Update: I’m going to post the update this way so as to preserve my original impressions. The statement about no blind accessibility features existing, at least in Miles Morales, is no longer true. The game contains narration for ASL, (no other narration sadly), aim assist, and a sort of navigational assist that seems to help you during big action-packed missions. Please note this comes in the form of 2 options. One of them is specifically for chases, and the other is for pointing the camera at objectives. I would recommend having both on to be sure. There is also an accessibility setting for haptic feedback, which adds vibrations to the menu, works as a low health indicator, and more. It’s the first example of the potential of the Dual-sense’s haptics being used for accessibility, at least as far as I’ve seen so far. TO be perfectly, absolutely clear, I have successfully completed the first mission in Miles Morales with these features enabled, but cannot seem to progress from there. What I wouldn’t give for some time with Ensomniac studios after experiencing this. Anyway, my original impressions are below. Thanks for reading!
What follows is something I’m going to call a Dual review for Spiderman: Miles Morales and Astro’s Playroom. The decision to review these games in this way came from the fact that I have things to say about both, but not enough to fill a typical review, and I don’t wish to waste your time with filler. With that said, let’s talk about these 2 PS5 launch titles.
Firstly, let’s get this out of the way. Neither of these games are what I would call playable by the blind. No blind accessibility features exist in either game. No narration, audio cues, nothing of that sort to help us navigate the 2 very different game environments. That said, both of these games still managed to impress me, even though I was only able to put a few minutes of actual game time into each one. The fact that they were both able to do that is, in my opinion, impressive in and of itself, and definitely makes me think we’re in for quite a ride this generation. SO let’s talk about each of them in turn, and illustrate just why they were so impressive.
First, Astro’s Playroom, the game that comes preinstalled with the PS5. From the moment it boots, it impresses. Many people have already discussed how Astro’s Playroom is a showcase of what can be done with the technology in the Dual Sense, but I need to be clear that that’s true even in the game’s title screen. While you can hear a bunch of sound effects as animations play, you can also feel them. Every single one. I felt Astrobot seemingly run from the left side of my controller to the right side. I felt wind seeming to blow through the controller. Not from the controller, that would be weird, but you know the feeling you get when strong wind is hitting you? The sort of rumble in the air? That feeling passes through the controller. They even give you a little sample of Astro walking across different materials, and it somehow just felt right. The capabilities of the haptics in the Dual Sense just cannot be understated. It’s pretty special.
Then, when I finally took control, I got to experience the adaptive triggers first hand. I’m not really sure what I did, but I know it sounded like a flamethrower when I pulled both triggers past their point of resistance. The way the resistance worked, though, is incredible, and much different than what I expected. I thought that what I’d experience was basically a click, just a full stop when I hit the resistance point, then when I pressed hard enough I figured there’d be another click and the trigger would just unlock. That’s not how it works. As you press the trigger, the resistance builds very quickly to full stop. This happens in such a way that, when you finally do push past it, you feel almost like you’re pressing in on another button that isn’t even there. It is super impressive. I honestly wish I could’ve gotten further so I could experience more of what this controller has to offer, but I reached a point where I personally cannot figure out how to move on. I did collect a few coins, though, so there’s that.
But now for something completely different. Spiderman Miles Morales, while again not playable by the blind, impressed me in a different way. So far, it appears to be the best demonstration of the PS5’s 3D audio tech. I got basically nowhere in this game, but I did manage to swing around a few buildings, and let me tell you, the sounds of the cars and people below you, flying by at high speed as you swing from building to building, is something else indeed. It was awesome to hear things just zipping right by, and I know that if I could play the full game, it would absolutely help to immerse me in that experience. Props to Insomniac games on tremendous use of this technology.
But wait, there’s one thing more. Spiderman: Miles Morales is also responsible for a revelatory moment regarding the Dual Sense’s haptic feedback. Yes, as much praise as I just gave it for Astro’s Playroom, it was a moment in Miles Morales that became the final shove toward loving the tech that I needed. While swinging around in the wrong direction, I happened to press, then hold the swing button, which leaves you attached to a web and swinging from it. This puts stress on the web material, and eventually it snaps. It is that snap that I’m referring to now, because I felt that snap in the controller, and it clicked for me at that moment. I knew immediately what had just happened. Sure, the fact that I then fell was a giveaway too, but I knew just based on the haptics alone what had just occurred, and I realized that it was likely the first time ever where that had really, honestly been true. Controller vibration has long been a component of accessibility for blind folks, but more often than not, we have to be told, or learn through experience, what each vibration means. This was an awesome moment in which the feedback itself was enough, and I just knew. That’s the kind of immersion I want in a game, and that’s why I now believe the Dual Sense’s haptic feedback, aside from just being awesome, has tremendous accessibility potential.
And that’s basically it. My dual reviews for Spiderman Miles morales and Astro’s Playroom, both of which do wonderful things when it comes to showing what the PS5 can do. I thank you for reading, and I hope you’re as hyped about all this as I am. Stay tuned for yet more coverage!