When I played Shadow of the Tomb Raider at E3, I left feeling discouraged. As a fan of the modernized take on Lara Croft it just didn’t do it for me. While the puzzles were intuitive, and the survival elements were cool, the combat felt unrefined. For a game that seems to focus on combat, that was the worst part of the demo. It’s easy to tell that Crystal Dynamics isn’t working on Shadow of the Tomb Raider. There is a certain charm that is missing from the game. While I’m still concerned about the final product (launching next month), I’ll still play it to see if my issues have changed since June. Regardless of my feelings about the game, the developers are adding options that bring inclusiveness to Lara’s latest adventure. Disabled gamers will be able to play Shadow of the Tomb Raider with ease.
According to the game’s website, Shadow of the Tomb Raider will have accessibility options for audio and gameplay aspects.
- “Optional Y Axis Inversion
- Toggling on and off Vibration
- Reducing Camera Shake
- The option to center the camera horizontally so that it is ‘soft locked’ on Lara’s back, requiring the use of only one stick for movement. The other stick can still be used to move the camera if desired.
- The option to tap rather than hold left trigger to aim down the sights
- The option to use right (default) or left stick to aim, when looking down sights (left trigger)
- The option to hold button press prompts rather than repeated tapping
- The option to push the stick directionally for crank control prompts rather than rotate
- Adjustable aim sensitivity
Our Audio accessibility options include:
- Subtitles: Off, On with Color, On without Color
- Environmental Subtitles: Display subtitles for all conversations taking place nearby, or only for critical conversations
- Closed Captioning: Display additional or interpretive information such as sound effects, musical cues, and other relevant audio information”
As someone with a disability, it’s great to see studios strive to make games more accessible for players. While I can typically play most games without changing the options, many other players are not as fortunate. Microsoft has taken steps to be inclusive by creating the Xbox Adaptive Controller that is scheduled to launch later this year. With the accessory, Xbox (and Windows 10) gamers will be able to change the buttons around to cater to their playstyle and physical needs. It’s an important piece of technology that will help existing players use their games with a sense of ease, and it allows those who are interested in video games (but could never play) a chance to experience the medium for the first time.
The Tomb Raider franchise is action heavy and can be challenging to play for those with disabilities. Looking at the options that the development team has implemented, I can already tell you that there will be one setting that I will change. “The Option to hold button press prompts rather than repeated tapping” is something that is crucial to me. I don’t mind quick time events, but some of them take a physical toll on my body. Being able to hold down the button ensures that I’m still interactive with the narrative, but also not hurting myself playing the game. Some people have a tough time pulling triggers, so having the ability to tap the trigger instead of holding it to make Lara aim down the sights is an excellent option.
Audio accessibility options are also fantastic because some people have disabilities that aren’t entirely physical. I have friends that are colorblind. Being able to have subtitles without color ensures that my friends can read the words on the screen without problems. For those players who are deaf, the options for “Environmental Subtitles” and “Closed Captioning” bring new ways to experience the game. I mean, being able to read multiple conversations, and know when different sounds are occurring in-game are wonderful additions for any player.
I don’t know if Shadow of the Tomb Raider will be a great game when it launches in September. I’m still concerned that the game will let me down, but I will be playing it on day one. Despite those worries, I’m thrilled that Square-Enix and the development studio are working hard to make the game accessible for players with disabilities and other complications. Other game studios should learn from Eidos Montreal because the team is doing great things for the community. There are a lot of video games coming out this Fall which features extensive action and difficult maneuvers. Players with disabilities may have trouble playing games like Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 and Red Dead Redemption 2. Luckily, Shadow of the Tomb Raider is taking steps in the right direction to promote inclusiveness in the industry. As a disabled gamer, I’m ecstatic that my demographic is being represented. I’m also happy that other people in the disabled community will be able to play the game with ease on September 24th. Lara’s adventure looks to be thrilling, and it’s great that more people will get to experience it because of the excellent options launching alongside the game.
Andrew Gonzalez is the Co-Editor-In-Chief of Xbox Enthusiast. When not writing about Xbox, he’s usually reading comics, talking about Taylor Swift, and dreaming of the perfect Jet Force Gemini Reboot. You can follow him on Twitter. @AJGVulture89