My time with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (read the review) is mostly about trying to do something and then freaking out when I realize it’s possible. Like … if an enemy has the body of a horse, I could probably ride it, right?
That idea that I could mount a lynel, a creature with the head of a lion, the torso of a man and legs of a horse one, in the overworld of Breath of the Wild, didn’t occur to me until I was in the middle of fighting one. And this was one of the tougher white-maned lynels out in the freezing northern wilderness of Hyrule, so I was focusing on staying alive and knocking his health down to zero. But something clicked the second or third time I nailed a headshot on the half-lion-half-horse creature. After he collapsed down onto all four knees, I thought, “It looks like I could climb on his back.”
Now, deciding to get cute in the middle of a fight in this new Zelda is typically an easy way to get yourself killed, but I still wanted to see if it was possible. You can see the moment in the video above at around the 6:15 mark when I rush to the side of the lynel’s crumpled body. At first, I didn’t think it would work, so I decided to start swinging again in an effort to not waste an opening on the monstrous beast — but the second I started hacking away, a prompt popped up that read “Mount” alongside the A button.
The lynel stood up and charged me once again, but this time I was prepared. I peppered him with some shock arrows that failed to get in his eyes, but my next shot stunned him once again. As he fell, I held sprint and directed Link right up to the side of the miniboss. I hit A to mount, and I was on the lynel’s back. Unfortunately, I couldn’t then tame him and take him to a stable and name him Lynel Richie … but Nintendo should know I would pay money for that opportunity. Instead, I could beat my blade against the back of his neck repeatedly for major damage.
And that is Zelda. It’s a game that enables you to take actions on almost any flash of insight. Sometimes that’s because the systems are so robust that they can support experimentation, like dropping a metal sword on an enemy while he sleeps:
And sometimes it’s because the developers knew you’d want to ride a half-lion-half-horse man, and they programmed that in.