Dragon Age Inquisition is the latest open world RPG from Bioware. It represents a stunning middle ground between the deep RPG elements of Dragon Age Origins, and the fast paced action orientation of Dragon Age 2. The story is rich with relatable characters and evocative moments and the world has enough variety to keep even the most demanding gamer busy for hours. But how does this game accommodate players with disabilities?
Dragon Age Inquisition will probably pose the biggest barriers for players with visual challenges. This is not a condemnation of the game, but rather an indication of how generally accessible it is. The only real barrier in Inquisition is the text system. Whether it’s reading a note left to advance the plot of a particular quest, or looking at the stats of a new piece of equipment that you’ve picked up, the text of Dragon Age can be hard to read, even for the sighted. The good news is that in the most important of these areas, the inventory system, an Items stats are clearly notated using a bar to indicate things like the level of melee damage resistance for a shield. Because players can determine what pieces of armor have better stats just by looking at these charts, an inability to read the description doesn’t seem to be a hindrance. The same bar system is used in the quest objective display, during fetch quests, players will not need to know how many more of the sought for item they need to collect, they can simply watch the progress bars march across the corner of the screen under each objective. Furthermore, I cannot find an instance during my extensive play through of the game where reading a note had a significant impact on the way that I played Inquisition. Combine this with a mini-map which follows in the footsteps of many RPGS in being both readable and resizable and Dragon Age Inquisition becomes even more accessible. While it’s true that the text can be hard to read, this barrier is common amongst RPGS, and is handled by Inquisition in such a way as to make the game more accessible for visually impaired gamers.
Players with fine motor disabilities will be happy to know Dragon Age Inquisition is extremely accessible. This is due to the games extremely forgiving nature which revives the players party immediately outside of the area in which they get killed, allowing them to try new tactics on difficult encounters without having to retread the same ground twice. Furthermore even though there is no controller customization, the face button of the controller can be mapped to up to 5 different skills that the player can activate. I was able to map the spells of my mage in such a way where the spells that I used most were on the most accessible buttons, while less useful spells were on the shoulder and trigger buttons. This kind of customization means that it should be easy for most fine-motor impaired gamers to figure out a control setup that works for them. Combine this with Dragon Age’s trademark character and skill customization, and players should be able to design a physical experience that is accessible given their limitations. But perhaps the most exciting feature for fine-motor impaired gamers is the ability to stop combat and orchestrate maneuvers similar to the combat system in Dragon Age Origins, or the original Mass Effect. This allows players to remove themselves from the frantic action and the need for quick responses and instead take a more relaxed view of the combat, watching it unfold and pausing it at will.
Finally, players with auditory disabilities should definitely look into Dragon Age Inquisition. This is because the game features rich lore and story that is communicated with a very thorough set of subtitles. In fact, players even have the option before the start of the game to turn just conversation subtitles on, or conversation and ambient noise subtitles as well. This attention to detail means that players who can’t hear will still be able to enjoy everything that Dragon Age Inquisition has to offer.
In closing, Dragon Age Inquisition is one of the best RPGs that I have played in a long time. Thanks to some smart choices by Bioware, it is also one of the most accessible.
Overall Rating: Thoroughly Accessible
Visual Rating: Thoroughly Accessible
Fine-Motor Rating: Barrier Free
Auditory Rating: Barrier Free
Released For: Xbox One, PS4, Xbox 360, PS3, PC
ESRB Rating: M
GameInformer Score: 9.5
– Art Style makes fine detail easy to see
– Some text can be hard to read
– Game allows players to pause action to issue commands.
– Nothing in the game relies solely on the ability to hear audio cues.
This article has been transferred from DAGERSystem (now AbilityPoints). Scores, formatting, and writing style may differ from original CIPT content.