Borderlands 2 offers players the opportunity to carve their way through the chaos of Pandora with an unending supply of weapons, special abilities, and unique tactics. Combine that with a story that is actually engaging, and you have a genuinely good game. But the surprising thing is that Borderlands 2 sets the standard for first person shooter accessibility.
To begin with, the game features an incredible art style that makes it easier for players with sight disabilities to play the game. All of the enemies are very distinct from the surrounding background, and it will be very clear to most players with sight disabilities what’s going on at all times. In addition, Borderlands 2 features large, readable block-text that should make it easy even if a player is visually disabled. It is true that the Borderlands 2 loot system uses color-coding to differentiate item rarity, but since the text is so clear, it will be easy for players to determine which gun is better even if they cannot distinguish the color. In fact, there were several times during my play-through when, if I had simply gone with the rarest gun in my arsenal, it would have actually been weaker than the gun I had been using. So, in general, it is nice that the stats on weapons are so clear, since the rarity color can be misleading.
Players with auditory disabilities should definitely check out Borderlands 2, since it features a thorough set of subtitles, and since anything that is not subtitled is not actually important to the game. And even a player who cannot hear anything will still be able to enjoy the game’s story.
Players with fine motor disabilities will be relieved to find out that Borderlands 2 has an expansive set of preset controller layouts and the ability to customize everything on the console controller except for the D-pad and sticks. Even more noticeable is the forgiving nature of the action in Borderlands 2. As a rule of thumb, shotguns are always a good option for dealing with hordes of enemies. And if you do find yourself in trouble, the game features a “fight for your life” mode in which, after a player’s health is depleted, a countdown beings. If a player kills an enemy within the countdown, they are given back some of their health and shields. This means a player is able to fight on indefinitely, even if they keep dying, as long as there is always an enemy close by that is weak enough to kill at the last moment. Furthermore, there are lots of save points in Borderlands 2. That means that players do not have to retrace their footsteps, even if they die repeatedly. And even though it costs in-game currency to respawn, because the fee scales up and down depending upon how much money the player has, players will be given dozens of chances to make it through hard areas without the risk of a “game over.”
The forgiving nature of Borderlands 2, however, is only one feature that makes it incredibly accessible. There are four distinct classes within this game, and while that may seem like a small number, when one considers that each class has three extremely distinct skill trees in which to invest the points one earns for leveling up, it becomes clear that in essence there are twelve distinct classes, each one of which will appeal to gamers with different skills and abilities. For example, because I knew I didn’t have the speed to run and gun through a horde of enemies, when I played Zer0, I turned him into a long range sniper who could thin out the horde from a distance while they were trying to figure out where I was.
In conclusion, while it is true that there may be barriers to some disabilities within this game, they are not hidden barriers. They are barriers that exist within the first person shooter genre, not barriers that result from the way Borderlands 2 was built. Because we didn’t find any hidden barriers within this game, DAGERS is happy to give it our highest rating: Barrier Free.
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