PlayStation Access Controller Impressions: Closed Circuit

I have a strange relationship with The Last of Us Part Two. During its launch in 2020, I was part of a publication dedicated exclusively to highlighting accessible innovations and perspectives of people with disabilities in the gaming industry. As navigation editor for Can I play that?I've edited many of the features, news posts, and reviews surrounding what has been widely promoted as Most easy General release. But when it finally came my turn to write my review, I couldn't. The Last of Us Part Two It was not accessible due to PlayStation's lack of accessible hardware.

Now, nearly four years later, I finally have the ability to at least operate the device Remastered Because of Sony recently released Access controller. But unfortunately, there is still a struggle to fully immerse yourself in his world.

Benefits and disadvantages of access controller

My disability – Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type 2 – my muscles gradually weaken over time, meaning I always need help with everything from eating to writing my name. before release Access controller In December 2023, the ability to hold a standard controller on the console was lost. Since 2018, I have yet to play a single PlayStation game, despite the growing number of accessibility tools offered to players with disabilities.

Before I explore the pros and cons of this device regarding Tolo 2It is important to note that the access controller is no Comparable to Microsoft Xbox Adaptive Controller, which was released in 2018. PlayStation's adaptive hardware is closer to a traditional controller, while the XAC is a fully customizable hub that encourages users to create their own setup using different buttons and switches. It's ultimately up to each individual to decide which console best suits their needs.

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My experience with the Access Controller has been one of equal parts joy and frustration. The software allows me to fully customize each entry, setting up three separate profiles that allow me to easily choose between genres or even specific games. Although these features are essential for overall customization, I found that the access controller's biggest drawbacks were its circular shape and size. These issues are what directly hinder my gaming experience.

Protagonist Eli stands in front of the ruins of downtown Seattle in The Last of Us Part II.

Seattle ruins
Screenshot: Naughty dog

Most easy game?

Boot Tolo 2 Or its remaster For the first time as a disabled individual it can be daunting. You'll instantly see dozens of accessibility options, each within its own preset. Depending on your situation, it's entirely possible to spend upwards of 15 to 30 minutes looking at each feature to determine if it's right for you. I gravitated toward motor-access options like Auto Capture, Aim Hold, and Camera Assist, the latter of which was essential for me because I was no longer able to use the joysticks to aim and move. But as important as these options are, I still can't take full advantage of them.

both of them TLOU2 The accessibility controller allows you to fully customize the controls, which is an important feature for physically disabled players. As someone with limited reach, I often find it difficult to press certain buttons like bumpers and triggers. The access controller's circular design may be great for physically disabled players such as quadriplegics or those with average-sized hands, and players with limited reach or small, atrophied hands will not be able to properly reach the nine primary buttons on the circle. At best, I can press three of the outer buttons, plus the middle button, but that leaves five buttons unavailable to me, no matter how I position the controller. As for the standard PlayStation controller, I'm only able to use the four face buttons, leaving the other 10 buttons completely inaccessible to me. This was my biggest problem with Tolo 2.

Every button, including swiping on the touchpad, is essential to playing this game. Frustratingly, you're unable to exit the control customization menu if you leave a function unlocked, or the game automatically reverts the layouts to their default. Since I can only use about eight of the 14 built-in buttons on both the Access Controller and the standard DualSense, configuring my own controls is nearly impossible. I constantly need to go into menus to determine which buttons are best for each scenario.

So what does this look like in practice? The first mission, which was a relatively simplistic cutscene, took about two hours to complete. Remember the part where you throw snowballs at those kids? It only took me 20 minutes to learn the necessary buttons, right after spending an hour configuring my controls in the first place. Dozens of options cannot take into account the individual nature of the disabled person's experience. If you don't find a solution within the menus, the game will put up insurmountable barriers.

picture: Santa Monica studio

Skip menus

Unfortunately, this is a recurring theme for PlayStation games. My first experience with AAA PlayStation was with the Access Controller God of War Ragnarok, winner of The Game Awards 2022 for Innovation in Accessibility. I originally played the prequel on PC, and really enjoyed myself, even getting credits after completing several side quests and defeating most of the Valkyries. I enjoyed Kratos' growth, especially in his new role as a devoted father to his son. I was looking forward to finally exploring every option and discovering how the barriers would be cleared in the sequel on PS5. Unfortunately, I was met with the same levels of frustration as you The last of us part 2. Without being able to use the access console properly, I cannot perform critical tasks. Again, there is no option that can correct the problem.

Is this topic specific to me? no. Physically disabled players with limited reach or strength will face similar barriers. These criticisms are not superficial, nor are they entirely the fault of the access controller. Rather, it demonstrates the importance of inclusive design and emphasizes the need to consider hardware as well as software. There are two concepts that could be correct. Tolo 2 And Ragnarok Games are available to a wide range of disabled individuals. They also fail the disabled community by relying extensively on dozens of options to dismantle barriers. And when paired with a console that only serves a subsection of physically disabled gamers, the lack of inclusive design practices becomes increasingly noticeable.

There is a layer of fear and betrayal when criticizing these devices and games. How can I criticize a game that allows blind and visually impaired people to play without assistance? How can I judge a console when so many physically disabled individuals can now enjoy a whole new library of games? While the disabled experience depends on what people can and can't do, no game or console will ever be perfect for everyone. These conversations, critiques, and reviews are essential to ultimately foster innovation.

In 2020, dozens of options are offered as the answer For accessibility. And again in 2022, the industry celebrated inclusive accessibility menus as the future of gaming for players with disabilities. But there is a lot of nuance missing in this approach. Options, devices, and comprehensive designs are all essential to creating a truly accessible experience. If one part fails to accommodate any disabled player, the interface immediately begins to collapse.

Four years ago, I felt deprived of the joy of my teammates after being unable to play The Last of Us Part Two. And now, I'm wrestling with the same feelings again. However, it is important to highlight these frustrations. These games and devices are not failures. Rather, it perfectly embodies the need to continue innovating.

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