The Order 1886 is Sony’s big spring exclusive. It sports beautiful graphics and a compelling story. Unfortunately, this game is also exclusive in the worst possible way.
To start with, players with visual disabilities should stay away from The Order. The hyper realistic graphics mean that even well sighted players will have a hard time catching the slight glimmer of interactive objects. The color scheme in the majority of this game ranges from almost black to very black, making it hard to navigate poorly lit environments. Beyond this, when zoomed in during fire fights, the screen blurs out except for a small circle that is supposed to be your weapons scope. This occurs even when there is no scope on the weapon, and can make it very hard for players to transition between targets in the midst of battle. While it’s not clear whether anything relies on color combine the above factors with the nearly unreadable text of in-game documents, and it should be clear why The Order isn’t for visually impaired gamers.
The situation is even worse for gamers with fine-motor disabilities. I was not able to make it passed the opening cut scene without help. Obnoxious quick time events come early and often, requiring players to mash buttons repeatedly to advance through the game. With a QTE approximately every 3 minutes, players will never be able to let their assistant’s rest and will be playing a game of pass-the-controller, rather than taking down half-breeds. Beyond this, the controller customization is minimal, and does not compensate for the glut of QTE’s. Usually I don’t like to rag on a game for one feature that makes it inaccessible, but when it comes to The Order, the game is defined by its QTE’s, and this feature defines its inaccessibility. The only way a fine motor disabled gamer can get any enjoyment out of this title, is with something like a turbo controller, and even that might not solve the problem.
Edit: Ready at Dawn implemented subtitles well, allowing players with hearing disabilities to get the most enjoyment of any disabled community out of this game, but without being able to progress through the game in it’s entirety due to fine-motor barriers, it is impossible to tell whether the game is truly barrier free for those with hearing disabilities.
The Order 1886 was a heartbreaking disappointment. I went in expecting something like the Last of Us, and got an adventure game that was so inaccessible that I returned it after owning for just 12 hours.