Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden – Accessibility Test

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We had the opportunity to test the action-adventure game “Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden” from Don’t Nod with the whole team, but you can also watch it all live on our Twitch channel with Amelitha!

PublisherFocus Home Entertainment
DeveloperDon’t Nod
Release dateFebruary 13, 2024
Rating16 years and over

“Banishers” presents a whole new world. Don’t Nod has often dealt with societal topics in our times, with “Life is Strange” or “Tell me Why.” This time, we’re transported to the 17th century in what would later become the United States.

You’ll play the role of a Banisher and her lover, who’s also her apprentice. They’re ghost hunters who investigate the causes of manifestations before banishing the ghost or the haunted person’s soul if it’s their fault. An important point is that Antea, the Banisher, is black. This was a problematic status to bear in those days, and it’s cleverly handled in this game.

However, Antea loses her life during an investigation. Her lover, Red, sets out to find her ghost, and he’s quickly faced with a dilemma: Should she be put to rest for good or nurtured until she can be brought back to life through a complex ritual? Love, death, and a glimpse of a society with totally different values are just some of the subjects that will be addressed in this game.

This is basically an adventure/action game. In other words, you’ll need to master both heroes’ abilities and upgrade them and their equipment. You’ll work in a limited environment, with small areas connected by corridors, a bit like in God of War. It’s beautiful, and there’s nonetheless room for a bit of exploration, but it’s still fairly structured.

There are also alternating game phases, with fights against a variety of enemies, as well as bosses. You’ll need to explore a bit to find your way out of each zone, and there are puzzles and investigations to keep the story moving.

Even if we haven’t yet reached the level of complexity of a totally open world, we’re sure of one thing: These games can often pose quite a challenge. But is it accessible? We’ll get to that, and there’s a lot to mention!

The French live test video with Amelitha is below, but we’ll discuss it in more detail below, so choose your favorite viewing format.

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What if I have a physical disability?



Let’s start by getting a handle on “Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden.” More concretely, since complete key remapping is possible, you’ll be able to reorganize your actions as you want. We like that a lot.

However, there are still a few drawbacks! First, you’ll first have to find key remapping under settings, since it’s poorly indicated. The controls menu displays all keys in use. There are two basic configurations: default and alternate. If you click on one of these keys, you can change it to another. This will create a new “custom” profile, but since there’s nothing to draw attention to its location, you can easily miss it. Amelitha has experienced this.

Also note that if you reassign a key, you’ll have to make sure that it hasn’t removed another key somewhere else. Missing keys and key conflicts aren’t highlighted.

Another problem is that the game will ask you for single clicks, long holds (2 seconds) or multiple clicks, and they’re not editable under settings. And there will be a lot of long holds! You have to hold down a button for several seconds each time you aim, banish, which is a special attack, or use charged attacks. Even single clicks are frequent if only to collect resources that are frequent in-game, and yet there isn’t any automatic pickup available. Fortunately, while you might expect it to be tiring, the game alternates well between combat, exploration, and puzzle phases. As confirmed by BibiMaster, it’s possible to rest between more active phases.

If a boss fight starts to get tiring, it’s possible to use photo mode to pause and get your strength back! Another interesting point is that you can disable controller vibrations as well as haptic feedback from PS5 controllers, which can also be a source of muscle fatigue.

Regarding joysticks, be aware that they can be adjusted quite finely with 100 degrees of variation. It’s still appreciable without reaching extreme values. It’s also possible to activate and adjust “aim friction” to automatically draw the joystick towards interactive elements in case of sudden movements.

This is all the more important since sometimes the joystick is mandatory for menu selection tasks. If the pointer is on a menu item, then it’s possible to navigate within the menu using directional keys. On the other hand, if the pointer is further away, the joystick has to be used to bring it back to a menu item.

In terms of gameplay, you can reduce joystick use by activating auto-relock, which is the option to automatically switch to the next enemy. Therefore, you don’t need to aim twice to fight multiple enemies. You can also use “sprint” to move forward without using the joystick. When you press the “Sprint” key, the character runs for a few meters. It’ll mean that you have to press this key constantly to move forward, but if you want to avoid using the joystick as much as possible, this is a solution.

Banishers offers you combat phases against both “basic” enemies and bosses. For the former, you don’t need many keys. On PS5, “R1” is used for light and charged attacks, and the R2 trigger for heavy attacks. L1 is used to parry, while “Circle,” used to dodge, and “X,” to banish, are used less. There are combos for Antea’s special attacks.

You can choose your character’s fighting style, light or heavy, so you’ll mostly need just one button. In addition, difficulty levels have a real impact. In easy mode, you can one-shot a basic enemy, whereas it takes three or four shots in normal mode. Feel free to level down if boss fights are too hard.

So, this leaves us with somewhat mixed feelings regarding physical accessibility. Amelitha, BibiMaster, and the team confirm that “Banishers” is playable, but some things are missing in terms of comfort. However, it’s a game that takes time and has calmer discovery phases. Amelitha liked that the game isn’t constantly pressuring you to move forward.

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What if I’m visually impaired?



The button display in menus is a little small, so confusion is definitely possible. For example, the left arrow key appears to point to the right when seen by itself. So, you can’t see the arrow displayed in the center if it’s too small, as is the case in the controls menu. It bothered us, like, “Well, I’m pressing to the right, but why isn’t the map opening?!”

Zooming in on the "map menu" button, you can see the left directional button, but it looks like a right arrow in shape. This is confusing.

Apart from that, the menus have a black background with white text, which makes them easy to read. However, the size cannot be changed.

Regarding the text, we liked that in-game subtitles are activated by default with a dark background that can be accentuated even more under settings.

Regarding the visual aspect of the game, the particularly limited “Video” menu left us worried, and with good reason. We couldn’t find any way to adjust the colors, neither on the interface nor in-game. In particular, there isn’t any color-blindness filter. However, “Banishers” uses standard colors such as red for health bars, for example. Apart from the gamma setting, it’s a bit sad.

Fortunately, Antea’s character, who inhabits the spirit world, is displayed in orangish tones with more visual indicators. So that may be more useful, but she can only be active for a while.

If you have motion sensitivity, there’s very little you can do apart from disabling kinetic blur. “Banishers” isn’t a game with frequent changes of gradient or altitude, but all the same, a few adjustments would have been appreciated.

Once in-game, you quickly realize that the game is gloomy, with a dark and subdued atmosphere. This can make interface elements easier to see since interactions are displayed on-screen in white, with a large dot from a distance, and the action button you need to use is shown next to it.

Since you’ll often encounter enemies, you have to be able to spot them. Regarding this point, opponents’ health bars are displayed as soon as you’re within range, but it’s often too late to avoid being spotted by them, and by then, you’ll have to fight. Fortunately, enemies are essentially spirits and distinguishable from afar by their color, which contrasts with the background.

Once in combat, there’s an enemy tracking system available that displays two highly contrasting concentric circles with an arrow in the direction of each enemy. White indicates nearby enemies, yellow for those heading towards a body to reincarnate, green for ranged attackers, and red for active attackers. All of this takes place in a dark world, enhanced by music that changes when you enter and leave combat. So, you can’t miss when a fight starts.

Shooting is another story. The crosshair is round with a central white dot. The point turns red when you pass over a shootable object, for example an enemy or any object you can shoot at. The central point is very small, and its color or shape can’t be changed, so aiming at the right spot may be a problem, especially since a good aim will be necessary to unlock items. Some are optional, such as resources hidden up high, but it could also be to unlock a drawbridge secured by a pulley.

Soul grabbers don’t make it any easier. They’re white objects that you have to collect and that are well-hidden among the decor, but at least they have the advantage of being accompanied by a particular sound when you’re close.

This is an opportunity to assess audio support. As we mentioned, music is a good point of reference for entering combat, but that’s about it. For example, there isn’t any sound when you approach an interactive element. There’s a sound when you pick it up, but not before.

There isn’t any collision sound, either. You can hear your character running, and it simply stops if it comes to a wall. That would be okay, but the character continues running and sliding along the wall if it happens to hit it at an angle. This information is, therefore, useless for mapping an area according to sound. In other words, it won’t be accessible for visually impaired players.

“Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden” offers little support for visual impairment. Finally, the most effective feature is the game’s generally dark atmosphere, which provides a more vivid and colorful contrast for interface elements. The enemy combat tracking system is excellent, however.


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What if I have hearing loss?

8 / 10


When considering accessibility, the first thing you look at in an adventure game is its subtitles. You can expect a lot of conversation and cutscenes, so subtitle quality is essential for a player with hearing loss.

The subtitles in “Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden” are enabled by default over a dark background for contrast. They display the speaker’s name with a different color for each character. There are three sizes to choose from, and the background can be darkened to improve readability. However, there’s a lack of information about intonations and speakers’ emotions.

Audio sources can be individually adjusted to make certain gameplay sounds or voices stand out. However, there isn’t a channel setting or “mono” mode; there’s only a “night” mode that decreases the dynamic range of sounds.

As we saw before, the visual enemy tracking system is very effective with its colored circles, even for enemies who aren’t in sight. The ability to switch to the nearest enemy when your target dies means that you don’t miss any. A quick-turn button completes these options for a full view of the battlefield.

We haven’t identified any gameplay based only on sound, so you shouldn’t have a hard time playing. Collecting soul grabbers will be a little more difficult, however, as there isn’t any sound associated with them. Stay on the lookout and search everywhere!


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What if I have a cognitive disability?

8 / 10

From a cognitive point of view, we’ll focus on the complexity with which “Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden” faces you. I’d like to point out a positive element that’s rarely seen: All accessibility options are activated by default, meaning that those who wish to play without have to deactivate them.

It’s so much better that way! People who have difficulty understanding many complex menus, which are often only text, tend not to venture into them at all. So, even if the best accessibility options are available, they still miss out. In “Banishers,” there isn’t any need to venture into the menus; the accessibility features are already activated!

When it comes to understanding the game, it has shortcomings related to this game type. Several mechanics are explained to you once you are in-game and confronted with them. In “Banishers,” this is the only time they’re explained! There isn’t any menu-based tutorial to remind you of the game’s mechanics.

However, under the “Evolution” menu, active combat skills are presented with a video showing their effect. This isn’t the case for passive skills or bonuses, and since there’s no screen reader, it’s all just writing. Too bad. As for the inventory and equipment upgrades, they use a lot of images to display the objects used. It helps to understand.

Before jumping in, let’s make it clear that this is a game set in a dark world populated by particularly aggressive ghosts. So, if you’re sensitive or stressed, beware of anxious and startling situations. Joel ended up laughing, but he jump-scared during every session! Managing the quantity of sounds and information on-screen allows you to adapt them to your tolerance level.

It should also be noted that the game will frequently confront you with moral choices, as is often the case in Don’t Nod games. These are notions of right and wrong and of the consequences of one’s actions, which some people don’t always master. This is especially the case when judging hauntings. Who will be punished, the ghost? Or the haunted man or woman? There’s very little guidance on this point. And what will this mean for Antea? The game’s a little clearer on this point since a description indicates what will result from the option you’ve chosen. This is displayed in writing, however.

As for the game itself, you’ll often be challenged with knowing which way to go. There’s a compass at the top of the screen to help you find your way around, but it isn’t as obvious as a map. Your active quest is clearly identified by a yellow diamond.

Unlike many games of this style, the diamond doesn’t indicate the final goal at the other end of the map in a straight line, but only the next step to reach a few meters away. When you get there, the quest target updates to the next step and so on. So, once you understand that you should ALWAYS keep the diamond in the middle of the compass, orientation in the game is very easy, and it’s activated by default, not an option, so that’s perfect.

Puzzles can be complex, such as having to align magic lines with Antea to form a symbol allowing her to teleport. If you don’t handle 3D well, these can be difficult yet compulsory passages. A map available in the menu should help you avoid getting lost during more exploration-like phases.

“Banishers” nevertheless has a good level of support for players with cognitive disabilities.


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    What We Think

Banishers is a very good narrative game, and everyone on the team, both on-site and online, loved its world, story, and memorable characters. Some have even played it through several times! However, as you know, we’re not grading games based on their esthetic and entertainment values.

We remain half-hearted about the game’s accessibility because it’s playable on several points, but in general, it’s lacking in player comfort.

There are beautiful things we would like to see everywhere, such as step-by-step navigation or a good enemy tracking system, and above all, finally, a systematic activation of accessibility options! However, there’s also a lot missing in the way that motor and visual accessibility is handled.

The game still receives an acknowledgment for the good quality of its cognitive support, which is often a weak point for a lot of games.

Review Scores

  • motrice - 7
  • visuelle - 6
  • auditive - 8
  • cognitive - 8

We'd love to hear what you think! What difficulties have you encountered with this or other games?