|Disability Game Review: Rayman Legends|
|The Bottom Line|
Well, we did it. This week, DAGERS received its first review copy of a game, and we would like to start by extending a special thank you to the folks at Ubisoft for partnering with us in this endeavor. The game they sent us, Rayman Legends, has been getting stirring reviews throughout the industry for its polished gameplay and beautiful art style. From the standpoint of accessibility, the worst thing that you can say about this game is that it’s a platformer.
What that means is that players with fine motor disabilities will probably struggle with this game. Timing and precision are absolute musts, especially since the later levels have a tendency to be gruelingly hard. To compound matters, we reviewed the game on the Wii U. As a result, there was no option for controller customization. This may not be the case if players use a different platform. One of the key features of using Nintendo’s hardware is both a blessing and curse when it comes to this game’s fine motor accessibility. Players on the Wii U have the exclusive opportunity to control Murphy using the game’s touchpad. In these levels, the timing requirements are somewhat looser, but if players don’t have the motor control to precisely direct where Murphy is going, they can expect to fail miserably. Combine that with the fact that in certain sequences the Wii U version relies on motion control elements such as tilting the controller back and forth to rotate wheels and gears and it may sound like we’re trying to warn people off of playing Rayman Legends. We’re not.
There is one overarching characteristic that salvages a good portion of the game from the standpoint of fine motor accessibility. This is the completely staggering amount of content within Rayman Legends. When first playing the game, I had unlocked dozens of additional stages in other worlds in addition to the stages in the world that Rayman begins in—and that was after my first session totaling only two hours of gameplay! Because the difficulty progression is non-linear, even when players are having a hard time with certain areas, there will almost always be something else that the player can do that will merit spending “just a little more time” in this this game.
That is the worst of it. Players with visual disabilities will be happy to know that the game does not use color or fine detail to communicate anything important and that the art style is big, bold, and absolutely beautiful. While it is true that many of the game’s characters look similar, because they do not switch without clearly telling the player in large readable text which character the player is switching to, it will be easy for visually impaired gamers to keep track of who they are playing as.
Furthermore, when playing Legends, gamers with auditory disabilities will not run into any barriers due to their inability to hear. But some of the magic of the game’s beautiful sound track and the music inspired levels that synchronize character actions with background music will be lost on those with hearing impairments.
Overall, Rayman Legends is an unapologetic platform adventure. But it is definitely worth a look for most people with disabilities, even if some players with fine motor issues will struggle at times with this game.
Overall Rating: Thoroughly Accessible
Visual Rating: Barrier Free
Fine-Motor Rating: Partially Accessible
Auditory Rating: Barrier Free
Released For: Wii U, PS3, Xbox 360, PS Vita, PC
ESRB Rating: E10+
GameInformer Score: 9.00
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