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Atomic
Heart
21 Accessibility Features

We've documented 21 accessibility features for Atomic Heart, including Fully Voiced (Or No Speech), Control Assists, Select Difficulty, Play Without Hearing and Visual Directional Cues. Its accessibility is strongest in Controls and Reading but it also has features in Getting Started, Navigation, Difficulty, Visual and Audio to reduce unintended barriers.

This report is created with input from accessibility experts and the player community to help people find games that have the accessibility features they require. Once you have found potential games on the database, there are excellent specialist accessibility sites that offer in-depth reviews to guide your purchasing decisions.

Atomic Heart is a shooting adventure game set in an alternative history where the Soviet Union wins World War 2 and you are a special agent fighting back against rogue robots. Play involves traversing the utopian world and using the environment and upgrades to take on explosive encounters. It's a bold and bizarre combination of themes that holds together surprisingly well with strong combat and a world that invites investigation.

External examiner, Yash Jain, first checked Atomic Heart accessibility a year ago. It was re-examined by Andy Robertson and updated a year ago.

NotesAccessibility Notes

There is no remapping and you can't check what your controls are while playing. You are introduced to keys as part of the tutorials but these are not listed anywhere else. When the game first starts it shows the menu to let you adjust language, sound levels, and turning on subtitles.

You can set the difficulty of the game and adjust it at any time. Easier levels reduce the damage done by enemies and provide more resources, on the harder difficulty the enemies are more realistic and intelligent. You can also enable Aim Assist to make it easier to target. You can also enable Auto Aim for a greater level of assistance.

To progress the game you need to complete lock-picking puzzles. As highlighted by David Lee Venters, these present substantial unintended barriers. Some of these require really fine motor control to manipulate the wires into the right place without any snap-to-grid style assistance. Others require very quick button press reactions and some rely on distinguishing between red-green which increases the barrier (perhaps makes it impossible) for colour-blind players. This isn't made easier by the difficulty settings.

There are quick-time events for actions like performing stealth kills or escaping attacks that require rapid pressing of buttons. Saving happens at checkpoints only. There can be a substantial time between checkpoints which means you can lose a lot of progress (20 minutes). You can reduce this by returning to safe rooms to save more frequently.

Subtitles are provided, but they are small and can't be resized to make them more visible. There is a language subtitle option that pops up a subtitle for text in the game world that is often in Russian.

Interactable items are highlighted with a white outline. You can scan a room for items and they are highlighted in blue. There are often a large number of items that appear and could present an overwhelming number of options.

DetailsGame Details

Release Date: 20/02/2023

Out Now: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox X|S

Content Rating: PEGI 18

Skill Rating: 14+ year-olds

Players: 1

Genres: Narrative, Shooting (Action, Adventure, Fighting and Traversal)

Accessibility: 21 features

Components: 3D First-Person

Developer: Mund Fish (@MundFish)

Costs: Purchase cost, In-Game Purchases and In-Game Pass

 

ControlsControls

We've documented 5 accessibility features for Controls in Atomic Heart which deal with how you control the game, different options for alternative inputs and whether you can remap these settings to suit your needs.

Gamepad

Can play with the following:

Multiple Buttons & Two Sticks: Can play with multiple buttons and two sticks.

Mouse And Keyboard

Can play with the following:

Mouse and Keys: Can play with mouse and multiple keys.

Remap Controls

Can customise the controls for the game as follows:

Invert X/Y Axis: Can invert the direction required to control looking and aiming. This enables you to match your instinctive orientation when looking.

Controller Vibration

Vibration Optional: Controller vibration not used in the game or you can disable it.

Sensitivity

You can adjust

Adjust Mouse/Stick/Touch Sensitivity, Deadzones and Thresholds: Adjust how sensitive touch/mouse/stick controls are and the related deadzones and thresholds.

 

Similar Games With More Accessibility Features for Controls

If you want to play Atomic Heart, but it doesn't offer the Controls accessibility features you require, these similar games extend the Controls accessibility:

DifficultyDifficulty

We've documented 2 accessibility features for Difficulty in Atomic Heart which deal with how you can adjust the challenge of play, and whether this is locked once chosen or can be adjusted as you play.

Difficulty Options

Select Difficulty: Select the level of difficulty from a range of presets. This not only offers a way to adjust the challenge of a game but enables you to do so without dealing with individual criteria.

Adjust After Setting

Adjustable Anytime: You can adjust the difficulty while playing, without having to restart the level you are on. This enables you to quickly adjust the game to suit your needs and see the difference immediately.

 

Similar Games With More Accessibility Features for Difficulty

If you want to play Atomic Heart, but it doesn't offer the Difficulty accessibility features you require, these similar games extend the Difficulty accessibility:

Getting StartedGetting Started

We've documented 3 accessibility features for Getting Started in Atomic Heart which deal with what support is offered to get started with the game. This includes customising the experience when you first open the game via any onboarding processes it provides as well as tutorials and other assistance when you first start playing.

Onboarding Before Play

Before you are presented with the home screen, onboarding settings aim to aid you accessing the menus you need to adjust the game to your requirements. They can also provide an easier way of turning on important adjustments without digging through menus.

Onboarding: The first time you open the game, you are asked to confirm options for control, navigation and accessibility settings. Games can differ in what they present at this stage, but will count for this, provided they include a streamlined onboarding process.

Assistance Getting Starting

These features aid your play of the game in terms of cognitive load on learning controls, dealing with pressure and coping with the environment and challenges.

Tutorials: There are helpful tutorials and instructions on how to play. Information is provided in a timely manner, with appropriate level of detail.

Assistance With Controls: The game can automatically assist with aiming, steering, reloading, jumping, running etc. This reduces the challenge of certain aspects of play to remove barriers and make control of characters more accessible.

 

Similar Games With More Accessibility Features for Getting Started

If you want to play Atomic Heart, but it doesn't offer the Getting Started accessibility features you require, these similar games extend the Getting Started accessibility:

ReadingReading

We've documented 4 accessibility features for Reading in Atomic Heart which deal with how much reading or listening comprehension is required, how well the game provides visual and audible access to the text and whether subtitles and captions are a good fit for purpose.

Reading Level

How much reading is required to play the game's main path or story and how complex the language is. The presence of voiced characters doesn't reduce this requirement, as it's recorded as a separate datapoint.

Moderate Reading: Moderate reading required. The quantity and complexity of reading are at a level that a high school student (14-year-old) would appreciate.

Subtitles

All Speech Subtitled (Or No Speech In Game): All spoken content has subtitles, or there is no speech in the game. This means there is no requirement to hear spoken dialogue or narrative to play the game.

Captions

Speaker Indicator: Textual captions indicate who is speaking (or there is only ever one person speaking). This can also be indicated visually in the game with character icons or placing text in speech bubbles next to the person speaking.

Voice Acted

All Dialogue is Voice Acted (Or No Speech In Game): All of the game dialogue and narrative can be voiced, or there is no speech in the game. This means there is no requirement to read the dialogue and narrative text to play the game.

 

Similar Games With More Accessibility Features for Reading

If you want to play Atomic Heart, but it doesn't offer the Reading accessibility features you require, these similar games extend the Reading accessibility:

NavigationNavigation

We've documented 3 accessibility features for Navigation in Atomic Heart which deal with how the game provides guidance and assistance to navigate its worlds. These are only for games that have traversal and exploration in 2D and 3D spaces.

Clarity

Clear Mission Objectives: The game provides clear, structured missions with directional guidance and advice on which can be attempted next. This also indicates (ideally on maps where they are provided) which missions can't be attempted because you do not have the appropriate items yet.

Visual Directional Cues: Additional in-game visual cues that signpost where to go next and how close you are to arriving. This can be with camera movement to focus on your destination or important items. It can use light, breadcrumb trails, in-world pointers to identify your mission's target location.

Menu Navigation

Digital Menu Navigation: Menu choices with Gamepad can be made without using an analogue stick to guide a cursor to a selection. For example, using D-Pad, buttons or the Stick to change menu selection in a single action.

 

Similar Games With More Accessibility Features for Navigation

If you want to play Atomic Heart, but it doesn't offer the Navigation accessibility features you require, these similar games extend the Navigation accessibility:

VisualVisual

We've documented 2 accessibility features for Visual in Atomic Heart which deal with how you can adjust the visuals to suit your needs, and offer additional information if you can't hear the game.

Interactive Elements

Outline Interactive Elements: Characters, platforms and enemies can be outlined or highlighted for visibility. This can be with a large border around the character or a special visual mode that adjust the colour to make characters more visible.

Motion Sickness Friendly

Motion Sickness Friendly: Doesn't have 3D movement elements that may trigger motion sickness, like motion blur, depth of field and field-of-vision. Or includes the ability to disable motion blur, depth of field and field-of-vision effects.

 

Similar Games With More Accessibility Features for Visual

If you want to play Atomic Heart, but it doesn't offer the Visual accessibility features you require, these similar games extend the Visual accessibility:

AudioAudio

We've documented 2 accessibility features for Audio in Atomic Heart which deal with how you can adjust the audio of the game and whether audio cues compensate for aspects of the game that are hard to see.

Adjustable Audio

Balance Audio Levels: Set music and game sound effects separately. This enables you to select your preference as well as ensure critical game sounds aren't obscured by other audio.

Play Without Hearing

Play Without Hearing: No audio cues are necessary to play the game well.

 

Similar Games With More Accessibility Features for Audio

If you want to play Atomic Heart, but it doesn't offer the Audio accessibility features you require, these similar games extend the Audio accessibility:

System Accessibility Settings

In addition to the accessibility features provided in the game, you can also use system-wide accessibility settings:

PC
Windows has extensive accessibility features. Some, like colour correction, work with games. Lots of accessibility software can be used with PC games, from voice recognition to input device emulators.
 
PlayStation 4
PlayStation 4 has a range of accessibility settings. Some are system only, some work in games (invert colours and button mapping).
 
PlayStation 5
PlayStation 5 has a range of system-wide accessibility settings.
 
Xbox One
Xbox One has a system features, the excellent co-pilot share controls mode and adaptive controller support for all games.
 
Xbox Series X|S
Xbox One has a system features, the excellent co-pilot share controls mode and adaptive controller support for all games.
 
Read more about system accessibility settings.

VSC LogoAccessibility Report supported by VSC Rating Board, PlayabilityInitiative and accessibility contributors Andy Robertson


Taming Gaming Book Written by parents for parents, the database complements the in-depth discussion about video game addiction, violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. We are an editorially independent, free resource without adverts that is supported by partnerships.

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