My reason for purchasing the PS Vita was specific. I wanted to be able to sit on the couch and still have access to the PS4 while someone else was using the TV. This purchase was all about using the Remote Play feature that allows for the streaming of games from my PS4 to the PS Vita.
Six months later, here is some user feedback on using the PS Vita with Remote Play and some thoughts for anyone else looking to do the same with their gaming set up.
Remote play works
Connecting the PS Vita to the PS 4 is easy and it works. When using Remote Play, you are able to connect to your PS4 via the Internet, your local home network or through a direct Wi-Fi connection to the PS4. The latter option provides the best results and it is the ideal connection for those who are looking to use the PS Vita within the same room as their PS4. The pairing process is straightforward and once you have completed it, subsequent connections between the Vita and PS4 are done with a simple screen tap on your PS Vita.
When it comes to accessing my PS4 games, I have been able to remotely play all of my games on the Vita. I can foresee problems with games requiring additional hardware support such as Just Dance (PlayStation Camera) or Rocksmith (USB Real Tone Cable) that would not be able to work properly streaming to the Vita. Other than that, because you are essentially streaming your PS4 gameplay if you can play it on your PS4, you can play it on your PS Vita.
Remote access to the rest of your PS4 system
Remote Play allows you to control your PS4 system from your Vita. Whether at home or on the road, there have been a number of occasions where remotely accessing the menus and settings of my PS4 has come in handy. For me specifically, the task of entering text (ex. for codes or messages) has been a nicer experience using the PS Vita’s onscreen keyboard instead of the PS4 controller.
Missing controller buttons
The physical buttons for R2/L2 and R3/L3 have been relocated to the front and/or rear touch panels on the Vita. This has been the biggest challenge for me as it involves reworking some deeply engrained muscle memory around the traditional PlayStation controller.
Scaling down a game’s visuals from a large screen television to a 5″ (16:9) display can be tough on older eyes. I found it difficult to read many of the onscreen messages or instructions and I was at a significant disadvantage playing games that relied upon reacting to small targets or changes on the screen.
Some lag is apparent during Remote Play depending on how you have connected to the PS4 and will be an issue for quick reaction or twitch gameplay. For me, this became quite noticeable playing first-person shooters. Direct wireless connection to the PS4 provided me the best results in reducing lag but Remote Play over the internet produces substantially lagging gameplay.
Ultimately with the drawbacks of lag, touchpad controls and screen size, the overall experience in using Remote Play on a PS Vita is really going to depend on the games that you are going to stream. For me, first-person shooters (ex. COD, BF) were tough to play remotely on the Vita. For these types of games, I found myself struggling with the relocated controls on the Vita and the additional lag. For slower paced games (ex. Minecraft, The Crew and even GTA V), these challenges became less of an issue and the only thing that seemed to really bother me was the Vita’s smaller screen size.
Keep in mind that my particular focus here was on using the Vita as a Remote Play device for my PS4. For this purpose, the Vita works but I would not recommend it for everyone. Again, your Remote Play experience is really going to depend on the types of games that you are looking to play. However when you consider that the Vita is also a gaming platform on its own, for those interested in diving into the PS Vita’s library of titles, the added option of Remote Play is pretty compelling.
The Wild Card: PlayStation TV
Depending on your need for Remote Play and how it fits in with your current gaming set up, Sony’s PlayStation TV may provide answers to some of the challenges inherent with PS Vita’s implementation to Remote Play. The PlayStation TV also allows you to take advantage of remotely playing games from your PS4. Unlike the PS Vita, the PlayStation TV needs to be connected to TV/display and requires the use of either a PS3 or PS4 controller. This effectively addresses two potential drawbacks of the PS Vita Remote Play where we can now stream to a larger screen and get back to using a PS4 (or PS3) controller using the PlayStation TV. Again, depending on your gaming set up, this may or may not be an option for you. Have a look at Eurogamer’s review on Remote Play with the PlayStation TV.
– K. Takahashi