BattleTech Deaf Accessibility
- Visual Representation of Dialogue - 5
- Visual Representation of Sound - 6.7
- Visual Cues - 10
BattleTech is a very involved and strategic game. From character creation, to team management, to battle planning, everything requires planning and attention, which makes for a great and very personalized feeling experience. Character creation is so robust, with back story and origin story which all dictate your strengths and weaknesses, as well as dialogue options (This part is so robust that I actually completely missed that you can further customize the 20+ character portraits. You also have the option of choosing to be he/she/they, which is a welcome change.)
I’ll add a disclaimer here before I get into any reviewing: I don’t often review PC games, because a) my laptop isn’t the best for running games and b) Steam, my game management software of choice, allows for refunds, unlike Xbox and PS4. I also have to note that my experience with accessibility in PC games has been VERY different than that with console games, both because of the type of games I play and because I’m not sitting across the room from the screen when playing on my laptop, so my experience across the board is generally better on PC.
That out of the way, let’s get into the review.
Cinematic subtitles are present and very easy to read, as are dialogue options and crew dialogue while on your ship.
Dialogue that comes up mid-mission/battle is hit or miss though, and I’m unsure why it’s presented in two very different manners. As you can see, the first image forces you to kind of lean in and squint due to the size and faint background, where the second image, while a bit small, is presented much more legibly.
In the options menu, you have the option to toggle on MechWarrior chatter. You’d think that given the ability to also toggle subtitles on and off, this MechWarrior chatter would be captioned as well. The second image above is of a scene where the MechWarrior was talking and you can see there’s no indication of that. This really hurts immersion, as MechWarrior chatter is everything from banter between your teammates, to confirmation that you’ve hit your target or done significant damage.
This being a tabletop-style strategy game, it makes sense that the visual cues are vast and very well done. Everything from enemy type and health, to different Mech parts and their damage are indicated as needed on screen, which goes a long way since the MechWarrior chatter is nonexistent for deaf/hoh players.
Movement options are also clearly indicated on screen, with dots showing where you can move to (complete with different colors for different terrain/cover types) and red lines indicating whether or not you’ll be within range of a shot at an enemy. Enemies are outlined in red when you can strike them, while structures you can destroy are outlined in blue.
Damage is also clearly indicated, detailing every part of the enemy Mech you’ve damaged or destroyed.
Overall, BattleTech is great in terms of accessibility. It’s absolutely fully playable for deaf/hoh players and really does well with visual cues. The one area this game falls short is in failing to caption the immersive MechWarrior chatter (which is disappointing but not surprising). This failure doesn’t make the game any more difficult though and if strategy games are your thing, BattleTech is well worth checking out!