Tears of the Kingdom vs Breath of the Wild graphics comparison

Tears of the Kingdom vs Breath of the Wild graphics comparison
Eva Black Updated on by

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For anyone wondering how a Tears of the Kingdom vs Breath of the Wild graphics comparison would shape up, don’t worry, you’ve come to the right place.

In the wake of the recent Zelda release, Tears of the Kingdom, it’s no surprise that gamers want to know how it compares to its predecessor Breath of the Wild. As they are both optimised for the handheld console, Nintendo Switch, many of the graphics are more similar than one would expect for games with a six-year gap between them.

However, it’s important to remember that Switch can play in both docked and handheld modes. This makes the graphics question a bit more interesting. In our ongoing exploration of the Tears of the Kingdom graphics, we’ve previously had a look at the best Tears of the Kingdom settings, now we want to see how it shapes up against its predecessor. In short, how does Tears of the Kingdom fare in a graphics comparison with Breath of the Wild?

Let’s get into it.

Tears of the Kingdom vs Breath of the Wild graphics comparison

We’ve broken down this comparison into three main categories. These are:

  1. Detail
  2. Frame rate
  3. File size


Tears of the Kingdom also has the benefit of not being held back by Wii U compatibility. The singular compatibility with Nintendo Switch family consoles allows for greater detail in close-up shots of water, grass, and other small richly detailed images, and for greater clarity high up.

For comparison here’s water in Tears of the Kingdom:

And then, here’s what water looked like in Breath of the Wild:

As you can see the difference really comes in the fine detailing. Tears of the Kingdom has greater contrast on the surface of the water and greater detailing on the bank Link is standing on.

When it comes to far away aspects, both games are pretty evenly matched. You can see in these screenshots that the sky looks relatively similar in both the images below.

However, again, the difference in grass detailing in the above image taken from Tears of the Kingdom, compared to the Breath of the Wild screenshot below, shows that the important bit is the details here.

In foggier sections, where the details are less clear, the game graphics are very, very evenly matched.

As you can see from these two images, the difference between atmospheric fog in Tears of the Kingdom above and Breath of the Wild below is pretty slim. There’s a greater sense of space in Tears of the Kingdom due to slight changes in fog density (again details) but otherwise, for two games that were released six years apart they’re startlingly similar.

Of course, Tears of the Kingdom and Breath of the Wild use the same basic hardware, although Tears of the Kingdom was apparently built on the same game engine as Splatoon 3. Of course, Tears of the Kingdom also has the benefit of AMD FSR technology support while in docked mode. Meanwhile, Breath of the Wild runs on an altered version of the Havok physics engine (Havok is the engine that Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey runs on.)

Having praised the startling longevity of the Breath of the Wild graphics though, it must be noted that sometimes the age does show and you realise it when you get shots as gorgeous as this in Tears of the Kingdom.

Frame rate

In a side-by-side comparison, Tears of the Kingdom and Breath of the Wild are very, very similar when it comes to frame rate and resolution. This is likely largely because both Tears of the Kingdom and Breath of the Wild are optimised for the same console – the Nintendo Switch.

  • Breath of the Wild – Nintendo Switch and Wii U.
  • Tears of the Kingdom – Nintendo Switch, Nintendo Switch Lite, Nintendo Switch OLED model.

The Nintendo Switch is a console that came out in March 2017, making it hardware that is now six years old. While it is certainly nothing to scoff at as a device, it is undeniable that as gaming technology marches ever onwards, maintaining an optimisation for ageing hardware is going to limit your graphics somewhat. In fact, some gamers have been experiencing blurry textures in Tears of the Kingdom. While glitches are to be expected with a new release, lag and stuttering in-game take away from the general stunning beauty of the world and its creativity somewhat.

Tears of the Kingdom

Tears of the Kingdom runs at 720p in handheld, and 900p in docked mode with occasional drops to 720p. This resolution comes in with a respectable 30FPS general benchmark. However, there are occasional drops.

Breath of the Wild

In docked mode, Breath of the Wild also runs at 900p 30FPS. On Wii U, Breath of the Wild runs at 720p/30FPS. On Switch, handheld mode, Breath of the Wild runs at 720p/30FPS.

File Size

The file size is another aspect to consider in a graphics comparison.

  • Tears of the Kingdom – 16.68GB
  • Breath of the Wild – 14.77GB

As you can see, Tears of the Kingdom is marginally larger than Breath of the Wild. This is probably partly because the map has expanded massively along the y-axis. Sky islands and dungeons, in addition to a bit of an overhaul of the initial map itself, make for a far more detailed and rich landscape to explore. This is combined with Link’s new abilities to create the sense of freedom reviewers have been raving about. Not surprisingly, such amazing detail in surroundings and environment interaction makes for a larger game overall.

At the end of the day, Tears of the Kingdom and Breath of the Wild are very relatively evenly matched in a graphics comparison. However, we would say Tears of the Kingdom just has the edge due to the improved close-up details, FRS technology when docked, and sheer expansion of content.

We’re going to be keeping an eye on this and will update the page as new information comes in so make sure to check back in periodically to stay up-to-date.

Frequently Asked Questions

We know with big-name games like these that many people will have queries that they want the answers to. With that in mind, we’ve done our best here to answer some of your most pressing questions.

Is the Nintendo Switch graphics locked at 30FPS?

No. Nintendo Switch is capable of playing at higher frame rates. However, many games are locked at 30FPS for performance reasons.

Can OLED Switch run graphics at 60FPS?

Yes! The Nintendo Switch OLED model is perfectly capable of running at 60FPS.