If there’s one current generation feature that doesn’t get enough billing for how awesome it is, it’s Remote Play. The ability to take your PlayStation 4 games to bed with you is fantastic, and when developers support Remote Play through well-mapped controls it makes the entire experience even better. However, the default Remote Play controls are generally awful, as having to maneuver around four made-up quadrants on the back touchpad is almost always clunky. For games that have trigger-heavy commands on controller, it makes sense to map the R2 and L2 functions to the triggers on the Vita, but sadly The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited doesn’t support this logical solution. What’s worse is that controls can’t be remapped in any way as it currently stands, so there’s no backwards workaround to what seems to be a fairly easy problem to fix.
The basic control setup in The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited has two of your active abilities mapped to the R1 and L1 buttons, your ultimate ability mapped to the R1+L1 combination, and blocking and attacking mapped to the L2 and R2 buttons, respectively. Whenever you’re playing via Remote Play, this means that the general proceedings involve tapping and holding the two top corners of the rear touchpad, which is exactly as terrible as it sounds. What’s worse, all of the active abilities require single button presses, meaning that they would actually function quite well on the touch-screen or the rear touchpad. It’s difficult to believe that Zenimax Online would have to dedicate an insane amount of manpower into making these controls a bit more user friendly, as opposed to using the default Remote Play button mapping. On top of all of this, it’s currently impossible to summon your mount while playing on your Vita; on a DualShock 4, players have to hold the touchpad button down for this function, but holding down the touch screen on the Vita doesn’t simulate this input. That’s right, whenever you’re playing The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited, you can’t ride a horse to travel quicker.
While it might seem a bit menial to complain about the Remote Play control situation for The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited, Zenimax Online and Bethesda are missing out on a real opportunity here. Because there’s a great deal of passive activity in The Elder Scrolls Online, playing a few hours at a time on a handheld makes a lot of sense. This isn’t a twitch shooter that requires extreme precision like Destiny, a title that has well thought out Remote Play controls, so there really wouldn’t be anything lost playing on a Vita with even an average control mapping setup. Sadly, treating the Vita like an afterthought feels like both a slap in the face to owners of Sony’s handheld and owners of The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited, a title that could have been the perfect AAA Remote Play game.