[Updated Guide] The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD on Steam Deck with YUZU emulator – slowdowns fix, best performance settings

I will show you how to achieve the best performance in The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword HD on Steam Deck using the YUZU emulator. Unfortunately, regardless of the settings, The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword HD can’t run at a completely stable 60FPS on Steam Deck. The game has a built-in double-buffered Vsync, so every time we have less than 60FPS the game speed slows down momentarily and disrupts the smoothness of gameplay. I was able to prepare settings that will significantly improve performance.

Video Guide how to get best performance in Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD on Steam Deck

How to install Yuzu Emulator on Steam Deck

I recommend the EmuDeck script – it’s a collection of emulators along with pre-defined settings. Here is my guide:

In order to legally use the Yuzu emulator you need to dump from your Nintendo Switch:
– Prod.Keys and Title Keys
– Nintendo Switch Firmware

You need to put those files in your (your emudeck location)/Emulation/bios/Yuzu/keys and firmware folders.

Install The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword HD on Steam Deck

Dump your The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword HD and put file in (your emudeck location)//Emulation/Roms/Switch folder.

Run Steam Rom Manager to create shortcut to the game and Yuzu Emulator in your Steam Library.

I recommend installing the 1.0.1 game patch – Go to Yuzu>File>Install Files to NAND.

The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword HD – Vulkan or OpenGL?

The game runs much better on Vulkan, but it is very rare to encounter graphical errors. In addition, on OpenGL character shadows are completely broken. I recommend playing on Vulkan and switching to OpenGL only in case of errors breaking the gameplay.

Example of rare graphic bug on Vulkan late in the game
All my settings were created for "DOCKED" mode.
Yuzu Version: 1171 (2022-09-18)
SteamOS: beta
SteamOS settings: 60Hz, Unlimited FPS

The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword HD on Steam Deck – 30 FPS Preset

Before we start, go to Desktop mode and download the mod. Unzip it to your desktop.

[DOWNLOAD LINK]

Run Yuzu Emulator. You will find it in the Emulation>Tools>Launchers folder. Run Yuzu.sh

Right-click (or Steam + L2) on The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD and select Open Mod Location. Move the entire “30fps” folder here from the desktop.

Close the window and return to Yuzu, right-click on the game icon again and select “Properties”. Make sure that under “Add-Ons” 30fps mod is checked.

My 30 FPS Settings

General:
– Limit Speed Percent
– Multicore CPU Emulation

CPU:
Accuracy: Auto

Graphics:
API: Vulkan
– Use disk pipeline cache
– Use asynchronous GPU emulation
– Accelerate ASTC texture decoding
NVDEC emulation: – GPU Video Decoding (Default)
Fullscreen Mode: Exclusive Fullscreen
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Resolution: 1x (720p/1080p)
Window Adapting Filter: personal choice, I like the AMD FIDELITY FX
Anti-Aliasing Method: personal choice

Adv. Graphics:
Accuracy Level: Normal
– Use VSync
– Use asynchronous shader building
Anisotropic filtering: Automatic

Return to Gaming Mode. You can launch the game directly from Yuzu or from the shortcut created by Steam ROM Manger.

On my settings, The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword runs at a stable 30FPS. The only slight slowdowns can be caused by shader cache building.

The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword HD on Steam Deck – 60 FPS Preset

Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword can still be played very nicely at 60 FPS, but slowdowns cannot be completely removed at this point. These fortunately occur very occasionally.

Back to the Yuzu emulator.

If you have enabled the 30FPS mod then uncheck it in the Add-Ons menu.

My 60 FPS Settings

General:
– Limit Speed Percent
– Multicore CPU Emulation

CPU:
Accuracy: Auto

Graphics:
API: Vulkan
– Use disk pipeline cache
– Use asynchronous GPU emulation
– Accelerate ASTC texture decoding
NVDEC emulation: – GPU Video Decoding (Default)
Fullscreen Mode: Exclusive Fullscreen
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Resolution: 0.5x (360p/540p)
Window Adapting Filter: AMD FIDELITY FX
Anti-Aliasing Method: FXAA

Adv. Graphics:
Accuracy Level: Normal
– Use VSync
– Use asynchronous shader building
Anisotropic filtering: Automatic

The most important is to set the resolution to 0.5 (360p/540p). It’s worth enabling simple Anti-Alising FXAA here, as it works quite well in conjunction with AMD FidelityFX.

The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword HD looks very nice on the Steam Deck’s small screen even at 540p. The gameplay slowdowns are almost completely eliminated with my settings and the game is very enjoyable to play.

Quality of life controller tweaks

The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword HD has totally strange camera control. If you want to move the camera, you need to hold L1 button all the time. With Steam Deck you can make it a toggle button.

Run Game, click Steam Button, and go to Controller Settings. Edit Layout, in the Buttons tab, go to Bumpers and L1, click on the gear icon close to “Left Bumper”. Go to settings and at the bottom check “Toggle”. Done.

In the game options menu make sure that Use Motion Controls for Aiming and Camera is off. Change Camera Speed to fast or very fast.