So, we've finally been able to share our full thoughts on The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening on Switch, and it's pretty safe to say we love it. Staying true to the original and being filled to the brim with charm, it really is yet another must-have for Switch owners.
As you'll already know if you've read our review, though, there are some technical issues weighing it down just ever so slightly. While it doesn't exactly ruin the experience, occasional slowdown does occur when too many enemies appear on-screen at once, resulting in some slightly wobbly moments where the game has to catch back up to its usual, buttery smooth performance.
So what's going on here, and how much of a problem does it really cause? Answering our nerdy needs are the folks over at Digital Foundry, who have shared a new video analysing the game's technical performance. As it happens, the vast majority of the game plays at a lovely 60fps - which is expected of major Nintendo releases these days - but, as Digital Foundry says, this causes any dips to feel more noticeable than usual, as any drops to 30fps feel pretty significant.
The video goes into much more than just your typical frame rate and resolution checks, however, so make sure to give it a watch if you're interested in learning about what helps to make the game tick under the hood. Plenty of wonderful design choices have been implemented here to make it feel as magical as possible.
Will you be getting the game tomorrow? Excited to get stuck in? Let us know in the comments.
[source youtube.com, via eurogamer.net]
Well they must be a problem, you docked a point for it...
It is possible to fix the framerate drop with a patch?
FPS between 30 - 60 fps is still tolerable for me since i have experienced with Dragon Quest Builders 1 Switch version on handheld mode. As long not below than 20 fps.
And because it's from Nintendo, it's a 60 bucks game and not 30 for this kind of game.
Remakes on Wii U costed 30.
Should we really consider a 9 a docked point. How many games are “perfection” I’ve not played a single 10 in my life.
@Geobros I'd imagine so, most other companies aim to fix framerates when they're a bit shaky at launch e.g. Control. Hopefully Nintendo release one in the coming days/weeks.
@m8e3point1415 If it isn't actually hampering gameplay then is it really a problem though? Especially with how brief these drops are. It's definitely unfortunate but the game isn't broken because of it. Passes have been given to games with far worse performance than this.
@Ventilator Those were remasters, mostly just a resolution increase, not a complete remake like this is.
@Stocksy Depends on the person. Maybe Doom, Zelda Twilight Princess, BioShock, Half-Life 2 or Crysis deserve a 10/10 but I also have difficulties rating some games. Fallout New Vegas or GTA4 would be easy 10/10s for me but due to launch issues, bugs, performance issues, I guess this wouldn't be justified. Like with so many other games.
Most of the time I don't notice frame drops in offline games. Never noticed it in BoTW even when others clearly had them. If the game dips like that though, I can't help but wonder why it is so. Too much of an upgrade for the game I guess.
Is it just me, or can you tell how confident Nintendo is about a game release by how much time there is between review embargo and release date?
Fire Emblem: 3 days.
Astral Chain 2 days.
Links Awakening: 1 day.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance: 9 hours before.
@Ventilator And what were those "remakes" you speak of? Can't be Twilight Princess or Wind Waker HD(remasters), those games were priced at $50.
@MrGawain same with all publishers
@MsJubilee exactly and they were far less work than this game. People are being super whiny with this game because they want it but don't want to pay new game price for it despite it being a new game.
If you have to make up history to justify your argument then your point is invalid
Switch2 Nintendo. Switch2.
That is all.
This looks lovely
Shouldnt have any frame rate problems...
@m8e3point1415 hi, ALttP and super Mario world both have massive frame drops and are considered perfect Nintendo games. Literally not an issue
@Peterjr1 I think most people's problem with the price is that it's a very short game. I'm not expecting 250 hours like with BOTW for every full priced game, but this game is only up to about 15 hours (£3 per hour) which is fine for single player games with additional multiplayer but I don't think the dungeon maker will cut it for replayability. For a lot of people it isn't a "new" game either, yes it is a complete remake rather than a remaster, but the story isn't new.
I saw a video from gamexplain saying that if you install the game in the nintendo switch internal memory that the game runs much more smoothly .
Personally I would have been happier paying a extra $100 for my switch and the games be able to run 1080p 60fps. It's not like these games are graphical giants.
@Galenmereth And I paid less for BOTW than the cheapest I can find for Link's Awakening. If it is down to the cost of making it then I have to question why Link's Awakening is more expensive when BOTW was a fully new game, much more complex and it gave me over 16 times more play time.
Does installing the game on the internal storage help the rate drops?
@BarefootBowser the better the framerate, the better the experience.
"The video goes into much more than just your typical frame rate and resolution checks"
You'd never know that based on the reporting of their videos. Based on that, I'd assume framerates is their sole focus.
@Big-Pepsi a lot of Nintendo fans take pride in being able to look past the graphics and focus on the gameplay. If you like good graphics then you to some are missing the point of gaming.
Im not missing anything, I'm the type of guy that still plays everything from the original NES to current gen so that was a very unnecessary thing of you to say.
Im just saying, they should optimize the game a bit more for the people that do have a problem with it, you're talkimg about graphics which is pixelation, framerate makes the game run smooth, not pixels.
Good game with good framerate is better game, wheather the game is good or not, a stable framerate should always be the priority, especially in a game like links awakening which isn't as power hungry as botw, astral chain, and deamon x machina.
Hope I didnt cause any beef, last thing I want is an argument on the second day I've been here
I have a question, was this game made with Unreal Engine 4? I mean...
Remember back in 2017 Grezzo was hiring UE-experienced staff to "make a Legend (2)"?
Frame drops are not acceptable, it's 2019, stable 60FPS should be a standart, not a luxury.
FPS is not graphics, it's gameplay, when a game runs below 60FPS, it means the developers sacrificed better gameplay to achieve better graphics.
There is no mention of Unreal Engine in the game's credits. It is not an Unreal game.
I feel like they should've locked it at 30fps. Then it wouldn't stutter like it does now. Solid 30fps > non-solid 60fps.
Oh man, the framerate dips a little below 60 on rare occasions in a single-player adventure game? What did the police say?
@m8e3point1415 Actually there are many, many examples of Nintendo games on NES, SNES, Game Boy, and N64 that had low framerates or very significant dips in framerate depending on the action or area. Nintendo is known for pushing the hardware they use certainly, but acting like framerate drops are new to Nintendo is just completely false.
60bucks for a remake. Nintendo quality. It should run smoothly. It's not like this is a complicated rockstar or cdpred open world game.
Yeah, doesn't seem like anything major. I'm sure people will freak out and act like it's unplayable though. Just be glad it's nowhere near as bad as Control's frame rate issues.
I'm amazed Nintendo fans even need new systems. They seem perfectly fine with past gen tech. Just pull out the GameCube and gameboy and call it a day. I may not be a fan of Microsoft of Sony games but I sure wish my Nintendo games at least looked relatively on par with them.
@Stocksy but 10/10 does not have to mean 'perfect'. It could just mean it's within the top, final 10% (90% to 100%)of games reviewed. That's always how I've viewed things as subjective as vg review scoring. 9/10 means it's within the top 20% this particular person has played, but not necessarily up to that very last top 10% (80-89%). Maybe number slaves won't like that, but whatever.
@Northwind 1/10 would be my hypothetical 1-10% range, while 0 would just be zero. Like a broken, completely unplayable, >unreviewable< game. Again, we're debating headcanons here. If you want 10/10 to = 100% go for it. But then you're eliminating a whole, usable/meaningful score range. To me 0/10 is less useful than 10/10 for a range. When was the last 0/10 you saw?
I don't care for the "blur" effect at the top and bottom of the screen. It's kind of annoying. Could have done without that and gave us a solid 60fps.
@Northwind and by number slave, I meant the kind of people who get triggered and throw a fit if a game gets a score they don't like or disagree with. Like, who cares?
It's a glorious game and I am loving it so far but man them frame drops are annoying.
@StraTTtheRipper I think that blur effect helped keep the framerate up. Not drop it down. It was hiding things not making things fancy.
@Kalmaro BOTW ran considerably worse on release than this seems to and that got a 10. Not sure why people think a 10 is synonymous with "flawless" on a website that clearly stipulates what 10 means next to the number.
@cryptologous That's a tad inconsistent though. They gave a 10 to one game despite it lagging.
Then on another game the only complaint is stuttering and it gets a 9.
@Kalmaro I don't get the idea you read my comment properly.
10 means "outstanding" on Nintendo Life. Not "flawless" or "technically perfect". Any reviewer worth their salt knows that using perfection as a metric on a macro level when assessing art isn't very useful. Interstellar is pretty much perfect by every quantifiable technical measure (visual fidelity, music, story pacing, cast, etc) yet the vast majority of film nerds would consider something like Primer, a film made with a shoestring $8000 budget by largely one man, to be considerably better in the SciFi genre. Is that inconsistency? Or is it remembering that the digit at the end of a review is a closing remark, not the objective capstone of every single detail of the review that precedes it?
the frame rate problems are a big issue, I hope it's the kind of thing that can be fixed with a patch. moving from one screen to the other also causes significant slow down , I'd say way worse than 30fps, probably nearer 20 maybe lower but just for a second or two. what I find so jarring about it is that it's going from 60 to these lows so its really noticable and you really feel it, a 30 fps game dropping to 20 doesnt interrupt gameplay/immersion nearly as bad imo. great game apart from that, even with all the pros and cons I wouldn't really put it any higher than like a 6 or 7 out of 10
“Are those frame rate drops really a problem?”
The frame rate drops are sketchy, but the edge blur effect is driving me mad!
The fps issues aren't just when there's a lot of enemies, it can happen as you're just walking around. It might be to do with loading new areas near to the one you're in.
As they say in the video, in docked it only runs at 720p when you're outside, 972p or so inside, yet plummets to 30fps even when you're just walking around. It feels worse than 30 though because of how jankily it's flitting between framerates. It's very poor that such a visually simple game has all these problems.
@m8e3point1415 OoT ran at 20fps at best, 2nd party N64 games like Goldeneye and Perfect Dark would drop to single digits. Starfox on the SNES was 19fps. I know they've had stuff that ran better but when their games run badly, boy are they awful. Oh, and XC2 has to drop as low as 330p in handheld and even then struggles to keep 30fps.
@sauce It regularly halves its framerate - even when nothing is happening - and only runs at 720p in docked. It's not like it rarely drops to 57fps. You should actually watch the video.
@MsJubilee Not in Europe. I paid 30 for each on release.
@infernogott Zelda Wind Waker were a big upgrade over GC version, and same for Zelda TPP. They also fixed all issues GC v ersion had, and improced it.
Zelda TPP were a mixed remaster and a remake.
As for new Zelda in article. It's the simplest Zelda ever remade.
It's much quicker to remake Zelda Link's Awakening than Wind Waker.
@Northwind I disagree with your maths. For me for example 8/10 is equivalent to 75-85%. 9/10- 85-95% and 10/10- 95-to maximum. This leaves plenty of scope for a non-perfect 10/10. Because it’s closer to 100% than 90%. But hey. It’s all subjective BS come the end of the day.
I am loving Zelda this morning (and GRID with GC pad!!) and I don’t care about dropping from 60FPS to 30FPS occasionally. The game is still FUN!
@cryptologous Hmmm? I read your comment, I don't think you understood my point.
The only complaint they had for the new. Zelda game was stuttering. They then gave the game a 9.
BotW had stuttering too but got a 10.
This seems inconsistent. The only way to make sense of this is if the pros of the new Zelda game just did not match up to the pros of BotW.
They never say that though and the current grading system makes it hard to tell. All we know is that they didn't like the stutter, marked it as the only real complaint and the end result is a 9.
Holy crap does the frame rate in Control take a dive. I’m about 4-5 hours into the game, I’ve unlocked 4 weapon frames by now, but now that the enemies that spawn are tougher and more frequently armored, the game is struggling.
I’m going to have to put it down until a patch is released as it’s just a major problem. I’m just glad I rented it from GameFly first.
Performance issues aside, I’m loving every minute of the game.
@Kalmaro The fact you bring up the pros not matching makes me feel you are intentionally ignoring my main points because that's exactly what I've been saying this whole time. Reviews don't start at 10 and then remove points if the game slips up. You could quite feasibly have a review with more cons than joys that gets a 9 and another review that gets zero cons and only joys getting 8'd. It isn't just about what the games get wrong.
The number at the bottom of the page, the joys, and the cons are not the review. The review is the review. I implore you to open both reviews up next to each other and really pay attention to the nuance in the wording.
The BOTW review is quite clearly heralding the game as potentially genre-defining, a "landmark release", a game in the running for the best game in the whole franchise, and something groundbreaking in the open-world scene.
The Link's Awakening review quite clearly recognises that the game was "one of" the greatest games in the Gameboy era (hell, Nintendo Life even has a 2009 review of the original Gameboy release giving it a 10/10), a technical marvel, praises it as "one of" the best games in the Zelda franchise, and praises it as a phenomenal remake.
Ignoring all technical details, that still feels to me like one game is a hell of a lot more deserving of a 10 than the other. Do you honestly think stuttering is more important to reviewers than whether or not a game is quite literally going to alter the gaming landscape? Stuttering and game-destroying glitches didn't stop countless reviewers giving GTA V, Red Dead, The Last of Us, The Witcher 3, Skyrim, Fallout 3, and more 10/10s at launch.
TL;DR: the pros of Link's Awakening in the 2010's do not match up to the pros of BOTW, technical problems aren't as important as a game's impact on the gaming landscape, and the score + joys & cons are not the review
@cryptologous I actually agreed with what you said already.
"The only way to make sense of this is if the pros of the new Zelda game just did not match up to the pros of BotW"
My issue is that they never say that and the way they site stuff makes it hard to tell how much weight certain things have.
So I'm in level 4, and I've got to say that the little hitches that sometimes happen when the resolution changes (usually moving from inside a building to outside) are my only minor niggle. The game already had a loading screen in those cases, so why isn't the resolution changed during that? Aside from that, everything else about this game has been spot on. The new musical arrangements are terrific and there are enough new items scattered about to keep the game interesting, even after playing the original dozens of times.
I watched two videos just to see what the fuss was all about and didn't notice a single bloody thing. No slowdown, lag, stutter, freeze or flicker. At this point I'm inclined to think its the whining of the usual crowd who thinks that any game not 60 fps is automatic garbage. rolls eyes
@Kalmaro Yea, I noted that in the first line of my last comment, apologies if it wasn't clear.
How much detail does the site need to give you? I hope you realise that the more you try and define what scores mean outside of the review, the more difficult the reviewing process becomes. IGN even acknowledged this years ago when they dropped their weighting system that would appear at the end of reviews, tallying up the scores for individual components like gameplay, music, story, etc, and then having a final score on top of that. Having a point score is already stupid enough in the world of art appraisal; trying to define how things are scored further just doesn't make sense if you aren't explicitly reviewing things that you use like gadgets and tools.
@cryptologous I liked the point system because it gave you an idea of how much they appreciated some things.
This entire mess for me would be cleared up if they had something like
This game: Gameplay 8
BoyW: gameplay 9
Or something like that. The numbers are completely arbitrary BUT you at least know which they liked more and where.
@Kalmaro I must be losing my mind or something so let me get this straight:
>"the numbers are completely arbitrary"
>but they aren't actually arbitrary because "you at least know which they liked more and where" which implies they actually serve a purpose
>"the numbers are completely arbitrary"
>but this whole ordeal started because of two fairly arbitrary numbers, being a 9 and a 10
>"the numbers are completely arbitrary"
>but why is it ok for one NL reviewer who has autonomy and their own opinion to give a 3D open world adventure game a 10 while another completely separate NL reviewer who has autonomy and their own opinion gives a 2D isometric action puzzler remake a 9
>"the numbers are completely arbitrary"
>so please add more arbitrary numbers so I can compare near completely unrelated games with said arbitrary numbers because it is mean that two reviews for completely different games by different people could have different scores
Like, every time I post a reply you say the same thing without noticing that you haven't responded to any of my points. An arbitrary 2 + an arbitrary 2 does not = a 4 with purpose. It equals an arbitrary 4. I haven't really got anything else to add here lmao
@cryptologous I don't think you're getting what I'm saying.
Yes, I'm saying that the grading scale they use is arbitrary. However, I was not saying that the numbers they give every single game should also be arbitrary, just the scale they made up initially, then applied to everything else.
Much like of someone made up their own measuring system and then used that as a standard. The system itself was made arbitrarily but they can still be consistent with it.
My issue is that we can't tell if they are being consistent because we've got nothing to base their opinion on. At this point, I'd prefer they skip scores altogether and just do Joy and Cons.
@Kalmaro "My issue is that we can't tell if they are being consistent because we've got nothing to base their opinion on."
We have the fact that the numbers have words associated with them. It does not matter what those words were or how many numbers you threw in; every reviewer would still interpret them differently and subsequently inconsistency in this regard would be impossible, as I've tried to demonstrate numerous times. If you can tell me a system reviewers can use that fosters consistency that isn't strictly "have strong writing ability and be well researched and experienced with the topics you tackle" and doesn't require reviewers become robots, I'll eat everything I've said up until now.
"At this point, I'd prefer they skip scores altogether and just do Joy and Cons."
I've been making this point since my first response. I'd take it a step further and remove the joys and cons too because why the hell does a review need a TL;DR; if you are gonna spend money on a multi-hour experience then a 5 minute read won't hurt.
I implore you to read out loud everything you've said in this thread and ask yourself if anything you are saying is either contradictory or impossible to expect of a writer. I'm not getting what you are saying because your expectations don't apply to critiquing art. It does not matter how stringent or how freeform your rubric is for art critique; it is still up to the reviewer and the readership to interpret those rubrics with their subjective worldview.
@cryptologous I know what I've been saying.
I want them to be consistent with grading, but it's hard to determine they are because we can't tell how they are grading things exactly. It's possible to make up ss system and stick to it.
We don't have a clear idea of what standards they are using, thus, I'd rather they just skip numbers and just do joys and cons. Alternatively, they could skip that too, like you suggested.
@Ventilator *HD Ports/Remasters on Wii U.
There's a difference between a Remaster and a Remake thats been rebuild from scratch (In this case a 2D Gameboy game into a 2.5D Switch title).
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