Detailing

Video Shows All The Ways Zelda Ocarina Of Time Looks Worse On Switch Online Compared To N64

Like Microsoft and Sony, Nintendo places its compatible online video games behind a subscription service. In the case of the Nintendo Switch, it’s simply Nintendo Switch Online. The subscription costs $19.99 per year, and in addition to allowing access to Nintendo’s online services, it also allows you to play a library of 8-bit NES and 16-bit Super NES games.

Last Monday, Nintendo launched the Switch Online expansion pack. For an additional $30 per year, bringing the annual cost to around US$50 before taxes, you get access to Nintendo 64 and Sega Genesis games, as well as “other premium services”, which at this time are limited at the Happy Home Paradise extension. for Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

The Nintendo 64 games included in the collection are played on the Switch via emulation. It’s the same emulator that propelled Super Mario 64 into the Mario 3D All-Stars Collection, but where that release was pretty brilliant, some of the titles in current Switch Online offerings aren’t so perfect. You’ve already read the title, so yes: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time has significant issues in its emulation.

The video above from YouTube channel ElAnalistaDeBits, fairly described as “Spanish Digital Foundry”, compares the Switch version with the Nintendo 64 original, and the results aren’t great. While the emulated game runs at triple resolution (from 320×240 to 960×720), many aspects of the emulation are either flawed, broken, or otherwise disappointing.

For example, shadows and other transparent elements in some areas flicker distractingly. Fog isn’t rendered correctly either; rather than being clear up close and hazy from a distance, the Switch Online version has a more modern smooth fog that extends from the player, completely destroying the mood of most scenes. Perhaps most damning is that the reflections are broken, which makes the battle against Dark Link a little more difficult!

soot reflections

Source: ElAnalistaDeBits

There are also other problems. Aside from the resolution bump, the game looks identical to how it did in 1998; no effort was made to improve or replace the textures, even the low resolution 2D background used in some areas. It also still runs at its original 20fps. It was tolerable in 1998, but it’s hard to watch now, and it’s not a perfectly locked 20 FPS either. Despite the low refresh rate, the game also suffers from significant input lag. Modern Vintage Gamer also posted a video about Nintendo’s N64 emulator, and he remarks that the input lag on the Switch Online version of the emulator is “significantly worse” than the emulator. Mario 3D All-Stars version.

It’s not like the Switch has any hardware performance issues; the Switch homebrew community has been emulating (more accurately) N64 games for four years without difficulty. Indeed, it’s all the more disappointing to see these issues in Nintendo’s own emulator, when low-level, reverse-engineered third-party emulators (like Mupen64Plus and ParaLLEl) are so much more accurate. Here’s hoping Nintendo can release a patch to fix their N64 emulator issues.