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Marvels Guardian's Of The Galaxy: Accessibility Review


Marvel's Guardians Of The Galaxy (GOTG hereafter) is a game that sounded great to me on paper, but I was sceptical about its accessibility at first. Even with it being a single player narrative experience (and thus potentially more accessible than multiplayer titles for instance), it's still been only a year since The Last Of Us Part II combined so many features (including those from other games/genres) into its own cohesive package and demonstrated how key things like complete narrated menus and UI, being able to pathfind to objectives and lock-on aiming are to those who have no vision to navigate what has historically been seen as a purely visual medium.

That being said, with various games coming close in some fields even if they missed the mark in others, I was definitely curious to see how this game might fair, especially after reading the accessibility options posted by the publisher a few days before release.

However, as most of you may know, it's one thing to watch gameplay of a title and another thing to try the game itself first-hand. The real question is, just how accessible is GOTG as a gamer without sight?


This review was undertaken with no sighted assistance whatsoever.

First boot

Though I'd intended to use Open Broadcaster Software (OBS) as my game video source for this review process, I was actually able to get Xbox Remote Play to work, thanks to its availability when using Xbox Series Consoles. This means that, even if you don't have a capture card or Game Pass Ultimate subscription (required for Cloud Gaming), you can still use text recognition methods to attempt to ascertain what's on screen.

Utilising Optical Character Recognition (OCR), I deduced that there is no sound for when the menu system first appears, allowing you to select languages for text and voice, with a next button below it. This screen seems to wrap, which doesn't bode well for getting confused/disoriented in menu structures given there's no narration whatsoever.

Selecting next takes you to a brightness screen, which I just left at the default setting. For the next set of elements, I could read the options available, but not their state. This makes even adjusting the most straightforward of accessibility options (which could be crucial to my success or failure in combat for instance) very difficult if not impossible in terms of clearly knowing what I've changed. I was still definitely curious to see how good things like target locking could be, given the amount of customisation you can make to the feature and elements surrounding it.

Starting the game

Instead of actually letting me enter the first cutscene, pressing A on Start game instead took me to some kind of title screen, with some admittedly great and fitting music in the background.

After working my way through yet more menus and a license agreement (with nothing narrated up to this point), I managed to get to a point where I could select my difficulty.

The difficulty screen was only navigable because I could use OCR, meaning I could read the tooltips for each difficulty. Selecting Custom then presented me with numerous choices which again could've been narrated, but OCR got me through with reasonable certainty as things were rendered mostly as plain text, including numerical values that tied to things like damage.

Eventually figuring out pressing X would take me to the next screen, I was presented with controls. Though some inputs were clear (like LT), most were not, meaning I still had to wing it and bumble my way through what buttons did what, which can be an unsettling prospect at the best of times.

Actually starting the game

After struggling to figure out what button to press or hold to start the game, I eventually managed it and was thrust into a cutscene that had no audio description, then a song began to play. Other than loving the catchy 80s-influenced rock/metal the game was throwing my way, I was clueless as to what to do next.

Initially I thought this was maybe some kind of opening credits sequence, but unfortunately OCR revealed that I might actually be in gameplay of some kind, though with no instructions (narrated or otherwise) that I could find as to how to proceed. After spending a couple of minutes pressing buttons without having any idea of what I was doing and then moving the left analogue stick, I eventually managed to trigger the next sequence (by sheer luck) and understood why there was no sound during the song; My character was wearing headphones (at least with the little information the game gave me, that was all I could get).

After that opening cutscene, however, I was completely stuck, with no way to progress forward, backwards, sideways or any other way with any reliability. All I got when trying to move around and pressing X was that something could be worth hundreds of dollars someday, with no sense of what the object in question actually was, where I'd found it, or even how to leave the room I was in and get to using space lasers to take down whatever threat stands in the way of Star Lord and his team.


As much as Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy has been highly praised, as a gamer without sight, this is yet another entry in the "I'd love to play this butt would need someone to constantly assist me through it" category. Though I know they are totally separate entities, It still surprises me that, with all the accessibility in Marvel's streaming media (with audio description and subtitles etc), there haven't been any games that have managed to follow suit providing the same experience to gamers without sight and sighted players alike.

With accessibility becoming an increasingly prominent talking point in the videogame industry and developers realising just how impactful and financially worthwhile implementing it can be, I hope it's only a matter of time before I can save the universe from alien super threats, cosmic or otherwise, with absolutely no assistance whatsoever.

I'm definitely interested to see what accessibility features are added post-launch, as Square Enyx pointed out during their blog post. While retrofitting is not an ideal course of action, it's definitely better than nothing and any learning can be transferred into future projects.

Though I commend the efforts of the developers trying to add so many options into this title which can assist a great many people for differing reasons, I'm still left wondering not just by this game but others as well: "If games where you play as heroic or powerful characters are so common, why is it that whenever I step into one I'm left feeling so powerless?"

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