I love Insomniac Games. I think we all do lately, with what they've done for the Spider-Man franchise, the storytelling, the fun of swinging around New York, and even how much the accessibility has improved in five years going back to the original release of Marvel's Spider-Man in 2018. So, my anticipation for Marvel's Spider-Man 2 was high. What would Insomniac do to improve accessibility again? Well, I think I should've waited until December to play. Let's talk about why.
The reason I wish I had held off for a few more months is that Insomniac recently took to the PlayStation Blog to list the accessibility support that will be in Marvel's Spider-Man 2 at launch and what options will arrive in December 2023. While it isn't uncommon for a developer to release a post-launch accessibility update, what is uncommon is how transparent Sony Interactive Entertainment has been about all this ahead of release. I applaud and appreciate PlayStation for taking this step as it's something I've been wanting to see from publishers for a while now.
So, what accessibility support is coming to Marvel's Spider-Man 2 in December? There will be a screen reader, which will include an option to set a repeat timer so if you miss a line of text, you can set how long of a delay before it will repeat that line. Audio Descriptions for in-game cinematics, Full captions for sound effects and combat music, controller remapping, and more. That is a lot of accessibility to sadly not have at launch. So if any of those features are options you need, you can either buy the game now and wait for the free update to release or just hold off and wait to buy in December.
Steve Saylor is a legally-blind gamer who has dedicated his life to trying to improve video games for everyone. Over the years, Steve has consulted with major game developers like EA, Ubisoft, and Naughty Dog to help push video game accessibility forward, and hosts a YouTube channel where he explores the accessibility options in the latest new releases.
Marvel's Spider-Man 2 accessibility at launch
With that being said, I do want to talk about what accessibility is in Marvel's Spider-Man 2 today, knowing that there's still more to come. Most of the accessibility in Marvel's Spider-Man 2 is primarily a culmination of all the accessibility Insomniac has done in its previous Spider-Man games and Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart. So if you are familiar with those games and their accessibility options, you will be comfortable with what's here.
There are accessibility presets for Vision, Motor, Hearing, and Motion sensitivity that will enable multiple options labeled for those specific disabilities without having to go into the main menus and manually enable them yourself. Even though Audio Descriptions and the screen reader for blind players aren't present at launch, there are several options for some of the blindness spectrum, like High Contrast Modes and larger waypoint icons. High Contrast Mode will allow you to add shaders to all the characters, and you can manually set the colors you want to identify the character you're playing, your allies, as well as all the enemy types – whether unarmed, armed, or brute characters or bosses. It can also identify objects or areas you can interact with in your environment if you need to find the next part of your mission.
For deaf/hard of hearing players, sadly again will have to wait to get full captions which will provide captions for non-speaking dialogue as well as sound effects and music cues. But at launch, there are customizable subtitles to adjust text size, speaker tag, background, background opacity, and text color. They even have a cute little Spider-Man head icon to tell you whether it's Peter or Miles talking while they are in their spidey suits.
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It's also worth flagging that Marvel's Spider-Man 2 is great for Deaf representation. Insomniac introduced a deaf character named Hailey in Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales, an artist and friend who speaks with Miles through ASL. The 2020 release featured Narrated ASL support where, whenever Hailey speaks, her lines are not only subtitled but narrated by Deaf actor Natasha Ofili and it's great to see that return for Spider-Man 2. Additionally, for deaf/hard of hearing players, there is the ability to turn off or adjust the audio frequencies. So for instance if you find that the high pitch of an explosion to be painful, you can turn the high frequencies off. Or in the same explosion, if the low rumble of that explosion is not comfortable, you can turn off that frequency as well.
For Motor disabled players, Insomniac has introduced two new features that I think benefit everyone and that's in regards to combat. The previous Spider-Man games have been called very button-bashy, in terms of how much you are constantly hitting buttons when attacking or dodging enemies. To address that, Insomniac has added an option called Melee Mode that when enabled you can hold down on Square to do a single attack, a four combo move, or to continuously attack. That way you aren't having to mash that button every time you want to hit someone. This allows you to focus on dodging enemies without interrupting your attacks.
Speaking of dodging you can also enable a similar option called Continuous Dodge when you hold down on Circle, you will constantly be dodging until you push another button to interrupt that dodge. To go even further, the studio borrowed an option from Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart that allows you to adjust the game's speed so you can slow down combat to make the combat less frantic and give you more time to strategize your attack better. Believe me, those options came in handy for me in my playthrough, particularly towards the end of the game when enemies were coming at me so quickly that it was hard to keep up.
There is one major blocker that I do have to mention, and that's in regards to a mini-game involving the trigger buttons on the PS5 DualSense controller. The Marvel's Spider-Man 2 Prowler Stash side quest involves finding hidden tech throughout New York City; when trying to scan the relevant areas, two vertical bars pop up on the screen with a horizontal gray bar in each and a yellow target. You have to subtly push down on both trigger buttons to try to line that yellow target to the horizontal gray bar and then hold it there for a few seconds to complete the mini-game. There is no way to skip them, simplify them, or an option in the settings to help with them. So if you have trouble with fine motor control or pushing down on the triggers is uncomfortable or painful, doing this task will be very difficult. This quest is skippable as its main purpose is to unlock Tech Gear points to level up and to try to 100% complete Spider-Man 2. However, this mini-game pops up twice near the end of the game and you can't move forward in the story until you complete it.
Overall, Marvel's Spider-Man 2 is good. It is one of the best superhero games I've played. The story is compelling, has great emotional and fantastical moments. The characters are really great and stand out. It definitely lives up to Marvel's Spider-Man and Spider-Man: Miles Morales in so many ways. It's also one of the rare games I personally was able to roll credits on. However, until that update in December, I don't feel comfortable giving the game a recommendation until we see full accessibility support introduced. If any of what I mentioned doesn't affect your disability then I would recommend the game now, otherwise, wait until December.