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
RU November 25, 2011

Genre(s) Action-adventure
Mode(s) Single-player
Input methods Wii Remote with Wii Motion Plus + Nunchuk
Compatibility 5Stars5.pngEdit rating: The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
GameIDs SOUE01, SOUK01, SOUP01, DAXP01, DAXE01, SOUJ01
See also...

Dolphin Forum thread
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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 official Dolphin builds 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.
  • Development of proper Wii Motion Plus emulation is underway. See the forum for details.

Anti-Aliasing (AA)

Anti-aliasing brings the Skyward Sword DOF effect closer to Link, blurring the game more than 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.

Depth of Field (DoF)

Skyward Sword uses a Depth of Field effect to blur distance objects in a painting like style. Previous revisions displayed banding whenever EFB to Texture was used, requiring EFB to Ram and a significant performance hit; however, as of 3.0-223, Dolphin can run Skyward Sword's DOF effect with EFB to Texture without any problems. See issue 5056.

The DoF Effect properly emulated in Dolphin


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 2x-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.

5.0-15360 (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:

Template:Test EntryTemplate:Test Entry
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
style="white-space:nowrap;Expression error: Unrecognized word "r".Expression error: Unrecognized word "r". Windows 7 x64 AMD Phenom II X4 955(Black Edition) @ 3.4GHz nVidia GeForce 560 GTX 30FPS all times. Works great! 1080P, D3D11, Internal Resolution 3x(1920x1584), No AA, 16x Anisotropic Filtering, Force Texture Filtering, unchecked Skip EFB Access from CPU, EFB copies disabled. SmeagleSmeagle
style="white-space:nowrap;Expression error: Unrecognized word "r".Expression error: Unrecognized word "r". Windows 7 x64 Intel Core i7-2700k @ 4.3 GHz nVidia GTX 560 Ti Perfect, played through at 1080p from start to finish with 30 fps. Settings: DX11 renderer, 1920*1080, No AA, 16x Anisotropy, Internal Resolution: Auto (Window Size) Empyrien
3.0-208 Windows 7 x64 Intel Core i7 950 @ 3.07GHz nVidia GeForce 460 1920*1080, No AA, 16x Anisotropy, 3x native int. res, EFB to Texture.

D3D11: Works well except when there are timestones in the loaded area, where Link will render behind objects and the terrain if it is within a certain distance of the camera. OpenGL: Also works well, except dynamic meshes (That is, the piles of sand that are around in Lanayuru) don't render at all. The only way to spot them is by looking for strange artifacts in the DoF "bands".

^3.0-191 Windows 7 x64 AMD Phenom II @ 3.3GHz AMD Radeon HD 6850 Game works fine, 30 FPS all times but emulated motion+ does not work 100% at all, waiting for motion+ improvement 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 Radeon HD 6990 4GB 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
style="white-space:nowrap;Expression error: Unrecognized word "texcache".Expression error: Unrecognized word "texcache". Linux Ubuntu 11.10 x64 Intel Core i5 2500k @ 3.8GHz nVidia GeForce 9600 GT Works fairly well keeping at about 30FPS except in "busy" areas where it can lost about 5FPS. Sometimes has a funny issues where menus fall down to 10FPS, but moves back to 30 when in game. Can't think of any outstanding graphical issues I can identify. Real Motion+, OpenGL, 2x Native, 0xAA, 16xAF, Skip EFB CPU OFF, EFB Copies RAM OFF, EFB Copies Virtual ON Eyecreate
^3.0-204 Windows 7 x64 Intel Core i7 950 AMD Radeon HD 6970 2GB FPS:30 with reglage recommended; 2.5x Native for Full Screen 1920x1080 Franck97
^3.0-204 Windows 7 x64 Intel Core i5 2500k @ 4.9GHz AMD Radeon HD 5830 Had troubles with FPS so tweaked a few things and managed a constant 30 fps. There are a few graphical glitches, but they only seem to happen during dialogue/cut-scenes. D3D11, 2x Native, 0xAA, 16xAF, Force Texture Filtering, Skip EFB CPU, Ignore Format changes OFF, EFB Copies RAM - Enable Cache ON Ammorth
^3.0-204 Windows 7 x64 Intel Core 2 Quad Q8300 @ 2.5GHz ATI Radeon HD 4670 20-30fps,D3D9, 1920*1080, Anisotropic Filtering 16x, AA off, 1x native,Skip EFB Access,EFB copies to texture, i have strange issue in some areas i have 30 fps but some time later performance keeps dropping 30-28-26-24 fps in the same area,when i restart emulator fps back to normal 30 Bombado
3.0-223 Windows 7 x64 Intel Core i5 2500 @ 3.8GHz nVidia GeForce GTX 460 30FPS constant. D3D9, 1600x1200, 2.5x Native, 16X AF, No AA, EFB Texture. 3D Vision enabled, 19% separation in nVidia Control Panel, convergence set so that Link is at screen depth. 3D Vision has issues with water reflections, but lowering the separation minimizes this problem. Also, some minor double image problems in cut-scenes and on polygon edges. Game looks wonderful in stereo 3D. zelin
3.0-223 Windows 7 x64 Intel Core i7 950 @ 3.27GHz AMD Radeon HD 6870 x2 Perfect graphics and 30fps everywhere. No problems at all.
3.0-224 Linux Ubuntu 10.04 Intel Core i7 965 nVidia GeForce 9400 GT 15-30fps, totally playable. Infrequent crashing, not enough to ruin the gameplay. - Enable dual core, lock threads to cores, 1x Native res, No anti-aliasing, 1x anisotropic, etc. a8ksh4
3.0-314 Windows 7 x64 Intel Core i5 2500K @ 3.9GHz nVidia GeForce GTX 560 Ti Perfect With OpenGL, 1920*1080p, 2.5x or 3x Native (internal resolution), 2x AA, 16x AF, with OpenMP & OpenCL ON, Cache on Texture (not RAM). NO slows ! constant 30 FPS. (I'm Using JIT-IL experimental engine) Sanitarium026
^3.0-204 Windows 7 x64 Intel Core i7 3930K @ 4.0GHz nVidia GeForce GTX 470 played in 1080p 30 fps constant settings: DX11, 4x native internal resolution, 16x anisotropic filtering and anti-aliasing 9x SSAA. No slow yama27

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