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Horizon
Forbidden West
35 Accessibility Features

We've documented 35 accessibility features for Horizon Forbidden West, including Large Subtitles, Adjust Speed, Control Assists, Custom Difficulty and Select Difficulty. Its accessibility is strongest in Controls and Navigation but it also has features in Visual, Getting Started, Reading, Difficulty 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.

Horizon Forbidden West is a post-apocalyptic action-adventure where you explore an overgrown landscape with now-crumbling remnants of modern life. The story of Aloy continues as she sets out to investigate a plague terminating from an arcane frontier known as the Forbidden West.

Our accessibility examiner, Andy Robertson, first checked Horizon Forbidden West accessibility 2 years ago. It was re-examined by Ben Kendall and updated 10 months ago.

NotesAccessibility Notes

There are five difficulty settings from Story Mode to Very Hard. You can adjust the damage Aloy deals and receives to/from enemies. The Easy Loot option makes it easier to accrue loot with less targeting required. You can adjust how much the game slows down when equipping with the Weapon Wheel and turn on Aim Assist. You can increase the duration of slow down to aid aiming with your bow.

You can specify which actions use toggles and which use holds. However there are still some actions in the game that require a hold, and can't be switched to a toggle. You can use Gyro controller motion to aim, Jibb Smart suggested some ways to optimise this: In Gameplay tab, turn off Aim Assist; In Controls tab set Deadzone to 0 and map firing to face buttons to reduce bumping..

Although you can adjust the subtitle size and opt for a background on the text, this is only around 1/30th of the screen at largest. Also you can't change the subtitles in the game until after the first cutscenes. Other text (like conversation choices) are smaller than the subtitles and don't always have a background.

There is a Focus mode you can use that depicts humans and machines in bright colours. This helps identify threats with pop-up information, as well as how to target them. It's a useful mode, but does have to be triggered to access which can be difficult during fraught combat. You can adjust the camera shake and motion blur settings, and customize the game’s HUD to control what information is visible.

You can get the game to automatically do things when you need them. This can automatically enable the slow down, auto sprint, auto heal (when below 50% health), and auto glide when you fall from heights. You can also turn on climbing annotations rather than having to trigger the Focus mode.

You can opt to use markers for your selected quest destination and dynamically place waypoints. The waypoints are quite subtle, although you can opt for breadcrumb trails to help you find your way to main missions. There is also a compass at the top of the screen that depicts the direction to points of interest and glows when you have arrived at a main quest.

There are vibrations that "mesh well with the footsteps, jumping, climbing and new mechanics like prying open doors, with the adaptive triggers enhancing the feeling of drawing the bow as well," wrote Sightless Kombat in his review. The vibration also signals when you are in grass areas that will hide you if you crouch. These can be disabled as required and don't overdo feedback (the dreaded endless-vibration-raindrop some games signpost).

Along with extensive tutorials that you can access throughout, there are pop-up reminders on how to use abilities, weapons, or engage with certain enemies. There's also a Story So Far screen when you return after a break.

The game offers a new-to-PlayStation Co-pilot more where a second PS4 or PS5 controller mirrors controls. This enables a second player to jump in and offer assistance without having to take over the controls.

A closer look at the accessibility features is on the PlayStation Blog.

DetailsGame Details

Release Date: 18/02/2022

Out Now: PS4 and PS5

Content Rating: PEGI 16

Skill Rating: 13+ year-olds

Players: 1

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

Accessibility: 35 features

Components: 3D Third-Person, Day and Night, Open World and Weather

Developer: Guerrilla (@Guerrilla)

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

 

ControlsControls

We've documented 10 accessibility features for Controls in Horizon Forbidden West 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.

Motion

Games that can be played with different sorts of motion controllers.

Motion Aiming: Can use small movements of the gamepad to fine-tune aiming or as the main aiming mechanism. This is sometimes known as Gyro-Aiming. This usually provides the ability to calibrate these controls to taste.

Remap Controls

Can customise the controls for the game as follows:

Select Preset Controller Mappings: You can select preset button layouts from options provided by the developer.

Remap Buttons: Can re-map all buttons so that you can use alternatives that better suit your play.

Swap Sticks: Can swap the sticks over so that you can use the opposite sticks to control the game.

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

Button Combinations

Specific button operation required to play

Rapid Repeated Pressing Optional: Quick, repeated button pressing (more than 2 times a second) is not required, can be skipped or switched to holding a button to trigger a repeated action.

Controller Vibration

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

Informative Vibration: Controller vibration indicates events or interactions in the game, echoing visual and audio cues. This can provide additional information about progress, approaching enemies or hitting a target.

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 Horizon Forbidden West, but it doesn't offer the Controls accessibility features you require, these similar games extend the Controls accessibility:

DifficultyDifficulty

We've documented 3 accessibility features for Difficulty in Horizon Forbidden West 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.

Customise Difficulty: Customise different aspects of the game to create a challenge of an appropriate level. Adjusting elements individually enables you to tailor gameplay to suit your needs and style of play.

Adjust After Setting

Adjustable Between Levels: You can adjust the difficulty between levels/rounds. Although you have to restart your checkpoint or level, this enables you to adjust the difficulty after selecting it at the beginning of the game.

Getting StartedGetting Started

We've documented 5 accessibility features for Getting Started in Horizon Forbidden West 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.

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.

View Control Mapping: You can view a map of controls during play. This clearly displays the mappings of actions to buttons/keys/mouse/keyboard without having to leave the game. This includes games that always display buttons to press during play.

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.

Adjust Speed: Adjust the speed of the game at critical moments or throughout, or rewind play for a second attempt, to ease reaction times. By slowing the game, you have more time to interpret what is happening and then execute your actions. It also reduces the pressure on getting things right quickly or the first time you attempt them.

Assistance For Progressing

These features aid your progress through the game offering different ways of maintaining your progression.

Bank Progress With Frequent Checkpoints: If you fail you can retry that level or aspect of the game without losing a lot of progress (less than 5 minutes). This is often provided via Frequent Checkpoints combined with restarting without losing time, equipment or score.

 

Similar Games With More Accessibility Features for Getting Started

If you want to play Horizon Forbidden West, 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 Horizon Forbidden West 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

Large Clear Subtitles: Subtitles are large, clear and of good contrast. They are at least 1/20 (46 pixels on 1080 screen) the height of a landscape screen and at least 1/40 height on portrait screens, or can be adjusted to be. We base this on the full line-height, including the space above and below the letters. Considered separately from the general text of the game, the subtitles are large, clear and of good contrast.

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

 

Similar Games With More Accessibility Features for Reading

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

NavigationNavigation

We've documented 7 accessibility features for Navigation in Horizon Forbidden West 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.

Head-Up Display

Head-Up Display Navigation: Indication of where to go next with overlaid arrows, minimaps and waypoint markers. This supplements in-game visual and audible cues with additional guidance about where you are and where you need to go.

Adjust Head-Up Display: Resize and adjust the content of the head-up display. This enables it to be made more visible. It can also enable the removal of too much information that can be distracting or confusing.

Game Map: View a map of the game world during play, with the landscape, points of interest and missions highlighted throughout the entire game. This enables the orientation of the player and the world, confirming a direction of movement and the location of destinations or points of exploration.

Menu Navigation

Menu Audio Cues: Navigating menus provide an audio cue for each selection.

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 Horizon Forbidden West, but it doesn't offer the Navigation accessibility features you require, these similar games extend the Navigation accessibility:

VisualVisual

We've documented 6 accessibility features for Visual in Horizon Forbidden West which deal with how you can adjust the visuals to suit your needs, and offer additional information if you can't hear the game.

Visual Distractions

No Screen Shake: No screen shake effect or it is included but it can be disabled. This includes the absence of screen shake for dramatic effect as well as to indicate hits on a target.

Audio Cues for Visual Events

Audio Cues for Visual Events: Audio is provided to indicate visual events. Game events or progress highlighted by visual icons, effects or animations are also accompanied by audio to signify that progress. This is useful for blind players.

Audio Depiction of Event Location: Indication with positional/stereo audio of where directional events are on the screen for things like damage, footsteps, environmental elements. This is useful for blind players.

Menu Audio Cues: Navigating menus provide an audio cue for each selection.

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.

Colour Options

Colour Adjustments: Adjust colours of characters or game elements for greater visibility. Includes the ability to select which type of colour blind mode you require.

 

Similar Games With More Accessibility Features for Visual

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

AudioAudio

We've documented 1 accessibility feature for Audio in Horizon Forbidden West which deals 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.

 

Similar Games With More Accessibility Features for Audio

If you want to play Horizon Forbidden West, 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:

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.
 
Read more about system accessibility settings.

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


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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