3. The cooking mechanic is fun and weirdly addictive. Training to ride horses is just as involving as Red Dead Redemption and Black Desert.

      There is no limit to this game in terms of mechanics. If you can think it, you can probably do it. It does truly feel much more free than other open world games that usually close you off with invisible barriers that usually unlock as you progress.

      But once again, if the art style doesn't do anything for you. Fair enough. I was almost going to fall into that "over hyped" train as well, until i left the great plateau and the whole world scale really set upon me.

        So it's kind of a greater-than-the-sum-of-its-parts thing?

          Yeh I guess you could say that.

          I guess it was easy for me to distinguish the difference. Because I am playing Horizon Zero Dawn at the same time. Now you can't really compare two and two together, but I do anyway just for the hell of it in its open world aspects. Horizon hands down wipes the floor with Zelda no doubt about that. Nothing short of breathtaking when you see moon shine between the trees. Yet Zelda's own twilight has a sense of majesty as well. The moon rising above the cartoonish clouds giving a soft glow on its own cartoony grass. The scene is the same in context, yet there is a difference that I was craving while playing horizon after playing with Zelda.

          Horizon has fire flies too, but Zelda you can catch them. Horizon has grass, yet you can't chop it like you can in Zelda. You can't climb every tree you see in horizon, yet you can in Zelda. You can't chop the trees down, like you can in Zelda. Horizon has storms, yet the lightning just flashes, in Zelda the lightning cascades down and strikes a patch of grass and you can see it burst in flame. All these little differences that emerge from extended play helped me understand why Zelda was just overall a more perfect open world. Fruit growing on trees in Zelda, I can walk under it with a torch and slowly cook an apple hanging off it, hell I can just set the whole tree on fire (Far cry did the burning thing too so Zelda was definitely not the first). I can ram the tree and it will drop the fruit. Overall though Zelda appears more like a complete experience.

          Then of course they are both different games. But its the best way I can describe how I noticed the differences and why so many open worlds can't do what Zelda does. Not yet anyway.

          Now if I could have a Zelda with Horizon/Witcher graphics, I would say Zelda would be the absolute bomb. But once again, if you don't like cartoony graphics, and if you don't like Link or doing puzzle dungeons and are more action orientated and do not see the thing in collecting and picking up stuff(lots of it), then yes. Zelda will not be that great to that person. I honestly don't think any game can be 10/10 to be honest, too many different opinions out there. But Zelda is definitely 9+ in terms of overall grade at what it sets out to achieve.

    Generic world, same-old open world mechanics, a weak aesthetic

    Wrong. Just wrong.

      Thanks for that thoughtful rebuttal. I stand corrected.

        You sure you're looking at the same game everyone else is?

          You know what, I must be. Because there isn't a universe where the game I'm seeing can have a better Metacritic score than a transcendent masterpiece like The Last of Us.

            Last of Us is a fantastic interactive movie (which I've completed twice). Breath of the Wild is a fantastic game. The former makes me all tense and depressed while playing it, the latter makes me giddy with excitement. Ultimately I definitely prefer Zelda.

              This. I couldn't finish the last of us the game play was sooooo repetitive and boring. I enjoyed watching the cutscenes on YouTube though. I'm deliberately not looking at stuff for zelda as it's an exciting refreshing feel to be surprised by a game. Also a Nintendo game that doesn't hold your hand is a miracle in itself

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