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The best quality-of-life features in Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

It’s the details that count 

An image of Link soaring through the sky on a Zonai glider. He’s crouching and a big blue sky filled with floating islands is in the background. Image: Nintendo EPD/Nintendo
Ana Diaz (she/her) is a culture writer at Polygon, covering internet culture, fandom, and video games. Her work has previously appeared at NPR, Wired, and The Verge.

Although The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is a sequel based in the same world as Breath of the Wild, Link’s adventures feel considerably different this time around. He has loads of new areas to explore, new weapons and items to collect, and even a new set of powers that allows him to build machines to help him navigate Hyrule.

Outside the hype of all the biggest changes, Tears of the Kingdom brings a handful of less obvious, but still important, changes in the form of quality-of-life fixes. From better menu features to being able to cook anywhere, here are five great quality-of-life changes introduced in Tears of the Kingdom.

You can swap out items from a chest

An image of a bow select screen in Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. The pop-up menu shows an option to drop a bow. Image: Nintendo EPD/Nintendo via Polygon

When Link opens a chest, the item screen gives you the option to swap out the loot in the chest with an item with your inventory immediately if your inventory is full. In Breath of the Wild, you would have to close the chest, go drop an item, and then open the chest again if you wanted the item inside. It’s a small change, but I appreciated it because my inventory is generally full, and it saves the hassle of reopening the chest.

You can sort materials by how often you use them

An image of the pop-up menu for items you can attach to an arrow. On the left the menu allows the player to sort by which item is most used. Image: Nintendo EPD/Nintendo via Polygon

Throughout your travels in Hyrule, you will amass a large collection of items, even early on in your journey. In Breath of the Wild, you can collect roughly 220 types of items and weapons alone. Safe to say, you’ll be dealing with a lot of options between different items in Tears of the Kingdom.

While sifting through dozens of items could make it nearly impossible to find the correct item to Fuse to a weapon on the fly or throw, the developers have given us a shortcut. While you are in the pop-up screen for items, you can sort the list in three ways: how often you use an item, its Fuse attack power, or by type. My personal favorite is sorting it by most used. That way, commonly used items, like brightbloom seeds, don’t get lost in the shuffle.

You can drop weapons from the quick-change weapon screen

An image of a pop-up screen in Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom that allows you to switch which weapon is equipped. Below the item, there’s an option to drop the selected weapon. Image: Nintendo EPD/Nintendo via Polygon

A lot of the combat situations in Tears of the Kingdom require quick thinking. The developers have given players an easy way to drop unwanted weapons while running around. You can now drop weapons, bows, and shields directly from the quick-equip menu that allows you to change weapons. That way, if you want to ditch a weak or degraded weapon, you can do that and scoop up a stronger weapon on the battlefield.

We have recipes for dishes now

An image that shows a selection of recipes in Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. One recipe shows a recipe for a meat and mushroom skewer dish that requires meat and two Hylian mushrooms. Image: Nintendo EPD/Nintendo via Polygon

Tears of the Kingdom now has recipes so you don’t need to look up a list of ingredients online to cook a specific elixir or meal. To unlock a recipe all you need to do is cook a dish once. After you do that, you can go to the materials inventory, select an ingredient, and choose “select for recipe” to view what you need to make a dish.

Portable cooking pots

An image of an item screen showing the Zonai Portable Pot. It’s used for cooking and can be used to cook a meal while out adventuring. Image: Nintendo EPD/Nintendo via Polygon

Out of all the wonders of Zonai technology, the best is arguably the portable pot. You can use it to cook anywhere and you don’t even need to set up a fire. Each portable pot can only be used once, but they’re easy to get. (I got loads of them after using a Device Dispenser, the name for the Zonai gachapon machine, on the starting island.) It’s a huge quality-of-life fix that allows you to whip up a few meals to carry you through a tough fight on the fly.

The next level of puzzles.

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