Dead Cells gets a huge free accessibility upgrade

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Dead Cells is a great game. Not only does it look great but the action is awesome. However, it is rather difficult and for some nearly impossible so the developers have put out a huge free upgrade to help more people play it.

A rather admirable update really, as accessibility should never be looked down upon and during their testing the developer said they received "pretty much zero negative feedback on the general options that we're introducing". However their new Assist Mode that gives multiple lives, auto-hitting and adjustable trap damage did receive community "pushback". Addressing that in an update they made it clear the whole point is to "let people to enjoy the game who would otherwise be excluded from doing so" and it's entirely optional.

Highlights include:

  • Loads of new options to improve accessibility, such as adjustable font type & size, input customisation and individual adjustment of sound effect volumes
  • Assist Mode including customisation of enemy health/damage, trap speed/damage and parry window. Plus options for multiple lives, auto-hit with primary weapon & full map reveal
  • Big reduction in cell cost of early-game weapons
  • 7 weapon reworks
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Can't wait to dive back in with all this, sounds amazing.

You can pick up Dead Cells from Humble StoreGOG and Steam.

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21 comments
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damarrin 24 Jun
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I’m all for opening up to new audiences and it’s awesome people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to play get to enjoy stuff.

Do achievements/trophies pop when using such assists? If they do, that makes any, ahem, achievement meaningless. Not that they have any meaning in the first place, ofc.
llamajacker 24 Jun
Quoting: damarrinIf they do, that makes any, ahem, achievement meaningless. Not that they have any meaning in the first place, ofc.
This wouldn't change anything, as people who don't want to get achievements the intended way can just use things like the "Steam Achievement Manager"

I personally think using assist mode shouldn't disable achievements, as most people who would use assist mode still had to earn that achievement, even if it was "easier" to the average gamer.

If people are worried about their bragging rights being watered down - they were already watered down by tools like the above.
damarrin 24 Jun
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I was talking more about console than PC, but fair enough.
Honestly, I really don't understand the "But what about muh achievements!" crowd. Seriously, who cares?
TheSHEEEP 24 Jun
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No, difficulty is not an accessibility option.
An accessibility option is something that enables people to play a game who would otherwise not be able to due to disabilities. Dyslexia, color blindness, etc. Actual disabilities.
And those should be in way more games than they are - although I do understand there's a definite increase in development cost providing them and not all devs can afford that for a small target audience.
Those options also do not provide tangible benefits to anyone who doesn't need them.

But there's no such thing as a "is bad at video games" disability.
That's a mere question of what one is willing to invest in order to improve. People who aren't willing to invest anything to improve shouldn't be catered to and rewarded for their laziness.


One misunderstanding or lack of knowledge I see often in this context is that some players and devs do not understand why an option such as that would affect someone who is not using it.
"You don't have to use it, so it doesn't affect you! Hurrrr!"
Let me explain it for those in the back rows:

Imagine achievements as an exclusive club.
Everyone in that club is assured of their exclusive status and that of everyone else in the club.
It's a good feeling, something to strive for.
But if the flood gates are opened and everyone's allowed in, suddenly that exclusiveness is no longer there and that club feels mighty crowded now.
You can think people who feel like that are dicks or whatever, but what you can't argue is that they are not affected. They factually are.

You can call that elitism if you want, and I'd agree.
But I also don't believe that elitism (if defined by skill, talent and perseverance and not just inheritance or status) is a bad thing at all, quite on the contrary.

Quoting: llamajackerIf people are worried about their bragging rights being watered down - they were already watered down by tools like the above.
That's like saying you should never strive to get good at anything because shortcuts exist and someone will use them, which would then invalidate or lower your own accomplishments.
Other people's inadequacies should never serve as an excuse for your own.

All of that said, though, the devs here do explain in-game that this new mode is not the way that the game should be played unless you really feel like you do need it. And they try to motivate players to actually increase the difficulty.
I don't agree with including modes like that, but among implementations of story-like modes that I can't stand, this is really the least devaluing option possible. And they did that years after the game first came out - at this point, the exclusive club has been open for years and whoever was in it more than likely had their share by now.


Last edited by TheSHEEEP on 24 June 2022 at 5:38 pm UTC
M@GOid 24 Jun
I was one of the ones that nagged them for more difficulty options. Good for them to listen and implemented what people want.

Some people may like extreme difficulty in the games they play, but that is not the majority, by a large margin. Most people play jut for fun, is not a life goal for them to finish a extremely-hard-to-beat game.

In my youth I had finished a couple games people often include in the list of "most difficult games ever", like the NES Battletoads. But the older I get, the less patience I have to play games with sadistic levels of difficulty. There is just too many games out there, for me to spend money on something that don't bring you joy.

So I say put some difficulty level called "only for super-master-ninja" for the ones who need it to live, and let the rest of us to enjoy the game for what it is.
Pengling 25 Jun
Quoting: TheSHEEEPI don't agree with including modes like that, but among implementations of story-like modes that I can't stand, this is really the least devaluing option possible. And they did that years after the game first came out - at this point, the exclusive club has been open for years and whoever was in it more than likely had their share by now.
Stuff like this is handy if you share games with younger relatives, though. Obviously that specific use-case doesn't apply to this specific game since it's rated 16, but a good range of difficulty options is useful in other games that are known for high difficulty but can have broader appeal. I seem to recall hearing that Capcom did something like that for one of their titles, I think it was one of the Mega Man ones, and it helped there since they'd put those games on ice for so long that they had to cultivate a new audience who didn't have decades of gaming experience, as well as bring back their old crowd.

That said, I fully get where you're coming from with regard to earning skill by investing time/talent/patience/etc. into it, as I used to play some stuff competitively, and would often find myself rolling my eyes at excuses and/or poor conduct from those who felt that spending extra money (be that on DLC, peripherals, or whatever) entitled them to success even if they didn't put forth any other effort. But for me I only apply that thinking to competitive events - I'd rather chill with a single-player experience however I feel like at any given time, and I'm happy to see others do the same. (Disclaimer: I'm one of those folks who are completely nonplussed by those "achievement" texts, though. )

Quoting: M@GOidIn my youth I had finished a couple games people often include in the list of "most difficult games ever", like the NES Battletoads. But the older I get, the less patience I have to play games with sadistic levels of difficulty. There is just too many games out there, for me to spend money on something that don't bring you joy.
I'm in this boat, too, I must admit - I'm not always in the mood, or don't always have the time, for that sort of time-investment nowadays, so I appreciate having a range of options for when I don't, or for the above use-case where the younger crowd takes an interest. Video games are a hobby descended from toys, after all.

Games being time-respectful wasn't usually a major consideration in my youth, but it will sometimes influence the priority that I put on a game purchase now. The ones that I've revisited the most always had this property, too.
Termy 25 Jun
Quoting: TheSHEEEPThat's like saying you should never strive to get good at anything because shortcuts exist and someone will use them, which would then invalidate or lower your own accomplishments.
Other people's inadequacies should never serve as an excuse for your own.
Other people's "admiration" (read: bragging rights) should also not be you sole motivation to invest time into getting better. If achievements are the only thing that motivates you to dig into a difficult game, you really should work on your self-sufficiency.
Just because cheat codes existed as long as i can remember (and i had access to them in the magazines back then), i never felt the need to take that shortcut if i was determined to beat the game either...

I think it's not fair to limit the validity of the use of accessibility options to "actual" disabilities. There are people out there that just don't have the reaction time or motor skills to master such a gamne - and there is nothing they can do about it, no matter how hard they train. Why exclude those people just because you tend to take shortcuts, just because they exist?
TheSHEEEP 25 Jun
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Quoting: TermyOther people's "admiration" (read: bragging rights) should also not be you sole motivation to invest time into getting better. If achievements are the only thing that motivates you to dig into a difficult game, you really should work on your self-sufficiency.
Who are you to say what should or shouldn't motivate people?
Motivation is a very hard thing to come by, so honestly, any source of it is absolutely valid to me.

Quoting: TermyThere are people out there that just don't have the reaction time or motor skills to master such a gamne - and there is nothing they can do about it, no matter how hard they train.
That is quite simply not true.
Everyone (unless an actual disability prevents them*) is capable of learning any skill at least to a level of "competent". Obviously, people have varying amounts of talent, but talent never prevents you from improving yourself in a skill - it "only" makes the process longer or faster.

I can fully understand that someone doesn't want to invest the time necessary to "git gud" in a game. I'm the same way about fighting games ala Street Fighter, hence I stopped playing them.
But then I just play one of the thousands of other games more suitable to me - I don't go about demanding Street Fighter be changed to suit my own laziness. I absolutely despise that kind of handout mentality, as it breeds weak minds. Nor would I want to impact the club of people who like SF the way that it is.

* And even then there are people who overcome their disabilities, e.g. the guy who beat Elden Ring (and others) while being only able to move his head and mouth, using a "mouth controller".
The guy could have gone whining on social media like so many others. Instead he overcame. Truly inspiring!

Quoting: TermyWhy exclude those people just because you tend to take shortcuts, just because they exist?
This makes zero sense to me. Not sure I get what you are talking about here.


Last edited by TheSHEEEP on 25 June 2022 at 8:32 am UTC
Termy 25 Jun
Quoting: TheSHEEEPThis makes zero sense to me. Not sure I get what you are talking about here.

You argue that having shortcuts in the game devalues your achievements. That is only true though if you somehow are compulsively forced to go the easy route.
Just because this options exist doesn't mean you have to or even SHOULD take them if you don't have some kind of impairment. So nothing is taken away from you.
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