The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

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The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
LoZ Skyward Sword Box Art.jpg
Developer(s) Nintendo EAD
Publisher(s) Nintendo
Series The Legend of Zelda
Platform(s) Wii
Release date(s) EU November 18, 2011

NA November 20, 2011
JP November 23, 2011

Genre(s) Action-adventure
Mode(s) Single-player
Input methods Wii Remote with Wii Motion Plus + Nunchuk
Compatibility 4Stars4.pngEdit rating: The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
GameIDs SOUE01, SOUK01, SOUP01, DAXP01, DAXE01, SOUJ01
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The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (ゼルダの伝説 スカイウォードソード, Zeruda no Densetsu: Sukaiwōdo Sōdo) is an action-adventure game for the Wii console and the sixteenth entry in the Legend of Zelda series. Nearly 5 years in development, the Skyward Sword departs from many of the traditional Zelda norms, featuring new controls, a new art style, and formula differences. Skyward Sword requires either the Wii Motion Plus add on or a Wii Remote Plus.

Skyward Sword heavily integrates the use of the Wii Motion Plus; swordplay, for instance, is integrated with the controller to a point where the player has one-to-one motion control over Link's sword and the its attack directions. In contrast to earlier installments, battles do not focus solely on timing attacks, but also on their target, such as the direction in which enemies are hit. This also allows for the sword to be integrated into puzzles to a greater extent than in previous titles.


Wii Motion Plus

Skyward Sword requires the Wii Motion Plus add-on. Dolphin is currently not capable of emulating the wii motion plus; the only way for dolphin to play this game is to use a real, physical Wii remote with Wii Motion Plus. See issue 3446.

  • Pre-3.0 revisions of Dolphin had rudimentary Wii Motion Plus emulation, but it does not work properly, lacking calibration and constantly disconnecting.

Depth of Field (DoF)

Skyward Sword uses a Depth of Field effect to blur distance objects in a painting like style. Older revisions (pre 3.0) do not render the effect. Newer revisions can sort of render it, but requires EFB to Ram to avoid scan-lines. (See issue 4989). Note that using EFB to Ram for this effect causes a significant performance hit even with powerful machines.

The DoF Effect properly emulated in Dolphin

Anti-Aliasing (AA)

Anti-aliasing brings the Skyward Sword DOF effect closer to Link, blurring the game more then the developers intended. Keep anti-aliasing off to prevent the problem.

High AA settings can cause severe blurring

Shadow Flickering

Shadows in the game can flicker when the internal resolution is set to "Auto" with the DX9 back-end. Either use DX9 with a preset internal resolution (example: 3x Native), or use DX11.


With Anisotropic Filtering (AF) at its default 1x, banding may be present in shading on characters and surroundings. Increasing AF to higher values (such as 16x) will correct the problem. It should not cause a performance hit, but may on weaker machines.

Banding present at 1x AF
No Banding, 16x AF

Pellets/Arrows Aim

"Skip EFB Access to CPU" can provide a useful speedup for this demanding game. However, having the feature on can prevent you from aiming properly. Disable "Skip EFB Access to CPU" to fix.

Sword Missing

Links sword may disappear. To insure the sword does not disappear, makes sure "Cache Display Lists" is disabled.


Only configuration options for the best compatibility where they deviate from defaults are listed.


Config Setting Notes
Video Back End Direct3D 11 or OpenGL DX9 has issues with shadows
Anti-Aliasing Off Brings the DOF effect closer to Link
Anisotropic Filtering 16x Fixes Banding
Skip EFB Access from CPU Off Disrupts Aiming

Version Compatibility

The graph below charts the compatibility with The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword since Dolphin's 2.0 release, listing revisions only where a compatibility change occurred.

5.0-13170 (current)
2.0 (r5384)
Compatibility can be assumed to align with the indicated revisions. However, compatibility may extend to prior revisions or compatibility gaps may exist within ranges indicated as compatible due to limited testing. Please update as appropriate.


This title has been tested on the environments listed below:

Test Entries
Revision OS Version CPU GPU Result Tester
r7718 Windows 7 x64 Intel Core i5 2500K @ 3.7GHz nVidia GeForce GTX 560 Ti Perfect with 3D11, 1920*1080, without AA, Anisotropic Filter 16x, Native 3x.. But during some dialogues, the game slows... Sanitarium026
r7719 Windows 7 x64 Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 @ 3.6GHz ATI Radeon HD 4870 Works perfectly, 30 fps all the time (D3D11, 1280x1024, 2x Internal Resolution, 4x AA and 16X AF, with "Skip EFB Access to CPU" unticked all the time TheWing
r7719 Windows 7 x64 Intel Core i5 2500k @ 3.3GHz nVidia GeForce GTX 570 I'm using D3D11, 1920*1080, 4x Internal Resolution, no AA, 16x AF, with "Skip EFB Access to CPU" unchecked. The game works perfectly with a solid 30 fps all the time and no issues. Little detail : to obtain a perfect control of WiiMotion+ with my internal Bluetooth device (included on my motherboard P7P68 Pro REV 3.1) and fix the slowness of the pointer, I had to turn my PC tower to have the device in front of me. Since this change, the accuracy is like on Wii. iPoulpe
3.0-191 Windows 7 x64 Intel Core i7 950 @ 3.07GHz nVidia GeForce 460 Runs smoothly except for slight pauses when exiting menus, D3D11, 1920*1080, 8xAA(Q32), 16x Anisotropy, 3x native int. res, EFB to Texture causes terrain banding but it's not a huge issue, especially since the alternative is a huge slowdown. Motion+ works well as long as the Wiimote has a clear line of sight to the BT transceiver, except that it needs recalibrating every so often. LimEJET
3.0-191 Windows 7 x64 AMD Phenom II @ 3.3GHz AMD Radeon HD 6850 The game starts correctly but it got stuck when is asked to connect a motion plus.... i don't have a real Wiimote, waiting for motion plus..why did i even bother posting this then? because im an idiot Aldaris
3.0-199 Windows 7 x64 Intel Core i7 930 @ 4.0GHz nVidia GTX 560 Ti Direct 3D11, 1920*1080, Anisotropic Filtering 16x, Skip EFB Access from CPU, EFB Copies set to RAM, Cache enabled. Depth of field banding issues resolved, shader issues resolved, very minimal slowdowns. Using a real WiiMote with MotionPlus built in, along with a wireless sensor bar. Invena
3.0-201 Windows 7 x64 Intel Core i5 2500k nVidia GTX 570 2.5GB Direct 3D9, 1920*1080, Anisotropic Filtering 0-16x, Skip EFB Access from CPU, EFB Copies set to RAM, Cache enabled. Severe banding regardless of AF, AA, skip EFB access, EFB copies to ram/texture. Using a real WiiMote+ with stock sensor bar. ermacaz
3.0-201 Windows 7 x64 AMD Phenom II x4 965BE @ 3.6Ghz AMD 6990 4GB + nVidia 8800gt 512MB (Physx) Direct 3D11, 1920*1080 4x Native, Anisotropic Filtering 16x, AA off, Skip EFB Access from CPU disabled, EFB Copies (Severe banding but full speed on Texture, Perfect visuals but 9fps on RAM). Using a real WiiMote+. Sensor bar only used for initial calibration paintball9

Gameplay Videos