Plenty of people who skipped out on owning a Nintendo Wii U but want to play the upcoming The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild are ordering the new Nintendo Switch in order to play the game which, as previously promised by the company, will launch on both platforms in March. However, if you own a Wii U and are wondering if you're better off playing Link's latest adventure on hardware that you already own, IGN has a list of the differences between the Wii U and Switch versions of the game. Unlike the last time a Zelda game launched on two generations of hardware back in the days of the GameCube to Wii transition with Twilight Princess, it looks like Breath of the Wild is essentially the same game regardless of platform with just a few minor enhancements for Switch owners.
In a statement provided to IGN, Nintendo explained the following “key facts” about each version:
- Both launch on the same day, March 3.
- Both have a frame rate of 30fps.
- Both versions of the game offer the same content.
- On a TV, the Nintendo Switch version of the game renders in 900p while the Wii U version renders in 720p.
- The Nintendo Switch version has higher-quality environmental sounds. As a result, the sound of steps, water, grass, etc. are more realistic and enhance the game’s Open-Air feel.
- The physical copy of the Wii U version will require 3GB of available memory on the Wii U system or an external drive.
- Some icons, such as onscreen buttons, differ between the two versions.
- A Special Edition and Master Edition of the Wii U version are not available.
I own a Wii U and have ordered a Switch, so while I could go either way with my Zelda choice, I opted for the Switch version. I have no plans to retire my Wii U any time soon (I still need to play Paper Mario: Color Splash, for one), but I would like to take advantage of the Switch's portability to be able to play the game around the house or on my back deck. The Wii U GamePad just doesn't have the range to reach the furthest corners of my house. For instance, if I sit in my bedroom, I can play Super Mario 3D World just fine, but the moment I lay back on the bed, I back ever so slightly out of range of the Wii U console and the GamePad loses the signal. Yes, I'm paying $360 to be able to play Zelda lying down. Nobody ever said that comfort came cheap.