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25 hours into The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, and I've achieved next to nothing

by: Eric -
More On: The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

I'm not certain how long it's going to take me to play to the end of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, but I'm starting to feel like that number is going to be "forever". I've been playing Tears of the Kingdom for between 25 and 30 hours, and after following along with the main quest line for long enough to get my paraglider, I've gone stomping off into the wilds, completely ignoring the game's gentle prompts to go do something useful. As a result, I've done a lot of playing around, made a bunch of wild stuff with Overhand, and have accomplished just about nothing of value.

Instead, I've been wandering this hills and forests aimlessly, solving shrine puzzles and finding stables. I chase anything on the horizon that captures my attention. I've been launching myself into the sky and beating up any dudes I happen to find up there. I've gone mountain climbing, sky-diving, and spelunking, and sometimes have gone mountain climbing while spelunking. I've gone hunting for birds, hunting for boars, and hunting for carrots. I've used that "jump off of stuff and duplicate your items" cheat to get rich, but not too rich. 

I've discovered a few dragon tears randomly, while wandering around on those pictogram things. I've delved down into the depths on missions to find bomb flowers, and ridden fallen rocks up into the sky to grind for power cores. I've taken on enemies that were far too powerful for my wimpy seven-heart-having self - and though I've been killed quite a few times, sometimes I've beaten them. 

What I haven't done is pursue any sort of quest. I'm not even really aware of what quests exist in my backlog. I'm sure that I've accidentally taken a few steps towards completing some story quests, but if I have, it was purely incidental. I've yet to visit a single major settlement in Hyrule; I don't know if I've even seen any of them in the distance. But I have gone zipping out along the islands along the East coast, and today I solved a shrine puzzle that had me playing Jenga with giant metal bars, which was a hoot. 

This is, of course, totally fine with me. I'm perfectly happy to go wherever the day takes me. Princess Zelda isn't going anywhere. She's a patient missing person, and she'll react exactly the same way if I find her tomorrow of if I rescue her in 2026. Still, this feeling is foreign to me. I've never really played a game in this manner before. I typically single-mindedly run from quest to quest, knocking down my to-do list with obsessive determination. But with Tears of the Kingdom, I'm content just to wander around fixing signs and relocating Koroks like some sort of Hyrulian hobo.

I'm sure that I will eventually focus up and start advancing the story on purpose, but for now, I'm perfectly happy to jump on my mediocre horse and ride off into the sunrise. I frankly don't care if I ever find the princess, and I bet that by the time I do, I'll be over-powered enough to just stomp through the story content. In the meantime, you can find me hanging out on some random sky island, gathering Sundilions and wondering vaguely how I can get out to that big Borg cube floating around. My Link is a chill dude, and he's bringing me along on his no-pressure tour.