Deaf Game Review – Death Stranding

Can I Play That?3 minute read

Death Stranding Deaf Accessibility

While the subtitles can be hard to read on a rare occasion due to contrast issues, Death Stranding does a pretty good job with deaf/hoh accessibility.


8.9 out of 10

So many have been waiting a long time in a constant state of, “Wait, what is this game even about?” for the release of Death Stranding, Hideo Kojima’s new game, starring Norman Reedus, Mads Mikkelsen, and Guillermo del Toro (among many others).

Since this is such a weird game, we thought we’d shake up how we do our review. Michael and I (Courtney) chatted during our gameplay and below you’ll find our findings in excerpts from our chat.

Courtney: I didn’t run into any subtitle issues until…

Illustrating contrast issues in subtitle presentation.

Michael: Yeah for the most part it does pretty good about avoiding contrast issues from what I’ve seen so far the font has an outline so it mitigates some of the cases where it would be an issue.

Courtney: So minor contrast issues aside, I think the subtitles are really well done. And the enemy visualization is really nice too.

Michael: Which is ironic I think, given the UI is super tiny. Half the time I don’t even know what button the prompt is trying to tell me to press.

Illustrating the enemy visualization via red streaks on the side of the screen.
The enemy visualization streaks.

Courtney: Nope. And there are so many combinations it’s hard to keep straight anyway.

Michael: It’s almost like they half assed the whole text size thing or probably more likely they used two completely different teams/testing processes. The UI isn’t exactly the most understandable. There was a point where I got dragged into a BT beach battle I guess you can call it (what happens if you get dragged in the ground by the BTs). I knew I had a grenade or two but I could not for the life of me find it, but I forgot and failed to notice there’s multiple pages in the quick item menu.

Courtney: Yeah I just keep peeing which is usually not what I want to do.

Michael: Well at least you’re contributing to the mycological ecosystem?

Courtney: I also really like that they did that short slow-mo thing when BB spots a BT.

Michael: Yeah the mini cutscene is nice. Also the fact the game prompts you when you get too close to a BT is nice; it’ll prompt you to hold your breath. It’s hard to keep track of the sensor though, especially if you have a mile high stack of packages.

Courtney: And I usually do.

So what have we arrived at? While initial gameplay images from a couple months ago left a lot of us not feeling very hopeful, we were both pleasantly surprised by how well Death Stranding did with deaf/hoh accessibility. Aside from the rare instances of subtitle text contrast being an issue and your sensor being hard to catch a glimpse of if you’re being something of a pack mule, Deaf/hoh players shouldn’t run into too many issues in the game.

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