Much like Twilight Princess before it, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a multi-platform, Nintendo specific release, in this case available on both Wii U and the newly released Nintendo Switch. Because of that, many gamers might be wondering if there are any major differences between the two versions of Zelda, or more specifically, how the Wii U version compares to the Switch version.
As one might expect, there are some differences between The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on Wii U versus the Switch version, but they aren’t as pronounced. The Switch version can run better, but there are also areas where the Wii U version outperforms its successor.
According to Digital Foundry's tests, both games are capped at 30fps and they both appear to have a hard lock of 20 fps any time the game dips in performance. However, where the Switch sometimes struggles, the Wii U performs just fine, and vice versa.
It’s an interesting conundrum, and the explanation is likely more complicated than any gamer would care to get into. Basically, it sounds as though Nintendo optimized the Switch version and the Wii U version separately, highlighting certain areas on one platform while highlighters different areas on the other.
Of course, the real comparison test for the Wii U and Switch versions of Zelda: Breath of the Wild comes down to the visuals, and as expected Switch is the leader. At least that’s true when the Switch is connected to a television, where the console delivers Zelda at 900p compared to the Wii U’s 720p. In handheld mode, however, they both run at a resolution of 720p.
Overall, the image on the Switch version is crisper and clearer thanks to a 56% increase in pixel density. Digital Foundry notes that neither version has particularly great antialiasing, but concedes that the Switch version will offer the greater detail and draw distance to Breath of the Wild players.
That being said, it doesn’t appear as though Wii U players will be getting a bad experience, or even a significantly compromised experience, while playing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. This should as a relief, as some might be concerned about investing $300 in a console just to play Zelda. It may be one of the most anticipated games of 2017 and one of the best reviewed games, but if it runs just fine on a current platform then that eases some of the pressure to upgrade.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is out now for Switch and Wii U.
Source: Digital Foundry