Spoiler ahead-read at own peril!
A little bit of background here, and this is not to brag; but I was extremely fortunate to be able to get a Friday pass to PAX West 2019 right here in the Seattle area. Tickets are often extremely hard to come by, so this is the first time I’ve been back in no less than three years. As it happens, Square Enix was trotting out its latest remastered demos, including Trials of Mana. This, of course, is not due till February 2020. You can say what you want about it, but hold that thought a moment while I break it down for you. This demo encompasses a small part of Duran’s scenario as leader, with Charlotte and Riesz joining in later. Compared to the few bits that I’ve seen of the original, I’d say this is mostly true to form if you were to compare Team 2 with Team 1 Duran has to find a way out of a besieged Jadd City, but the beastmen in control guard the most obvious exits. A bartender tells him to wait until nightfall, when they transform and get competitive. Easy enough: get from point A to point B to point C and collect a few treasures along the way. Riesz searches for—Hawkeye, is it?—and gets stuck there. So, Duran takes his siesta and heads out to the Rabite Forest toward Cascade Cave. As soon as the party enters, it’s a face-off with the Original Giant Enemy Crab Thing (the name escaped me in the heat of battle).
Spoiler ends here
Battles are pretty much as you expect from the series, except now you have different buttons for strong and weak attacks. You can’t leave a particular zone until all the enemies in that zone are clear; and you collect crystal power for special attacks as you land blows. But to execute special attacks requires an awkward button combination that is difficult for me as someone without the full use of his left hand; because of cerebral palsy, I have very little control over it. That very same condition also means I have to use a wheelchair to get around. There, I’ve said it. For better or worse, the admin of this wiki is a gimp.
There was an unbelievable queue to get to play the game. So I moved on to FFVIII Remastered before taking lunch. After a bit more browsing to see what was new and exciting — and there’s a lot — I came back mid afternoon and got a terminal. Needless to say, I was quite impressed. The young lady helping manage the booth was surprisingly very helpful. I wish I could find a woman after my own heart, but that’s a story for another day.
Anyhow, I decided to share my experience on Twitter, but technical limitations separated what to them is a very long thread. If you folks don’t mind, I’ll publish it here:
This one for @SquareEnixUSA, @ManaGame, @FinalFantasy and any others interested. May take a few tweets. And lest I forget, big thanks to Matisse for her patience and help in the booth today [at] #PAXWest . You, girl, deserve an Awesome pin from @DissidiaFFOO.
As a gamer with a #disability, I was honored to have experienced both #FinalFantasyVIIIRemastered and #TrialsofMana firsthand, though with queues as long as they were, I had to make two passes at the booth. Both games look spectacular for what they are. One is exactly as I remember it 20 years ago. The other looks as if it could be fantastic barring somebody messing w/ the script and gameplay. But both need options for limited dexterity such as I have with #CerebralPalsy. I have full use of my right hand, not of my left. This makes working with directional pads and left triggers exceptionally difficult. Though Microsoft has the world‘s first and only accessible controller, I find the PlayStation controller most comfortable. Been a #playstation fan since 1998. Experience is 2nd to none. [But] neither @PlayStation nor @NintendoAmerica have designed an experience that I can fully enjoy with my limitations taken into account, but I still enjoy games with solid play controls and decent stories. This is why I play games like #StarOceanAnamnesis, @FFRK_Official,and @FFBE_EN as well. They are simply easier to get to with simplified control systems. Most games, your newest included, have a long way to go to achieve such simplicity.
With this in mind, I believe the gaming industry has done little to proper[l]y address an underserved population of disabled gamers. Today alone, I’ve met no less than five. Each was having his or her own challenges, barriers to enjoying the games they know & love. With an estimated 1/4 of the American population experiencing some form of disability, is it not time that all industry leaders did more to help? Square Enix is a pioneer in story-driven gaming of all genres, and so has an opportunity to reach this specific population as so few have dared to do. Will you accept the challenge before you? #makegamesaccessible