It’s that time of year again! Time to praise what last year had to offer us with accessibility in gaming. 2017 turned out to be a pretty good year for disabled gamers. More and more big-name developers listened to feedback and started implementing more accessibility options in their games. Last year there were three games that received the Barrier Free rating; Life is Strange: Before The Storm, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, and Injustice 2. All of these games represent the highest standard of gameplay and accessibility, but one game in particular stood out. This was actually the first ever Diamond Award that wasn’t chosen solely by the Editor-In-Chief, but was voted on by multiple members of the editorial staff: Myself, Josh Straub, and Megan Confer-Hammond. We all felt strongly that this game deserved the highest recognition it could get.
And the winner is…
Uncharted: The Lost Legacy
Full disclosure: our very own Josh Straub, DAGERS editor-in-chief, consulted on the accessibility of Uncharted: The Lost Legacy. He also consulted on Naughty Dog’s last game in the series, Uncharted 4. What can we say? Naughty Dog is at the top of their game. Even now, they are still making the most accessible games out there. Lost Legacy was fun, had a solid story, and most importantly, it retained all of the accessibility options implemented from the fourth game. After Naughty Dog implemented their “accessibility initiative,” they made sure to keep the accessibility section within the options menu. This included things like: aim assist, camera assist, and vehicle camera assist. Lost Legacy carried over another useful accessibility feature from the last game: the option to hold down the quick-time event button instead of having to tap repeatedly. This feature is essential for many disabled gamers with fine motor skill impairments.
What earns Uncharted: The Lost Legacy the 2017 DAGERS Diamond Award isn’t just the consistent accessibility options, but also their use of new gameplay mechanics in the game. These new features were implemented with disabled gamers in mind. For instance, Lost Legacy now lets you zoom in on a fixed point by pressing the aim button. This makes it much easier for gamers with fine motor skill impairments to aim their gun at a particular object and it automatically centers the camera making your character face forward. For disabled gamers with visual impairments, there are moments in Lost Legacy that require you to search for treasure in dark caves. Thankfully, the developers made it so your flashlight turns on automatically making it easier to see without any effort on the player’s part.
Naughty Dog continues to make quality games like Uncharted: The Lost Legacy. The attention to detail that they put into their accessibility options, sets a precedent for the third person shooter genre. They pay attention to disabled gamers’ needs and makes sure accessibility options are not hidden from sight or put behind a pay wall. They are where any disabled gamer should turn to if they want to play a game without unreasonable obstacles. On behalf of all of us here at DAGERS, we would like to congratulate Naughty Dog for making Uncharted: The Lost Legacy be the 2017 DAGERS Diamond Award winter.