How Bloodborne feels on PS Vita via Remote Play

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How Bloodborne feels on PS Vita via Remote Play

Plus, more hands-on impressions of next week’s PS4 action epic

Though Bloodborne shares some broad similarities with Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls, it translates From Software‘s trademark high risk, high reward play-style to PS4 in new and interesting ways.

Starting with its zippier movement speed, Bloodborne seems bound and determined to strip away anything that might encumber the moment-to-moment flow. Shields are no longer central to gameplay, replaced with dodging and a new “regain” system that allows you to regenerate lost health by striking the creature that inflicted the damage (don’t expect to mash buttons hoping for an easy health boost, though). These strategic tweaks further heighten From Software’s blissful blend of risk and reward and encourage you to stay on the offense.


Character creation will be familiar to veteran Souls players. In selecting a character “origin,” you’ll choose from colourful descriptors such as Troubled Childhood (high resilience), Violent Past (high strength), and Waste of Skin (nearly helpless). I opted for the Military Veteran, which gave a balanced boost to my strength and skill ratings.

Moments into the game, it’s clear that From Software is putting PS4’s processing power to good use. Bloodborne’s grim hellscapes are a clear generational leap from the castles and courtyards of the Souls games. Bottles and boxes tumble realistically when struck. Fog flows like spilled blood. Light sources glow menacingly. The environments look and feel alive in ways the eight year-old PS3 hardware just can’t accommodate.

DN_011 DN_020DN_CO-OP_004

After ogling the environments, my Military Veteran set to work. Some friendly demons presented me with a choice of three starting weapons: I skipped the Hunter’s Axe and Saw Cleaver in favor of the Threaded Cane, a nasty piece of work that bashed skulls up close and expanded into a bladed whip for longer distance work.

Bloodborne’s weapons are multifaceted marvels, each effectively serving as two weapons in one. Combined with firearms like the Hunter’s Pistol and Blunderbuss, I strung together wicked multipart combos that shredded enemy mobs quickly and efficiently.

Bloodborne also taps into some of DUALSHOCK 4’s unique control features, starting with the touchpad. Click the right side and you’ll see your personal effects (molotovs, notebook, etc); click the left side and you’ll see your available gestures, which you’ll activate using DUALSHOCK 4’s internal motion sensor.


Being a PS4 title, we naturally had questions about how Bloodborne’s faster combat would translate to PS Vita’s smaller form factor. I can happily report that FromSoftware has implemented various niceties that ensure a smooth transition from DUALSHOCK 4 to PS Vita, including a few clever re-mapping solutions:

DualShock 4 Control In-game function Remote Play Control
L2 & R2 Gun & Strong attack Bottom corners of front touchscreen
DS4 Touchpad (split to left & right halves) Gestures & Personal Effects Front Touchpad (split to left & right halves)
R3 Lock-on to enemy Right half of Rear Touchpad

After about five minutes of re-training my muscle memory, I was already dodging and counterattacking Bloodborne’s nightmarish beasts with the same finesse and ferocity as I was managing while playing natively on PS4.

Then there are the new Chalice Dungeons, procedurally generated levels set in the vast ruins beneath Yharnam. I test drove one dungeon called “Chamber of the Seal,” and its gloomy atmosphere and haunting ambient audio gave a tantalizing preview of what’s in store.

After hacking through a mob of scuttling rats and hulking horrors, a towering undead giant flattened me in two mighty blows. This experience perfectly encapsulated the major differences — as well as some key similarities — between Bloodborne and the Souls games. The melee combat felt more immediate, and I made rapid progress thanks to my faster movement speed. But in classic Souls style, all it took was one moment of hesitation to seal my fate.

I’m dying to dive back into Bloodborne when it lands on PS4 next week.


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  • All good stuff – does the same apply to Dark Souls 2: SOTFS remote play?

    Also, has anyone seen a UK retailer carrying the Saw Cleaver steelbook announced on this very blog yet? (

    • Alas, sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but availability of that particular steelbook varies from region to region and unfortunately the UK team were unable to offer it.

      As for Dark Souls 2 Remote Play – I’m not sure. As soon as I can get hold of a copy I’ll put it to the test ;)

    • Thanks for the reply Fred – import it is! And thanks to everyone at From for delaying the release by a month to let the Euro exchange rate move in our favour :)

    • Now that you’re back to commenting Fred can you comment on Killzone Shadow Fall+Season Pass bundle not entitling me to Killzone SF standalone version? I saw 2 links in my library on PS4 and it turns out the link that I chose was the 40GB Trial that I cant unlock because of this, I’m not really excited to have to re-download 40GB+ worth of data.

    • Sorry to hear you’ve had difficulty there. I can’t directly help, but our customer support team will be happy to get this fixed up for you:

  • I would prefer it if te back touchpad was never used during remote play.
    For me it’s clear the best way to use L2 R3 is the top corners of the screen and L3 R3 for the bottom corners.

  • *Gasp*, Sony said the word “Vita” for once!

  • I finally got my PS4 on the weekend to go alongside the Vita, the Remote Play is (connection permitting) scarily good. Nice to see an article bigging this feature up, plus Bloodbourne looks like a must too :)

    • If your using remote play enable the direct connection option on Ps4 and disable location services on the Vita.
      Both will make massive improvements to remote play and stop connection drops… Apart from things that may cause outside interference… My Microwave seems to break the remote play connection while in use for example.

    • I’ve just enabled the direct connection option and location services were already disabled.

      However the jacket potato I was microwaving comes first :)

      PS Only really tested RP on one of our work routers and the connection on that one struggles to use Google let alone a streaming service. I have found another and it works great, cheers GG.

    • Hang on a moment. What he said isn’t completely true. It all depends WHERE you and your Vita are. If you’re in the same room as your PS4, yes, direct connection is the best option, however, if you’re as far away from your PS4 as the very NEXT room? Then make DAMN sure that direct connection option is NOT enabled.

      If you’re In another from from your PS4, try and be as close to a router as possible and then not having Direct Connection enabled will allow your Vita to use your network flawlessly.

      Put it this way, as soon as I’m as little as maybe…..10 feet away from my PS4, direct connection is useless.

      But through the Internet, I was able to play AC4 almost PERFECTLY when I was over 250 miles away from my PS4.

      Again, same room remote play = Direct connection.
      ANYTHING else? Nope.

      His reply was very misleading.

    • @Coody You are right; it really does depend upon the setup and layout of your property and how far from it you are. I’m only in a small house so I’m always roughly in range thankfully so I’ve only encountered small problems when using the internet access (and that was due to a rough connection on the secondary router I was connected to).

      Still, managed to play Destiny for 1/2hr on my lunch break in work, I can’t really fault it :D

    • from experience dont leave the room if your using direct connection although disabling location features is neat idea….

  • No rear touch!!! Seriously, the four corners and centre of front touch us all you need

  • This sounds great. I know this is off topic but this is the only vita themed post in well, ages.

    Netflix is launching in Australia soon and it seems PSN has let us access the apps for ps3/4 but not Vita in preparation. The one I really wanted access to. Why is this? Will this be corrected in this store update? Any comment at all would be great because the Vita hasn’t been doing so well with this kinda support in the SCEE region.

  • Heres an Idea Sony, how about you make a prequel/Spinoff exclusively for the Vita instead of treating it like a remote play accessory, I nor anyone I know bought it for remote play.

    If you cant be bothered to make your own 1st party games then get in touch with Gameloft to release some ports, or get some dead trigger 2 on here. Shouldn’t be to hard

    • I did, it was exciting to see kz3 demonstrated which never ending up being implemented, effectively misleading consumers. Most of the games I would actually get use out of remote play are on the ps3…

    • ahemmmm … I got my vita specifically for remote play …then discovered a full library of ps1 classics and persona 4 and now spend most of my time on my vita

    • That’s why I said people “I know” not everyone in general, of course there are people out there who bought the console for remote play, but the overall majority of people bought it for Vita titles

    • smokeypsd well i guess you can’t wait for PS now then?

  • Lol

    Btw to the blog team, I don’t know if this happens to other people but when i click on the below link to the “terms of service” it doesn’t work, and leads me somewhere else (it says it can’t find a location and if i choose europe it puts me on the main european site) I can’t actually read them before posting (yes, I was afraid of simply posting “Lol” which is all I wanted to say in regards to this article)

    “The page you requested was not found.
    Please visit the PlayStation® website in your country / region.” <- this is what I get from the link

  • if ps vita could handle the remote play wouldn’t it also be able to have the actual game itself.

    • no, that’s not how it works

    • No, it’s streaming from PS4. So, it’s still running on PS4. It still needs the hardware of PS4. PS Vita is just receiving ouput signal.

      PS4 is running the game, and sending the video signal generated by the PS4 game over Wi-Fi to PS Vita. PS Vita is sending the input from the controls back to the PS4 system over Wi-Fi.

    • The Vita is doing the job of the DS4 and the TV. The PS4 is doing the rendering and what not.

  • How about a hands-on for Remote Play on Xperia Z3, Xperia Z3 Compact, Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact, Xperia Z2, Xperia Z2 Tablet?

    • You’d just be using a DS4 with those, the controls would still be the same

      Hands on for Remote play on a rooted Android device with no ds4manager, using touchscreen controls only? Now that I’d like to read

    • I’ve used remote play on my Xperia z (first one one if your wondering) over its mobile Internet with gta v using just the touch screen controls and it runs smooth aside from the obvious no physical buttons. Its not too bad if your not playing anything thats too twitch based like binding of issac, which I can just about survive a couple of floors before the no buttons and sticks start to get me killed. But overall its pretty good.

    • I got all of the trophies on Thomas Was Alone via touchscreen remote play, and Diablo 3 is an absolute blast whenever you’re not navigating the menus, but anything requiring precise dual analogue control makes my brain itch

  • Again promoting the Vita as a secondary device. I do not want to use it as a streaming device for the PS4. :|

    • If I were to purchase a PS4, it would be the other way around. PS4 as a secondary device for my PS Vita to stream games to my main game playing system at the moment: PS Vita. :D

  • So Fred is posting again, good stuff. Any chance you could be drawn to comment on some of the previous posts you abandoned?

    I’ll make it simple and stick to the most recent one. Powers. The fourth episode will be available in the US tomorrow, in the “coming soon” last month you promised to find out the date and come back to us, you didn’t.

    Bonus question. We’ve asked hundreds of times over the years why content is available in the US but not EU, or why we must routinely pay as much as 40% more than the US for some content and when you do answer the question its all “publishers this” “factors outside of our control that” well what about the disparity in “author replies” in the last 7 days, there have been a total of 8 author replies in Sony posts, in the US however, 19 replies for the Morpheus post and 44 for the firmware update. This is something totally within your control, so how do you explain it? Are they just more dedicated or are you all doing something extra behind the scenes that the US don’t do? I’m genuinely interested, why is something so simple to address such a big problem?

  • First off, great to hear someone is actually taking the time to make a decent Vita Remote-Play control scheme. Too many games feature only (marginally) functional setups, like Trials Fusion or Diablo 3, or none at all (looking at you, Shadow of Mordor and the devs that don’t care at all).

    Remote Play is a fantastic feature, and would’ve been well worth the Vita purchase on its own – add to that games like Gravity Rush, Tearaway and Uncharted or Indie-Gems CounterSpy and Helldivers, and I do love my Vita.

    I have a question regarding the remote play controls set-up, though, specifically in respect to the button configuration feature of the new PS4 2.50 firmware:

    For games that feature no specific Vita Remote Play setup, would changing the button config on PS4 affect the Vita Controls as well? Would I be able to, say, in Shadow of Mordor switch the PS4 controls between bumpers and triggers (L/R 1 and 2), would that also switch the R2 function to the shoulder buttons on the Vita during Remote Play?

    Also, will 2.50 possibly also bring custom Vita Remote Play control mapping, including the front touch screen corners and all? Because that would be amazing – and even better if we could save presets for different games…

  • What does L1&R1 do? Coz if it ain’t important then they should be on the bottom corners of the front touchscreen and the L2&R2 should be the L&R on the ps vita.

  • Wondering what language will German Version support as I’m staying in Germany and really want to play Bloodborne as soon as it release.

  • Can you confirm if you were playing it using the soon to be released 60fps feature via vita remote play… I want this feature soooooo badly!!!

  • Sony should release a limited edition Remote Play Vita with L2/R2 and L3/R3. Limited, only for those really interested and at a price that grants profit from hardware alone. I’d jump on it, I guess many other hardcore fans would as well. I hate all this mapping of buttons.

  • you can use your ds4 with your vita. Takes some messing about but thats how I play. Also the ds4 has direct connect to remote play on the z3 phone and tablet.

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