The newest installment in the Hitman series gives gamers the opportunity to take up the mantle of Agent 47, the shadowy hitman whose goal in this game is to protect a young girl from the very agency that gave 47 his skills. This game has a few very accessible aspects, but is characterized more by the rather disappointing oversights in terms of game accessibility. On the whole, it’s worth a look, but may not be playable for many disabled gamers.
The group that will have the hardest time with Hitman: Absolution is definitely those with hearing disabilities. Like its predecessors, Absolution’s main mechanic is stealth. As a result, it’s imperative that players are aware of their surroundings at all times. And although this game does feature a set of subtitles, they don’t provide consistent enough information to be relied on. This means that even if you are standing right next to a guard, if he becomes alert to your presence, the subtitles may not pick it up. And even worse is the game’s tendency to subtitle the dialogue of characters that are halfway across the map. As a result, players will not be able to rely on the game’s subtitles to communicate anything more than the game’s basic storyline, which will make this game very difficult for the hearing impaired. However, the one aspect that works in favor of people with hearing disabilities is the fact that there are so many options in Absolution. The game’s play style is very much up to the player. Therefore, players with disabilities will have options when it comes to scenarios. That should remove any reliance on the game’s inconsistent subtitles.
This flexibility is what saves the game for players with fine motor disabilities as well. The biggest problem that Hitman: Absolution suffers from is that every time you enter a hand-to-hand confrontation with an enemy, the game triggers a quick time event, in which players have to hit certain combinations of buttons in order to perform moves that eventually incapacitate the enemy. Although these seem to be not as difficult as QTEs in other games, it still is a disappointment that they are there at all. But the fact that this game runs at a slower pace and actually encourages planning and forethought means that if players take their time they should always be able to find a way through each level that avoids these kinds of encounters. There is also a second type of QTE in which, once you have a character in a headlock, you have to tap a button repeatedly to incapacitate them if you don’t want to take a penalty for killing them (which can be done with one single button press). However, these QTEs have no time constraints, and can be done at whatever pace the player can manage. The only other thing worth noting is that the control scheme in Hitman: Absolution is not particularly flexible, and players will have to be able to use two hands in order to execute some of the game’s more complex maneuvers. This is mainly due to the instinct system, in which players hold down one trigger to slow down time while lining up shots which are executed in cinematic type sequences.
Players with sight disabilities will probably have the least problem with this game. This is because the game does not rely on much fine detail to communicate important aspects of the gameplay. Every object that is usable within the world appears with a large icon over it, and the fact that each button on the controller is used to interact with the environment makes it easy to know what the game is indicating. For instance, every time the game shows an A over an incapacitated character (on the Xbox 360) is an indication that players can switch clothes with that character and adopt a new disguise. Items and weapons from the environment are equipped using the Y button, and so forth. The one problem that gamers will have is that the radar is particularly small. But in my play trough, I found myself relying more on Agent 47’s line of sight than the game’s radar.
Hitman: Absolution is a great example of how stealth games can be more accessible than other types of action games. But because of an inconsistent subtitle system and poorly implemented quick time events, players should be wary when they purchase this game.
Overall Rating: Partially Accessible
Visual Rating: Thoroughly Accessible
Fine-Motor Rating: Partially Accessible
Auditory Rating: Partially Accessible
GameInformer Score: 8.75
The Bottom Line for Disabled Gamers: Hitman: Absolution
|Visual||– The game uses large icons to distinguish between fine details.|
– The game does not seem to rely on color to communicate any important data.
– The game relies more on visual line of sight than on use of the radar system.
|-The game’s radar system is incredibly small.|
|Fine Motor|| |
-The game functions at a slower pace, allowing players to plan out their moves to avoid barriers.
– Controls are not very customizable.
-The game features a subtitle system that communicates all important story dialogue.
– The game’s inconsistent use of subtitles to communicate ambient dialogue means that players with hearing disabilities risk missing out on vital information that is communicated this way.
This article has been transferred from DAGERSystem (now AbilityPoints). Scores, formatting, and writing style may differ from original CIPT content.