|Precision >||Maybe||You will need precision to play|
|One-Handed >||Maybe||Take a look at the detailed review before you buy|
|Deaf Gamers >||Maybe||Ummm, I would read the detailed review|
|Subtitles >||Some||Character text is present but not ambiant|
|Colorblind >||Yes||Colorblind gamers should be okay|
In my opinion, Spec Ops: The Line can hang it’s hat on being worthy and accessible enough to be played through once as well as being worthy of a second playthrough due to the story it tells and the way it comes together, but that second playthrough isn’t going to happen because it’s just not accessible enough.
It’s clear that everyone at Yager Development put their whole ass into Spec Ops: The Line, but the access to the game for those in need of increased access might just be left with the feeling that Yager only half-assed it.
Ambient sound is so important when it comes to games; adrenaline pumping music is just as important to a game as silence. Sound can make a game or break a game. The sound in this game makes it. That being said, Yager didn’t include captioned ambient sound.
Subtitles are included, but they are there in such a way that a sigh wouldn’t be an inappropriate response. They follow the trend that must end in their use of a white font surrounded by a thin black line fir into far too small a font size. It wouldn’t hurt anyone’s feelings that need subtitles and captioning to lose a few inches at the top or bottom of the screen if it meant they were able to read/follow the story. Letterboxes and a generously-sized, easily read font would be a great start.
The subtitles aren’t the only problem that Spec Ops has with visibility; along with being set in a really sandy wasteland of a formerly thriving city, visual effects like seizure-inducing flashing lights, smoke and even napalm are there to make this game what it is. Those visuals can be lessened with the help of the brightness adjustment slider and any one of three camera filters which help more with ambience than increased visibility although they do bring a little inherent accessibility with them. They only can do so much though and no matter the brightness or the filter, if the player is supposed to have difficulty during that part of the game, they will.
It’s a real drag to have to say that there is no reprieve from the brief moments of further sightlessness. If the player can’t survive them, the game is over for the player. After failing an area so many times, the player will be asked if they’d like to lower the difficulty level and continue. This is a good thing. What isn’t a good thing is that once you’ve reached the lowest difficulty setting and continue to fail, the game doesn’t offer to move the player ahead and further the game. It just lets the player continue to fail without the possibility of failing forward and if they have it in them, failing their way to the end – multiple moments worth seeing.
Speaking of moments worth seeing, the cutscenes offered by Spec Ops: The Line are done well enough that not only the hearing impaired, but also the visually impaired will have a tough time knowing who’s talking as the speaker goes unidentified and the graphics are more than a little solid. Dare I say inaccessibly well?
As with any shooter, third-person or otherwise, actually shooting is both a question of visibility and mobility. Visibility is better at some time than others and it should be known that this game leans heavily on the red-end of the color spectrum with very little, if any, interplay with the color green. The sight changes from white to red as it moves over a target as well as changes its appearance from gun to gun, and together this does more to hinder the act of shooting than the lackluster aim assist.
To be a truly helpful aim assist, when the ADS button is pressed, the center of the screen needs to care more about where the nearest enemy is than it does the closeness of that enemy. To be perfect it would also track the enemy while it was moving from place to place. Spec Ops: The Line’s aim assist does neither of these things; it is a proximity aim assist where the enemy needs to be nearly perfectly targeted before it is helpful, and it doesn’t track the enemy either.
There are a few options to make aiming easier for players who need it.
These options are a choice between two preset control schemes, horizontal and vertical sensitivity adjustments along with the ability to invert them. Not being able to customize the controls is a big blow to the game, and extending that blow is the sensitivity settings of the X and Y axis’; the default number for both sensitivities is three (out of ten). That’s not a good thing, there’s a lot of room to increase but not nearly enough to decrease the sensitivity – not to a helpful degree anyway.
As it stands, Spec Ops: The Line isn’t an unplayable game by any means. It’s actually a game that may be a game worthy of more than one playthrough. The deciding factor is in the accessibility, and as was previously stated, a lot of the accessibility of the game feels like Yager Development half-assed it and it’s sad to have to say that a game which I felt was worthy of suffering through its lack of adequate accessibility may not be worth buying.
Mobility = 6.5/10
~No button mashing to be found in this game.
~Precision is necessary to a degree; the aim assist is a close proximity mechanic where players will need to do about 95% of the aiming before using the ADS button to snap to the target.
~Buttons are not remap-able. Two preset controller configurations are available.
~Quicktime events are absent from this game.
~Camera/joystick sensitivities are available options. There is more room to increase sensitivity than there is to decrease.
~Often enemies come in waves and it seems that sometimes it is easy to be overrun by a wave of enemies; timing is important in this sense as it could be the difference between waiting for the game to reload and playing.
~There are 3 difficulty levels available to players from the start of a campaign with a 4th unlockable difficulty. The only difference between the 2 lower difficulties seems to be whether or not the aim assist is turned on by default or not.
~The only assist in the game is a proximity aim assist which leaves a bit on the table. For the aim assist to work correctly the player will have to be fairly close to already having the enemy targeted. This assist is also only good for relatively stationary enemies as it does not track them for the player.
~If the player has trouble passing an area, after failing a number of times the player will be asked if they want to decrease the difficulty. If the player continues to struggle on the lowest difficulty setting, the only choice is continued failure or being done with the game.
Visual = 4.1/10
~Most of the game is presented in high enough contrast, but there are certain areas of the game where there is meant to be no contrast at all.
~There are no colorblind options in this game.
~The subtitles in this game are not always the easiest to read but can be read.
~ Subtitles aren’t letterboxed.
~For the most part, this game’s menus are easy to use due to their presentation in differing black and white schemes; the only issue that some menus face is that their layouts are set up for fashion as well as function which is not where priority should be placed when the problem menus are those found in the options menu.
Hearing = 5/10
~Subtitles are present, but only to a somewhat readable degree; they are among the smaller sized subtitles and are made up of a white body with a thin black outline surrounding them.
~Ambient noise is not captioned.
~Speakers are not identified.
~Audio cues are accompanied by visual cues.
~The game can be completed without a need for sound though sound taken away from the game does just that – it takes away from the game.