The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is a monumental game. It unleashes player creativity with Ultrahand and Fuse, features three vast open worlds for players to explore, and still tells a rich and enthralling story that expands the mythology of The Legend of Zelda series. Still, no game is perfect. While Tears of the Kingdom will likely go down as my game of the year for 2023 and potentially one of my favorite games ever, there are still a few things that the game could do better.
And no, I’m not talking about removing weapon degradation. After spending hours upon hours with Tears of the Kingdom, some user experience quirks became more annoying and noticeable. None of them are game-breaking, but they are still areas where Nintendo can stand to improve as it updates and expand upon Tears of the Kingdom or potentially do another game in this style. Here’s what I hope to see change to make this version of Zelda an even smoother and more seamless experience.
Ultrahand is a revelation for Tears of the Kingdom that allows players to create some really creative things and solve puzzles in any way their minds can imagine. That said, one aspect of its controls still baffles me: the only way to “Unstick” objects stuck to each other is by moving the right stick back and forth or shaking a Joy-Con remote. It’s a bafflingly clunky way to do things for what is otherwise such a delicate and precise building system.
Both control styles cause accessibility issues, and on top of that can feel a bit finicky and completely change the balance of an Ultrahand build that you’re trying to disconnect from. I’m not quite sure why Nintendo relegated this to the right stick and motion controls, but I would love to see an update in the future that allows players to disconnect Ultrahand objects from each other at the press of a button or two.
One of the most critical uses of the Fuse system is fusing items you pick up with arrows. These can do anything from simply increasing the power of a shot to adding new abilities like homing to have elemental effects. The further I got into the game, though, the harder it got to sort through the material carousel to find the things that I actually want to fuse to my arrows. Right now, the best option is to sort fusible items by “Most Used,” but even that occasionally has its limits if you run out of an item or would like to test something new.
I understand that, like with weapon degradation, the menu is likely structured this way so players are forced to experiment and fuse items they might not normally want to. Still, as Link’s inventory balloons, the more players explore and collect, it can become a slog to scroll through all available materials to find the most effective items to fuse. The most obvious solution to this problem would be letting players pin specific fuse materials to the front of that carousel or creating a dedicated “favorites” menu for fusible materials that players can assign certain items to. While this would only save a couple of seconds, it’d make the process much smoother.
In both Breath of the Wild and Tears of the Kingdom, players are encouraged to change outfits to help them deal with the elements. It not only ensures players must engage with the game’s gear system and can point lost players toward certain quests, which will reward them with that gear. That said, once the gear is in hand, it can be a bit of a hassle to equip an entire armor set all at once, even with the option to sort by set, as each piece of gear must be equipped individually.
Of course, this should still be an option, as players being able to mix and match gear sets is part of the massive amount of freedom these recent The Legend of Zelda games provide. That said, having the option to equip the entire Froggy set in the rain or the entire Snowquill set when the temperature drops at once would be a slight quality-of-life improvement that would allow players to spend less time in menus and more time enjoying the fantastic game. In general, all of the Tears of the Kingdom’s issues are smaller user interface-related issues like this that really only rear their heads once someone spends a ton of time playing. Despite these pain points, Tears of the Kingdom is still an utterly fantastic game that we recommend you all experience, even if a few small things can sometimes be frustrating.
The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is available now for Nintendo Switch.
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