How Fuse Solved Breath of the Wild’s Weapon Durability Problem

Published: May 21, 2023 12:00 PM /


Link Skydiving in The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

I always dreaded when my last reliable weapon started to flash red in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. I knew the good times were almost over, and I prayed that Link’s bottomless pockets had something else I could rely on. Now, in Tears of the Kingdom, I genuinely can’t wait for a weapon to break, because I’m usually excited to see what weird fusion I can make next.

Tears of the Kingdom holds more than 10 million Switches hostage (at the time of writing), and for many good reasons, one of which is the brand-new Fuse ability. It goes so well with the game’s weapon durability system that it makes peanut butter and jelly look like water and oil. It promotes experimentation, fosters ingenuity, encourages improvisation, and looks absolutely ridiculous.


It’s equal parts brilliant, silly, and charming, and it constantly changes the way you’ll play Tears of the Kingdom.

Link holding a minecart sword and rock shield in Tears of the Kingdom
Behold: Link's final form.

Possibilities Are Endless 

At its core, Fuse is a very simple ability, almost deceptively so. Instead of getting attached to your weapons, you attach the weirdest things you can find to it. You see that rock? You can stick it to the end of a branch. Now you have a hammer, which smashes through rocks. 

That core principle drives your next dozens of hours in Hyrule, but the ability is as versatile as it is simple. You can stick a spear to the end of another spear for longer reach, and it will almost look like a visual error. Does it look stupid? Obviously. Is it effective? More so than one spear. 


As you gather more weapons, you’ll come across some with a variety of special effects, like a spear that travels further when thrown. In Breath of the Wild, that sort of weapon felt a little useless to me; after all, I already have a bow. But now, I can attach an explosive barrel to the end of my throwing spear. It's effectively the same as a bomb arrow, sure, but it feels way cooler to use. This is just one of those cases where the rule of cool wins out.

Link shield surfing on a shield with a cart attached to it in Tears of the Kingdom
Does a cart attached to a shield make shield surfing better? I think so.

Don’t forget your shields, either. Wood boards and metal sheets give you a larger defensive surface area. If you’re a fan of shield surfing, there’s a lot you can attach to your shield to make zooming around even more silly or effective – sometimes both.

I haven’t even accounted for all the wild Zonai technology yet. Tears of the Kingdom introduces these new machines that can be applied in so many different ways, including fusions. Sticking a rocket on a weapon turns it into a sort of rocket-powered death machine, while a rocket shield gives you a makeshift Revali’s Gale, launching you high into the air. 


Link holding a rocket sword and shield with metal tiling in Tears of the Kingdom
Who needs a rocket punch when you have a rocket sword?

Broken Weapons? No Problem 

I’ve tried so many different weapon combinations in Tears of the Kingdom. They’ve been surprising, useless, effective, and mundane, and I’ve been excited to try every single one of them. That feeling has for the most part alleviated any annoyance I had for the weapon durability system. It wasn’t bad in Breath of the Wild, either; I always found another weapon around the corner that was at least decent. 

In the sequel though, it feels more exciting because I have more agency over my weapon. It’s not just that there’s a decent broadsword around the corner; it’s that there’s an abundance of objects I can fuse to my broadsword. Sure, this sounds like extra steps compared to its predecessor, but there’s a joy in going through those steps. Experimenting with weird stuff and finding a powerful combination really is its own reward. 


Even better, this new dynamic between fusion and weapon durability fits quite nicely into the overall narrative and atmosphere of Tears of the Kingdom. The Gloom has taken over, degrading gear and health bars all over Hyrule. Weapons are brittle, and you’ll commonly see wood-and-stone tools littered around the world.

Many weapons scattered around Hyrule do low or even single-digit damage, which stops being useful after your first few hours. Your resourcefulness and creativity make the difference between a cheap sword and a powerful bokoblin horn with a hilt. Even in the heat of battle, if a recently dropped horn is your ticket to more damage, you’ll take it. It’s unconventional, all things considered, but when good “normal” weapons are few and far between, you’ve got to make do. 

In Breath of the Wild, a broken weapon presents a problem. In Tears of the Kingdom, a broken weapon presents infinite possibilities. Fuse turned a pain point into an exciting opportunity, easily making it one of the best parts (of many) of this sequel. 

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Nintendo Switch
Release Date
May 12, 2023 (Calendar)
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