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The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild Wii U Versus Switch Impressions

by Kyle Hilliard on Mar 03, 2017 at 04:23 AM

We have spent a lot of time with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on Switch, and it’s a very good game. Though that version is getting the most attention, the title is also available today on Wii U. If you don’t want to invest in Nintendo’s new console, is Breath of the Wild worth picking up on Wii U?

We spent an hour and a half with the Wii U version of the game, playing through the beginning and entering the larger open world. After completing the tasks of the opening plateau, we headed southeast to a densely forested area where I encountered some minor slowdown on the Switch version in order to take a comparison. In this area of the map, the performance of the two games was as identical as my naked eye is capable of perceiving. I did notice some slowdown in the Wii U version that was not in the Switch version, like when I encountered a larger group of bokoblins in the opening area. The slowdown passed by quickly, and from my time on Wii U, did not appear to be a persistent problem. Applying assorted framerate trackers and direct side-by-side comparisons might deliver different results, but the the game still feels great based on my playtime.

The short answer to the big question is an optimistic one. If you aren’t interested in Switch, but are interested in Zelda, the Wii U version appears to be a perfectly acceptable way to enjoy Link’s new adventure. The game is structurally identical, plays well, and has no exclusive content in either iteration. Surprisingly, the Wii U version doesn’t even take advantage of the Game Pad screen to outsource item management or Link’s map – a feature that could have been a nice bonus for the Wii U version.

Watch us play the first 50 minutes of the Wii U version of Breath of the Wild.

The Switch version of the game has higher-quality audio and runs in 900p in TV mode, but the Wii U version’s audio is still good, and the 720p disparity is hard to notice. The game also benefits from an art style that excels without the need for extreme detail. The only time the visual difference is severe is when you take the game to Wii U’s gamepad screen and compare it to playing the Switch version in handheld mode. In this situation, the Switch version looks markedly better.

To reiterate the answer to the big question: Yes, the Wii U version of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild stands comfortably beside the Switch version. The game is better on Switch, but only marginally. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is fantastic, and all the important factors that made it a 10 in our review are intact in the Wii U version.

For more on the Wii U version of the game, watch us play the first 50 minutes of the game here. For our review of the Switch version of the game here.