Greedfall Deaf Accessibility
A frustrating and inaccessible experience.
Score6.6 out of 10
Game reviewed on Xbox One
I’ve been looking forward to Greedfall since its announcement however long ago that was. There’s nothing I love more than a new open-world RPG and reading its comparisons to Dragon Age just made me that much more excited.
So then you can imagine my disappointment upon launching it and finding one Deaf/hoh accessibility issue after another. In addition to that it’s just generally inaccessible in nearly every area.
Prior to starting the game, you can turn subtitles on. That’s it. No further customization allowed.
And the sole default subtitle setting? Well, beige on varying shades of beige paired with the tiny, tiny text make them nearly useless. The one thing they have going for them are speaker names. If you can read them. Another issue I found with the subtitles were grammar and punctuation issues. While it’s not a rampant problem, it’s enough to make me wonder just what kind of QA testing was done prior to release. Certainly not accessibility testing…
The rest of the UI text is an even bigger mess. In the above image, if you try really hard, you might be able to see the quest text up by the compass bar.
I do appreciate the game including the floating NPC dialogue subtitles, though I’d appreciate them more if they were legible more than half the time.
I do appreciate the irony in the above scene of the “Poorly written notice” because it certainly is, isn’t it? It’s nearly impossible to read unless you put your face right on your monitor/TV.
Adding to the issues is that this is an open world game and there is no enemy indication unless you’re facing said enemies. While I haven’t run into a problem thus far with surprise attacks, this always is a problem in open world settings where audible enemies can come at you from any direction.
One nice thing about Greedfall, while not exclusively a Deaf/hoh accessibility issue, are the helpful visual cues. You can mark waypoints on your map, main quest, side quest, and missions all have distinctly different icons and all display on your top compass bar.
I also appreciate that all collectible and interactable items have a gold sparkle to them, so it’s very hard to miss your loot or quest items.
And one last helpful bit are the standard volume sliders.
My experience with Greedfall so far has been a frustrating one. Not one bit of the UI or UX seems to be designed thoughtfully and it makes for a remarkably inaccessible experience. The game is playable with its current issues but Deaf/hoh players may find themselves quite frustrated with it.
See below for all menu screenshots: