Deaf Game Reviews – Dragon Quest XI

Can I Play That?4 minute read

Dragon Quest XI Deaf Accessibility


9 out of 10


  • Full subtitles for dialogue and random chatter of NPCs,
  • Helpful visual cues,
  • Text is frequently put on a solid background making it very easy to read


  • Text isn't able to be resized but it's reasonably sized and perfectly legible 99% of the time
Above score was automatically converted from 0-6 scale to a 0-10 scale.
Two Cruelcumbers holding spears.

These Cruelcumbers are among the enemies you’ll meet early on in Dragon Quest XI. Reason enough to buy the game. End of review. What else do you need? More? Ok then you’ll also find an enemy called the Bunnicorn which is a very close second to the Cruelcumbers in being so cute it’s sad you have to kill them instead of befriend them.

I suppose you want to know about the accessibility, so fine, if Cruelcumbers aren’t enough for you, I’ll give you that too.

Cutscene showing the back of a man fishing. Subtitles with no speaker label shown.

The game is fully subtitled (and quite legibly so!) from the cinematic scenes shown above…

Unnamed blonde character winking with a text box containing subtitles.

To the bits where you have to manually advance the dialogue. An interesting thing they did with this game was not provide speaker tags until you’re properly told the character’s name through the course of playing. So we’ve not met blondie here yet, so she gets an * where her name, only to be replaced by her name every time she speaks a few minutes later.

View of multiple characters in starting area, pink speech bubble over older woman speaking.

Throughout the towns you’ll visit, you’ll run into various people and you can talk to most of them. Some have helpful info (such as this lady telling you to talk to talk to people with pink dots on the mini map if you need some guidance), others have a quest, while others just talk to you to talk. It’s all given subtitles. Even the odd conversation you walk by and have no interaction with.

Main character inside a shop, speech bubble over the shopkeeper.

This lady here isn’t talking to you, she’s talking to herself and still, it’s given subtitles!

Combat scene with blue slimes, damage numbers over the main character's head.

There’s no dialogue to speak of during the turn based fights, save for the odd grunting or annoying commentary of your companions, and unfortunately this is not captioned. It seems they opted instead to display battle info, which given Courtney’s annoyance with the battle commentary of the companions, I won’t even complain about. Oh, and so you don’t end up with a boy named Esma, a hint: At the start when they ask for a name, they don’t want your name, they want you to name your character.

As you can see, all the text for every style of subtitling is reasonably sized and legible. There’s no option to change the size or to turn the subtitles off (cope, hearing people, let the on-screen text burn into your eyes).

Inside a cave, blue quest marker shown over a nearby ledge.
Purple favor side suest marker over an NPC.
Character standing on path, tree with collectible item shown in distance.

The visual cues are equally helpful and visible. Pictured above from top to bottom is a guide marker, indicating where to go next, the icon that displays someone has a side quest for you, and the little blue twinkle that you’ll see when you can collect an item.

There is honestly nothing I can find lacking in the accessibility of Dragon Quest XI. The subtitles are great and cover every bit of dialogue within the game, and the visual cues are just perfect for the sort of game it is. Deaf and HOH players will have no trouble fully enjoying this one.

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