Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Far Cry 6 Not Far from Blind Accessible

Lamoine Williams

               I already know what you’re thinking. here we are again with another Ubisoft title that does not hit the mark for blind gamers. However, don’t count Ubisoft out just yet. Although Far Cry 6 is not totally playable for gamers who are totally blind, Ubisoft is getting close. In fact, this might just be there most blind accessible game yet.

               One of the type of games that blind gamers have yet to experience is an open world title that is also accessible. With more and more games adding in accessible features, we can only hope that a game will be coming soon that will scratch our itch for exploration. Far Cry 6 contains one of Ubisoft’s largest maps with just about everything you could want to do rolled up inside it. From driving to flying, creeping to crafting, Far Cry 6 has you covered. Well, it does unless you’re a blind gamer.

               Although Far Cry 6 has its shortcomings, compared to previous Ubisoft titles things are coming along nicely. The menu narration is passable giving you access to information needed to set the game up without sighted assistance. On a side note, though, the menus seem to be designed weird and sometimes it’s not quite clear how to get to options even when you know they are there. There are options for changing the narration voice and also controlling the speed of narration, which is a plus. Hopefully in the future there will be a fix for the narration overrun when narration continues to speak even though the cursor has moved to a different option.

               One of the biggest barriers that Far Cry 6 has for blind gamers is not having an accessible navigation system for objectives. This single barrier is one that can easily make or break a game. Think about it. If The Last of Us Part 2 had not implemented a successful accessible navigational system, few to no blind gamers would have been able to play it. So accessible navigation is definitely a crucial tool for any game with open environments.

               One other thing that will prevent blind gamers from successfully playing Far Cry 6 without sighted assistance is the lack of accessible prompts within the game world. Prompts that read with narration are crucial for knowing when doors can be opened, when objectives are reached, and when items in the environment can be interacted with to progress the story. Without these, gamers who depend on the game’s narration features won’t progress and will be missing tons of information that other gamers pick up easily. The simple rule for these situations? If you can interact with it, make it so that the narrator reads all crucial information regarding the prompt or object. This will fix most barriers with identification so everyone can have as close to the same experience during gameplay as possible.

               So how accessible is Far Cry 6 if your blind? Well, it’s not quite a game that can be played without either sighted assistance or a tiny bit more work when it comes to accessibility. I do have to give Ubisoft props for adding in more accessibility and also not leaving out gamers who are totally blind. Playing the game, I could tell that there was some thought put into the game to help those who are totally blind and it is much appreciated. Overall, I think this game will be more like a Grand Theft Auto 5 game for me, which means, a game that is fun for a bit to run around in and see what I can do, but not accessible enough for me to actually complete any part of the game on my own. Hopefully with some time Ubisoft can implement some accessibility updates that might help fix some of the barriers that Blind gamers are having in Far Cry 6. However, trying to add in a system as large and complicated as accessible objective based navigation at this point would be almost impossible without adding more bugs to the game most likely.

               Check out the video that accompanies this article on the Blind Ohio Gamer channel on YouTube! Remember to like, subscribe, and share!

©2021 Lamoine Williams 

Diablo 2 Resurrected is Still Dead

Lamoine Williams

               For weeks just like many of you I have been patiently awaiting the release of the Diablo2 remake. While it was officially released today, September 24, 2021, it seems to be missing some of the crucial accessibility features we were promised by the developer. Although there are accessibility options for resizing U/I elements, choosing if NPC’s dialog is presented in audio, text, or both, there is no Text to Speech to be heard anywhere. In the past, there have not been many game remakes that have added in more accessibility for the blind. This is something that the entire blind community wishes would change very soon.

               When a game is remade, the developers in most cases overhaul the game in order to make it a bit more modern and appealing to consumers. Games may get updated U/I, updates to graphics, and attention to things that make the game overall run smoother. This is the perfect time to add in accessibility, while developers are under a game’s hood adding in other updates. Sadly, this is not what is happening in most cases. What we usually get are games that are graphically pleasing, but have little to no updates that remove the barriers from the original games.

               One thing to understand is the difference between a remaster and a remake. These two terms are easy to get confused and although they seem similar, they are as different as night and day. Let’s start with remasters. A remaster of a game means that it is usually the same game with changes to graphics and assets. These games are mostly the same at the core and have the same content and overall gameplay.

               On the other hand, a remake is a total overhaul of the game. A remake may have the same concept, just taken in a different direction. In remakes, developers rebuild a game from the original. Technical updates are usually implemented while also making the game more appealing to new gamers. Plot lines, characters, and combat are things that are changed depending on the title.

               So, how bad is Diablo2 Resurrected from an accessibility standpoint? Well, it’s still as dead as its predecessor to be honest. Pre-launch there was tons of talk about how much accessibility was going to be put into this title. While post-launch it is another dismal failure. Many in the disabled community were sure after the mind-blowing release of The Last of Us Part II last year that developers understood what was needed to make a game fully accessible and would begin making it a priority. But with accessibility failures such as Watch Dog: Legion, Ratchet and Clank: A Rift Apart, and Final Fantasy 7: Remake we experienced none of what makes a game great, which is removing barriers and allowing everyone to play.


©2021 Lamoine Williams 

Far Cry 6 Not Far from Blind Accessible

Lamoine Williams                I already know what you’re thinking. here we are again with another Ubisoft title that does not hit the ma...