Deaf Game Review – Need for Speed: Heat

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Need for Speed Heat Deaf Accessibility

Individual scores

  • Visual Representation of Dialogue - 7.5
  • Visual Representation of Sound - 9
  • Visual Cues - 9
  • Controller Vibration - 10
  • Visually Engaging - 10
  • Player Communication - 10

Game reviewed on Xbox One

A new Need for Speed is upon us and while getting deaf/hoh accessibility right in racing games is a fairly simple thing to do, EA brought vast improvements in that area of accessibility to Heat.

Most notable is the subtitle size.

Illustrating legible default subtitles size.

While it’s unfortunate that there are no size options for the subtitles, players do get a fairly decent default size and there is an always-on background for the text, as well as speaker names.

Not so great about the subtitles? Well, as you can see in the above image, there is often a lot of text on the screen and for players who don’t read as quickly as the characters speak, they may miss out on some of the dialogue and story. Also problematic (at least at launch, hopefully this will be fixed) is a fairly significant delay in subtitle display during in-game dialogue.

VOIP speech to text option for multiplayer.

Another nice feature is accessible chat for online mode. Deaf/hoh players have the option to toggle speech to text for VOIP during their online runs.

Illustrating the minimap icons for police pursuit.

Rounding out Heat’s nice Deaf/hoh accessibility options are those shown on the minimap. The red icons of police presence, including the type (car or helicopter), allow players to successfully flee the cops even if they don’t hear sirens nearby or the chopper overhead.

All in all, I think Heat marks the most Deaf/hoh friendly title in the series and players should have minimal to no issues enjoying the game.

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Courtney Craven

Co-founder and EIC of Can I Play That?, captioner of many things, occasional writer of fiction. Any pronouns.

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