You can play on your PS fooooouuuur…. *ahem* *cough* er …. anyway, So launch day came and went with the TBoD alumni emerging victorious with PS4’s in hand, and as you know from Quims posts about the hardware and the games we are having somewhat of an epic time with our machines. One of the things he has not had a chance to play with is one of the things that excited me most pre launch (especially after I picked up my Vita) Remote Play!
PS4, Vita and you … the perfect three-way?
This is nothing new really, it was touted as a massive feature with the PS3 and the PSP but it never really managed to get off the ground, partly due to lack of support but also due to the restraints of the PSP system. Still it was something that Sony would continue to tout and the introduction of the Vita to the picture in 2011 would force the issue a little further.
Titles such as Little Big Planet, Ico & Shadow of the Colossus HD and The God of War Collection HD supported full remote playability but these Sony in house titles alone were not enough to draw more people into buying the Vita itself. The announcement of heavy support for the PS4 remote play feature however set a few tongues wagging.
Enough of the history lesson let’s talk about how it fairs.
I love this horse and this affection is not scale dependant
I want to make it clear that this is by no means a perfect system and it certainly has it’s flaws. First and foremost if you don’t like gaming on a handheld system this feature is not for you, the screen is small so you’re gonna need to focus. The Vita screen is a beautiful thing, those OLED’s sparkle and pop when playing a Vita title but that shine is taken away somewhat when playing Remote Play, games which run at 60fps on your PS4 will only display 30fps on the Vita screen and the resolution leaves a little to be desired, textures are a lot muddier and in general it’s not the ideal way to admire the gorgeous graphics of your brand new £350 system.
The truth of the matter is though it’s an unrivaled system that is excellently executed (not perfect, but still fucking ace). What’s not to love, well there are some things, some really freaking massive things that will drive you to the borders of madness in fact, but on the whole it works really well and you can literally play your ps4 games from anywhere that you have access to a decent enough internet connection which is just class. With 4G fast taking over the world it’s only a matter of time before you literally do not have to go without some next gen console action wherever you are. Now I have tested this theory, I have played Battlefield 4 from a house some 4-5 miles away from my own, admittedly this was using a 60mb internet connection but the experience was as close to flawless as I could have possibly expected (playing it on hard was probably a mistake) and I was very impressed with the responsiveness and just the plain fact that I could access my PS4 dash from somewhere else was so pleasing.
I literally never have to be separated from you again PS4!
At present it literally works with every single game available for the system, Sony are playing their cards close to the chest but indications are that this will continue to be the case, the software is written into the machines OS (once you’ve downloaded the day one update) and chances are every game for the PS4 will be playable via remote play and that is some feat. The Vita has all the input options needed to fully emulate the DS4 it does a stand up job all told, the front screen emulates the track pad (and does an arguably better job while it’s at it) the sticks work well, the triggers are automatically mapped to the bumpers which makes playing FPS games a damn sight easier, even the motion controls from the DS4 can be replicated by the Vita and most importantly the extra analogue stick which was so sadly lacking on the PSP is there and it makes all the difference, this is how we play. Nearly all games now use the dual-stick input method and it had to be done for this function to work properly.
That’s all well and good but it does have a couple of issues when it comes to controls, the sticks are no where near as precise as those on the DS4 (probably more precise than a DS3 though) and you only have one set of shoulder buttons (the rear track pad emulates l1, r1, l3 and r3 it’s not perfect but it’s manageable with a little practice). The controls do respond pretty well but there is a noticeable input lag even when playing on your own local network (it’s noticeable but only very slightly).
.A small caveat for some reason at time of writing my Remote play does not allow me to watch Netflix, I find this a little strange but I imagine that it’s something to do with Licensing and the ability to use the same Netflix account in two places simultaneously? This wouldn’t be an issue were it possible to get the Vita Netflix app here in the UK …. we’re still waiting over for Sony/Netflix to pull their fingers out.
Probably my biggest complaint about the system is that there is simply no way to party chat, you can party up from the vita to the PS4 no problem what-so-ever, I can be playing Gravity Rush and chatting away to my friend on PS4 playing BF4 with the greatest of ease but as soon as I fire up remote play my Vita party chart app closes down this would be fine were it not for the fact that the Vitas built in mic is not recognized by the system during Remote Play and thus you cannot talk in a PS4 party, you can listen but not talk. Many people have suggested simply keeping your headset plugged into your DS4, not possible when you activate Remote play the DS4 disconnects, when you re-activate the DS4 the Vita disconnects, it’s infuriating. Hopefully this is something they can remedy in a further update but I don’t have the answer to that right now sadly.
“What else can it do?” I hear you ask, well in addition to Remote Play the Vita can also serve as your second screen device, it’s not something I have had the pleasure of fully using yet but with such a focus this generation on the second screen experience I think this will prove to be a vital tool. All I have used it for so far is to avoid the pain in the ass of having to manually input each letter of every password and every account name, the Vita’s touch screen makes text entry so much easier, although admittedly this can be done with any Smart Phone hooked up to the system using the new PlayStation App.
Maybe it’s not perfect in all aspects but it’s an idea that with refinement could really take off. As Sony and third party developers create more games that support cross platform play, more games that focus on Vita support and more importantly take into consideration the Vita’s many control mechanisms I can honestly see it growing stronger. Right now however it’s more fun to use for something like DC universe or contrast where super responsiveness isn’t all that important rather than something like Battlefield or Resogun where speed and efficiency can make the difference between life and death.