By Joe and Bill
The Last of Us Part II (PEGI 18) is a third-person action-adventure game set in a post-apocalyptic world following a fungal infection outbreak. A sequel to 2013’s The Last of Us, you ‘experience the devastating physical and emotional consequences of Ellie’s vengeance as you embark on a relentless pursuit of those who’ve wronged her.’ Gameplay includes a mixture of stealth and face-to-face combat against both humans and ‘infected’ using both melee weapons and ranged weapons.
The game includes a wide range of accessibility features and options for Motor, Visual and Hearing accessibility which can be turned on at any point during the game, allowing players to experiment to find the right combination for them.
In this post, we are going to look at the options related to motor accessibility such as those that affect combat accessibility, challenge difficulty and navigation/traversal. We will also look at the controls used for play, along with the alternate options available for these.
Information on Motor, Vision and Hearing accessibility can be found on the Last of Us Part II’s Accessibility page on the PlayStation website and an overview of the game can also be found on The Last of Us Part II section of the site.
We have grouped the range of available settings into the following sections across different pages on this post (click the titles to jump straight to a section). These are based on the different menus found within the game and in each section we will go through the options found within these menus which affect motor accessibility:
Motor Accessibility Preset (Page 2) With the wide range of individual options available, using the preset can be an approachable way for some to improve their access to the game, or act as a starting point for trying out some of the settings before customising them further in the individual settings available across the different menus. In this section we will go through the features that are changed by activating this preset such as Lock-On Aim, Auto Pick Up and Infinite Breath. We will also go into these more detail in the following sections where the different options are also available from.
Controls Menu (Page 3) Stick options, such as sensitivity and inversion/mirroring, can be adjusted to aid looking and/or aiming in-game. The Customise Controls screen can also be accessed from this menu, which allows you to remap controls, but we will look at this in the Alternate Controls menu section.
Controls List (Page 4) Whilst many controls in the game can be remapped to different inputs, here we will take a look at the default controls and go through the different actions used in different gameplay contexts.
Alternate Controls Menu (Page 5 & 6) In this section we look at the options offered for alternative controls, such as remapping options, control schemes (such as One Hand Only schemes), options for some interactions (such as holds, taps and presses) and some controls assistance options (such as aim and camera assists).
Challenge and Difficulty Menus (Page 7) In addition to choosing the overall challenge level of the game, you are able to alter individual settings for elements, such as resources (e.g. quantity and durability), enemies (e.g. speed and aggressiveness) and allies (e.g. aggressiveness and kill count). We will also go through some of the relevant Gameplay Modifiers, added in the ‘Grounded Update’ here.
Combat Accessibility Menu (Page 8) From this menu Player, Enemy and Ally settings can be altered, as well as other combat-related assists, including a slow-motion mode and an enhanced dodge option.
Navigation and Traversal Menu (Page 9) In this menu you can access optional assists that affect how you control the game, such as automatic inputs in certain sprint, jump or vaulting scenarios, can reduce or remove the controls required to complete certain actions or puzzles.
*Update Nov 2020* We have created a video to help give an overview and illustrate the settings available:
The Last of Us Part II on PS4 is the sequel to Naughty Dog’s 2013 game, The Last of Us. It is a third-person game set in a post-apocalyptic world featuring a mixture of stealth, looting, crafting, some puzzles and violent combat against a range of human and infected enemies. You can tackle enemies using stealth Takedowns, shooting melee combat or throwable weapons. Gameplay is varied and the controls by default require the use of inputs across the entire controller. Whilst the gameplay and controls may by default be challenging to many players, the game includes a wide range of accessibility features and options for motor, visual and hearing accessibility, which can be turned on at any point during the game. This allows players to experiment to try and find the right combination for them to create a more customized challenge and control scheme. This video will focus on the settings which will be described as motor related within the game and which affect the controls and how they are used in-game, as well as settings that affect gameplay and the speed and accuracy required to play. With a wide range of individual options available using the preset can be an approachable way for some to improve their access to the game or act as a starting point for trying out some of the settings before customizing them further in the individual settings available across the different menus. This is offered on starting a new game and available throughout. Turning on the Motor Preset will enable a range of features such as Lock-On Aim, Auto Pickup and Infinite Breath. We will also go into these in a bit more detail in the following sections on the different settings within the menus, where individual options are also available to be switched On or Off. Although by default the game is challenging, it features a range of settings to help with this as part of the Difficulty options. Like choosing an Accessibility Preset, you choose a Difficulty on starting a new game but this can be altered during the story. The game frequently saves and there is the option to restart to your most recent checkpoint or to restart a current encounter at any time. There are also multiple preset Difficulty options and options to create a custom Difficulty. By changing several settings. For example, allies can help in certain combat situations but if you would like them to be more or less helpful, there is the option to change their behaviour. Another example would be to change Enemy Behaviour which can make them more or less accurate when shooting. Although the game does require the entire controller by default, there are ways to potentially help, such as controller remapping. It is possible to swap some functions around, so if reaching certain buttons is tricky it can be a good idea to swap the buttons that you need more immediately to the buttons that are easier to reach. There are several controller presets including a right and left hand only layout, or you can create your own. You can also swap the stick functions around. And change controller orientation. In addition to altering the joystick and controller orientation, you can also remap actions to face buttons, triggers, joystick clicks, the touchpad button, the DualShock 4’s controller touchpad swipes, and the Dualshock 4 controller’s motion sensor. It is worth noting that you cannot map button presses over to stick directions or vice versa. And you cannot remap the D-pad actions. Use of the D-pad is required for this game. As some actions are grouped together and are both activated using the same input (such as dodge and sprint) these cannot be remapped to two separate inputs. As such, they will both need to be remapped as a group to one other input. You’re also able to adjust some camera Settings, such as Camera Sensitivity, choosing a setting between 1 to 10 for both looking and aiming. Each axis can also be altered separately for these. There are several options for changing some of the in-game control mechanics. At points in the game the player needs to drive a boat and as standard this is set to using the left stick to accelerate and steer. Alternatively, you can change it over and use R2 to accelerate in L2 to brake or reverse. At some points you play a guitar in game. As standard, to strum you swipe up or down on the PS4 touchpad. You can swap this to left or right swipes to the touchpad if that’s more comfortable, or not use touchpad swipes at all by swapping it over to the Cross button. By default, the game features a range of situations where you might need to either hold a button down or tap a button multiple times quickly. In some situations, such as if you are grabbed by an enemy or to open a door, you need to tap the button multiple times. If this is difficult you can swap this to a button hold instead. The same option is available for repeated melee combos. In instances where a hold is needed, such as listening, sprinting aiming, holding your breath, crafting, swapping a weapon, or firing a bow, there are options to change this to a press, or a brief press, as an alternative. If using both joysticks at the same time is difficult, then there is the Camera Assist option which means that the camera will reorientate in the direction of your movement. This means that you don’t have to move the Right Stick to aim the camera whilst also moving in-game with the Left Stick. This can also be used if playing using a single stick with the Flipped Whilst Aiming option. This allows you to use left stick for movement with the camera following the player and then also using the left stick for aiming when holding down the aim down sights input. Aiming in-game requires accuracy and so the game also provides some Aim Assist options. Aim Assist will pull the aiming reticle towards the target when you use the aim action. And it also adds some resistance when pulling the aim reticle off of the enemy whilst aiming. You can adjust the strength of the assist from 1 to 10. There’s also the option to switch on Lock-On Aim which will automatically target the enemy when aiming and will aim at the body by default. In order to aim for the head you would need to use the analog stick to adjust where on the particular enemy that you want to shoot. You can adjust the strength of the Lock-On from 1 to 10. You can also apply a Lock-On setting for throwables using the Arc Throw Lock-On option. By default, when the weapon you are using runs out of ammo you need to manually swap to another weapon, but there is the option to switch on Auto Weapon Swap. This means if the weapon you are using runs out of ammo then you will automatically swap to another holstered weapon. If all of your holstered weapons run out of ammo, you will need to go into your backpack to select another weapon if you have one. By default to manually pick up items you need to press Triangle. There are often things to pick up, so if reaching this button regularly or tapping it multiple times is difficult, you can set Auto Pick Up On. You will now automatically pick up nearby ammo and ingredients. You will still need to manually pick up items such as notes and to open any cupboards or drawers before automatically picking up items within them. There are multiple settings that can help with making combat more accessible. There are points in the game where you can grab hold of human enemies and take them hostage. You can choose to stealth kill them or use them as human shields. By default, if you hold on to an enemy for long enough they will start to struggle and eventually fight their way free. To help with this, you can switch on the option Hostages Don’t Escape. They will continue to struggle which affects your aiming at other enemies, but they will not be able to break free. If their struggling makes aiming too difficult, then there is the option to turn off Weapon Swaying, which we will look at later on. At times, your allies will get grabbed by enemies and they need you to help fight the enemies off. It is possible to switch on the option Allies Don’t Get Grabbed, meaning that they can automatically escape when an enemy manages to get hold of them. There are certain situations in game where this option does not apply, however. By default, human enemies are intelligent and will try to flank you to attack from multiple sides. If this is making certain aspects of the game difficult, you can set it so that Enemies Don’t Flank, which means that they don’t work to intentionally get behind your position. Enemies by default can discover you by spotting you visually or by the sounds you make, meaning that you have to be careful to not get discovered or you will be forced into combat. If you find they are finding you too Easily, you can change the setting to Reduce Enemy Perception. Enemies can be very accurate when shooting at you, making combat situations Challenging. If you find they are hitting you too Often, you can reduce their shooting accuracy. Note that this does not affect how accurate they are when throwing items at you, such as explosives. You can dodge enemy melee attacks and by default, this would be by pressing L1 at the correct time. It is possible to select Enhanced Dodge, which means that timing is less important and your character will take wider steps away from enemies to help dodge more easily. Throughout the game you have to duck behind cover or in long grass and can go prone to crawl or lie still in short grass, but enemies will often find you if they approach. There is the option to use the Invisible Whilst Prone feature, meaning that you can lie still or crawl and enemies won’t be able to see you, even when you’re not in cover. You can set this to a Time Limit or Unlimited. If you aim at enemies you become visible but if you let go of aim before shooting they will lose sight of you again. This option effectively means that you can create your own cover anywhere without needing to find somewhere to hide. This can be particularly helpful if the speed of the game and having to move from cover to cover is proving to be difficult. Just be aware that if an enemy bumps into you, you will become visible again and they will attack. When aiming you will notice the reticle sways from side to side, which can make more precise shots challenging especially when under attack. It is possible to turn Weapon Sway Off. This setting may be especially helpful when holding enemies hostage, as when they struggle it does make it harder to aim. The Last of Us Part II gives you the option to slow the gameplay down by 50 percent. You can do this using the Slow Motion settings. The first option allows you to set it so that when aiming down sights, the game goes into Slow Motion. The second option allows you to have Slow Motion set to Toggle. So, when used, all gameplay elements slow down. Throughout the game there are situations where you need to press a button whilst pushing forwards on the left stick: To squeeze through small gaps, climb or vault ledges and obstacles, jump from a rope whilst using it to swing to hard to reach areas, or jump over large gaps. This can be difficult if using the Stick and reaching or pressing the button at the same time is difficult. Traversal Assistance makes some of these situations less difficult, by reducing the controls in each instance. Walking into an obstacle or ledge will make you automatically climb or vault it. Walking into a tight gap will make you automatically squeeze through it and you will also be able to jump from the rope to the area you are trying to access, by moving the stick and holding R1. This option also helps with jumping over obstacles whilst riding a horse as it reduces the need to press a button and move the stick at the same time. You can also press the Cross button by default to jump over large gaps, without the need to use the sprint button or the stick for a run up first. There are some specific situations in the game where you have to sprint and this option will also make you automatically Sprint when appropriate. It will only do this in these exact situations however, and for the majority of the game you will need to manually Sprint. When switched On, the Ledge Guard option will guard against falling off ledges by providing additional audio and vibration feedback. It would also prevent the character from falling from a height that would kill them. You would not be able to move the character off of the ledge if it’s at a height that could kill them. For ledges at a lower height, this setting means that warning vibrations through the controller and in-game sounds will alert you if you are going to walk off a ledge. If you continue to move in this direction you will fall or drop from the ledge, if it is from a height that will not kill them. By default, holding down R1 puts you into Listen Mode, where nearby enemies and allies are highlighted. Enhanced Listen Mode means that by holding down R1 and then tapping Circle, you will now scan for nearby items. You can also increase the range of the scan and for how long items and enemies will remain highlighted. This may make items easier to find and so could reduce the amount of controls needed for exploration to find them. When swimming underwater in-game, your character will eventually run out of breath. Infinite Breath gives you the ability to swim underwater indefinitely. At times you will reach a puzzle that needs to be solved to move on to the next area. If you are finding the puzzles difficult to solve or that the controls for that particular section are difficult, then there is the Skip Puzzle option. Once you’ve switched this option on, you can pause the game when in the puzzle and select skip puzzle from the menu. As part of Navigation Assistance you can also use an input (L3 by default) to face the direction of story progression. This can reduce the amount of control required as less exploring is needed to find the path you need to follow. The Last of Us Part II features a wide variety of options, many of which may help make the game more accessible. It is possible to have multiple options on at once, such as in this clip which shows Camera Assist options, Sticks Swapped When Aiming, Slow Motion and Auto Lock-On all switched on at the same time, and left trigger is also set to Toggle rather than Hold. We hope this video has been helpful. A post on the individual settings found within the different menus can be found on the gameaccess.info website. Information on this and the other areas of accessibility, such as visual and Hearing, can be found on the PlayStation website. If you have any questions about video game accessibility, then please contact SpecialEffect.
Click the page numbers below to navigate or use the contents section titles above to visit a particular section.