Deaf/HoH Review – Call of Duty: Warzone

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COD Warzone Deaf/HoH Accessibility

Individual scores

  • Visual Representation of Dialogue - 5
  • Visual Representation of Sound - 2
  • Visual Cues - 8
  • Controller Vibration - 8
  • Visually Engaging - 5
  • Player Communication - 5

Well. COD Warzone is a game that exists. It’s a Battle Royale. That’s about all I can say about it. It’s certainly not Fortnite.

Fortnite got a perfect score on here for a reason:

Its deaf/hoh accessibility is hands down the best in the genre, among the best in games as a whole. The sound visualization manages to be clear and helpful, yet not intrusive even though it sits right in the center of the screen (i.e. right where a player’s eyes naturally look). The captions are scalable and in a great, legible font, they offer an optional text border, and a scalable background.

Warzone? It’s about as good at deaf/hoh accessibility as the rest of the COD franchise, which is not great. Not even passable.

Subtitles on/off options.

You can turn the subtitles on. That’s it. In 2020 from a massive franchise when most other massive franchises have figured out that players need size options.

Voice chat options.

And the chat? Not accessible. There is text chat but who in the hell can use text chat while playing a Battle Royale game on console? Thankfully there’s a ping system but if ever there was a game that needs speech-to-text, it’s this one.

Voice chat effect options.

Instead of putting effort into providing accessible chat options, Warzone instead offers special effects for voice chat, which feels a bit like a big, double-fisted middle finger to those of us who need speech to text.

Illustrating the illegible subtitles.

Above is the one and only presentation of the subtitles. The color-coded speaker label is nice but that’s about the only thing going for them.

Illustrating the so-called sound visualization.

As for sound visualization, a necessary feature in all shooters but especially Battle Royale shooters, technically, it’s there, but it may as well not be. Those little red blips at the top of the screen on the compass bar? That’s it. They flash a bit when a nearby enemy is firing. But only once you’re actually close enough for that shooting to be at you. As I said above, there’s a reason Fortnite’s sound visualization works so well and this ain’t it.

Illustrating the ping system.

The best thing about Warzone’s accessibility, in fact the only good thing, is the ping system. It’s quite robust, allowing players to ping gear, nearby enemies, potential threat areas, and where you’re going.

Playing Warzone was frustrating both because it’s wildly inaccessible and because I can’t help but feel like Infinity Ward just doesn’t care if they’re releasing a game this inaccessible in 2020. My recommendation is to skip it and play Fortnite or Apex Legends.

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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. courtney@caniplaythat.com

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