The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom runs at around 30fps on the Nintendo Switch, but, on an emulator, players can see the full breadth of the game in 4K, 60fps. Those who play Tears of the Kingdom on an emulator have reported significantly better graphics and smoother gameplay.
Emulators are controversial because, by their nature, you don’t have to give money to Nintendo to play the game. Nintendo is known for cracking down on them. Skyline, a Nintendo Switch emulator for Android, recently shut down due to a DMC order. To offset the damage, some fans, like @BikeMan on Twitter, purchase copies before using an emulator.
Tears of the Kingdom stream tonight!
Proof of purchase.
Will be streaming 60fps at 1440p on emulator.
I paid for a Switch and the game. I can play it how I want now. pic.twitter.com/jZK3W2GY7K
— BikeMan (@BikeMan) May 11, 2023
The Nintendo Switch’s situation is unique because of its hardware limitations. It came out in 2017. As impressive as it is that this tiny device can run sprawling AAA games, there’s been no upgrade to the hardware since then.
The Nintendo Switch OLED model made significant improvements to the original, but the hardware was largely the same, not the 4K upgrade that many were hoping for. It doesn’t contain a better CPU or more RAM. Nintendo has also announced that there will be no new Switch of any kind until at least March 2024.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was a substantial open-world experience that amazed many fans, but the sheer size took its toll on the console. MobileSyrup’s Patrick O’Rourke noted in his review at the time that the game was “running at just 900p on a television and still experiencing occasional bouts of lag.” Nintendo has had time to optimize Tears of the Kingdom, but it’s still Breath of the Wild’s larger, more advanced successor.
Enter emulators like Yuzu. Just a day after the game’s launch, Yuzu announced that players could enjoy Tears of the Kingdom through their service at 4K, 60fps.
Hey! Listen! Wait, wrong game
📣 Attention All 📣
🔥 Tears of the Kingdom is playable in yuzu
🚀 Full speed on most hardware!
✨ Experience in 4K or higher!
🚫 No hacks needed!
🎁 60fps, cheats, & more with mods
— yuzu (@yuzuemu) May 13, 2023
However, you do need a legally-dumped copy of the game, which means you need to buy Tears of the Kingdom yourself or get a key online. A service on GitHub that shared keys for copies of the game, called Lockpick, was hit with that DMC order to block gamers from accessing them.
Regardless of the complications, social media influencers like BikeMan have still been streaming their emulated runs for fans.
Click here to read our review of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom.