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Mass Effect (Series) Accessibility Report

We've documented 23 accessibility features for Mass Effect in the Difficulty, Getting Started, Reading, Navigation, Controls, Visual and Audio areas to aid enjoyment of the game for different players. 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.

Mass Effect is a sci-fi adventure where you role-play a soldier named Commander Shepard, who must save the galaxy from a race of powerful mechanical beings. The series started in 2007 and has fourth substantial instalments that take you from that first mission to the following fall out and the ensuing war.

NotesAccessibility Notes

Mass Effect Legendary Edition (a remaster of all 3 main games, released 2021) has more accessibility features and we have used that version of the game to highlight here.

There are five difficulty levels to pick from in each game in the Legendary Edition: Casual, Normal, Veteran, Hardcore and Insanity for Mass Effect 1&2, while Mass Effect 3 has Narrative, Casual, Normal, Hardcore and Insanity. Each difficulty ramps up the difficulty of the combat sections, with enemies getting more health, more defence and stronger attacks. While most trophies can be obtained on any difficulty, there is one which requires you to be in the hardest difficulty.

When you start, you are prompted as to whether you want subtitles, what difficulty you want to play on and whether you want autosave. To adjust the size of the subtitles, which are high contrast, and further customise your experience, you need to wait and select the options in the menu.

While all of the in-game dialogue is voice-acted, there is an opening paragraph of context for the story in large and clear white text on a black background that is not. Thanks to the subtitles, the game is more accessible to deaf and hard of hearing players.

The crosshair can blend in to the background, which can occasionally make it hard to see, and can be especially difficult for colourblind people. Additionally, there are some sections in the Hacking mini-games where to need to observe colour-based patterns.

DetailsGame Details

Content Rating: PEGI 18

Release Date: 20/11/2007

Price: 65% off

Platforms: PC, PS3, PS4, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One and iOS

Genres: Action, Adventure, Narrative, Open World, Role-Playing and Shooting

Accessibility: 23 features

Developer: Bioware (@Bioware)

Players: This is a single player game

Costs: Purchase cost. In-game purchases

 

DifficultyDifficulty

We've documented 2 accessibility features for Difficulty in Mass Effect which deal with how you can adjust the challenge of play, and assistance the game offers when you fail or get stuck.

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 Mass Effect, but it doesn't offer the Difficulty accessibility features you require, this similar game extends the Difficulty accessibility:

Getting StartedGetting Started

We've documented 3 accessibility features for Getting Started in Mass Effect 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.

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.

Assistance For Progressing

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

Save Progress Anytime: The game automatically saves progress or you can save any time. This doesn’t mean you never lose progress, but it does mean you can stop whenever you want (without having to get to a save point) without losing progress.

 

Similar Games With More Accessibility Features for Getting Started

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

ReadingReading

We've documented 6 accessibility features for Reading in Mass Effect 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 and how complex the language is. This doesn't include subtitles as required reading if they are fully voiced.

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.

Text Visibility

Large Clear Text: Text is large and clear or can be adjusted to be. The general text used throughout the game in menus, instructions and other information (excluding subtitles that are assessed separately) is at least 1/20 (46 pixels on 1080 screen) the height of the screen.

High Contrast Text: Text colour contrasts to the background or can be adjusted to be. The text in menus, instructions and other information is presented in high contrast with a solid background.

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. 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

Some Dialogue is Voice Acted: Some of the game dialogue and narrative is voice acted. This reduces the pressure on reading all the dialogue text, although not everything is provided audibly.

 

Similar Games With More Accessibility Features for Reading

If you want to play Mass Effect, 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 Mass Effect 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.

Head-Up Display

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

Menus Don't Wrap: Menus don't wrap and stop the cursor at the bottom of the list if you press down. Or menus do wrap but make it clear that you are back at the top of the list with sound or narration.

 

Similar Games With More Accessibility Features for Navigation

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

ControlsControls

We've documented 6 accessibility features for Controls in Mass Effect 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

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

Mouse And Keyboard

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

Remap Controls

Can customise the controls for the game as follows:

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

Remap Mouse and Keyboard: Can remap mouse and keyboard key bindings, on systems that support these controls.

Remap Extra Mouse Buttons: Can remap additional buttons on mice that provide more than the two standard buttons, on systems that support these controls.

Controller Vibration

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.

 

Similar Games With More Accessibility Features for Controls

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

VisualVisual

We've documented 1 accessibility feature for Visual in Mass Effect which deals with how you can adjust the visuals to suit your needs, and offer additional information if you can't hear the game.

Motion Sickness Friendly

Motion Sickness Friendly: Option to reduce motion sickness in 3D games. This includes the ability to disable motion blur, depth of field and field-of-vision effects. It also includes games that don't have these movement elements in the first place.

 

Similar Games With More Accessibility Features for Visual

If you want to play Mass Effect, 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 Mass Effect 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 Mass Effect, 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:

Nintendo Wii U
The Wii U has some limited settings, such as disabling rumble and selecting mono audio.
 
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).
 
Xbox One
Xbox One has a system features, the excellent co-pilot share controls mode and adaptive controller support for all games.
 
iOS
iOS has a very extensive suite of accessibility settings including ways to navigate with voice and comprehensive screen reading, though most of the features don't work with games.
 
Read more about system accessibility settings.

VSC LogoAccessibility Report supported by VSC Rating Board, PlayabilityInitiative and accessibility contributors @GeekDadGamer 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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