Taylor Cross reviews the video game God of War (2018)
There are few games released every console generation that are on the level of Santa Monica Studios’ newest game, Dad of Son, I mean, God of War (2018). If you can, you should do whatever it takes to play it. Now that I’ve heaped praise on the game like everyone else on the internet, let us see if you can play the new God of War game… which is most likely going to be a yes.
Honestly, God of War can be practically played with one hand. Because the game’s level of accessibility is through the roof. It’s filled with all sorts of options to tweak and change the game play to improve your experience through this game’s interpretation of Norse Mythology, regardless of a person’s actual physical abilities. From the usual audio and visual tweaks (Sound Volume, Subtitles, Brightness, etc.) to even changing the text size and reducing the camera’s swivel outside of adjusting the camera to re-orient yourself. It’s especially notable that you can re-map the functions of L3 and R3 in God of War to to X and Circle respectively, and not at the same time.The only other function I would preferred to re-map is the quick turn from down on the D-Pad to down on the left thumbstick plus X. It is just more intuitive to me, though that might just be years of playing Resident Evil 4 and it’s descendants having an affect on me. However, the controls themselves are fantastic and this is just a big old nitpick. Like I said, most people with physical disabilities should get through midgard just fine with only a few tweaks in the options menu.
For those with cognitive disabilities however, this game should be judged on a person-by-person basis. I absolutely cannot stress this enough. Watch someone close to you play through the game if you feel you don’t know that you can handle what this game has in store. I’m not saying this because it’s a visually intense game (it’s God of War, so it comes with the territory), nor the difficulty (it’s challenging in the fun video game way. Plus there’s four difficulty settings overall), and it sure as heck isn’t the audio (though those with sensitive hearing, including people with Autism, should look into adjusting those settings in the options menu anyway). It’s the puzzles, while not hard, use discretion and have a trusted friend who is absolutely amazing at not being a backseat gamer there to help you out… or use a walkthrough. While the latter is both accessible and utilitarian, the former is not only more fun, but has additional side benefits in regards to social interactivity and communication. Such as how someone will see a treasure chest you somehow missed or they figured out how to beat a particularly tough boss. Again, it’s best to judge on a person-by-person basis. For instance, I have high-functioning autism. I got through the game just fine with relatively little trouble in regards to solving the puzzles, but that’s me. Others who are a little slower on the uptake could run into issues with those same puzzles. Either way, don’t be afraid to look up help when you need it.
With all of that said, God of War is a fantastic game with a ton of accessibility features that is an absolute “must-play.” Santa Monica Studios and Sony Interactive Entertainment have done a bang-up job in doing the impossible, softly rebooting a series while keeping the majority of what fans loved about the series in tact and trying their best in making a game that appeals to everyone. That should be applauded.
I would like to send out a special thanks to both Sony Interactive Entertainment and Santa Monica Studios for providing me a copy of this game to give an accessibility review and that my opinions stated about the game are my own.
Taylor Cross is a professional video game journalist from Ventura, California who spent years working with the disability community before switching to a career in video games full-time.