Disability Game Review: Far Cry Primal
Earlier this year Ubisoft released the prequel to end all prequels in the form of Far Cry Primal. Instead of placing players on an island populated by pirates or in a mountainous region ruled by a dictator, Far Cry Primal gives players the role of a prehistoric human trying to find his way to a promised land populated by the rest of his tribe. Because of this unique premise, Far Cry Primal is unlike any other game I’ve played and it poses unique challenges and benefits for accessibility.
First, there are no firearms in Far Cry Primal. Instead of AK47s and machetes, players will be given flint-tipped spears and bows and arrows. The result of this unique spin makes the game less accessible for players with fine motor disabilities. In previous games, players would simply have to hold down a button to fire whatever weapon they have equipped. In Far Cry Primal players have to hold down then release a button in order to make a killing blow. As a result, players will have to have steady hands if they hope to survive long in this game. To make matters worse Far Cry Primal itself does not allow players to remap controllers. If you are on a PS4 or PC this is not a barrier but as of the writing of this article, the Xbox One has yet to incorporate fully remappable controls into their standard hardware setup. Because of these barriers, it is difficult to see any player with significant fine motor impairment being able to enjoy this game at all.
Because of the significant fine motor barriers in this title I was not able to progress as far as I would have hoped before reviewing Far Cry Primal but what I did see does not bode well for players with visual difficulties. For starters, this game needs a high contrast mode and it does not have one. After running it through simulated color blindness tests I can tell you that the minimap in this game is completely inaccessible for the color impaired at times and the rest of the time it’s still significantly hard to read if you are color blind. But the real problem arises for players who are visually impaired but not color deficient. This is because the targeting reticle is so poorly implemented that it is impossible for me to see most of the time even without any visual impairments. This feature is especially critical in Primal because without the use of automatic weapons or weapons that fire spread projectiles such as shotguns, accuracy is crucial. As a result, Far Cry Primal cannot be played effectively without the ability to see fine detail or if the player is color deficient.
The only bright spot when it comes to Primal is in its accessibility for the hearing impaired. This is because players have no option but to use subtitles due to the fact that the story is told in a prehistoric tongue that requires players to read translations in order to understand what is going on. Beyond this however, it is unclear whether anything in Far Cry Primal requires the ability to hear. All we can say at this point is that the story seems reasonably accessible.
I must admit I was intrigued by the idea of an action RPG set in the prehistoric past but Far Cry Primal is so fraught with barriers that I wouldn’t buy it and I wouldn’t recommend it for most disabled gamers.
Overall Rating: Partially Accessible
Visual Rating: Inaccessible Accessible
Fine-Motor Rating: Partially Accessible
Auditory Rating: Thoroughly Accessible
Released For: PS4, Xbox One, PC
ESRB Rating: M