Deaf Game Review – Bloodborne

Deaf Game Review – Bloodborne

Can I Play That?3 minute read

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Bloodborne Deaf Accessibility

Individual scores

  • Visual Representation of Dialogue - 6
  • Visual Representation of Sound - 0
  • Visual Cues - 5
  • Controller Vibration - 10

Bloodborne. Where to even begin. Well, we should start by saying that we have never been fans of the Dark Souls games, the whole git gud mantra is as off-putting as it is ridiculous. In that respect, it’s as much the people that love the game that have turned us off from playing as the game and its difficulty has.

We weren’t able to progress far enough in the game to get what we felt was a decent enough opinion on the game’s Deaf accessibility because we kept dying. At least this, we suppose, told us it wasn’t entirely the game’s inaccessibility that led to repeated deaths.

Bloodborne environment menu.

Prior to starting a new game you can go into the options menu and toggle subtitles on or off. No text size options or background options are available.

Man with wide brimmed hat and bandaged eye talking to player during a cutscene.

As for those subtitles, they’re passable. We’ve seen better, but we’ve seen far worse. The biggest problem with them was that there are no speaker labels.

Player character on steps in front of interactive message on ground.

Throughout the game world (if you’re playing online) you’ll find helpful, albeit often cryptic, messages from other players to guide you through the world or warn you away from areas until you’re better prepared. The text in these messages is in a textbox, so it is clear and easy to read.

Player character standing with gothic style buildings in background.
Player character climbing ladder.

There were countless instances of sounds in the game that may or may not have been significant to gameplay we came across throughout the starting area that had no visual indicator. In the first of the above two images, there is the sound of a man coughing. The sound indicated the general direction of the person but there was no visual cue that any noise had been made. We later learned (thanks Twitter!) that the sound is from an NPC you can interact with, who will give you information.

In the second of the two images above, when climbing the ladder, players hear the roars of an enemy off to the left. Again only thanks to the helpful world of Twitter, we learned this noise tells you the general location of a boss fight.

Is it necessary for Deaf/HoH players to have this information? No, eventually you’ll figure it out and you’ll die 8000 times in the process whether you’re Deaf or hearing. But it would have been nice to be given that information in the game instead of on Twitter.

Given this game’s difficulty, it’s very hard to say whether hearing players have an advantage over Deaf players because From didn’t include visual cues for sounds. The enemies all tend to take you by surprise and after your first 8000 deaths, you’ll begin to learn the rhythm of their movements and attacks. While the game lacks visual cues for atmospheric sounds, you’ll learn the missed information eventually, if you know what you’re looking for.

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