Assassin's Creed Odyssey Deaf Accessibility
- Visual Representation of Dialogue - 10
- Visual Representation of Sound - 8.5
- Visual Cues - 10
- Controller Vibration - 10
You’ll have to bear with me while I have a major fangirl moment about this game.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey feels like the one game I’ve been waiting for for years, but never realized it. I love RPGs like Bioware games and The Witcher 3, and I’ve always loved the stealthy, stabby gameplay of the Assassin’s Creed series. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey has combined the two!!! That’s right, here you have all the bloody assassin fun of previous AC games, PLUS the romance, dialogue choices, and story impacting choices of your favorite RPG. AND you can choose to play as a lady assassin this time! And the armor choices, God, you can have a different outfit for everyday (I’m currently wearing a top that also gave me some hunter-style face paint and I love it). On top of all this, I’ve seen a lot of reviews saying the story is lacking and it takes 15 hours to grow on you, but I’m going to disagree with all of that. I was interested in the story from the start and thoroughly enjoyed the hours I spent exploring the starting island, due to the addition of Explorer Mode gameplay, that essentially leaves the entire world for you to discover and find your way around in whatever way you see fit. There’s minimal quest hand-holding here, and for me, that makes this feel like a brand new and brilliant game.
Alright. Enough gushing about the game. Let’s talk about how Assassin’s Creed Odyssey stands up deaf accessibility wise.
First things first, and something I’m seeing more and more of, you’re presented with the options screen where you can customize subtitles before you play any part of the game. You can choose subtitle size, language, speaker name label, and whether or not to enable a darkened background behind the subtitles. Below is a shot of how the subtitles appear in their regular size with the background enabled.
The subtitle text size options should be large enough for most players.
The image above is one of the only areas in which I hope to see improvement. Leonidas is speaking to his troops to rally them for battle. What he says is subtitled, yet their reaction is not. Is having this subtitled necessary to gameplay? No, but I’d like to see at least some kind of subtitled indication of their response. You also run into this issue of lacking subtitles once you’re on your ship. When you’re in command, your character will speak, issuing orders and such, and they are not subtitled either. I understand why the ship crew singing isn’t subtitled, because they’re always singing and it would be the most repetitive subtitling ever, but again, given that Ubisoft went to the lengths of recording different singing for the different crews (when you have a female crew, you hear women singing, male crew, men sing), once again, I’d appreciate some kind of subtitled indication that they are in fact singing.
There’s the same outstanding visual indication of nearby enemies, and although I can’t quite place what it is, this time around, this system truly feels like they’ve mastered it. You’ve got your handy eagle which you can access at any time, to get an aerial view of collectibles and enemies. You’ll be shown their location, level, and the type of enemy they are (human or animal). There will also be the indicators that grow and fade in opacity and size when you’re in proximity of enemies, and ranged enemies show a visual indicator when they’ve fired at you, with enough time for you to dodge.
Oh, and if an enemy is well above your level, you’ll be shown that too, with the helpful little skull icons shown above.
New to the series are the dialogue options, and while they are pretty standard for what you get in an RPG, with different colors indicating whether a choice will continue or end the conversation, icons to show romantic opportunities or chances to earn some money from your dialogue choice, they could stand to be a little bigger, and I would like to see an option to toggle a background for them as well.
As you can see, the newest addition to the Assassin’s Creed series, even with its few missteps, is quite possibly the best, accessibility wise, Ubisoft has done (and in my opinion, enjoyment wise, the best game they’ve made too). There’s a couple things that could be better, but they don’t have a substantial impact on gameplay or enjoyment. You can still have just as much fun not knowing if your ship crew is singing, really. At this point it’s really a simple matter of full inclusion for deaf/hoh players, but even if they don’t add ship crew song subtitles to the next game, I’ll be buying it.