Shadow of the Tomb Raider leads by example with accessibility
The rebooted Tomb Raider series has, in recent years, gained a reputation in the industry for having exceptional accessibility options, paving the way for a more inclusive and fun experience for all players. The last entry in the series, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, follows that example very well, even surpassing its predecessors.
The game has an entire section under options just for accessibility. Some of the options include limited remapping for aiming, as well as turning on vibrations for haptic feedback, which is helpful for players who are visually impaired. There's also an option that allows players to change qtes from tapping a button to holding it down instead, which is something I personally prefer since my hands usually begin to ache after repeatedly tapping the same button.
The game however, does not allow a full remapping of the game controls, which can still be a barrier for some players. For example the survival instinct mechanic, which highlights important objects to the player be it parts of a puzzle or pick ups, is mapped to R3 on the PS4. For some, R3 can be challenging to press, and not being able to remapping that mechanic to another button can be a hindrance, an unnecessary obstacle that some players face.
The subtitles of course, as in previous Tomb Raider entries, are still phenomenally done. We see the return of the translucent black background for the text, as well as the option to turn on different colours that help differentiate between the speakers. The text size for the subtitles is just as good in the previous installments too. If I were to be nit picky about the subtitles, being able to include the speaker name, as well as having an option to change the text size to the player's preference would've been great additions. Otherwise, the work put into the subtitles of this game was done very well.
One of the most notable accessibility options, and the one thing that truly had me very excited, was the inclusion of closed captions. The addition of closed captions is a welcome one, as they allow players to still get the full picture of any given scene. The captions can help set the tone, as the captions often indicate if the music is intensifying or calming down. These queues help the player fully understand what's going on in the scene, rather than just going off with just subtitles alone. Shadow of the Tomb Raider is the first game I've personally ever played that included closed captions, and I hope this means more games in the future will include closed captions.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider continues the tradition that the first reboot of Tomb Raider started, which is leading the AAA game industry by example with it's wide array of accessibility options. As more and more games continue to adopt different options that are more inclusive and thoughtful, the Tomb Raider series remains a step ahead and adds options that haven't really been implemented in other games. It gives me hope that with the trend of providing more and more accessibility options, as well as all the discussion surrounding this topic, that all games, AAA and indie, will break down the barriers that block players from enjoying games to their fullest.