Guide on how to set up Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild using Cemu Emulator.
Cemu 1.7.4 Release
I finally decided with the release of 1.7.4 that it was now a good time to create a guide on how to set up Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild as the game is in a relatively good spot in terms of playable compatibility. With the Rune abilities, Shrines, and sinking fixed or nearly fixed along with many other bugs it is much more enjoyable. With that being said you will still encounter bugs, camera locks, softlocks, or any number of other bugs as Cemu is continuing to be developed.
Note: You may find that you’re able to get better performance with 1.7.3c if you are able to find it.
While the emulator can be ran on practically any system, for the most enjoyable experience I would recommend the following:
- CPU: i5 or better
- RAM: 8GB+
- Decent GPU
Emulation is CPU intensive, single core specifically, so if you can OC your CPU you will notice FPS improvements. AMD CPU’s work as well, but again single core performance is king when it comes to emulation. The more RAM the better when it comes to shader caches. There are some issues with NVIDIA GPU’s causing shader caches to use an incredible amount of RAM when loading the shader caches. As far as GPU’s, having a 1080ti will see little to no improvement, but I would definitely recommend more than integrated graphics.
I am assuming you have a legal copy of Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild in the correct format. I will not be going over where or how to obtain a copy.
Downloading Cemu Emulator
If you would like the latest versions of the emulator then I would highly suggest joining their Patreon page for $5. You can support them for with as little as $1, but $5 is the minimum to get access to the latest versions. If instead you prefer to wait 2 weeks for the releases to become public then you can grab the emulator from their website.
Graphic Packs are a way to enhance the appearance of the game. You can see an example of a graphic pack in action here. You can find a nice collection of graphic packs for Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on Github. You can download all the offerings by clicking on Clone or download > Download Zip. I would recommend adding the following located in the Enhancement folder:
You can experiment with the other graphic packs in the Enthusiast folder.
Install: Graphic packs are easy to install. Within the Cemu folder should be another folder called graphicpacks, if not you can create it. As you probably guessed, you simply drop the graphic packs into the graphicpacks folder.
Apply Graphic Pack: Once the graphic packs are installed you can activate them within the emulator by navigating to Cemu > Options > Graphic Packs. Then check the ones you installed.
While this step isn’t necessary, if you want to create the most enjoyable experience from the start you’ll want to grab a shader cache for Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. There are some different size cache’s floating around for the game, but anything around 6k-9k is ideal. Anything more than 10k may contain data from another game. Keep in mind that the larger the cache the more RAM it will consume when compiling the cache, especially for Nvidia cards. Also, while each region has a different .bin name, you can simply rename the .bin for your game’s region. To determine the game’s .bin name, once the game has loaded you can take a look at the application title bar of Cemu and the .bin will be listed there right after SaveDir.
- USA: dcac9927.bin
- EU: 042b7a3a.bin
*Note: These will be different based on the region and the game’s version number.
Install: Simply add the .bin file to the Cemu/shaderCache/transferable folder.
There is an issue with cutscenes not playing in Cemu Emulator, so it’s not just Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. To correct it you’ll want to take a look at Cemu Hook. I’ve written about it in the past here.
Loading Legend of Zelda: BotW
Once you have the emulator installed and the shader cache downloaded you can now load up Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The supported files include:
*Note: You can usually find the rpx file within the code folder of the game once it’s extracted.
If you decided to use a shader cache then it will compile the first time you load the game. This can take some time depending on the size of the shader cache. Fortunately you should only have to do this one time. The next time you load the game it will still compile, but should be a lot quicker.