Our final review for the year is one that some DAGERS readers have no doubt been waiting for. Ubisoft’s third installment in the Far Cry series is a genuinely fun game. I was somewhat skeptical when I heard other critics compare it to Skyrim (with the addition of automatic weapons) but the game actually lives up to this comparison. It’s a sprawling, open world with compelling characters and so many diverse activities that those who are able to play it will virtually never get bored. However, due to some disappointing design choices, Far Cry 3 lacks some key features that would make it barrier free.
To begin with, one of the main features in the game revolves around collecting plants to concoct into special syringes that do everything from making the player temporarily fireproof to making them able to track animals by scent. The different types of plants show up on the radar as the exact same icon, only using different colors to differentiate between the medicinal plants, the plants for hunting stimulants, and the plants for combat stimulants. As a result, players with certain types of visual disabilities will have a hard time crafting syringes, since they’ll never be sure where to find the ingredients they need without going through an area and harvesting every plant they see, or taking the time to memorize the names of plants and which syringes they help craft. But the problem is, they would still have to go through the process of finding all of the plants in order to find out what their names were.
Another problem arises for the visually disabled in the way that Far Cry 3’s radar is implemented. The unsuspecting pirates of Rook Island do not show up on the player’s radar unless the player has already tagged them by focusing on them with a scoped weapon or camera. As a result, when liberating a pirate outpost, one of the first things I tried to do was tag all the enemies. But more often than not, I would miss one or two and, thus, get killed when I tried to overtake the camp. The problem gets even worse when hunting. This reliance on fine detail, as well as Far Cry 3’s small text, means that players with visual disabilities will have a hard time with this game.
Players with auditory disabilities will fare better, but not much better. The game does feature a set of subtitles that would let hearing impaired players know what’s going on in the main story line, but nothing else is subtitled. As a result, there’s no way for a player to know what’s going on when they are trying to be stealthy around a group of pirates. One pirate may hear the player and alert the others to start looking for them. Without the game’s audio cues, there’s no way for the player to be aware of this. And even though there is a detection meter that pops up when an enemy can see the player, this is too little too late in many stealth based situations, and won’t really help hearing impaired players. The situation gets even worse when Rook Island’s many predator animals are added to the mix. There’s no detection meter for when you are about to be mauled by a tiger—only the sound of them roaring and coming up from behind. As a result, players with hearing disabilities should never stray form the path in areas with lots of these types of animals in them (unless they have lots of syringes with them) because they will be ambushed without warning thanks to Far Cry 3’s lack of visual clues when it comes to animals.
But my biggest problem with Far Cry 3 came in the area of fine motor. To being with, about ten minutes into the game, there is a very difficult quick time event that I could not get past without the help of an able bodied person. (I spent about an hour trying to get past it on my own.) If this were the only QTE in Far Cry 3, it may have fared better in the area of fine motor disabilities. But the fact that QTEs trigger whenever a player gets mauled by a shark, tiger, or other large predator means that players who do not have quick enough reflexes will constantly find themselves dying from these types of situations. To make matters worse, whenever one of these wildlife QTEs triggers, the button players are supposed to mash is always different, making it even harder for gamers with slow reflexes to adapt to these kinds of situations.
Another area in which this game presents a problem for those with fine motor disabilities is in its driving mechanic. Because players can only fast travel between outposts, they will be forced to take one of the game’s many vehicles to mission start points and other special areas (unless they wanted to take the extra time to walk everywhere). I found the driving to be extremely sensitive, where one flick of the joystick would send my car spiraling into the ocean with me inside. As a result of this driving mechanic, players who aren’t able to make small adjustments on the joystick without overcompensating would have a hard time using the vehicles in Far Cry 3. Finally, the fact that there is very little in the way of control customization means that there’s not much players can do to try and make the game more accessible without using some external means.
As a whole, Far Cry 3 was a disappointment—not because it was a bad game, but because it was a good game held back from being accessible by poor design choices. Any disabled player should be very cautious when purchasing this game. But there is enough here at least to merit a rental if not a purchase.
Overall Rating: Partially Accessible
Visual Rating: Partially Accessible
Fine-Motor Rating: Partially Accessible
Auditory Rating: Partially Accessible
GameInformer Score: 9.0
The Bottom Line for Disabled Gamers: Far Cry 3
– Things the player can pick up are highlighted.
– Players will have to have rapid reflexes to complete the game’s many cinematic sequences.
– There is enough to do in the game that if a player has a hard time doing one thing, they can find something else to do that is easier.
– Controls are not very customizable.
– The game features subtitles that encompass all of the story driven dialogue.
– No other dialogue is subtitled.
This article has been transferred from DAGERSystem (now AbilityPoints). Scores, formatting, and writing style may differ from original CIPT content.