Play Super Mario and Zelda In Glorious High Res With AMD FSR On Latest Yuzu Emulator
Super Mario Odyssey, downscaled from 4K.
To legally play console games in an emulator on a PC, you have to own both the game and the required hardware, which might leave some folks scratching their heads as to why you would even bother. Just play that games on the real hardware, right?
Of course, PC gamers know that there are a plethora of reasons one would prefer to play in an emulator. Beyond obvious things like save-states and speed-running tools, and even beyond less-obvious perks like the myriad control configurations that emulators allow, these hardware-spoofing applications usually give PC gamers the ability to beautify their favorite titles in ways that the original hardware never could.
Such is the case with the latest update to the Yuzu emulator, which brings Nintendo Switch games to Windows and Linux PCs. Its most recent early access update brings the long-awaited "Project ART" to its community of "yuz-ers." Project ART, simply stated, was a project to bring resolution scaling to the emulator. With it in place, gamers playing on the emulator can run their games at increased resolution relative to what the game's programmed for, or even decrease resolution to reduce the demands on their graphics cards.
That's not to say that it's necessarily a click-and-go option, though. As ever, console games are created and intended to run only on certain, specific hardware. Because of that, many Switch games have hard-coded values for shader or texture resolution that break when you start scaling the render resolution. One perfect example is Paper Mario: The Origami King, which totally breaks when attempting to upscale due to its extensive use of compute shaders for output.
Included among the familiar scaling filters (like bilinear filtering, bicubic sharpening, and Gaussian blending) is AMD's FidelityFX Super Resolution, or FSR. Regular readers of HotHardware will probably be familiar with FSR, but just in case, it's a special scaling filter that combines Lanczos scaling with AMD's own Contrast Adaptive Sharpening to produce surprisingly nice-looking results with limited input resolution. Using it to scale Switch games from 1280×720 all the way to 3840×2160 produces a reasonably sharp image with impressive texture detail given the low input resolution.
All of this is pretty great, so there has to be a catch -- and there is: Project ART is currently only available in Early Access builds of Yuzu, which are only available to the project's Patreon patrons. The good news is that it only costs $5 to join to Yuzu's Early Access program. You can head over to the Yuzu blog post to read about the update and see some nice side-by-side comparisons, or head over to their Patreon to support further Switch emulator development.