I’ve got to be honest here, folks. I got Predator: Hunting Grounds with my Sony Rewards credits just so I could have it to talk about for my column in VG 24/7 because this month was pretty light on major releases. I fully expected it to be one of the many games I play solely for review and never touch again. I expected to be disappointed by its accessibility because other asymmetrical games leave a lot to be desired for Deaf and hard of hearing players. I’ve never played one and not been the first to die.
I’ve played two matches in Predator: Hunting Grounds (playing as the fire team) and in both, not only did I get the highest number of kills but I was also the only one of my four person team that didn’t die. BOTH TIMES!
Am I…am I good at video games?
No. I’m not. We all know hell will have frozen over if that ever happens. What did happen is such exceptional deaf/hoh accessibility that my reliance on it worked in my favor. Which I don’t think I’ve ever been able to say about a game before. I am utterly and completely shocked by the incredible job Illfonic did here, not only with deaf/hoh accessibility, but with accessibility in general.
Now that I’ve got you all excited, let’s start with what is pretty good but could still be better – the subtitles.
Players can adjust the size of the subtitle text and the opacity of the background (shown above is the largest size and 50% opacity on the background). The size is nice, but I fear many players will still find the thin text difficult to read.
But that’s it! That’s the only not super positive thing I can say about this game!
In combat, enemies are shown both on your minimap (showing the direction they’re facing) and the compass bar at the top of the screen. In addition to that, a red outline for enemies stays on-screen, even when the enemy is behind something and not visible to players. Also amazingly helpful and often overlooked in games is the “KILL” text above the enemies, so it’s not just color that tells you who to shoot at.
In terms of communication, there’s voice chat for teams, text to speech (I didn’t see speech to text, though I may have overlooked it?) and best of all, an Apex Legends style ping system, making voice chat unnecessary. In addition to all this great stuff, there’s also full controller remapping!
To say Predator: Hunting grounds took me by surprise would be an understatement. Games like this usually leave me feeling a bit down because even with standard accessibility fare like decent subtitles, they’re still largely inaccessible for Deaf/hoh players because most lack necessary visual cues like those in this game. This game had the opposite effect. It left me wondering if I just might not suck at games so much after all!
Predator: Hunting Grounds is one not to be missed by Deaf and hard of hearing fans of shooters!
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