Bloodborne. A game of stern demands and immense rewards, in which only the most steadfast, focused, precision play will triumph over immense odds. A hell of an experience, and a hell of an exclusive. But how does it stand up when run through Sony’s latest, impressive sounding, but surely science fictional innovation, Remote Play on the Xperia Z3 series? After all, the slightest hiccup in framerate or responsiveness will kill a game like Bloodborne – and its player – stone dead. Could streaming it from a PlayStation 4 to Sony’s latest flagship smartphone, the Xperia Z3, really stand up to the big TV experience?
There was only one way to find out. We had to throw everything at Remote Play and see what happened. We didn’t want to just give it a quick benchmark test in the office and leave it at that. We wanted to go big. We secured a gleaming venue high in the skies of old London town, we invited over 100 serious gamers, we set up Remote Play, and we let them test the merry hell out of it. Just playing Bloodborne wouldn’t do. We had to up the stakes, so we opened up a full-blown Bloodborne tournament, with a relentless do-or-die boss fight as the qualifying round, and a grand final comprising a ruthless four-way score attack.
Beating the Cleric Demon with an unlevelled, first-run character is an intimidating prospect in itself, but doing so on a timer, against a room full of other players all determined to flex their reactions and strategies to their fullest? That’s going to be demanding. As for racing through Yarnham to collect as many Blood Echoes as possible within three minutes, eyes on the grand prize of an Xperia Z3 and PlayStation 4 all of your own? No room for error. Not for a second.
And so it was. Players and hardware alike would be tested, and tested hard, on a public stage with no space for excuses. And good Lord, did it ever go well. Players played, food and drinks flowed, friends were made, rivalries struck, and many a high-level strategic Bloodborne chat floated upon the air. We even found time to shuffle the collective minds of GR+, Kotaku UK, and the Official PlayStation Magazine on-stage for a spirited Q&A with the players. Fine times were had indeed.
As the evening drew on, a tangible community atmosphere settled around the hotseats reserved for competitors, every downed Cleric greeted with an uproarious cheer, every dead Hunter paid tribute with a pained, collective groan and multitudinous commiserations. And everywhere, all night, from the Bloodborne pods to the heated Mortal Kombat X battles throughout the bar, Remote Play held its own and more. Not a battle faltered along its way from PlayStation 4 to Xperia Z3. Many a player surely realised that they had suddenly found themselves living in the future. Check out our video of the evening for evidence of that.
But ultimately there could be only one champion Hunter, and rather brilliantly the grand prize was claimed by a dapper, unassuming chap by the none-more-fitting name of Fang. Hacking his way through to a mammoth 1112 Blood Echoes in just 180 seconds, his win was as convincing as it was heroic. Bagging an Xperia Z3, PlayStation 4 and a copy of Bloodborne itself for his triumph, he had proved once and for all that not only can you be an utter badass while wearing a smart suit, but that Remote Play on the Xperia Z3 is certainly up to the challenge.