Nintendo will release the Link’s Awakening remake in just one day, and the reviews are rolling in. Overall, the remake is a huge hit with critics, including our own John Friscia. That said, you may remember that the game had some performance issues in its E3 demo. Digital Foundry got their hands on the final build for review, and they’ve put together an in-depth tech analysis. They examine resolution, lighting, frame rate, and more to see how it all comes together. You can check out their analysis below!
Digital Foundry analyzes Link’s Awakening
Overall, the Link’s Awakening remake is a good-looking game that does a great job of staying faithful to the original in its new style. Digital Foundry praises Grezzo’s use of color, lighting, and shadow, as well as the overall aesthetic. The game features a dynamic resolution that scales up and down in different areas. While it occasionally reaches a 1080p resolution, it usually doesn’t stay there long. Small, enclosed areas like houses usually settle at around 972p. Meanwhile, gameplay out in the overworld usually runs at 720p. Of course, the biggest question is the game’s frame rate. Digital Foundry’s analysis shows that it has improved since E3, but unfortunately, there are still significant issues at times.
So what exactly are we dealing with here? Link’s Awakening aims for 60 frames per second but struggles to maintain that rate at times. Due to double-buffer Vsync, the frame rate drops from 60 straight to 30 when this happens. These drops are less common than in the earlier builds, but they still occur often enough to be of note. In particular, Digital Foundry reports that the swamp area is pretty much stuck at 30 the whole time. Drops also tend to occur when transitioning from one area to another, particularly if there’s a change in lighting. There were other instances where the frame rate would briefly drop seemingly at random. With the exception of the swamp, these dips were typically short-lived.
How will this impact the experience? That depends on who you ask. Digital Foundry’s analysis called it “kind of a big problem” and “distracting.” However, it wasn’t anywhere near enough to be a deal-breaker. Meanwhile, John didn’t feel like it impacted his gameplay experience at all when he reviewed the game for Nintendo Enthusiast. So it may depend on how sensitive you are to changes in visual quality. I’d hope that Nintendo can improve the frame rate further in a future patch, but for now, it shouldn’t be severe enough to sway you from picking it up.