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The Last of Us Part II

title:The Last of Us Part II
url:No link!
download page:No link!
license:retail
genre:Action Games
developer:Naughty Dog
platform:PlayStation 4
release:June 2020
features:text, sound, visuals
last edit by:aaron

Description

The apocalypse has come and gone. A fungal infection causes large swathes of humanity to turn into mindless zombies. As nature overtakes the ruins of America, human relationships are all that stand between the survivors and total savagery.


Five years ago, Joel Miller decided to save his surrogate daughter Elly from a military group, the fireflies, who saw Elly’s immunity to the virus as providing a potential cure. Since however researching this cure would’ve meant surgically removing portions of Elly’s brain, Joel chose love for his child, over potential survival. For two years, Joel and Elly have lived a comparatively peaceful life with fellow survivor Tommy in a small country town; with Elly trying to come to terms with her father’s actions. Soon however, all of that is going to change. The stage will be set for a bloody odyssey across a ruined and blighted America, one where true good and evil hang in the balance.


The last of us part 2, whilst a sequel to the first game, represents a very major landmark in accessibility, being one of the few occasions when a totally mainstream company have produced a console game which is entirely accessible to visually impaired players, complete with spoken menus, audio feedback and many, many access features.


Gameplay takes the form of a third person adventure, with the need to utilise stealth, melee weapons and fire arms to attack both zombie and human targets as you join the characters’ brutal reality, explore vast areas, and complete the odd puzzle to gain loot and items.


Upon launching the game, the user is presented with one of the (and we can not stress this enough) largest accessibility menus that has ever been seen in a console game. However, please do note that if you are not in the US, you will need sighted help to set up your ps4 console as there is no text to speech built into the UI directly. However, that is the only sighted help that is needed, as the game has it's own text to speech system. Once this is enabled on first time launch, the rest of the game can be beaten start to finish with no sighted help, but the player will have to learn how to re-launch the game.


The game offers audio aids such as: navigation assistance, traversal cues, and cues for combat. For instance, with navigation assistance turned on, pressing the left stick will essentially ping your location and turn your character to face where to go. Moving forward, you will hear another ping, meaning that you have reached what is known as a waypoint. You must then press left stick to create another waypoint, and continue until you reach your objective. As you walk (or run) through the environment, you will hear cues which represent different buttons on the ps4 controller. This will let you know if there's an interactable object nearby, a gap to jump over, or something (or, someone) that you need to attack. But it does not end there.


There is an auto lock on feature. Holding down a button, you will hear a sound if you are in range of an enemy that you can shoot. From there, you can actually choose whether to aim for the head, body or legs, with the sound changing accordingly. Weapons have different ranges, and, in some situations, it's absolutely possible to pick off an enemy when you can't hear it nearby.


Things are not quite perfect however. Some of the tutorials could be slightly better, especially where the guitar is concerned. The game does not tell you that you are actually using a wheel to find a cord, meaning that you rotate your left analog stick around until you feel a vibration. You then strum. You literally learn this within the first five minutes of the game. However, the guitar will not be the only, different form of interaction that you will encounter. There are puzzles, but they all use these accessibility systems. Speaking of which, If an object is interactive, you will actually hear a sound to tell you what kind of object this is. Much like the learn game sounds menu found in some of our own audiogames, the Last of Us part 2 has an audio cues glossary, accessible right from the pause menu at any time. The result is you can use the accessibility systems to help you complete the puzzles, and even if you are struggling, more often than not there will be a skip puzzle option available to you if you so wish to take it.


Final word: The last of Us part 2 is a landmark release not just because of the brutal, morally ambiguous story, but also because of the major milestone this represents in accessibility terms. The fact this can all be done with no sighted help means there is a suite of accessibility systems that are incredible, and has the community hoping that other mainstream companies will take note. This is certainly one not to be missed, if even to demonstrate just what is possible in an accessible, full-length, console game.


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Updates: entry 2 Feb 22 and description 2 Feb 22

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