Risk of Rain on PS4/Vita falls short in the multiplayer department
Hopoo Games could not have released a better game than Risk of Rain as their first full-release game. It's just difficult enough to keep you going and just addictive enough to find it hard to stop. The gameplay is tight, music is great, and the overall experience is supremely gratifying.
There's certainly a reason Risk of Rain still has active players spattered about the Internet, eager for a host with a good connection for multiplayer runs. And that is because it is amazing.
My personal hype for Risk of Rain on PlayStation 4 and Vita was overshadowed by my dismay the console version of the game was getting dedicated servers, while we PC players still have to struggle with port forwarding and Hamachi.
Trying to connect to other players can be a nightmare with on PC, not to mention the game's desyncing issues mid-play. Any fan without a PS4 would rightfully be upset to hear the PC version would be the "inferior" one due to its not-so-great netcode.
But in action, the PlayStation 4 and Vita version of the game is not the PC-version killer some made them out to be. The console ports fall short of Risk of Rain on PC, primarily for multiplayer-oriented reasons.
Local co-op is regretfully the same as on PC
Risk of Rain is better with other people. It's a fact. It is also not all that amazing for local co-op no matter the platform.
Local co-op for the console release works the same as it does on PC. Both you and the other player can't wander too far away from one another and you can't see your individual items.
Much of the overall experience is drained by these two factors because of the limited mobility and the inability to keep track of your own items. Keeping both players in sight is a nightmare with a few Paul's Goat Hooves.
Local co-op has always been a mostly ignored feature of the PC release and it's obvious it was never intended to be amazing, but it's a big draw to the PlayStation 4 version in particular. Unfortunately much of the potential fun of console local co-op is sucked dry by its similarity to the PC version instead of trying to make the experience more friendly to console co-op players.
Fans hoping to play easily with friends and family at home should bear this in mind and be aware only two players can play local co-op at the same time.
Online multiplayer isn't really improved either
Look, I don't like having to use Hamachi. I don't know anyone that does. But I'm more willing to deal with Hamachi and spend a little time trying to get a game up and running than I am being stuck only being able to connect to one other console at a time for multiplayer.
The PS4/Vita release only allows you to connect to one other console at a time, which means you can have a maximum of four players at a time with two using one screen on one console and two on one screen on another.
Let's rewind a bit and paste the letters W, H, A, and T over the above paragraph because that's the way I felt when I could only play with one other person online (or two people on the same console).
The above is upsetting enough, but it's baffling that the game can only connect to one other console and still has desync issues. Not only that, but it's not uncommon to get stuck at the connecting screen trying to get matched with other players. It's far from ideal even when compared to the issues with PC connectivity.
I can see wanting the PS4/Vita version for online multiplayer with a friend without the connection-adjusting that comes alongside dealing with the PC version, but groups of 3 or more people would do better sticking to Risk of Rain on PC.
Spite is broken
Oh, Spite. My second favorite artifact.
Spite is great if you want a challenge ramp up on the PC version of Risk of Rain. But currently this artifact barely works on console.
Some Risk of Rain players have seen it, the bug where Spite only spits out one funball (bomb) per mob. It sucks, but it only happens on one level, then you're back to bosses spewing bombs on death like explosive pinatas.
This bug appears to be present in the console version, but it doesn't just last for one level. Instead no mobs will ever cough up more than one bomb at a time. Colossi? One bomb. Overloading Magma Worms? One bomb. Everything just drops a single funball.
Spite is on in this run and I just killed an Ancient Wisp. Where are the bombs?
Hopefully this is indeed a bug and not a concession made for the port. And if it is, hopefully Hopoo Games does fix it. Glass and Spirit without Spite is like a burger without the condiments. Why even bother?
Risk of Rain remains one of my favorite games of all time despite its flaws. Hopoo Games is releasing a bugfix patch for the PC release and hopefully the console port will similarly get some love from Hopoo and port-exclusive assistant developers Code Mystics.
I never thought I would have seen the day the game flew the coop and found its way on console, but it did. But the port trades the graphical slowdowns you get on PC for less than stellar online play that one would generally expect from a console release.
Despite my absolutely rabid enthusiasm for it in general I can't help but feel like Risk of Rain on a platform other than PC could have been better than how it turned out on PS4/Vita. It is not the safe haven from connectivity issues I (and others tired of messing with port forwarding) were hoping it would be. At least the game doesn't slow down when there are a million things on screen. That's a plus.