After months of speculation, wondering if Nintendo Switch games would run better when docked on a television rather than taken portably, we’re about to get the ultimate M. Night Shyamalan ending. The Nintendo Switch’s biggest game, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, actually runs better with the console not docked to a television.
According to Digital Foundry, which ran its usual tests on a new game, the game has many hiccups when played on a television, but shrinking the resolution down to the Switch’s smaller screen clears up enough bandwidth and CPU power to help it run more optimally. It says that there is currently no way to record footage from the mobile screen, but even in off-camera footage, the differences were obvious.
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.
I was looking to play it portably, anyway
Well then, there goes all of the guessing we’ve done right out the window, and the Switch has only been available for three days! It’s not a console you can play portably, it’s a handheld you can plug into your TV. Some might not like that idea, but I have no problem with it. I’ve made no secret that the majority of my video gaming is done portably these days anyway, and I was planning to enjoy Breath of the Wild from various locations.
I guess this means I’ll be enjoying it optimally while playing it outside.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is available now for the Nintendo Switch and Wii U.