Marvel's Spider-Man Remastered Accessibility
Marvel's Spider-Man Remastered brings the game to PC with an impressive suite of accessibility features already available on the console version. It comes with some new features such as remapping for keyboard and mouse and visual adjustments. There isn't much that's entirely new and the lack of controller remapping will find some players still struggling to fully grasp the Spider-Suit controls.
Score7.5 out of 10
- Legible subtitles with customization options
- Keyboard and mouse remapping
- High Contrast features
- Auto-parkour/swing mechanics
- No controller remapping
- Controller can't be used in addition to keyboard and mouse
- No captions for sound or surrounding world building
- Accessibility haptics appear to be lacking in useful haptic cues
“With great power comes great responsibility,” and with Insomniac Games you can feel the studio taking responsibility for the accessibility of its games. Marvel’s Spider-Man already had a number of accessibility features when it launched in 2018. That praise continued when Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales launched in 2020 with even more available. These impressive updates carried over into the 2020 version of Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered where accessibility features seemed to become the norm for Insomniac’s development process going forward.
It’s 2022, and Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered is now available on PC after years of being a PlayStation exclusive. My review will be going through what’s available for many players and what to expect from a PC experience in comparison to the console version. We’ve previously published a review focused on Deaf accessibility from the original 2018 version.
On the first boot, I’m presented with a start-up menu that includes a few difficulty options to choose from with bars to give a visual idea of gameplay changes. There is also the entire settings menu to go through. The later Settings menu does seem to include previews for a number of options, but for the first boot menu, previews seemed lacking. [Note: I did experience graphical issues on the first boot on account of my graphics card needing an update, so unsure if that affected previews.]
Regardless, having all of this available before the game starts is, as always, a great plus that ensures I’m setting the game up to my preferences.
What’s available in Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered for accessibility is what you can find on the PlayStation version. A deeper look at what’s available from the settings can be found in our Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered Menu Deep Dive (Coming soon!) Insomniac also has its own post about what to expect!
It’s been a while since I played Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered on PS5, so jumping back into it after so long meant relearning everything. Thankfully, the onboarding for the game is fantastic. All objectives are simple and despite being action-packed, they guide you through the core mechanics over the course of a few missions.
What’s more, the game freezes when displaying what input to press, and only when the input is pressed does time resume. This is a nice way of keeping the player engaged in the action, but giving the breathing room to assess the control scheme.
Swinging Into Action
Initially, I jumped into Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered to test out how it works with keyboard and mouse. By default, I’m meant to press and hold Shift to keep a web swing going, which for myself personally, isn’t all that fiddly. However, I did start to feel the frustration of having to constantly press and hold it over time, especially traversing long distances.
Thankfully, switching swings and parkour to a toggle allowed me to just swing through automatically. Spider-Man will automatically start a new swing without any involvement from me, other than swinging away from buildings and obstacles of course. With the toggle on, an on-screen icon at the bottom of the frame remains present to let me know I’m in toggle mode.
The main downside here is that you do lose control over when to jump off from a swing. For those wanting to get higher while using toggle mode, it’ll mostly be a case of running up buildings. This is as opposed to the hold option where you can jump off at the very top of a swing and get higher with ease.
I will also point out that there are moments where action sequences take place with a brief cinematic requiring input. By default, the gameplay slows time down allowing me to adjust my sticks to hit the input at the right area, for example. Allowing me the option to skip these moments keeps the cinematic playing out, but removes the gamified element.
To make traversal less taxing, there’s a feature to look at an objective marker each time I press the input to scan my environment. If I return to the game from the menus, it’ll automatically point me in the direction of the marker. This is pretty nifty for those that want to do less physical camera control with traversal. It’s also good for those who may be playing with low vision and want to feel more confident that they’re facing the right way without having to struggle to locate the marker.
Sadly, the feature doesn’t always work. A few times in Spider-Man gameplay had me pressing the input nearly ten times before it registered. A bit later, playing as Mary Jane in a museum with objective markers, the feature seemed to not work at all.
If you are looking to be a fancy-pants Spider-Man, you’ll be able to utilize the toggle feature in addition to other swinging inputs. These include performing dives with X, jumping for additional speed with the spacebar, zipping to ledges with C, and air tricks with T. This is certainly a lot to contend with, especially as a keyboard user and it’s clear the game was designed with the controller layout in mind.
However, the beauty of another PlayStation title on PC means remapping.
For the keyboard and mouse, you can rebind most inputs for gameplay and menus. Actions such as swinging, combat, and using gadgets can be remapped, as can the inputs for menu sections including the ESC pause menu. Although ESC is locked from its primary remap, Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered on PC allows secondary remapping for everything available which is nice for accessibility.
However, for those on a gamepad, there’s no remapping available at all. The control scheme available at default is the only control scheme available, which is a shame. There’s also no way of using a gamepad in addition to the keyboard and mouse which means players won’t be able to double up if that’s a setup they wish to have.
What’s more, as mentioned earlier, there’s a fair number of inputs to deal with, especially when swinging and combat start to interlink. Dodging, punching, activating Focus, swinging, web attacks, takedowns, and more become a dance of finger origami.
Subtitles and Directionality
Subtitles exist for all key dialogue which means all the phone calls Spider-Man gets, the John Jonah Jameson podcast, police radio chatter, nearby enemy chatter, and NPCs that have information for Spider-Man. However, there’s nothing for general dialogue of random conversations. I’ll hear people in the streets saying things, but because they aren’t directly linked to any objective, they aren’t subtitled.
The surrounding world is also not captioned which means nearby gunfire and such isn’t captioned nor are there any on-screen cues to direct me to the sound. However, waypoints for nearby crimes do appear as waypoints, and red dots on the minimap will indicate a nearby crime along with outlines of the enemies providing I scan first.
I generally never felt lost while playing, but more showcasing of my surroundings could have helped grow the world’s personality. Interactive items for zipping to come with a marker that appears when in reach which helps with knowing when to press inputs.
When it comes to combat, any incoming danger is always indicated with an effect around my head so I’m always visually aware and not relying on off-screen gunfire, reloading, and other audio cues. World items than can be used against enemies also appear with button prompts as well.
What I want to point out is the dedicated Accessibility vibration for DualSense support. When plugged into the PC, I can make use of the controller as I can on PS5. However, while the directionality for nearby collectibles worked a treat with directional haptics, I found many missions lacking in any useful haptics — dodging, for example.
There are high contrast modes available that can help those with visual disabilities. By default, Spider-Man’s Spider-Sense aura around his head will be displayed in blue. With a high contrast version applied, it’ll show up as yellow.
Going more in-depth will find players making use of some extensive contrast schemes. This includes applying colored shaders to character types manually or using presets. Although with some tinkering I found some presets seemed to have some enemy types share a shader color as an ally and it confused me. Players can also have the characters shaded or include the background as well. It’s a wonderfully customizable system.
There are also volume sliders for UI prompts which can help players with understanding on-screen prompts. In addition, in-world items like collectibles can guide players to them when near, especially with accessibility vibrations from the gamepad. The earlier mentioned feature that adjusts the camera to look at a waypoint is also useful in addition to the features mentioned here, however, the times it doesn’t work can be a pain.
To end this section, those looking for native screen reader support won’t find it in Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered.
One thing I liked about Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered was the legibility of waypoints that helped with accessibility in general. I’m able to increase the size of these icons which makes traversal more comfortable when able to see the waypoint clearly. Subtitles are also nice to read with a dark background and customization.
It’s just a shame the legibility doesn’t carry over to everything else. Text can be small and thin across the board from HUD elements to the game menu area. While off-white text and dark blue backgrounds give some legibility, the top menu area with black-on-red blocks makes the text harder to see clearly.
There are also the giant beams of light for waypoints in-world that can help with clearer navigation, activated only during a scan. During the day, these still remain somewhat blended into the brightness of the world.
The map area and mini-map are nice and presented in a digital and simple style rather than a detailed satellite view. This helps makes icons stand out a lot clearer as well as streets and buildings. It would have been nice to allow players to increase the overall HUD size, but at least backgrounds can be applied to elements to increase readability somewhat.
Management of Spidey-Swag
One thing I like about this game is the ease of management. Main objectives are fairly straightforward to manage with side-missions being specifically indicated by their own icons such as backpack collectibles, landmarks to snap photos, and more. The allowance of filtering map screen icons as well helps to reduce icon overload.
There aren’t any mandatory pickups through the world either which is refreshing. If my health is depleting through combat I can use Focus earned through combat to heal a small portion of my health. Meanwhile, earning XP and leveling up grants me Skill Points that can be used to learn new abilities. Upgrading gadgets and suits requires collecting tokens, which can range from completing side-missions such as stopping crimes and doing landmark photography.
Everything feels nicely structured with clear indications of progress and whether something is unlockable or purchasable. This cognitive enjoyment does carry over to gameplay as well where puzzles usually require Spider-Man to complete three similar tasks before completing the whole process. Thankfully, there’s an option to skip these, although players are still given the access to attempt them, a simple press of a button and the puzzle is skipped.
Sadly, this isn’t consistent across the game. One mission where I take control of Mary Jane in a museum includes having to pose a statue correctly. The visual and audio clues in the room are very lacking and If I hadn’t already completed it on console, I’d certainly feel at a loss as a new player hoping to skip.
That’s not to say there was no help, as noted, Mary Jane would provide audio clues if I was taking too long. The objects also show button prompts when they can be interacted with. However, there are also no shimmering objects to draw the eye to clues or even a zoom function to get a closer look at those clues during this section.
All in all, Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered doesn’t feel all that different in accessibility from its console version. Sure, there are keyboard and mouse remapping options available, but the lack of controller remapping puts those with other setups at a disadvantage. The additional graphical options that come with PC games such as motion blur and bloom are nice to adjust if those effects feel too much in gameplay.
It’s nice to see Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered arrive on PC and the accessibility features available will certainly benefit a lot of new players who may not have been able to experience the game on PlayStation. However, I wouldn’t expect to jump into this version and see major updates to what is available on the console version.
A review copy of Marvel's Spider-Man Remastered was provided by the developer / publisher.