This week’s gaming usability roundup – Portal 2, Deus Ex, Driver San Francisco.

It’s amazing how many of the top current generation games have major usability issues. I’ve taken a look at some of the biggest releases out now, and have highlighted a few of the usability and user experience issues that came up!

cat portal

now that's just silly

Portal 2

  • Entering the evil mirror-universe is not made explicit to the player. Consider giving Chell a goatee for emphasis.
  • Asimov did not have a fourth law requiring all turrets to refer to the player as ‘Your Holiness’.
  • Inclusion of the companion cube as an inert but playable character in co-op leads to a poor player experience. Consider allowing cube to rock side-to-side.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution

Deus Ex Lemon Lime

I wanted orange, it gave me lemon-lime

  • Permanent sunglasses prevent the player from navigating dark areas of the game. License and implement Specsaver’s reactions lenses.
  • ‘X’ button is currently mapped to philosophise. This should be auto-activated throughout.
  • Tracer Tong is unlikely to be related to Pete Tong. Remove in-game references to his love of Garage and House music.

Driver: San Francisco

  • Soundtrack continually loops David Bowie’s Life on Mars. “Next Track” button just increases the volume. Replace with Ashes to Ashes.
  • Cars currently talk to the player in the voice of KITT from Knightrider. Appeal to a wider audience by adding the voices of Brum and Herbie.
  • Shifting near the Ghostbusters can cause permanent player death. Replace with a minigame based around Dan Aykroyd trying to convince Bill Murray to be in a 3rd film.

Barbie’s Dream Adventure

  • Ability to put injured citizens out of their misery is currently context dependent based on player’s decisions in the ‘pro-life vs pro choice’ round. Allow the player to euthanise civilians throughout.


150 150 Steve Bromley

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