Saturday March 04, 2017

Zelda on Switch Runs More Smoothly in Portable Mode

Maybe I am the only one who is surprised by this, but Zelda: Breath of the Wild plays better when the game is running in the Switch’s portable mode. Throughout the whole Switch saga, one obvious fact was that console mode would give you more power, but it never crossed my mind that developers, especially Nintendo themselves, would allow a bump in resolution and call it a day without further tweaks. I wonder how true it is that the newest Zelda is better than all previous titles, including A Link to the Past and Ocarina of Time...

In terms of performance, it's immediately clear to the naked eye that the docked Zelda stutters in places where the mobile experience does not - and to confirm this, we manually counted frames by eye based on our camera shots to ensure accuracy in producing the performance test below. It's really easy to isolate this issue as it occurs frequently in the open world, right from the beginning of the game. In some places, we see the smooth 30fps update while docked drop down to a momentary 20fps - confirming a basic double-buffer v-sync implementation.