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"You Are Not A Jedi Yet": Star Wars; Jedi Survivor: Accessibility Review


The copy of the game used in this review was provided at no cost to the reviewer by the publisher.


After reviewing Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order in 2019, I was curious what any future games in the Star Wars franchise might do to allow gamers without sight to enjoy the same cultural involvement as anyone else. Being a huge Star Wars fan, I was excited at the potential a few years of time and effort could bring to this, keeping in mind this was in a pre-Last Of Us Part II or God Of War: Ragnarok world.

However, though a Fallen Order sequel was known to be in development, nothing was known about its accessibility.

4 years on from one of the most successful titles in the franchise in a number of years, thanks to a code provided by the folks at EA, let's ask the question: just how much have Respawn learnt and achieved in terms of allowing "totally blind" gamers to use the force, lightsabers and traverse the fantastic worlds of Star Wars without assistance?

A quick note

Menu narration isn't in the game... Yet. It has, however, been confirmed for a post-launch update as well as other accessibility improvements. Rest assured this review will be updated with thoughts on that aspect when the time comes.

First boot

Given the quick note above, please keep in mind that I did utilise sighted assistance for this review, irrespective of any other accessibility options I tested. The copy I played was running on Xbox Series X as well, for the curious amongst you.

After the familiar and very much still star wars sounding Respawn entertainment logo (which always brings a smile to my face), you are presented with the EA user agreement, with the option to Press A to continue or B to cancel.

The next screen is a photosensitive seizure warning, again telling you to press A to continue, but with no cancel or back option available here.

Following this is audio output, a left/right menu that doesn't wrap. Though it starts on speakers, you can switch to headphones as well, neither of which seemed to make much of a change on a surround sound setup that was truly noticeable to my ears at least.

On this screen, pressing X will allow you to test the audio and pressing Y will toggle subtitles, which are set to on by default. As a quick sidenote, seeing subtitles set to on by default is always a good start from where I stand, even as someone who can't use them.

The audio test is a rather synth-like set of blips, not something you'd hear in-game. Personally, I would've preferred an actual audio test with in-game assets as that would be a more accurate representation of how things would sound on the type of output you're testing for, much like you'd hear in graphical benchmarks on PC games.

If you're curious, at least during first setup, I chose speakers, as that's what it was set to by default, then pressed A to continue.

Now we have to adjust brightness (by moving the slider until you can barely see the symbol on the left). It does actually support DPad movement which is much appreciated. The default turned out to be ok on my setup, though of course your mileage may vary.

After this you have to select between either performance mode or quality, though seemingly the game is set to quality by default. As the game states, performance prioritises 60 FPS at the expense of resolution, quality prioritises resolution over framerate. This menu actually wraps, strangely enough, compared to previous and later ones that don't.

I chose quality as that was the default for me on an Xbox Series X, though I know display options can vary by what system you play the game on.

As a fun note and interesting catch by my sighted co-pilot, all the setup screens appear to have aurebesh writing (a language in the Star Wars universe that can be translated into other languages, in this case via online resources) just above the main heading (for example, Visuals for the performance mode screen or the words "View Distance" for the next screen of the process. The writing, from what we could tell doesn't always translate to something to do with the option you're choosing though, but it is indeed a neat little detail. The fact that it doesn't make OCR difficult to work with also helps, of course.

Now we come to one that many with vision will likely appreciate, View Distance. To test out the font and how well it recognised with OCR, here's the direct text from the game, including the prompts:

SETUP VIEW DISTANCE Camera distance and FOV (field of view) can adapt to whether you're sitting far from your screen (a TV in a living room) or close to your screen (a monitor on a desk). VIEW DISTANCE AMBIENT CAMERA SWAY FAR (TV) ON If you experience motion sickness in games, consider turning Camera Sway off. O CONTINUE O BACK
As you can see, the button prompts don't read, though this is likely because they are images instead of readable text (an unfortunately common practice for those with screen readers trying to make sense of videogames with optical character recognition). This screen wraps as well, surprisingly. As you might be able to discern from the OCR above, the settings selected by default for me at least were Far (TV) and with ambient camera sway enabled.

The next screen is additional settings. As the game puts it, "Colour-blind profiles, camera field of view, hold inputs, dialogue skip and other settings are available on the title screen. You can change these settings at any time."

After hitting A, you are immediately thrown into a cutscene of sorts (a recap) of events from the previous game, which you cannot pause.

After that you're on the title screen (or rather the main menu), where you are able to replay the recap you would've just seen, known as the "Jedi Fallen Order story".

If you accidentally play the recap again, holding B will skip it. Remember this for in-game usage as well, as it's how you skip past cutscenes should you so wish during gameplay.

The main menu doesn't wrap, much like the main menu of the previous game.


The options menu does currently wrap (infinitely scrolling if you continue to press a direction, if you're unfamiliar with the term), though like the other cases of this occurring mentioned above this might be an oversight and could potentially be fixed later. Accessibility is the first option you land on and, in an interesting choice, instead of using A to confirm and B to go back, you can also go right to enter these submenus and left to exit out of them, much like tree views in Windows applications for example.

Once you're in a menu, pressing A on an option that has multiple selectable settings like a slider for example allows you to adjust it and pressing A again confirms any changes to that option and puts you back in the menu it's present in.

With toggle options it is a little different, as pressing A on those will play different sounds for on/off and set the option appropriately.

In terms of game difficulty, you have a slightly wider selection than the previous game, with the new addition of Padawan (the difficulties listed are Story, Padawan, Jedi Knight, Jedi Master and grand master, with descriptions of the various elements that change as you adjust them. Unfortunately, you cannot customise the experience beyond these points, at least not that I've seen, though it would be nice to be able to play the game with, say, very tight parry timings where the enemies can't do large amounts of damage to you in a single hit in order to practice your combat efficiency early game and test yourself.

Before you start a new game, you are presented with exploration settings, with the ability to customise various hints and dialogue line skipping options.

To actually embark on your adventure though, you hold down the confirm button (at least by default), which I am personally a fan of as someone who doesn't want to miss any options etc by accident hitting start too early.

One thing I wanted to compliment is the audio for selecting and going back in the menus, including submenus. The audio for these is very clear and I'd say it's very unlikely that you'd miss if you'd selected an option or gone back too many times in a menu by accident, a useful if underappreciated element of good audio design.

Starting The Game

Diving in on Jedi Knight difficulty, feeling confident about my abilities, I was saddened to notice an absence of audio description in this title, particularly as even older Star Wars media like Star Wars Rebels is now equipped for audio description (at least to a point) and there's a lot of space to describe the action, environments and characters during cutscenes. I know we've only seen audio description appear in a couple of games as of the time of writing, but I hope it becomes much more of a standard going forward. After all, it's not just those who can't see or have sight loss who use audio description, I know friends and relatives who use it only to be able to follow the plot and so they don't miss tiny details that they'd have trouble catching otherwise.

The Shortcut Menu

Some accessibility options can be assigned to a shortcut menu that allows for easier activation of said options at a moment's notice. Unlike the PS5 which has a touchpad that some games might want you to assign these options to (as you can see in The Last Of Us or God Of War Ragnarok for example), with the Xbox controller not having that, you are limited in terms of how you can make this work.

By default, you have to use the view button (where select would be for those that can't remember the names of the two buttons that replaced Start and Select from the old days on Xbox One controllers) then press the button you've assigned to the option in question, whether that be holomap, navigation assist, audio ping, etc. Speaking of navigation assist...

Navigation Assist

Though navigation assist exists, along with an audio ping, from my tests you can't activate it during the opening section, meaning that you'll need sighted assistance to get anywhere. Unfortunately, even when you do get it, it doesn't currently appear to work as intended.

The instructions state that the ping is "automatically fired", though this is only partly true, as it seems to fire on entering a new area, or more accurately one where the waypoint changes.

This means in practice that you have to open the shortcut menu by pressing the view button (by default), then keep activating the ping as you move around the environment, with the menu still open for greater ease of use. Having assigned items to all of the shortcut buttons (i.e. the face buttons on the controller), in order to jump or conduct any kind of traversal, you have to then close the menu and reopen it again if you want to hear where to go next.

Unfortunately, this is also true if you want to attack during battle, as you can't attack while the shortcut menu is open (leaving you able to sustain damage whilst trying to even close the menu in the first place).

The audio cue for navigation also only gives you a direction, not a sense of verticality or what you'd have to do next (acting as a literal navigation assist), thus meaning that it is still unclear as to whether you have to climb, jump, pull or parkour your way through environmental elements to progress.

This is one of those strange situations where a camera turning navigation system such as in the Last Of Us Parts II and I and God Of War Ragnarok would be preferable to the current system, even if an audio cue system, if constantly relaying information without requiring the player to press buttons, could provide greater fluidity (as seen in Gears 5's Navigation Ping: Escape Mode system). I hope elements of this system's flaws could be resolved in patches, but only time will tell how much can be done.

As a result, from here on out, I also had sighted assistance to navigate, traverse and otherwise interact with the environment, as there are no audio cues for interaction prompts being available.


Having played Fallen order very recently, I remembered enough controls that this game's combat felt very familiar. Even playing on Jedi Knight difficulty as a test run, I was hitting parries, blaster deflects and the like with ease and the sound design and impacts all felt weighty and fluid.

A common problem in games is that you don't know how much health you have other than when it is in dire need of replenishment through stim canisters and, sadly, this game is no exception. The only cue you get is a haptic and audio indication that you are at low health, which you then have to act on as quickly as possible to avoid having your battle ended by enemies in short order.

One thing I was very glad to see return was the audio cue for unblockable attacks, meaning that dodging those proved to be easier than it otherwise would be had the sound design removed them altogether. Speaking of tweaks to the audio design though, attacks did seem to come in much quicker with far less telegraphing, though I'm not sure as of the time of writing whether the difficulty might impact that.


During my testing, I had a few issues with haptic feedback in that, even though it was set to on, no haptics were coming through on either my main or a CoPilot controller. After a while of restarting the console and the game and unplugging and reconnecting everything, I eventually got it working, but this wasn't a straightforward process sadly and happened on at least 2 occasions.

Wall running, which previously had haptics for individual steps, does not have this now, instead having haptics when you jump onto the wall and when you reach the end of it. This makes any movement difficult to time as, up until you near the end of the wall, you have no sense of how far along the wall you are or how long the wall run is, meaning that not only is the experience less immersive, but you have no sense of being able to time subsequent re-runs (pun intended) of the same traversal areas.

Boss Fights

Fallen Order was somewhat known for its boss fights and this sequel is no exception. You meet one not long into the games first hours. The interesting thing is the gimmick used to win isn't tutorialised very well in terms of you have no clear window when to attack through audio cues. This left me trying to work it out and spending most of my time parrying and dodging what I could, though these efforts also didn't always work in my favour. Hopefully a solution in the form of clearer audio feedback could be patched later to make the experience clearer to create information parity on multiple channels.

During this particular battle, an unfortunate issue I ran into was constant resetting of the boss to its first phase, meaning that we had to run through the same small area and see the same cutscenes multiple times, even though I'd already got through multiple phases prior to the reset. Though there is the option to skip cutscenes as previously stated, having the fight checkpoint you directly within the arena including when respawning would help ease this frustration.


During the course of the game, you unlock lightsaber stances that allow you to work with certain archetypes, whether that be a single opponent, crowd control or utilising fast, fluid strikes. Without narration, the process of switching stances was rather complicated, but utilising them definitely did feel different depending on the options chosen, even in the early game.

The Map

A large number of complaints that I've seen and had personally with the first game surround the overreliance on the map and, frustratingly this game doesn't seem to break that trend. With the map being completely inaccessible in its current state for me, as well as being confusing for my sighted co-pilot to interpret, it meant that large amounts of time were spent wandering around trying to figure out where to go, only for us to realise that it was a comparatively obvious exit from the area hidden in plain sight with no opportunity to receive true guidance as to how to get to where we wanted to be.

Scoring And Cast

Much like the previous game the score, even in the opening sequence, felt very Star Wars (take that as you will). That being said, new instrumentation makes itself known in the form of synthetic layers, doubtless to reflect the rise of the empire in this era of the timeline. As much as electronic elements might seem out of place, with The Mandalorian and The Bad batch having shown how it can be pulled off well, this game also executes the blending well, making for an interesting change of pace and subversion of expectation.

As for the cast, everyone I'd seen during my opening hours of the game were solidly brought to life, with Cal's character development that's happened off-screen being well portrayed through delivery of dialogue alone. Even with a time skip, the writing feels just like an extension of the previous title and, even when new enemies like droids are introduced, they feel like they've been a part of the series all along, we just haven't seen them onscreen before.





Jedi Survivor is a strong sequel that, at least in the opening hours, understands what the previous game did well without making the puzzles feel too obtuse and relying on traversal instead. As a continuation of the series, this game is still fun, still Star Wars, but as of the time of writing, it is (much like its predecessor) still not accessible without constant sighted assistance.

I applaud the game for endeavouring to increase accessibility in the Star Wars franchise to gamers that might've previously been excluded. However the fact remains that we have yet to see a Star Wars game that is fully playable by gamers without sight that does not require any assistance whatsoever.

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