Deaf Game Review – State of Decay 2

Can I Play That?5 minute read

State of Decay 2 Deaf Accessibility

All in all State of Decay 2 is a very accessible game for deaf/hoh players. There are a few things that could be done better but nothing that is lacking makes the game unplayable. I really enjoyed the time I spent with this game.


7.9 out of 10


  • Full subtitles,
  • Subtitles are easy to read,
  • Helpful visual cues


  • Not fully captioned
  • Hard to tell if zombies are nearby if you don't see them
Above score was automatically converted from 0-6 scale to a 0-10 scale.

The most important thing to know about State of Decay 2 is that it will definitely ruin the lives of any of the gamergate fanboys (the same ones that bitch about Battlefield 1 making them play as a black man for ONE story mission and that gave BattleTech terrible reviews because of the option to use “they/them”) that wanted to play it. That right there is reason enough to not just buy the game but to buy the deluxe edition of the game. Why will it hurt them so? Because the straight white male has been limited to one playable character of the eight you can choose to play through the tutorial with. And because you can play the tutorial as a lesbian couple. This game makes us so happy.

Tutorial mission starting character selection screen

Alright, now that we’ve gotten that out of my system (yes, lucky reader, you get a bonus dose of our politics along with a eaf review from time to time) we can get to the less important things such as gameplay and accessibility.

We can’t overstate how much better this game is than the first. The first was so beyond janky that we never finished it. The second iteration, while not without some basic graphical glitches, is a much smoother experience in every imaginable way. Stealth takedowns are no longer an almost impossible to manage button combination and while very similar to the first game, the UI has been improved for every aspect of the game. And it’s pretty. No, it’s not a graphical marvel but it looks nice enough.

Now on to Deaf accessibility:

Accessibility settings screen
Gameplay settings screen

Notably, there is an accessibility menu included in the game. While it doesn’t solve every accessibility issue, I love that we’re seeing more and more of this in games. The subtitles aren’t within the accessibility menu, but there is the option to turn them off (they’re on by default upon launching the game). It would be a nice addition in a future patch if they added full captioning and text scaling in the accessibility menu.

Tutorial mission cutscene illustrating how legible the subtitles are
Player character talking to NPC outside of research lab in tutorial mission.

Even though you can’t resize the subtitle text, it is still easily legible, both in cinematic scenes and in-game dialogue. The cinematic is nice and thick and large and the in-game subtitles are also bold enough to be easily read and are displayed against a darkened background. The speaker is indicated by a photo and/or a speech bubble above their head. (Note that when I say the text is easily legible, I mean for myself and Cortney, as people with good vision that don’t wear glasses. I can’t speak for any other need here.)

Character vital info screen with health, community standing, and skills displayed

Text gets a little iffy when you look at the home status screen, which displays the needs (and color indicates level of severity) of your community. The red text is basically impossible to read, the yellow isn’t much better, and the white text here is meh. The good news is that players are screwed here across the board, deaf or not, because this text is never spoken, so everybody gets to get up and squint at their TV to read it.

Player character sneaking at night, flashlight illuminating a small dresser.
Player character collecting stuff from a desk at night.

Visual cues are very similar to the first game. Items you can interact with have a white glow about them and the little ticker around the button indicator when searching a container shows how long you have until your search is complete. What isn’t included and really needs to be is some indication of how much noise you’re making, since zombie attacks happen when you’re making too much noise. While it’s shown on the minimap if you’ve got a zombie coming at you while searching, noise level indication would be super helpful here. Also shown in these images are the icons which indicate what actions you can perform with any given object.

Player character sneaking outside at night. Screamer enemy displayed on minimap.
Mission location displayed by yellow arrow with text indicating distance.

Once spotted, certain zombie types (such as the screamer indicated on the image above (it’s kind of hard to see, but it’s shown on the minimap). I also found it helpful that my character made mention of not wanting to alert the screamer upon spotting him, which was subtitled, as every bit of dialogue is. In the second image you can see the destination marker shown both in the minimap and onscreen.

All in all State of Decay 2 is a very accessible game for deaf/hoh players. There are a few things that could be done better but nothing that is lacking makes the game unplayable. I really enjoyed the time I spent with this game.

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