Thank God for Sony is all I can say!
For the best part of 10 years I have had to put up with those damned soaps interrupting my gaming! Whether they originate from the East End of London or Summer Bay in Australia, they have been an immovable force in my living room whenever they are on TV. It has got to the point now where I live for Wednesdays (No Eastenders, yay!). I love my partner and don’t want any trouble, so when any of her soaps appears on the box I would skulk into a dark corner and huff and puff under my breath. Of course I could have a TV upstairs but then I would probably never come down and my partner would probably leave me and I not ever know it. Hmmm let me pace up and down and think about the pros and cons for a while…
This is where Remote Play glides down from Gaming heaven to deliver me from those evil programmes, and boy was I ready!
Firstly I can report that games do indeed look as impressive as people say they do. Infamous Second Son and Knack do come across as very handsome in particular and after playing Need for Speed Rivals via Remote Play and going back to play the PS Vita version of NFS Most Wanted, it makes the latter look extremely rough in comparison and Most Wanted was not shabby at all! Games all look extremely detailed and sharp.
Moving on to the control aspect most games I have played need the rear touchscreen on the vita divided up into 4 sections to represent L2, R2 and L3 and R3. Depending on the type of game will determine whether this is an ideal setup, particularly for complex actions, however some games such as Call of Duty Ghosts do have a nice control scheme in place that enables you to use the rear touchscreen for running and the front for melee, this does feel more comfortable for me but some games do have custom setups for Remote Play so in those instances you can tweak and change if needed. Also in the case of Warframe, I actually preferred the controller setup for the Vita than I did with the DualShock 4. So it can be handled well if thought through properly.
I do, however, have a few gripes with remote play from my own experience:
The connection to my PS4 every so often seems to just hang and for a tiny, weeny moment you can’t do anything. This was not so bad when playing LEGO Marvel, but when this happens while playing Resogun, it can sometimes mean the difference between life and death. This could be due to a number of reasons rather than any fault on the part of the hardware. For instance my house seems to be made from a material that absorbs wi-fi signals or the fact that my PS4 is also hidden in a cave like TV stand made from solid wood.
Unfortunately I also have a problem with my fingers ‘apparently’ brushing the back touchscreen of the vita and the edge of my thumbs touching the touchscreen when using the analogue sticks. This was frustrating when I played Awesomenauts, Don’t Starve or LEGO Marvel as I kept bringing up different screens that can interfere with play. I suppose that will be different for many people out there, but that is my experience.
My last gripe is with shooters. Killzone and COD from my own experience. The analogue sticks of the vita just don’t feel quite as precise as the DS4’s and that can be a small pain in the backside when aiming at enemies from distance as small movements seem to jerk your crosshair a touch too easily, again this is not a massive problem and one that may easily be rectified with developers getting used to remote play in general.
Now on to Second Screen. At the moment only The Playroom and Warframe use Second Screen and Warframe only uses it as a companion app. The Playroom on the other hand uses Second Screen to turn your Vita into a toy creator via the correct DLC. It is simple, intuitive and works extremely well and is a showcase for what Second Screen can do, however apart from obtaining a trophy for those that care, it isn’t really an integral part of the overall game. My hope is that Second Screen functionality will be implemented in more titles in creative ways that offer an excellent add-on experience as I am more than a little disappointed in the approach of most PS4 games like Assassins Creed 4 that allow a tablet or phone to act as a Second Screen, but not the Vita.
It is a shame as Watchdogs and in particular The Division have showcased functions that could be extremely interesting for Second Screen on the Vita, but I fear that the function will not be supported in the way that I hope or Sony intended.
So far though my experience has been mostly positive and my belief is that Remote Play is a wonderful addition to the PS4 experience and the Second Screen functionality is a nice little trick, when it is used. It may work out as an expensive initial cost but if you do have a PS4 and are thinking of getting a Vita or vice versa then I can say that it is well worth the outlay.
If you have any of your own experiences with Remote Play that you want to share feel free to leave them below.