Questions regarding the performance of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild have been abundant in the weeks leading up the Nintendo Switch’s launch, and now that both are out, the good folks at Digital Foundry are breaking it all down.
DF recently did a side-by-side test of Breath of the Wild running on a Switch in the docked and undocked modes, and the results are somewhat unexpected. Check it out below.
So, some important context here: when the console is docked and hooked up to an HD television, the game is automatically scaled up to 900p from the native 720p that the Switch’s tablet screen runs at. This means that in docked mode, the game is inherently being pushed harder graphically.
This helps to explain the results of this test, which show a slight difference in rendering distances and effects between the versions. In docked mode, you’ll see more robust clouds and distance mountains.
It also explains the disparity in frame rate in docked mode, which, according to this test, is a much bigger factor. As a result of the higher resolution, the test saw more frequent frame rate drops (often dropping below 20fps) when performing combat and loading new areas. The undocked version, with its less demanding visuals, was far more consistent in its locked 30fps.