God of War Ragnarok — Accessibility Review

Ben Bayliss22 minute read

God of War Ragnarok Accessibility

Deaf / Hard of HearingBlind / Low VisionMobilityCognitive

A masterclass in accessibility that shines in text legibility and captions. Players will find a wealth of ways to adjust the experience of the core game at a level that's more suited to them. However, various areas, such as crucial information unsupported by the screen reader and combat growing increasingly exhausting can find the gameplay frustrating.


8 out of 10


  • Captions and subtitles are presented well with customization
  • Text across the board is often legible
  • Controller remapping available
  • Assist modes help with traversal and interactions


  • Screen reader support isn't available for crucial areas
  • Combat gets progressively exhausting
  • Combat relies a lot on multiple inputs
  • Navigation Assist breadcrumbs not reliant at times

God of War Ragnarok has been an incredibly anticipated title since its announcement in 2020. Taking place three years after the 2018 release, the story follows Kratos and Atreus as they continue their blockbuster journey. For disabled players, God of War Ragnarok has been an exciting instalment in the critically-acclaimed series as over 60 accessibility settings were revealed. Our PS5 accessibility review will take a look into what players can expect and whether what’s offered has been implemented well. And yes, I’ve rolled credits on this.

Firstly, a quick backstory on why this is an exciting addition to the God of War series. In 2018, God of War launched on PS4 but what was available for accessibility was bare bones. Shortly after launch, the game received a notable update to increase the text size — but only by a smidge. In 2022, a PC port was released and our review found this version to offer more for motor accessibility but that it still kept the barriers in many other areas.

Sony Santa Monica has since certainly taken a page out of Naughty Dog’s accessibility learnings with The Last of Us Part 2.

Disclaimer: The following review does not include any story spoilers or details. Images available have been captured with care to ensure no key moments are revealed.

First Boot

On first boot, there are two ways to go about this. Either jump straight into God of War Ragnarok with no adjustments or access the accessibility presets first. Presets are available for vision, hearing, motion, and motor. Each comes with two levels to choose from: Some or Full.

Enabling the Some Preset for audio, for example, will simply enable subtitles and a few other options. Enabling the Full Preset will enable a larger suite of settings that are more comprehensive.

Presets allow players to jump straight in without enduring the plethora of options. As much as I like the concept of accessibility presets, I rarely use them. This is because what the developer sets as the preset doesn’t match my personal preferences. As such, I rummage around in Settings adjusting other bits and bobs to suit me. The colour of captions, turning button mashing to holds, increasing text size, and more. Additionally, God of War Ragnarok doesn’t offer previews in the accessibility presets section, instead, it’s just a list.

And so, onwards I go to the full Settings menu.

My first impression of the entire settings menu was “Holy shit” as I spent minutes going through each sub-menu. Explainers are available for each option and preview images are also available for any comparisons. Any changes to options turn the text a pale blue to make it clear what you’ve adjusted. However, an icon of sorts would be useful for supplementary understanding rather than relying entirely on colour.

After making my adjustments, similarly to TLOU Part 1, I had to take a break from the FEELINGS of seeing such a wealth of features. If you want to nose at what’s available, our Menu Deep Dive is available here.

Wonderful Captions

Providing subtitles and captions are enabled, these are likely some of the first accessibility features you’ll see when starting the story. To sum the subtitles and captions up, they’re some of the best I’ve seen in video games. The quality and presentation of them put God of War Ragnarok alongside titles such as Guardians of the Galaxy and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla.

Subtitles can have speaker labels enabled, and the colour of the speaker name and text can be adjusted independently. The subtitle text size is a good size at default and can be increased further. A background box can be applied with some darkness presets — though I’d rather an even darker option be available.

What’s more, the background box can also be set to blur the background, making a frosted glass effect. Line breaks are handled nicely and correct punctuation is also used. Italics are used to further convey the tone of voice.

Captions detail both diegetic and non-diegetic sounds, from the swelling of pensive music to the sighing of Kratos. They’re presented in the same style assigned to subtitles, including size and the background box. They also differentiate meanings through brackets for sounds and musical notes for…well music.

It feels as if God of War Ragnarok follows similar guidelines to that of the BBC and Netflix. The result is that the story is incredibly enjoyable to follow with the subtitles feeling inclusive rather than distracting.

Use the slider to compare the two images above. Showing subtitles at smallest and at largest with different colours.

I rarely noticed any issues, although very few scenes later in the game seem to miss the timing or vanish within half a second.

Captions are great the majority of the time, but some puzzle sounds that would be useful aren’t captioned. An example: After freezing a water trough correctly, a lift descended behind me. However, I hadn’t heard or seen it, so kept reactivating the puzzle several times. It wasn’t until Atreus mentioned taking the lift that I turned around to see the contraption.

Audio captions in action in Assassin's Creed Valhalla saying "fire crackling"
Use the slider to compare the two images above showing Assassin’s Creed Valhalla sound captions against Ragnarok’s.

As a side note: If you played Assassin’s Creed Valhalla with sound captions, you’ll likely recall a certain caption. The sound of [Fire Crackling] for every instance of fire was shown. God of War Ragnarok does similar where every darn crow is captioned. In fairness, this is because Odin’s crows are a side-mission, so it’s classed as a key sound. The consistency of these appearing for someone like myself who isn’t bothered about this side-activity makes me want to disable just that caption.

Legibility Across the Board

Use the slider to compare the two images above. Showing default text size against largest.

God of War Ragnarok has certainly learned from past accessibility failings when it comes to text size. At its default size, interface text is already quite legible with options to increase this further to XX-Large. This is consistent across menu elements, interface, and additional game areas such as the codex. It’s clear enough that I can personally sit around 3m from my screen and still play somewhat comfortably!

Text is usually over some form of darkened background and menu selections are clearly highlighted. The spacing and layout of inventory management areas feel odd. Though this may be due to it veering away from the more conventional layouts with categories along the top and information below. It’s still clearly presented and icons indicate what you have equipped which makes management easier.

Legibility translates well into the gameplay as well. Text or interface elements are also often against dark backgrounds in the style of drop shadows or boxes.

In-world prompts for interactions are more legible than the 2018 title, although still hard to see at times. The prompt initially appears as a white dot with a ring, opening to a full monochromatic prompt when close enough. This also appears around the edges of a screen if the prompt is off-screen. The size of these prompts can be adjusted to be bigger, and loot to pick up is conveyed through a thin glowing line.

Use the slider to compare the two images above. Showing activated and inactive prompts.

Waypoints aren’t prominent in God of War Ragnarok unless you’re near the activation point. This can mean relying on the compass at the top of the screen to find your way as you wander the realms. While types of objectives or waypoints have their own colours, these are displayed in greyscale in the Objectives area. It’s not a huge concern due to iconography but would certainly make these tabs easier to navigate if relying on colour.


This is a Sony PlayStation title, and that means cinematic immersion is a focus. When it comes to visuals, elements on the screen fade away during general exploration. When engaging in combat, the HUD appears, then fades away once finished. There are options to customize the HUD elements. Default is meant to always be on. Immersive uses a Touch Pad swipe to reveal it. Hidden hides it entirely. Alternatively, I can customize it to show what I want.

However, even on Default and Custom where elements are set to always be on, the HUD fades away outside of combat. This could be a bug, but it feels as if cinematic immersion is forced on me. What’s interesting, I found that remapping the Touch Pad swipe to turn the HUD on left it on permanently. If you want to always be aware of what your health is, rage meter, and more, this may be the best way to view the HUD.

God of War Ragnarok continues its one-take camera effect in which there are no cuts, which is wonderfully impressive. For players who may not enjoy the handheld camera style, ambient camera sway and shake can be reduced with sliders. While these options don’t affect cinematics, a cinematic smoothing effect is also available.

Additionally, motion blur can be reduced, and there’s an option for reduced flashing. A high frame rate mode is also available, though my TV doesn’t support this feature.

God of War (2018) had me running around for a long-time before I was gifted a compass UI element. God of War Ragnarok does the same damn thing. It’s only when I get to Dwarven town that Kratos gets gifted a compass to help with the more open-world navigation.

You could argue that a compass isn’t needed given how linear the levels tend to be, but it can help. Especially acting as confirmation you’re heading the right way. Despite being linear, when I’m exploring these areas with no compass with branching paths, I can get a little bit lost and start backtracking. This is especially the case if ways forward aren’t abundantly clear.

Additionally, when taking control of Atreus’ story moments, there’s no compass, because he doesn’t have one on his person. So this isn’t a permanent UI feature, which is irritating.

A useful way of knowing the way to go without any non-diegetic visuals is by making use of Navigational Assistance. This feature, with each press of the input, will point the camera in the right direction. This has become something I’ve used incredibly frequently due to the lack of guidance.

However, this does require being pressed each time which can be exhausting. In addition, there are many moments where breadcrumbs —the next navigational checkpoint— seem to be spaced quite far apart. Later in the game, these breadcrumbs seem to get further apart, which wind up pointing me towards a wall or cliff edge instead of following a path.

Traversing is generally quite smooth mostly because it’s impossible to fall off ledges unless they’re designed to be dropped down. There are a lot of obstacles to clamber, climb, jump, or grapple across which means repetitive inputs. Thankfully, those wanting to avoid this can enable Traversal Assist to overcome these automatically.

There are two levels, Auto and Auto+ with the latter involving more traversal mechanics that automatically complete. Though, grappling ledges and boosting companions up walls to name a few are still manual inputs.

As already stated, the levels are mostly linear, though there are larger areas that link paths to secrets or side missions. Some are locked off and require gear you unlock later in the game. Some areas require vehicles or riding creatures with the former often being quite hard to turn and quick to accelerate.

Combat and Targeting

God of War Ragnarok keeps its brutal combat at the forefront with intense battles taking place in nearly every area entered. Like the 2018 title, I can only attack in the direction the camera is facing. This does mean those surrounding enemies are hard to attack as it’s not possible to attack in different directions with just the movement stick.

There is a quick-turn mechanic available that goes largely unused because it requires pressing two inputs simultaneously. Thankfully, a new targeting system allows locking on and cycling between enemies both on and off-screen depending on preference.

Enemies don’t have outlines, but they do have health bars — some with elemental bars to contend with first. Incoming danger can be seen at the character’s feet through a 3D ring with an arrow pointing to the enemy. While not always noticeable due to camera height, yellow indicates a nearby enemy, red indicates incoming danger.

Companions will vocally warn of incoming attacks, but more often than not, the timing isn’t enough. By the time a quip such as “On your right, Kratos” reaches the word “your” the enemy has already landed a blow on me.

Frustratingly, enemies have incoming attacks indicated with a quickly expanding, thin, and coloured ring that can be hard to see. Yellow means an attack can be parried, red is unblockable, and blue means you can interrupt an attack. These require my reflexes to be quick to successfully dodge or intervene, but I’m too engrossed in the trigger-mashing combat to focus.

Combat in general is fairly convoluted with a reliance on multiple inputs. L2 aims a ranged attack, L1 blocks, R1 and R2 are light and heavy attacks. Further to that, multiple input combinations activate runic abilities and also a special attack. There’s also Rage mode that can be “remapped” between 2 presets, both still requiring multiple inputs. This is unless you remap it to the Touch Pad where it becomes a swipe.

Later quests will also find specific types of attacks being used to deal more damage or make enemies vulnerable. For example, using sigils to cause stronger elemental damage, or attacking bosses with a certain combo type. While combat looks brutal and dramatically intense, it can be fairly fatiguing the more the game goes on.


Let’s talk about remapping some more. God of War Ragnarok does offer remapping for single inputs and presets for multiple inputs.

Players can choose to remap all individual buttons through presets by creating up to three custom layouts. These include options such as enabling weapon abilities, interactions, companion skills, weapon selection, and more. Sprinting can also be bound to Cross or be activated automatically with a delay for when sprinting kicks in.

Toggle and holds can be changed for aiming and blocking and inverted controls for sticks are available. I’m also able to change input combinations for mechanics like Rage or Quick Turn between other multiple input types available.

The Touch Pad can also be assigned at least five input types from button presses and swipes. This includes a number of mechanics such as Navigation Assist, HUD Toggle, High Contrast, Rage, Quick Turn, and Shield Strike. While being able to assign these to a swipe, the pad itself feels too sensitive during high-octane moments. Basically, a swipe accidentally becomes a panicked press.

Players can enable aim assist for combat and even one for aiming at puzzle elements. Furthermore, puzzle timing can be adjusted to allow more time in completing timed tasks. The assistance for motor accessibility should alleviate a lot of the repetitive mechanics throughout God of War Ragnarok. In addition, there is also gyro aiming available.

Despite the above, it’s not possible to play God of War Ragnarok in a single-stick fashion. Navigational assist is nice but requires constant activation to be pointed in the right direction. The movement stick only moves forward or backwards and strafes left and right, so turning has to be done with the other stick. Sadly, the hardware limitations of controllers mean no third-party peripheral support.

Quick Time Events

God of War Ragnarok starts the story with some QTEs from the very start. During a dramatic chase sequence, I have to press button prompts in order to shake off Freya. This involves pressing L1, R1, and Circle to active retaliations successfully.

Going through the options, time and time again, I’ve found nothing to override these sequences. The only options available are for changing these prompts from a button mash to a hold. There’s no way to have these sequences auto-complete, which is a shame. Especially considering that there’s an option to auto-complete mini-games later in the game.

If you’re hoping to sit back and watch interactive cutscenes play out automatically, you won’t get that here.

However —and this is where this section gets interesting— I noticed that at some point, there’s a shift.

During the opening QTE with Freya, I allowed this to play out with no inputs being pressed. The result was Kratos dying over and over, loading screen included.

However, in the late game —that I won’t detail— I noticed deja vu during another QTE moment. I let the QTE moment play out, and to my surprise, the experience was different. While the inputs need to be hit to progress, failing to hit them doesn’t punish me. Instead, the animation that is tied to that input loops until I successfully press it on time. I sat there for about 2 minutes watching the animation loop before I pressed the required input.

This means that at some point during the game, QTEs shifted from failure being the outcome. I’m not sure where exactly that point is, however. It could be that this only happens during the late-game sections as they can be quite overwrought with combat sequences.


The DualSense focuses on immersion in God of War Ragnarok, meaning there’s not too much in the ways of accessibility. A single slider controls the vibration strength with no supplementary adjustments for other elements. As such, players feel everything from world rumbles to Kratos touching Atreus’ face to combat impacts.

The Adaptive Triggers are not listed in the settings anywhere. In general, they’re fairly absent in gameplay, which means combat with the triggers can be a breeze. However, some instances during interactive cutscenes may activate the triggers to give a sense of tension. This can be pulling a chain to get a raft across a lake, or swinging an axe for a specific cutscene action.

What I will say, while the tension becomes activated on the DualSense, the activation point of the trigger is very sensitive. What this means is that if players push down fully, they’ll feel the immersive pull. Those who just tap or lightly press will still complete the task needed without the need to fully pull.

Low Vision and Sightless Play

God of War Ragnarok does some great things for players with low vision. The text size across the board, from interface to captions can be increased nicely. Text stands out on darker backgrounds. Colour filters are available for in-game objects and UI colour correction is available for combat indicators.

The High Contrast mode is similar to Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart in that players can adjust various elements. This includes 15 colours for each element such as the hero, companions, enemies, targets, and more. There are also seven presets if players don’t wish to adjust individually.

As far as offerings for sightless accessibility go, God of War Ragnarok is a bit hit-and-miss. A screen reader is available, though on-screen prompts don’t seem to be read — such as items gathered. The game menu is also largely unnarrated. This results in skills, armour, weapons, map, goals, and codex information all being unsupported. This could find crucial character progression or objectives not being conveyed to the player.

This is a shame considering God of War Ragnarok uses a vast collection of audio cues to aid in gameplay. Similar to The Last of Us Part 1 and 2, an audio glossary is available to become attuned to these cues. This will cue players in on prompts that appear on screen or key gameplay moments. There are also cues for when cinematics begin and end.

To add to further frustrations, there’s a section later in the game that requires being able to visually see wolves pulling a sledge. These wolves are following a scent, and as such, Kratos must steer them depending on the angle of their head. Navigational Assistance works here to a degree, but the large open area with obstacles and winding paths seems as if it may cause some confusion. This, on top of my earlier concerns with breadcrumbs feeling too spaced out, can be off-putting.


God of War Ragnarok is a masterclass in accessibility where it shines in text legibility and caption presentation. Management of quests and inventory is well-handled and the suite of settings opens up more comfortable ways of play. It’s clear that accessibility was a focus within the studio.

Despite having features for various areas, it does fall short with the implementation of some. Screen reader support is largely unsupported for crucial areas such as on-screen prompts, management, and objectives. Audio-focused navigation also feels sloppy at times and navigation assist feels unreliable. The consistent input for combat and reliance on combinations can make for a fatiguing experience. Meanwhile, mechanics introduced later only increase exhaustion, even on the lowest of difficulties.

Those wondering how it stacks up to Naughty Dogs The Last of Us titles will find it to be somewhere in between. Audio descriptions for cinematics and speech-to-haptics aren’t available in God of War for example. Meanwhile, God of War offers stronger text legibility, captions, and High Contrast shaders.

While various areas will still cause frustration it’s safe to say that God of War Ragnarok is the most accessible God of War available. It’s certainly a blockbuster experience with incredible graphics and a dramatic story. What’s more, accessibility features in God of War Ragnarok help elevate the core game and open this experience to a wider audience, which is fantastic.

A review copy of God of War Ragnarok was provided by the developer / publisher.

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Ben is the one in charge of keeping the content cogs at Can I Play That? turning. Deafness means that he has a focus on discussing captions, but with experience in consultancy and advocacy, he covers what bases he can. Having written about accessibility in video games at DualShockers, GamesRadar+, GamesIndustry.biz, Wireframe, and more he continues his advocacy at CIPT. He was actually awarded a Good Games Writing award for an article he wrote here! He enjoys a range of games, but anything that’s open-world and with a photo mode will probably be his cup of tea. You can get in touch with him at: ben@caniplaythat.com

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