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Accessibility in Video Games: Halo Infinite

With the support of mobile phone provider congstar, the media education project Gaming without Borders is testing some of the currently most popular Triple A titles in terms of configuration options and playability for people with disabilities.

There are games that revolutionize their genre as soon as they come out. One of those cult franchises that has accompanied the gaming community for many years to the present day is the Halo universe. And since 2021, fans will experience the new adventures of the Master Chief in Halo Infinite, the latest chapter in the saga. They don their Spartan armor, equip their blasters and immerse themselves in a visually stunning science fiction world to save humanity. Marksmanship, quick reflexes and strategic planning are all required on the journey to the Halo Rings.

The 343 Industries development studio has implemented a wide range of accessibility features so that shooter fans with disabilities can also enjoy Halo Infinite without restrictions. The various functions help to compensate for a wide variety of disabilities.

As part of the gaming test series, Gaming without Borders has also made its test criteria available for evaluating Halo Infinite. The media-pedagogical project, supported by mobile phone provider congstar and Aktion Mensch, regularly checks games in youth groups for their accessibility – from small indie games to triple A titles such as Forza Horizon 5.

Since Gaming without Borders only tests games with an age rating of up to 12 years, the team brought in the experienced GoG ambassadors Dennis Winkens and Melanie Eilert for the game test. Both Dennis and Melly are experts in accessible game controls and have thoroughly researched the various features of Halo Infinite based on the Gaming Without Borders project criteria.

Find out now and here how accessible the single player mode of Halo Infinite can be played on PC and console, which accessibility functions are available, who they are aimed at and how well they can compensate for existing disabilities. Would you like to learn more about the media education project Gaming without Borders? Then take a look at our intro article, the inclusive game test for Forza Horizon 5 or the test for Minecraft.

General in advance

  • (+) In the main menu under “Load game” you can switch the difficulty level between Easy, Normal, Heroic and Legendary at any time. This has an impact on how much damage the opponents or the Master Chief himself can take. In this way, the requirements of the game can also be adapted to the skills of the players afterwards.
  • (+) In the academy hub there is, among other things, a training mode in which players can experiment and try things out without any pressure to perform.
  • (+) In the settings there is a separate tab for accessibility. This makes it easier to find helpful features and increases accessibility visibility.

Test Category Listening

  • (+) A total of six tone controls can be used to regulate the volume of voices, sound effects, menu music, ambient sounds, hit sound effects and the main display of the Spartan to 10 levels each.
  • (+) Subtitle options can either be activated specifically within the story or for all dialogues.
  • (+) There are three subtitle size options: Small, Medium, and Large.
  • (+) The transparency of the subtitle background can be adjusted.
  • (+) Different modes can be activated for the subtitle colors: Different speakers or entire lines of dialogue can be marked with different font colors.
  • (+) Text-to-speech feature reads out typed messages to fellow players.
  • (-) There are no subtitles for ambient sounds. Since these can indicate opponent activity, there may be a disadvantage for non-hearing players.

Test category Understanding

Our tip: Halo Infinite is a USK16 title and is therefore unsuitable for younger players. Suitability for players with cognitive disabilities should be assessed individually. We recommend playing the first game sessions together so that we can respond to any questions or fears that may arise. The game is relatively complex, which could be overwhelming for some players with disabilities.

  • (+) For each menu item there is a detailed description that explains the function.
  • (+) Tutorials can be completed again at any time in the academy hub – this makes it easier to start again after a long break.
  • (+) There is additional information from the Halo universe in the Academy hub in case players want to revisit the storyline.
  • (+) Mission goals are always marked and clearly communicated on the map – so there is no disorientation.
  • (-) Halo Infinite offers an extremely large number of customization options – the menu is correspondingly complex.
  • (-) The alien race of the Banished can be scary under certain circumstances.
  • (-) The military plot also shows depictions of violence and can sometimes be frightening, which is what characterizes the shooter genre and is difficult to depict differently.
  • (-) Blood effects cannot be turned off.

Test Category Seeing

  • (+) The font size of all texts can be adjusted.
  • (+) The scrolling speed of the text can be set individually using a controller.
  • (+) The display time and the transparency of the text chat background can be adjusted.
  • (+) A voice output can be activated for the user interface, which can help gamers with visual impairments.
  • (+) The speed and volume of the UI speech output can be adjusted individually.
  • (+) The transparency of the head-up display can be adjusted so that the information is easier to see.
  • (+) Enemies, allies, and fireteams can be freely assigned different colors. In this way, even people with color vision deficiency can distinguish between the different figures.
  • (+) The outline strength of the various colored figures can be adjusted to increase visibility.
  • (+) The transparency of the crosshair lines can be increased for better visibility.
  • (+) Visual distractions can be disabled to better focus on the gameplay.
  • (+) Speech to text feature transcribes incoming voice chat messages.
  • (+) Effects that may be graphically overwhelming, such as radial blurring and screen shakes, can be adjusted via sliders.
  • (-) HUD elements cannot be freely arranged and their size or color adjusted. The writing within these elements is therefore rather difficult to read.
  • (-) The color contrasts within the game world are clearly pronounced – details can be overlooked, especially in the depths. Dennis tip: A readjustment of the screen color space helps here. The more sensitive setting makes objects easier to see in dark places.
  • (-) Recordable items are only faintly highlighted with an outline and can sometimes be overlooked.

Tax test category

  • (+) Halo Infinite offers the ability to customize game controls and button mapping to individual needs.
  • (+) Adaptive controllers like the Xbox Adaptive Controller benefit from individual button assignments.
  • (+) The sensitivity and required resistance of triggers and sticks of the controller used can also be adjusted.
  • (+) An optional navigation mode visually highlights particularly important controls and makes it easier to switch between different options within the menu.
  • (+) The regular press and hold required for crouching and zooming can be disabled. This makes it easier for players with weak fingers to play.
  • (+) Automatic jumping, climbing and automatic adjustment of the jump height can be activated – this makes movement and climbing within the game world much easier.
  • (-) Typical for shooters, aiming and shooting require a certain fine motor skills. This can sometimes be a challenge for players with motor disabilities.
  • (-) There is no one stick mode – using two sticks or an adaptive controller is always recommended
  • (-) Overall, the gameplay requires many different actions, each of which requires its own button – so the controls are generally rather complex.

Dennis draws his conclusions

Halo Infinite offers players a wide range of settings to adapt the way they play to their needs. This is remarkable precisely because shooters are a rather demanding genre per se and are aimed at a more mature audience. They require the players to be extremely alert and have quick reflexes at all times. Halo Infinite also remains true to this basic game principle – players should be aware of that. But around this core principle there are extremely many ways to adapt the game to your individual needs – be it the level of difficulty or individual button remapping, which allows playing with a wide variety of controllers. A few more configuration options would only be great for the HUD elements.

The “Gaming Without Borders” team

If you fail in Halo Infinite, it’s more because you didn’t approach a mission optimally and not because of technical hurdles. With a little practice, the job will go better the next time – that’s how it should be.” Would you like more people to be able to experience the fun of video games? Or are you curious about how accessible new games are? Then visit Gaming without Borders on their website or follow the game test series about accessibility in gaming with congstar! Further information on congstar’s gaming activities is available at www.congstar.de/gaming.

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