Marvel’s Avengers – Deaf/HoH Accessibility Review

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Marvel's Avengers Deaf Accessibility

Individual scores

  • Visual Representation of Dialogue - 8
  • Visual Representation of Sound - 8
  • Visual Cues - 10
  • Controller Vibration - 10
  • Visually Engaging - 10

Coming into Marvel’s Avengers as a complete novice to all things Marvel and Avengers feels…right. It makes the game feel that much more special and removed any expectations I may have had about what the various superheroes should or should not be able to do. I’ve watched Iron Man once on Disney+ but there was something wonky with the volume on my TV, so I didn’t actually watch it, and that’s where my experience with this IP ends. Perhaps because of this, Kamala Khan and her endless sense of awe that she’s actually fighting alongside the Avengers, remembering her fanfic, and discovering things about herself as she moves through the world feels like the perfect character for me to be drawn to.

And man am I having fun with her. I mean, just look at what she can do!

Kamala slamming her giant hand to the ground.

Who hasn’t wanted to slap someone with their own gigantic hand?

Kamala kicking in the air with an oversized foot.

Who hasn’t wanted to launch someone into the sun with their huge, Chuck Taylors wearing foot?

Kamala clapping an enemy between two giant hands.

Who among us hasn’t wanted to grow supersized hands just to be able to clap and send a whole crowd of people flying?

Just me? Huh.

Anyway, contrary to what many critics have said since they first started playing the Beta, the heroes and their various abilities feel just as empowering and fun as I’d hoped they would. Especially Kamala Khan’s. Hulk’s cool too but I can’t stop wondering how he instantly goes from tiny short shorts, having presumably obliterated his human sized clothes when he morphs, to fully intact clothes when he’s Bruce. How many identical outfits does he have? My point is, the game is fun, especially for me as I experience all of these heroes for the very first time.

But how is Marvel’s Avengers when it comes to deaf and hard of hearing accessibility?

There is one thing (ONE!!) keeping this game from taking its place alongside Gears 5 and The Last of Us 2 as deaf/hoh masterpieces.

Illustrating how small the subtitle text is.

The size of the subtitles and captions. And it’s so puzzling too!

The display menu with subtitles highlighted.

In a game with subtitles that have presentation options, you would think one of those options would be size scaling, no? Though it’s also strange to see that they’re off by default when most recent games have them on by default.

Horrible size aside, Avengers’ subtitles have something so few games have:

The display menu with closed captions highlighted.

Closed Captions!!

And WOW are they amazing!

Thor and Iron Man flying, illustrating the game's closed captions.

They not only tell you exactly what each in-game sound is, but also…

Hulk morphing, illustrating the game's closed captions.

Info on what’s happening that’s not particularly audible, like Bruce morphing into Hulk here, and…

Kamala removing a hard drive from a PC tower, illustrating more closed captions.

Super specific action descriptors, like Kamala finding and removing JARVIS here.

I don’t think I’ve seen closed captions done quite this accurately in any game before. It’s just the size. The size is the only thing keeping this game from deaf/hoh accessibility perfection!

There’s also projectile and incoming damage indicators, with varying kinds of damage being displayed in various colors, complete with directional arrows:

Illustrating the incoming projectile icons.

This feature was massively helpful in times when there was just one me and a whole group of enemies I had to fight. Even playing on easy, if you don’t carefully manage damage by blocking and dodging, it’s very easy to die very quickly, and the colored, directional icons made managing that much easier.

Illustrating the small radar icon that pairs with in-game beeps.

For instances in which you have to locate things based on audible signals, there’s a helpful little compass, as shown above. As helpful as this is, it would be even more helpful if players had the option to resize it too, because as it is, it’s easy to miss or ignore when you shouldn’t.

One thing Avengers is lacking is full remapping. There are multiple control scheme options, but just as with every game, full remapping would be preferable.

Illustrating the control scheme options.

Overall, Marvel’s Avengers is fantastic. Its deaf/hoh accessibility is expertly done, save for the issue of the text size, which I hope will be remedied quickly prior to the game’s full release in September.

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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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