This new screen, I was informed via sighted assistance, turned out to be an options setup screen. One ofthe aforementioned pitfalls showed itself here, in the form of cursor driven menus. these, as of the time of Destiny 2's original launch weren't all that common to the best of my knowledge.
A common practice for working with menus in games is to count how many items up or down a particular option is and memorising that information as well as possibly making a note of it for reference. Whilst this is doable with a DPad-based (or "standard" menu system), the nature of free-cursor menus means that in the majority of implementations it is impossible to achieve similar results. The requirement of sighted assistance in games that use free-cursor menus means that often such titles will completely lock out users who don't have said assistance on a regular basis.
As with Halo 5, you can actually die numerous times without getting anywhere. IN the opening sequence, if you walk forward to what you would think would be progress, you'll eventually hear your guardian scream and apparently plunge into a void of nothingness. A way I found to describe such instances is that they are comparable to Dark Souls. You'll die, die and die again, though unlike the concept of the Souls series wherein you learn as you suffer brutal challenges, there's no such luck in the current version of Destiny 2.
On a positive note, the guns sound great, it must be said. It's a shame that a key component like audio for navigation (i.e. footsteps) is very quiet and virtually inaudible, giving the appearance that there aren't actually any in the first place, as I initially thought.
For anyone familiar with trying to play mainstream games without sight, a further long talked about issue comes up here too. Specifically, there's no directional cues to guide you towards your objective, not even a helpful NPC who you can follow as in the opening of Borderland's 2's tutorial.
However, this standard accessibility issue is compounded by the fact that with the music at default levels, there's no real ambience to guide you either. If there were a soft pinging noise that would change based on where you had to go (possibly based around pitch/pan) increasing in speed for proximity to your next objective), then it would, I think, greatly improve things.
Speaking of music, there's only two levels to the music volume: on or off, with no gradient in between the two. As much as I enjoy the score in videogames, I also enjoy being able to hear what's going on, as most can appreciate.
CoPilot really helped with completing these opening missions, but it was still a struggle nonetheless, with guides talking about walking towards markers that my copilot couldn't actually discern on the map.
Given the vast array of weaponry, it's such a shame that a franchise on the scale of Destiny hasn't yet added distinct cues for weapon switching either. This is particularly surprising given that Halo games had all those sound cues pretty much figured out. Small quality of life audio cues like those can also help with imersion, not just knowing what weapon you're currently holding but giving a sense of scale to the item you're using and alerting you to what gun you're using when you respawn or load into a new area.
Such was the frustration of this last issue that myself and my copilot had a couple of moments where the incorrect weapon was in use because neither of us were able to figure out what gun we were using, or had time to check in the latter's case.
As much as I don't like using them unless they're deemed absolutely necessary, I did end up using guides from Polygon to assist myself and my copilot to help us figure out what to do. It's probably reasonable to say if we hadn't, we'd still be stuck in the opening level. Having information from the developers about how their UI works in a clear and easy to understand format would help not only those with disabilities, but those who are new to the series or who have been away from it for a while, in the case of this particular franchise. However, it applies to new IPs as well, not just those that are already in existence.
Unlocking co-op, whilst it was a great relief, did raise more questions, like what I'd have to do on my end and how interacting with the game in terms of friends, clans and fireteams would work.
The answer to those questions was unfortunately in the negative, as the user interface for invites or working with co-op partners is completely cursor driven as well. This means that even with co-op unlocked, you are probably better off utilising Co-Pilot in the long run.
Even though you can just accept a game invite as you might in other Xbox titles, free-cursor menus are utilised for elements like promotion to fireteam leader, joining a fireteam or selecting where you want to travel to. Such hurdles, though it may be possible to overcome with a more audible UI, are not currently negotiable without sighted assistance.
During one of my tests with a very patient individual who was looking forward to the prospect of me joining in with this new title, the frustration got to a point where it was just to much and the roadblocks were too significant to overcome. This was certainly a shame though as I too was looking forward to participating in raids with friends and other community members given the opportunity.
The level of detail with the enemies is considerably high, which I'm pleased with, though the Cabal enemies I've faced so far appear very similar sound-wise at times, making it difficult to tell specific enemies apart (to, for instance, prioritise named targets over unnamed ones.
With its reliance on cursor driven menus as a means for navigation, coupled with the fact that there's no DPad support for them and the real lack of UI sounds, I cannot recommend this title with any kind of confidence to players without sight wishing to take back the light for themselves. Though again, I will state my optimism for the future of accessibility in this franchise and hope that Bungie work to address all of the highlighted issues, in addition to any that currently haven't been pointed out or discussed.
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