Heaven’s Vault Review

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Posted: 8 months ago, last updated 4 weeks ago.

Author: Andy Robertson.

OverviewOverview

In Heaven’s Vault you play an archaeologist translating an ancient alien language whose decrypting weaves through an unfolding drama. While doing real linguistic work you interact with companions and locals. Your choices can open or close vast swathes of investigative opportunities. In turn, this directs the branching narrative in different ways. Intelligent guesswork is required to translate a large number of inscriptions, while deciphering the motivations of those around you. An ingenious timeline documents every move, and a brief synopsis each time you start playing keeps things accessible even to infrequent players.

It’s a unique and meticulous mystery-solving experience, worth playing not only for a branching story and interactive puzzles, but in how much it trusts and empowers the player to follow (unless they get side-tracked) the complex and mature narrative.

DetailsDetails

Rating: PEGI 7+, ESRB TEEN

Release Date: 16/04/2019

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC and PlayStation 4.

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Puzzle.

 

CommitmentCommitment

Duration: This game will take between 18 hours and 22 hours to complete. The time to finish the game varies greatly because of its diverging nature but is around 18 hours. To linger and see everything, or replay to experience different avenues or missed characters, will take considerably longer.

You can access a Story+ mode after you have finished the game once. This enables all Ancient language translated to be carried over to the new game which can lead to new parts of the story and lore being discovered.
 
Players: This is a single player game.

CostsCosts

Does not offer in-game purchases, 'loot boxes' or 'battle/season passes'.

Age RatingsAge Ratings

This game has received a PEGI 7 because it features contains violence against humans that is not shown but is implied. The examiners report expands this rating with the following: This game contains a scene in which two humans fight using wooden weapons. This scene is not that animated and the violence is not clearly shown, but it is implied that at one point, one of these characters is hurt by the other.

This game has been rated ESRB TEEN.

AccessibilityAccessibility

Accessibility for this game is as follows:

Difficulty

How you can adjust the challenge of play, and assistance the game offers when you fail or get stuck.

Cognitive Pressure

Reaction-time Not Critical: Individual game actions don’t need quick reactions.

Low Pressure: Game tasks aren’t time-limited or with a high emphasis on performance. Or there is a low pressure play-mode available.

Save Anytime: The game automatically saves progress or you can save any time, and not lose progress.

Assistance

Assistance When Stuck: The game notices if you get stuck and provides assistance, such as skipping levels, hints or tutorials.

Assistance With Controls: You can get the game to assist aiming, steering, reloading, jumping, running etc.

Assistance With Direction: Indication of where to go next with arrows, cookie trail and the like.

Reading

How much reading or listening comprehension is required, and how accessible this is.

Extensive Complex Reading: Extensive reading required.

Text Visibility

Large Clear Text: Text is large and clear, or can be adjusted to be.

High Text Contrast: Text colour contrasts to background.

Subtitles

Large Clear Subtitles: Subtitles are large and clear, or can be adjusted to be.

Any spoken content has subtitles: All spoken content has subtitles, or there is no speech in the game.

Speaker Indicator: Captions or icons and speech bubbles indicate who is speaking.

Some Dialogue is Voiced: Some of the game dialogue and narrative is voice acted.

Controls

How you control the game, different options for alternative inputs and whether you can remap these settings to suit your needs.

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

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

Motion Controls Not Required: You don’t need motion controls to play the game.

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

Adjust Mouse/Stick Sensitivity: Adjust how sensitive mouse/stick controls are.

Image

How you can adjust the visuals to suit your needs, and offer additional information if you can't hear the game.

Clear Interface: The game navigation, maps and information are clear to read, large or adjustable.

Audio

How you can adjust the audio of the game and whether audio cues compensate for aspects of the game that are hard to see.

Balance Audio Levels: Set music and game sound effects separately.

System Settings

Nintendo Switch has some built-in features, including a lockable zoom, that can be used on all games. 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 has a range of accessibility settings. Some are system only, some work in games (invert colours and button mapping)... read more about system accessibility settings.

Supported by PlayabilityInitiative and accessibility contributors: @joethephish


 




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