Tears of the Kingdom’s Fuse Ability Is One of Zelda’s Best (and Funniest) Features Ever

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At the very least, many fused items are bound to make gamers burst out laughing (I know I did). Other Zelda fans were certainly quick to pick up on the pure comedy potential of this feature.

However, think of the potential utility of that ability. Thanks to Aonuma, I now know that I can significantly alter arrows by fusing them with enemy materials, but what happens if you combine a boomerang with a Keese eye? Can you turn a sword into a fire-element weapon by combining it with Red Chuchu Jelly? Fuse is the closest the Legend of Zelda franchise has ever gotten to a full-scale item or weapon crafting system, and the possibilities look as freeform as the rest of Tears of the Kingdom. However, the uses of Fuse apparently might not end there.

Let’s address the Divine Beast Vah Ruta in the room: Tears of the Kingdom still has weapon durability. Yes, the worst (or most divisive) feature of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will transfer over to its sequel and probably be that game’s worst feature as well. However, judging by the gameplay demonstration, Fuse will act as a counterbalance to the durability mechanic since it can seemingly repair weapons (at least partially). Sure, players will still probably have to (or want to) collect new weapons to replace worn-out ones or experiment with new combinations. But, if Fuse works the way it seems to, players can keep their favorite blades alive nigh-indefinitely by continually combining the base weapon with a new random item now and then.

Granted, that is just a theory, and Nintendo might implement checks and balances to keep things like that from happening. Maybe certain items can’t be fused, or maybe fusing only holds off weapon degradation for a brief time. Moreover, Fuse could act as an excuse to include fewer weapons in Tears of the Kingdom. If players can turn regular arrows into elemental bolts depending on the flavor of ChuChu Jelly slathered on top, what need does the game have for merchants that sell Fire, Ice, or Shock Arrows?

While the concept of Ultrahand doesn’t excite me (or make me laugh) quite as much as Fuse, I freely admit Ultrahand has as much potential. I’m sure you’ve seen videos of clever Breath of the Wild players turning rafts into airboats with nothing more than a Korok Leaf, the Stasis ability, and several armfuls of Octo Balloons. Well, Ultrahand is an expanded version of that same basic concept. What you can create is potentially only limited by the materials available and your imagination. No longer will players who never completed the Champion’s Ballad DLC (or didn’t buy it) feel like they are missing out on the Master Cycle.

As with the Fuse ability, much of Ultrahand’s potential is strangely amplified by the showcase of those canned examples and a general lack of information. Aonuma showed two examples of rafts, both of which used turbines, and he explicitly stated that the buggy and flying contraptions from previous trailers were created with the Ultrahand. However, will that system let players craft any vehicle of any size, or will underlying systems limit potential creations to wide platforms that Link can stand on (thereby restricting anything as thin as the Master Cycle)? Will Tears of the Kingdom’s game engine even be able to support everything players think of without dropping frames? Most importantly, what about horses? Trailers have shown Link riding around on horseback, yet Ultrahand emphasizes the ability to craft any medieval vehicle or structure players can imagine. Will each method of travel include pros and cons, or will Ultrahand vehicles make horses obsolete? So much of the excitement surrounding this game right now is based on not knowing exactly how these things will work.

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